Southampton, Isle of Wight schools fully accredited

Published 11:00 am Friday, September 16, 2016

The Virginia Department of Education released its accreditation report on Wednesday, and both Southampton and Isle of Wight are listed as fully accredited for 2016-2017. But a couple of Franklin’s public schools still need work.

In Courtland, Riverdale Elementary earned earned full accreditation after undergoing reconstitution last year. According to the VDOE report, reconstitution involves significant changes in school leadership, governance, faculty or attendance, and reconstitution status must be approved by the state board.

The VDOE stated that “For a school to earn full accreditation, students must achieve adjusted pass rates of at least 75 percent on English reading and writing SOL tests, and at least 70 percent on assessments in mathematics, science and history. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation and completion.”

The reported added that accreditation ratings may also reflect an average of achievement over several years.

Representatives from the Southampton and Isle of Wight said how thrilled they are at the news.

“We’re excited about this accomplishment and thankful to all the teachers, principals, parents and students who made this possible,” said Dr. Deborah Goodwyn, chairwoman of the Southampton County School Board.

Lynn Briggs, spokeswoman for Isle of Wight County Schools, said, “We were very excited to receive the news and are glad that our schools and students and staff were rewarded by the state for all their hard work.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said, “I hope these results will encourage teachers, principals and other educators in all of our schools as they strive to help students meet Virginia’s high expectations for learning and achievement.”

Although Franklin High School is listed as fully accredited for this year school year, both J.P. King Jr. and S.P. Morton Elementary School are listed as “to be determined,” meaning they didn’t meet criteria in one or more of the testing subjects.

Last year the paper reported that Charles Pyle, director of communications for VDOE, said that the “‘to be determined’ designation comes as a request by the individual school districts to be partially accredited.”

Schools that do not achieve accreditation “are be subject to corrective actions prescribed by the state Board of Education and affirmed through a memorandum of understanding with the local school board,” the report noted. “The status of 145 schools at risk of being denied accreditation — including 92 schools that were warned in 2015-2016 — will be determined by the Board of Education later this year.”

In addition, S.P. Morton also remains a Priority School, “comprising the lowest-performing five percent of Title I schools — must engage a state-approved turnaround partner to help design and implement school-reform models that meet state and federal requirements,” according to the VDOE report.

Franklin City Public School Superintendent Dr. Willie J. Bell Jr. could not be reached for comment.

Accreditation ratings for 2016-2017 for all schools and updated online report cards for all schools and school divisions are available on the VDOE website.