Nottoway Elementary recognized for high achievement

Published 9:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

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Nottoway Elementary School was one of 37 schools in the commonwealth recently recognized by the Virginia Board of Education for their high achievement as part of the board’s Exemplar Performance School Recognition Program.

An April 25 board news release noted that the Exemplar School Recognition Program, and its Exemplar Performance Awards, recognizes schools that exceed board-established performance requirements or show continuous improvement on academic and school quality indicators. Thirty-seven schools earned the Board of Education Highest Achievement Award, and 27 schools earned the Board of Education Continuous Improvement Award. 

Board officials stated in the release that the awards are based on performance and practices during the 2022-23 and prior school years.

“On behalf of the Virginia Board of Education, I am thrilled to celebrate and honor the 64 schools who are being recognized for their accomplishments,” Board of Education President Grace Turner Creasey said in the release. “Recognition in this program is one of the highest achievements a school can receive in the commonwealth. Congratulations to the staff, students and communities who support these remarkable schools for their success.”

The release noted that schools recognized for highest achievement demonstrated high levels of success across all school quality indicators, including success in narrowing achievement gaps. In order to earn this recognition, schools are required to do the following:

  • Achieve Performance Level One for reading, mathematics and science based on the student pass rate (which does not include growth measures) for the “all students” group in the school, as well as for each student group in the school.

-In addition, schools with two student groups could have no more than a five-percentage point difference between the performance of each student group and the “all students” group; schools with three or more student groups could have no more than a 10-percentage point difference between the performance of each student group and the “all students” group.

  • Achieve at Level One in the Chronic Absenteeism, Graduation and Completion Index, and Dropout Rate school quality indicators.

The Virginia Department of Education defines Level One as at or above standard, Level Two is near standard and Level Three is below standard.

For the 2022-23 school year, NES had no school quality indicators at Level Three.

Below are the school quality indicator results for NES:

  • Academic Achievement

-English: Level 1

-Mathematics: Level 1

-Science: Level 1

  • Achievement Gaps

-English: Level 1

-Mathematics: Level 1

  • Student Engagement & Outcomes

-Chronic absenteeism: Level 1

With regard to achievement gaps in math and English, NES was at Level One for all eight of its student groups except English learners and Asian students, which were groups that had no representatives at the school.

Southampton County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gwendolyn P. Shannon expressed excitement regarding NES receiving the Board of Education Highest Achievement Award.

“Our reaction to receiving this prestigious award is one of immense pride and gratitude,” she said. “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our administrators, teachers, staff, students, families, school board and the entire school community. 

“Although this award represents a collective effort of Nottoway Elementary School and the aforementioned, I encourage all students to continue the excellence they have displayed at Nottoway in other aspects of their lives,” she continued. “Our students are winners, and they have made us proud.”

NES Principal Susan Street said when she received the news about the award, her initial reaction was one of shock, humility and gratitude.

“I know that the work that my teachers and staff do on a daily basis is truly nothing short of amazing, but to be one of the only schools in the area to receive that award was truly humbling, and I’m grateful for all the hard work that my staff puts in on a daily basis,” she said.

Shannon and Street highlighted ingredients present at NES that account for its success.

“The keys to Nottoway Elementary’s success lie in our commitment to academic excellence, innovative teaching methods, a supportive learning environment and strong community partnerships,” Shannon said. “We believe in fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration to ensure the success of every student.”

Street said Nottoway has always been, and will continue to be, a school that believes in community. 

“It truly does take a village,” she said. “This was a combined effort from the students, staff, loved ones and more to achieve this award. At Nottoway, we try to make sure that our students know that they are loved, valued and appreciated. My whole staff truly does love their students and wants to see them succeed. Our success comes from the magic that my teachers and staff bring to our students every day. I am so honored and humbled by the amazing learning experience that our staff creates.”

In the Virginia Board of Education news release, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons said that she was pleased to recognize and congratulate the Highest Achievement Award and Continuous Improvement Award winners.

“When high expectations are set and our schools achieve them, they deserve to be celebrated,” she said. “This recognition is a testament to the hard work and tireless efforts the educators and staff, students, families and communities are making every single day. They should be very proud of all that they have achieved.”