Virginia Public Schools Accreditation Report for 2011-2012
The Virginia Department of Education has just released its report of the 2011-2012 schools accreditation. www.doe.virginia.org. The completed data report provides opportunities for schools to review for planning purposes and to prepare to face new challenges. Informed and foresighted administrators have already put into place plans this spring/summer to meet the increasing rigor already in place in math and in 2012-2013 for English. The advent of these new standards was announced as a reminder again this summer in Williamsburg at the VASSP Summer Conference and Exposition by Dr. Patricia Wright, State Superintendent of Instruction. Dr. Wright emphasized that three years ago to that day, we were told that “this too” will come to pass: increased rigor in math and English. It has and we are faced with decisions about staffing, time and funds to guide and instruct our students through the rigors of the new standards.
The accreditation results for this year are, as expected, mixed with gains and losses across the Commonwealth. Ninety-six percent of the 1,838 public schools in Virginia achieved full accreditation for the 2011-2012 school year. In this realm of numbers, 98 percent of elementary schools and 97 percent of middle schools are accredited. The percent of high schools with full accreditation however, dropped to 86 percent from a high of 99 percent last year. This change for high schools is likely due to the introduction last year by the Board of Education of a graduation and completion index as a measure of accountability. While high schools are struggling with this new accountability measure, the results were not wholly unexpected. “When standards are raised”, commented Dr. Patricia Wright, “there are schools that require time to meet the new expectations”. There may be further declines in accreditations as high schools in Virginia implement more rigorous standards and assessments in math for 2011-2012 and English for 2012-2013.
Accountability is the by-word in Virginia from the Department of Education down to your individual buildings. This accountability, according to a comment in the report just released through the Department of Education by the State Board of Education President Eleanor B. Saslaw, is a “critical component of the board’s efforts to ensure that Virginia graduates are college-and-career ready”.
Virginia administrators stand ready and prepared to do what is best for our students in a profession that is always rewarding and now more challenging than ever.