• 52°

Carrollton earns big award

Carrollton Elementary School is one of 166 schools statewide — and one of only two in Western Tidewater — to earn the 2016 Virginia Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award.

The annual recognition is given to schools that meet all state and federal benchmarks, and make progress on goals set by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the state Board of Education. The only other Western Tidewater school to earn the recognition this year is Nottoway Elementary School, in Southampton County.

For Carrollton, the award comes largely after teachers focused on efforts to boost math skills for all students over the past couple of years, said principal Carla Berrier.

In 2013-14, the school’s third-grade Standards of Learning math scores dropped below the federal benchmark, largely because of significant changes to the test that year that impacted scores statewide, said Lynn Briggs, spokeswoman for Isle of Wight County Schools.

“It hit Carrollton hard,” Briggs said. “Teachers really dug in and looked at what strategies they could put in place to turn things around.”

Beginning last year, teachers for all grades began using part of their 90-minute math classes for daily, small-group math instruction, Briggs said.

Also, teachers collaborated, making sure instruction and content flowed smoothly between grade levels, she said.

“Getting on the same page made a huge difference,” Briggs said.

Carrollton’s teachers also became more strategic with remediation, giving third-graders assessments before the SOLs to determine specific problem areas for each student, Briggs sad. Teachers then gave students individualized assignments that focused on building up their skills in targeted weak areas.

The school wasn’t expecting the recognition from the state, Berrier said.

“It’s a surprise,” said Berrier. “We’re just trying to do what is best for the kids … but we are elated to receive this honor.

“Our teachers and staff work extremely hard to meet the individual needs of our students while working toward closing the achievement gap for our learners at Carrollton.”

Isle of Wight Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton agreed.

“We are extremely proud of Carrollton for earning this recognition,” he said. “The entire staff is dedicated to the success of all their students and this honor is a great way to congratulate them for their hard work.”