Board to hear SOL results

Published 8:22 pm Monday, August 11, 2014

The preliminary Standards of Learning data set to be presented to the School Board this week will be a key indicator of how school accreditations are likely to turn out this year.

While many other divisions in Virginia have already revealed their 2014 test scores, Suffolk Public Schools is among those that have kept the community waiting for word on the results.

The district gets its preliminary data about the same time the Virginia Board of Education gets statewide data, toward the end of July, according to spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw.


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“Our staff then has to verify calculations and work with the state if any corrections are needed,” Bradshaw stated in an email.

Elsewhere around South Hampton Roads, some districts have been faster to share what they know. Norfolk Public Schools updated its School Board and community on projected pass rates on July 2, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth T. Mather, and the board was scheduled to receive another update last Wednesday.

Also quicker from the blocks has been Portsmouth Public Schools, which released preliminary results at its school board’s Aug. 2 annual retreat.

Chesapeake Public Schools was still collecting preliminary data, and “we have not determined when we are going to release our scores,” district spokeswoman Kellie Goral stated last week. Jennifer McCarrel, spokeswoman with Virginia Beach City Public Schools, said Monday that her district has not set a release date.

The last time all public schools in Suffolk were declared fully accredited by the state was in 2010. King’s Fork and Lakeland high schools were both given provisional accreditation in 2011, due to sub-par graduation rates.

Graduation rates at both high schools met the mark in 2012, but poor math scores in the state’s standardized tests meant they became accredited with warning, requiring state-mandated academic reviews and school improvement plans.

The bad news intensified last year when Booker T. Washington, Elephant’s Fork and Mack Benn Jr. elementary schools, plus King’s Fork Middle School, joined the two high schools in being accredited with warning.

The situation for high schools this year depends solely on test scores after graduation rates met benchmarks for the second year running. Test score also are crucial for the standing of elementary and middle schools.

Bradshaw confirmed on Monday that preliminary results would be on the agenda for Thursday’s School Board meeting.

Typically, accreditation ratings are announced later in the year, following the release of final state standardized test results for divisions and schools.