Westside Elementary now meets federal education standards

Published 8:55 am Saturday, September 11, 2010

RICHMOND—An Isle of Wight County elementary school, which learned last month it did not meet federal educational standards, has had that determination reversed.

Westside Elementary School in the Hardy District was granted an appeal by the Virginia Department of Education, and was given Adequate Yearly Progress status.

“We’re very pleased for Westside Elementary School, that their appeal process was granted,” Katherine Goff, spokeswoman for Isle of Wight County Schools, said Thursday. “We’re proud of all of our school’s efforts.”

The appeal means that six of the nine schools in the district have made AYP. The others are Carrollton, Carrsville, Hardy and Windsor elementary schools and Windsor Middle School.

Goff said the state was allowing school districts and schools without a graduating class, like Westside, to make a one-time change to their Other Academic Indicator, a benchmark used to determine whether a school made AYP because of the impact of the H1N1 influenza virus on attendance during the 2009-2010 school year.

“We choose our Other Academic Indicators at the beginning of the year,” Goff said, adding that Westside chose writing as its OAI. “(Writing) is what held them from achieving AYP. We (chose writing) long before anybody knew that H1N1 was going to have such an impact. Many schools selected attendance. The state realized in June that this might have hit a lot of schools hard.”

Goff said Westside was not adversely affected by H1N1, but said the state allowed the school — and others — to switch their OAIs because of the affect of the flu virus elsewhere. The fact that Westside had reduced its failure rate in writing by at least 10 percent was also a factor.

Federal law requires that a school must achieve in 29 target areas across several subgroups of students to earn AYP status. A new statistic, the Federal Graduation Indicator, was also implemented for the 2009-2010 school year.

A school must have an FGI of 80 to make AYP. Windsor High School, with an FGI score of 74, was one of 41 high schools in Virginia that did not make AYP solely because of the graduation benchmark.