Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright today awarded waivers from annual accreditation to 54 high-performing schools. Each school receiving a waiver will remain fully accredited for three years. The schools qualified for the flexibility by achieving pass rates of 95 percent or higher in all four tested Standards of Learning (SOL) content areas for two consecutive years.
"The waivers provide an opportunity for high-achieving schools to try new approaches in covering the SOL content without worrying about a potential short-term impact on test scores and accreditation ratings,” Wright said. “I encourage superintendents and principals to empower teachers in these schools to move away from excessive review and practice and focus instead on providing rich and varied instruction that exceeds the standards."
The following schools qualified for the waivers by achieving SOL pass rates in English, mathematics, history/social science and science of 95 percent or greater during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years.
- Buckingham County – Buckingham Primary
- Chesapeake – Butts Road Intermediate, Butts Road Primary and Grassfield High
- Chesterfield County – Bettie Weaver Elementary, Cosby High, Evergreen Elementary, Grange Hall Elementary, Greenfield Elementary, Midlothian High, Robious Elementary, Swift Creek Elementary and Winterpock Elementary
- Franklin County – Burnt Chimney Elementary and Glade Hill Elementary
- Hanover County – Atlee High, Cool Spring Elementary, Hanover High, Kersey Creek Elementary, Pearson's Corner Elementary and Pole Green Elementary
- Loudoun County – Lincoln Elementary, Lowes Island Elementary, Newton-Lee Elementary, Pinebrook Elementary, Sanders Corner Elementary, Stone Bridge High and Waterford Elementary
- Mecklenburg County – LaCrosse Elementary
- Newport News – Hilton Elementary
- Norfolk – Larchmont Elementary
- Pittsylvania County – Tunstall High
- Prince William County – Mary G. Porter Traditional, Mountain View Elementary and Springwoods Elementary
- Richmond – Bellevue Elementary, Mary Munford Elementary, Open High and Richmond Community High
- Roanoke – Crystal Spring Elementary
- Roanoke County – Cave Spring Elementary, Cave Spring High, Clearbrook Elementary and Hidden Valley High
- Scott County – Fort Blackmore Primary and Yuma Elementary
- Stafford County – Colonial Forge High
- West Point – West Point High
- Williamsburg-James City County – Jamestown High and Matoaka Elementary
- York County – Grafton Bethel Elementary, Grafton High, Seaford Elementary and Tabb High
The Board of Education in 2006 authorized waivers from annual accreditation for high-performing schools. Under the provision, schools receiving waivers continue to administer SOL tests and results are reported to parents and the public.
Last month, Wright reminded the superintendents of the school divisions with qualifying schools of the provision in the accountability regulations and invited them to apply for waivers.
"During recent months, several superintendents have complained to the state board that – because of annual accreditation – they are requiring even high-achieving students to spend too much time focused on preparing for the tests," Wright said. "While I reject the idea that accountability is a barrier to rich, in-depth instruction for all students, I wanted to remind school divisions of the flexibility that already exists in the accreditation standards for innovation and advanced teaching and learning."
The divisions that accepted Wright’s invitation are the first to apply under the five-year-old waiver provision. All of the invited divisions except Albemarle County, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Harrisonburg, Henrico County and Virginia Beach applied for the waivers.
More about the Board of Education Standards of Accreditation