Dinwiddie school leaders celebrate all schools achieving full accreditation

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
By: Meredith Baker | Email: Click Here

Posted: Sept 21, 2017 | 10:57 a.m. 

DINWIDDIE – An important metric for school divisions in the Commonwealth was released last week and it shows Dinwiddie Schools’ continued push for excellence as all seven of the county’s schools received full accreditation from the Virginia Department of Education.

According to newly released data from the state’s education officials, all seven of the county’s schools were given full accreditation based on their performance on statewide Standards of Learning testing assessments in the previous year, joining over 1,570 schools across Virginia that have received that have received that rating based on their performance on SOL tests during the 2016-2017 year, or approximately 86 percent of Virginia’s 1,823 schools.

In order for an individual elementary or middle school in the Commonwealth to receive full accreditation from the state, students must achieve pass rates of 75 percent or higher in English SOL testing and 70 percent or higher in mathematics, science, and history assessments.

For a high school, the metrics are similar to those for elementary and middle schools in terms of pass rates for the English, mathematics, science, history tests, with the additional caveat that the individual high school must attain “a point value of 85 or greater based on Graduation and Completion Index,” or GCI.

At the September school board meeting, Dinwiddie Schools Superintendent Dr. Kari Weston credited the improvement to the impact of every person working for the division.

“I think what has happened in this county and the results that we’re seeing are because we have a room full of amazing leaders who do small things each and every day, faithfully, tirelessly, and then they do them with great love and then eventually they turn into something really, really big,” Weston said.

Weston, who is entering her first year as division superintendent, opened up about the how the school division and its students are performing following the increased rigor in several of the SOLs testing subjects.

“Even with more rigorous reading, writing, science and mathematics Standards of Learning tests introduced since 2011, Dinwiddie County Public Schools has continued to make notable gains on state assessments,” she detailed. “The percentage of schools meeting state accreditation standards increased from 43 percent in 2013-14 to 100 percent in 2017-18, based on the performance of students on Standards of Learning assessments in English, mathematics, science, and history during 2016-17.”

For the superintendent, she said the progress being made in the classroom and on the standardized tests is a testament to the quality people they have teaching the young minds of Dinwiddie County.

“This extraordinary accomplishment is the result of what happens when you employ and partner with smart people who care about the same thing; doing what’s best for young people,” she said.

Dinwiddie was among 65 of the Commonwealth’s 132 school divisions to have all of their schools receive a full accreditation rating and among the six inside Virginia’s Region 1, which is comprised of school divisions in the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, Surry, Sussex, and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond.

Inside Region 1, Charles City County, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Hanover, Sussex, and Surry were the divisions to receive this ranking for the 2017-2018 school year.

It’s an accomplishment that was not lost on the Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who offered his congratulations to the students, teachers, parents, and school leaders who helped increase the number of fully accredited public schools to a new record high.

“This is a significant accomplishment for Virginia’s public schools and one that is the result of tremendous diligence and hard work of our students, teachers, principals and division leaders over many years,” McAuliffe said. “These schools are proving the strong leadership at the state and local level, combined with smart policy and adequate resources can make a real difference how our Commonwealth prepares the next generation to succeed in a new Virginia economy. I am proud of the success we are seeing in schools across the Commonwealth and look forward to building on these results in the months to come.”

In addition, Midway Elementary School also recently received the 2017 Board of Education Excellence Award for its accomplishments in previous school years. The school is one of 154 schools across the state to receive one of the top two honors in the Virginia Index of Performance awards program.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, the awards recognize schools that meet all state and federal standards and also additional student achievement criteria.

Even with the news last week, Weston is already thinking about the future of Dinwiddie Schools and maintaining the forward progress they have made in terms of student achievement.

“I look forward to another year of working together to ensure that Dinwiddie County is a place where students want to come to learn, staff want to come to work and parents want to send their children,” she said. “I feel fortunate to live and serve in a county that shows a high level of support for education and the important work that happens inside of our classrooms. Dinwiddie County is a community committed to learning that successfully transfers to life beyond the educational experience.”

The positive words and accolades also came from the county’ school board, with Chairman Mary Benjamin praising everyone involved for their efforts and dedication to helping students succeed.

“The Board is proud of the progress our schools are making and congratulate the teachers, principals, and support staff for their hard work and dedication to helping Dinwiddie County students meet and exceed our division’s high expectations for learning and achievement,” she said.

“Having 100 percent of our schools fully accredited is evidence that we are learning and leading in the right direction,” Weston closed.

Below is a look at student proficiency numbers in the different assessment categories in the 2016-2017 school year and how it compares to the previous year, 2015-2016, as provided by the Virginia Department of Education. Full data can be found on the department’s website at http://schoolquality.virginia.gov.

Dinwiddie High School

  • Status: Fully Accredited
  • 2016 Enrollment: 1,349
  • Reading Proficiency: 82% (up 1%)
  • Math Proficiency: 73% (down 3%)
  • Science Proficiency: 77% (level)
  • History Proficiency: 82% (up 2%)
  • DHS GCI: 90% (up 5% over benchmark)

Dinwiddie Middle School

  • Status: Fully Accredited
  • 2016 Enrollment: 998
  • Reading Proficiency: 74% (up 5%)
  • Math Proficiency: 75% (up 8%)
  • Science Proficiency: 71% (down 1%)
  • History Proficiency: 85% (up 2%)

Dinwiddie Elementary School

  1. Status: Fully Accredited
  2. 2016 Enrollment: 326
  3. Reading Proficiency: 78% (level)
  4. Math Proficiency: 83% (down 3%)
  5. Science Proficiency: 67% (down 14%)
  6. History Proficiency: 88% (down 8%)

Midway Elementary School

  • Status: Fully Accredited
  • 2016 Enrollment: 391
  • Reading Proficiency: 86% (down 8%)
  • Math Proficiency: 91% (down 6%)
  • Science Proficiency: 79% (down 21%)
  • History Proficiency: 92% (down 8%)

Southside Elementary School

  • Status: Fully Accredited
  • 2016 Enrollment: 506
  • Reading Proficiency: 79% (down 1%)
  • Math Proficiency: 85% (up 3%)
  • Science Proficiency: 81% (down 4)
  • History Proficiency: 88% (down 1%)

Sunnyside High School

  • Status: Fully Accredited
  • 2016 Enrollment: 258
  • Reading Proficiency: 87% (up 8%)
  • Math Proficiency: 85% (down 1%)
  • Science Proficiency: 86% (down 4%)
  • History Proficiency: 93% (down 1%)

Sutherland Elementary School

  • Status: Fully Accredited
  • 2016 Enrollment: 566
  • Reading Proficiency: 81% (up 2%)
  • Math Proficiency: 82% (down 2%)
  • Science Proficiency: 74% (down 20%)
  • History Proficiency: 92% (up 6%)

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