RICHMOND, Va. – Eighty-one percent of Virginia’s 1,825 public schools are now fully accredited, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
The number of fully accredited schools has increased by three points since the 2015-2016 school year, when 78 percent of schools were fully accredited.
The Department of Education says the accreditation is a result of students’ improved performance on Standards of Learning tests and 2016 legislation providing multi-year accreditation.
Accreditation ratings require all schools to meet or exceed benchmarks for achievement in English, mathematics, science and history. To be fully accredited for the 2016-2017 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.
Newport News saw an increase in accredited schools over after students posted gains on all SOL tests district-wide. Twenty Newport News Public Schools are fully accredited, an increase from the 15 schools during the 2015-2016 school year: Marshall Early Learning Center; An Achievable Dream Academy; B.C. Charles, Deer Park, Discovery STEM Academy, General Stanford, Greenwood, Hilton, Kiln Creek, Nelson, Richneck, Riverside and Yates elementary schools; Gildersleeve and B.T. Washington middle schools; Achievable Dream Middle and High School; and Denbigh, Menchville, Warwick and Woodside high schools.
Four Newport News public schools were designated partially accredited, but still improved in student achievement. Seven schools have the accreditation denied rating: Hidenwood, Jenkins, Lee Hall, Newsome Park and Sedgefield elementary schools; and Huntington and Passage middle schools.
For high schools, graduation rates can greatly impact a school’s accreditation. Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Class of 2016 achieved the division’s highest on-time graduation rate and lowest dropout rate since 2008.
According to the Virginia Department of Education, 91.3 percent of the division’s 2016 graduates received their diploma in four years, a 1.5 percentage point increase compared to the previous year and 7.1 percentage points higher than 2008. The drop out rate was at 4.7 percent, 2.3 percentage points lower than the Class of 2008.