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More Newport News schools earn accreditation
Student achievement progressing

(10/27/2015) - More Newport News public schools are earning accreditation while increasing student achievement of Standards of Learning (SOL) tests according to data released today by the Virginia Department of Education. Accreditation ratings require all schools to meet or exceed objectives for achievement in English, mathematics, science and history. High schools also must meet a graduation and completion index.

Newport News Public Schools' Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores show increased achievement on tests taken during the 2014-2015 school year. District-wide, Newport News public school students posted gains on all SOL tests.

More schools earning accreditation
"The latest SOL test scores tell a story of notable academic progress. We are proud of the advances our students and teachers have made, and the increase in accredited schools," said Ashby Kilgore, superintendent of schools. "Thanks to the combined efforts of our students, families and staff, all schools will continue to see great student progress."

Fifteen Newport News Public Schools are Fully Accredited, up from 11 in 2014: Marshall Early Learning Center; Deer Park, Dutrow, General Stanford, Greenwood, Hilton, Kiln Creek, Nelson, Richneck and Riverside elementary schools; B.T. Washington Middle School; and Denbigh, Menchville, Warwick and Woodside high schools.

Two schools earned the new Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark-Pass Rate designation: Sanford Elementary School and An Achievable Dream Middle and High School.

Six schools earned the new Partially Accredited: Improving School-Pass Rate rating: An Achievable Dream Academy, B.C. Charles, McIntosh and Saunders elementary schools; and Crittenden and Gildersleeve middle schools.

Nine schools have the newly designated Partially Accredited: Warned School-Pass Rate designation: Hidenwood, Lee Hall, Magruder, Palmer and Yates elementary schools; Dozier, Hines and Huntington middle schools; and Heritage High School.

Three schools have the Accreditation Denied rating: Newsome Park and Sedgefield elementary schools and Passage Middle School despite making gains in several subject areas. Newsome Park's SOL scores increased in three of four subjects; Sedgefield has double-digit increases in all subjects; and Passage SOL scores show an increase in two of four subject areas.

The accreditation rating for three schools will be determined at a later date: Carver, Epes and Jenkins elementary schools.

The 2015-2016 accreditation ratings are based on the revised Standards of Accreditation adopted by the Virginia Board of Education in July 2015 and the new guidelines for the partially accredited ratings on October 22, 2015. The accreditation standards require all schools to meet certain achievement pass rates in four subject areas. In addition, high schools must meet a graduation and completion index.

To be Fully Accredited for the 2015-2016 school year at least 75% of students must pass SOL tests in English and at least 70% of students must pass SOL tests in math, history and science. High schools must also attain a point value of at least 85 based on the Graduation and Completion Index.

Schools that are within a two-point margin of the SOL pass rates for Full Accreditation are designated as Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark-Pass Rate: 73% of students must pass SOL tests in English and at least 68% of students must pass SOL tests in math, history and science.

Schools that are making acceptable progress toward full accreditation and are not yet within the approaching benchmark pass rates are designated with Partially Accredited: Improving School-Pass Rate.

Schools that are not within a narrow margin or making acceptable progress toward achieving full accreditation receive a rating of Partially Accredited: Warned School-Pass Rate.

Under the revised accreditation regulations, schools that have not been Fully Accredited for four consecutive years will still be denied accreditation and will be designated Accreditation Denied. Even if a school meets the qualifications for Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark Pass-Rate or Partially Accredited: Improving School Pass-Rate ratings, because the school did not receive the Fully Accredited rating in the last four years, the accreditation will be denied.

Accreditation ratings for the 2015-2016 school year are based on the achievement of students on the 2014-2015 administration of Standards of Learning tests.

NNPS has a plan for progress
Newport News Public Schools' academic action plan focuses on increasing literacy and math skills, providing students with more time for extra help and making more time for learning by giving fewer tests.

At the elementary level, an additional 2.5 hours a week of targeted instruction for students is provided through the use of a daily intervention/enrichment block at all schools. Interventionists provide intensive instruction in reading and mathematics for students in need of additional academic support and teacher coaches are focusing on developing teachers in mathematics and content integration. In addition, the NNPS science curriculum will be revised to support instruction across grade levels.

At the middle school level, a literacy institute will build teacher expertise to advance academic achievement in English, building on the success of the elementary literacy institute model which helped increase pass rates in English at 22 of 23 elementary schools.

At all grade levels, the written curriculum for teachers has been simplified. Common, computer-based assessments will be utilized to assist teachers with monitoring student progress. And students will work cooperatively with teachers to create success plans that set performance goals which will be reviewed quarterly.

NNPS' curriculum supports student learning
Newport News Public Schools curriculum is aligned to the new SOL content, but NNPS educators go beyond teaching the minimum state standards. The NNPS curriculum combines the SOLs with the district's college, career and citizen-ready skills (information literacy, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and innovation, initiative and self-direction, social responsibility and collaboration) to better prepare students for success as learners, future employees and contributing citizens.

To assess student learning, SOLs and college, career and citizen-ready skills are integrated within performance assessments or tasks that students engage in to demonstrate their understanding and application of learning goals.

School accreditation is based on student performance on SOL tests. It is one measure of achievement.