SOL test results positive

Published 11:09 pm Friday, July 9, 2010

As his first School Board meeting as interim school superintendent, Dr. Deran Whitney was able to share some good news for Suffolk Public Schools.

Whitney announced on Thursday that elementary, middle and high school preliminary Standards of Learning results are in and preliminary results indicate all schools have earned accreditation.

“Based on our preliminary results, all schools have been fully accredited,” Whitney said. “We’ve increased in advanced proficiency, and each school has met accreditation standards, including Elephant’s Fork Elementary, which has made huge strides in improvement.”

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All high schools passed with rates 70 or above, Whitney said, but scores at each high school fell between two and 11 points in each subject area.

Depending on their grade level and the school’s curriculum, students are tested in English, math, science and history.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, high schools and middle schools are considered to be fully accredited if students achieve adjusted pass rates of 70 percent or above in all four content areas

A combined pass rate of at least 75 percent on English tests in grades 3 through 5 is required for full accreditation at the elementary school level, and for other schools with students in these grades.

Elementary schools also must achieve a pass rate of at least 70 percent in mathematics and in fifth-grade science and history, and pass rates of at least 50 percent in third grade science and history.

After the regular meeting, the School Board held a public input session for direction on the desired qualities of the school system’s next superintendent, a permanent replacement for Dr. Milton Liverman, whose retirement was effective July1.

Only one person appeared before the board.

Mary Donny, executive director of the Suffolk Education Foundation, attended to urge the School Board to consider a superintendent whose qualities include vision, a passion for learning, a skilled communicator, someone who is proactive a risk taker and someone who values human resources.

She said he or she should put students first, work on building teams, be a leader in the school system and community and be available to collaborate and ensure the students’ best interests.

“She gave information,” said Board Chairwoman Lorraine Skeeter. “We’ll be incorporating it into our interview questions.”

Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw added that the board has received 50 comments through its online input, located on the school website, which is still open and available for use.