NN students making strides in achievement; all NN high schools fully accredited

Posted: September 13, 2017

Twenty-one Newport News public schools have earned full accreditation for the 2017-2018 school year, up from 15 schools two years ago according to data released today by the Virginia Department of Education. For the first time since the 2010-2011 school year, all NNPS high schools earned full accreditation. Accreditation ratings require all schools to meet or exceed benchmarks for achievement in English, mathematics, science and history. High schools must also meet a graduation and completion index.

District-wide, students posted gains in several subject areas on SOL tests during the 2016-2017 school year. Student performance at 21 schools exceeded state benchmarks for accreditation in all four subject areas or improved over the prior year, and student results at eight schools surpassed state performance targets in three subjects.

"We are very proud of the gains that our students and staff have made on the Standards of Learning tests. Our methodical, focused efforts are yielding positive results: all of our high schools are fully accredited, and five schools improved their accreditation status this year," said Dr. Ashby Kilgore, superintendent of schools. "There are many achievement stories in our school district, most notably, the success at Jenkins Elementary School, which earned full accreditation after being denied for two years."

Accreditation results

Twenty-one Newport News Public Schools are Fully Accredited: Marshall Early Learning Center; An Achievable Dream Academy; Deer Park, Dutrow, General Stanford, Greenwood, Hilton, Jenkins, Kiln Creek, Nelson, Richneck, Riverside, Sanford and Yates elementary schools; B.T. Washington Middle School; Achievable Dream Middle and High School; and Denbigh, Heritage, Menchville, Warwick and Woodside high schools.

To be Fully Accredited for the 2017-2018 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. State accreditation ratings may also reflect a three-year achievement average.

One school earned the Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark-Pass Rate designation: Gildersleeve Middle School. Schools that are within a two-point margin of the adjusted SOL pass rates for full accreditation are designated as Partially Accredited: Approaching Benchmark. Seventy-three percent of students must pass SOL tests in English and at least 68% of students must pass SOL tests in math, history and science. Students at Gildersleeve posted a 74% pass rate in English while exceeding the state accreditation benchmarks in math, history and science.

Dozier Middle School earned the Partially Accredited: Improving School Pass Rate designation. Schools with this rating are making acceptable progress towards full accreditation and/or are raising student achievement. Dozier students increased the achievement pass rate in English by two percentage points from 70% to 72%, and students exceeded the state accreditation benchmarks in math, science and history.

Two schools are designated Partially Accredited: Warned School including Charles Elementary School and Discovery STEM Academy. Schools that are not within a narrow margin of achieving the benchmarks or not making acceptable progress as defined by the state department of education receive a rating of Partially Accredited: Warned School.

  • Despite this accreditation rating, Charles Elementary School students exceeded the state benchmarks for full accreditation in English, math and history

Five schools have the Accreditation Denied rating: Carver, Hidenwood and McIntosh elementary schools; and Crittenden and Huntington middle schools. Four schools in this category made gains in academic achievement:

  • Hidenwood Elementary School exceeded the state benchmark for accreditation in science and increased its SOL scores in history

  • At McIntosh Elementary School students exceeded the state target in history

  • Crittenden Middle School students exceeded state accreditation targets in science and history

  • Huntington Middle School students' SOL scores increased in math

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 at eight schools will be determined by the Virginia Department of Education at a later date: Epes, Lee Hall, Newsome Park, Palmer, Saunders and Sedgefield elementary schools; and Hines and Passage middle schools. Many of these schools are making notable progress:

  • Epes Elementary School students surpassed the state accreditation benchmarks in history, and increased the SOL pass rates in English and math

  • Lee Hall Elementary School students exceeded the state accreditation pass rate in history and posted gains in English and math

  • SOL scores increased in three subject areas (English, science and history) at Newsome Park Elementary School

  • Palmer Elementary School's scores exceeded state accreditation benchmarks and increased in three subjects (English, math and history)

  • At Saunders Elementary School, SOL scores increased in two subjects (English, math and history) and students surpassed the state benchmark for full accreditation in math and history

  • Sedgefield Elementary School students increased achievement on English and math SOL tests

  • Students at Hines Middle School increased achievement in English

  • Math and history SOL scores surpassed the state accreditation targets at Passage Middle School and scores increased in science

NNPS has a plan to continue progress

Newport News Public Schools' academic action plan focuses on increasing literacy and math skills, and giving students more learning time.

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 increased academic support and additional teacher coaches are focusing on developing teachers in content integration.

In elementary and middle school, students may participate in numerous extended learning opportunities including Saturday academies, afterschool learning programs and SPARK, the Summer Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge. Newport News Public Schools was awarded a $2.7 million state department of education grant to advance and support extended learning programs at all schools in academic progress.

After much success at the elementary level, a middle school literacy institute was implemented last school year to hone teacher expertise in reading instruction; reading scores at all middle schools improved. A similar literacy program was implemented in 2015-2016 at all elementary schools and helped increase pass rates in English at 22 of 23 elementary schools.

Central office curriculum leaders have partnered with school staff members to develop and deploy tailored school improvement strategies. This team approach to improvement through classroom observations, principal and teacher data talks, and professional development sessions is building a culture of continuous improvement. In addition, the written curriculum for teachers has been simplified; and computer-based assessments are used to assist teachers with monitoring student progress. Students also work cooperatively with teachers to create success plans that set performance goals which are reviewed quarterly.

NNPS' curriculum advances student learning

Newport News Public Schools curriculum is aligned to the newer, rigorous Standards of Learning, 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.

View school achievement and accreditation rating charts

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