State of Suffolk Schools is good

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Despite last week’s news that seven of its schools still lack accreditation, Tuesday’s State of the Schools breakfast at King’s Fork High School served up nothing but optimism.

At the upbeat gathering of approximately 250 members of the community, business and government leaders, Suffolk Schools Superintendent Dr. Milton R. Liverman reassured the crowd that the &uot;state of Suffolk Public Schools is good.&uot;

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Liverman’s statement comes on the heels of last week’s Standards of Learning (SOL) results, which indicated that schools statewide had improved their accreditation status. Suffolk, while also taking strides forward, found itself in some cases just barely a percentage point away from full accreditation.

&uot;We have made tremendous progress,&uot; stressed Liverman. &uot;We are on our way to where we want to be. This cannot be achieved in a vacuum. We are dealing with the challenges of unprecedented growth. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re on our way.&uot;

As part of his presentation, the audience watched a nine-minute video highlighting the schools’ accomplishments. The school division is particularly proud of greater emphasis on SOL achievement, $2.2 million in scholarships earned by the 2004 graduating class, increased technology offerings; the Air Force ROTC program, and the addition of strings to its music curriculum.

Liverman also applauded the diligence of the school board, school system staff; and credited the city council for its part in enhancing the system’s ability to deliver needed educational programs to students.

He added that the money spent on schools &uot;is not an expense, but an investment in the future.&uot;

Tuesday was also an opportunity to show off the city’s newest addition to its public school base, a $45 million centerpiece of recent school construction efforts. After the breakfast, student volunteers and staff members gave tours of the high school. Schools citywide were closed on Tuesday for Election Day.

Members of the King’s Fork High School chorus performed at the breakfast, earning great praise for their melodic presentation.

For the first time, the Suffolk Education Foundation hosted the State of the Schools breakfast, which had traditionally been spearheaded by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is temporarily operating out of Portsmouth until it finds new quarters in Suffolk.