Reward good behavior

Published 8:08 am Friday, September 25, 2009

It’s official: All public schools in Franklin and Southampton and Isle of Wight counties are fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education.

That’s because students made adequate strides on the Standards of Learning tests last spring.

The results are an improvement over last year, when Southampton Middle School, J.P. King Middle School in Franklin and Windsor Middle School in Isle of Wight County were “accredited with warning.”

It should be noted that this is the first time that all Franklin schools have been accredited.

For that, administrators, teachers, students and parents should be proud. So, too, should their counterparts in Southampton and Isle of Wight.

However, accreditation should be the first achievements of many.

The Standards of Learning tests are just that — statewide assessment that tells us the basics of what each child should be able to know.

Area schools need to reach higher and go beyond just getting by.

A recent move by the Franklin School Board to do just that was well intentioned but poorly received.

The board updated its policy to state that Franklin High School students who fail a course or a Standards of Learning test will soon be required to attend after-school tutorial sessions.

The plan includes incentives for students who attend all sessions, including extra points in classes, free admission to athletic or other school-sponsored events and a pizza party.

So far, students who did well on the SOLs are not included in the incentive plan, which also allows teachers the options of dropping a student’s lowest test or quiz grades or giving extra credit to participating students.

Franklin should be commended for thinking of ways to engage students in their education.

But if they aren’t already, students who do well should be rewarded, too.