Preliminary SOL scores show improvement

Published 11:36 am Saturday, June 21, 2014

FRANKLIN—Pending official scores from the Virginia Department of Education, and the final graduation rate, Franklin High School could be fully accredited next year.

In the preliminary scores, FHS showed gains in math, history and science. Based on the unofficial math score of 70.6, the school would have a pass in math. English fell from 79 to 71.7, as did many English scores from around the state due to the increased rigor of the test. The three-year average, however, will allow for English to remain above the required 75.

“These are preliminary scores. They are all done within the Franklin city public schools,” said FHS Principal Travis Felts. “But if it goes out like we have calculated, then we will make all four areas of accreditation, with the exception of graduation rate. Not saying we haven’t got the graduation rate, just that we won’t know until August.”

J.P. King saw gains in English, from 54 to 68.7; math, from 51 to 63.3; history, from 63 to 68.2; and a drop in science from 61 to 57.8.

“In reading and math, we reduced failure by 10 percent,” said Principal Lisa Francis. “That’s the big thing they look at for improvement, making those gains.”

She added that there are still tests left out, so the results are very preliminary at the middle school level.

S.P. Morton saw a drop in English, from 46 to 40.36; a slight gain in math, from 40 to 42.28; a gain in history, from 79 to 85.4; and a big drop in science, from 60 to 29.8. S.P. Morton also has a disclaimer in that the results exclude the failing transfer students and the paper/pencil scores.

“The district has done a great job,” said Ward 1 school board member Will Councill, “though there is still some concern in the elementary school. But Catapult learning, the lead turnaround partner, just started in the last part of last year. They will be in there full time this year, and I hope to see them turnaround.”

Even though J.P. King wouldn’t be accredited, Councill said it was good to see that they are making big gains. The high school results were also good to see for the board.

“It just shows you what we can do when everyone is working together,” he said. “We are going in the right direction, and that’s a great accomplishment. There’s a lot to be said for the staff out there.”

Felts said even if that math score officially came back a little under 70, he still felt like it was an improvement.

“Regardless of what happens, I’m happy with our growth,” he said. “I’m happy for the work the staff has put in. And I just want to thank the entire community, and everyone at Franklin High School for their support. It took a lot of people to make this growth happen.”

Francis said she was looking forward to coming in next year and continuing the growth.

“Some of the students had never passed an SOL test. And this year, they did,” she said. “Even the students who did not pass showed tremendous growth.

“They are invested, and they want to do well. I’m just very excited in moving forward and looking forward to next year. I see great things for us.”