All IW schools fully accredited

Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Division reading and math scores continue to outpace the state
Isle of Wight County Schools has announced that all of its schools are fully accredited by the state and continue to outpace the rest of Virginia in reading and math scores based on recently released student test data from 2016-2017.
A new accreditation process was approved through legislation passed by the 2016 General Assembly. The most significant change states that schools that have been fully accredited for three consecutive years will be fully accredited for three more years. At the end of the three-year period, the Virginia Board of Education will review the status of the school for each individual year within the three-year period.
If the school would have been accredited each year within the three-year period, the school will be fully accredited for three more years. Under the new system, Carrsville Elementary, Windsor Elementary, Westside Elementary, Georgie Tyler Middle, Smithfield Middle and Smithfield High are accredited through the 2018-2019 school year. Windsor High will be accredited through 2019-2020. Hardy Elementary and Carrollton Elementary are accredited this year, but have not had three consecutive years of full accreditation.
When Hardy Elementary School failed to make accreditation for the 2015-2016 school year, the state designated it as a Focus School. Staff worked with representatives from the Virginia Department of Education to develop a plan of improvement, which led to full accreditation last year. However, designation as a Focus School requires a school show two consecutive years of improvement.
Based on 2016-2017 SOL data, Hardy is once again fully accredited and officially completes the two-year improvement requirement, removing them from the list of Focus Schools.
“I am so proud of all of the hard work and perseverance that each student and teacher demonstrated during our journey of becoming fully accredited and exiting focus school status,” said Principal Shante Denson. “We embraced the challenges and created a learning environment for our students that thrived on collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.”
Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, IWCS placed an emphasis on deeper learning and using authentic assessments for students to demonstrate mastery of the standards. Teachers were encouraged to transition from only using traditional, multiple choice assessments to project based assessments. Students went deeper with their learning and focused on the 5 Cs: communication, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and citizenship.
“We know our students need more than the ability to do well on a multiple choice test to be prepared for the real world,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton. “By providing them with authentic opportunities, including student expositions, we are equipping them with the skills they will need to be successful after they leave our doors.”
Thornton was especially pleased that the test scores remained strong at all schools and very much in line with the state.
Highlights from Isle of Wight’s results in Reading, Math, Science, History and Writing are included below. A list of scores for the division compared to the state pass rates can be found after the highlights. To see more data for the division or individual schools, go to the School Quality Profiles on the Virginia Department of Education website:
• Reading: The overall pass rate for the division was 83 percent for the 20162017 school year, exceeding the state pass rate of 80 percent. Third grade’s pass rate of 82 percent, and sixth grade reading’s pass rate of 85, were both seven points above the state average. For the first time, reading tests in third through fifth grade were computer adaptive tests and administered over one day instead of two.
• Math: The division’s overall pass rate of 81 percent was above the 79 percent posted by the state. IWCS students in third, sixth and seventh grades all exceeded their respective state rate by four percentage points. The highest pass rate in any subject area was garnered by the division’s Algebra II students, who saw a 92 percent pass rate, which also surpassed the state’s rate of 90 percent.
• Science: The overall pass rate for all students came in at 84 percent, two points higher than the state. The eighth grade science pass rate for IWCS, at 85 percent, exceeded the state pass rate by six points. The SOL test for eighth grade science includes standards from sixth, seventh and eighth grade science.
• History/Social Science and Writing: The overall pass rate for the division of 85 percent was just one point shy of the state’s pass rate. Writing also fell one point below the state pass rate, coming in at 78 percent. However, the division far exceeds the state required benchmark for both writing (75) and history (70.)

LYNN BRIGGS is the director of gifted services, community and media relations for Isle of Wight County Schools. She can be reached at 365-1611 or