Preliminary SOLs good at FHS

Published 11:57 am Saturday, February 22, 2014

FRANKLIN—Since full accreditation at Franklin High School has slipped because of math, Principal Travis Felts can’t count just the hours of sleep he has lost.

While he fully admitted that there was still plenty of work to do, he did take a moment this week to congratulate FHS students for all they have accomplished.

“There is no time to celebrate, but we decided to clap for ourselves a little bit,” Felts said. “We’re excited because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

That’s because out of the 11 subjects they were tested in, there were marked improvements in eight categories. The decreases were in writing, reading and algebra II, while Virginia and U.S. history, world history, world history II, earth science, biology, chemistry, algebra I and geometry all improved in pass rate.

Overall, English dropped from 79 percent pass rate to 55.2. History went from 71 to 82.8, science from 74 to 84 and math – yes, math – from 60 to 72.54.

“Historically, we have been strong in English,” Felts said. “We are not satisfied with that, and I think by the end of the year we can get that turned around.”

Even if they were not able to, English is a category where they can use their three-year average, which Felts said would bring it up to where English would continue to be accredited.

“We can make it on our three-year average, but that is not our goal,” he added. “We want to make it up by the end of the year.”

Being up 12 percent compared to last year in math has the staff especially excited.

“MATH,” Felts exclaimed. “We have really lamented over math, and I still lose sleep. But it is good to see some progress.”

These figures are preliminary, based on the progress made during the first semester at FHS, and he also said that they are not official. But they do offer a good SOL benchmark, Felts said.

“We have worked hard to make sure these figures are as accurate as possible,” he said.

In the English categories, writing dropped from 89 to 52.1 percent pass rate; and reading from 76 to 58 percent pass rate.

In the history categories, Virginia and U.S. history went from 63 to 79.6 percent pass rate; world history from 78 to 84 percent pass rate; and world history II from 72 to 88.4 percent pass rate.

In science, earth science went from 66 to 77.1 percent pass rate; biology from 72 to 96.2 percent pass rate; and chemistry from 93 to 100 percent pass rate.

In math, algebra I went from 50 to 88.2 percent pass rate; geometry from 38 to 67.44 percent pass rate; and algebra II dropped from 75 to 60 percent pass rate.

Of the big jumps in biology and algebra I, Felts credits having good teachers.

He also acknowledged the children.

“I think sometimes even our kids get the blame for the situation at the school,” he said. “You can criticize the adults all you want, but we take it to heart when you criticize the students.

“We have great students at Franklin High School.”

Felts said the school has not slacked off, and will continue to improve.

“One thing we are doing is preparing a dinner for the parents and students who are retakers,” he said. “We’re going to ask for their parents help to get the students in tutoring early in the semester. We want them to pass on the retake.”

At the beginning of the year, Felts said that by the 2014-15 school year, Franklin High School would be fully accredited.

“My wife criticized me, saying that I shouldn’t have said that,” he said. “But I still say that we are going to be fully accredited

“We are still in the game.”

A former coach, Felts used a football analogy.

“Now, this is just halftime, so we aren’t celebrating the victory yet,” he said. “But we are feeling good about what we have accomplished.”