Patrick schools fully accredited under new standards

By Amanda Collins

Patrick County Public Schools are 100 percent accredited under the new state accreditation standards, according to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

The VDOE reported the first school ratings on Thursday, Sept. 27.

“We are very pleased,” said Andrea Cassell, assistant superintendant of instruction.

The new standards are designed to promote continuous achievement in all schools, close achievement gaps and expand accountability beyond overall performance on Standards of Learning tests, according to a release from VDOE.

The overall rating for reading for the 2017-2018 school year was 83 percent, which is one percent less than the previous school year.

The school system stayed the same in math, with 87 percent in the 2017-2018 school year.

The final in science in 2017-2018 was 85 percent, which was one point less than the previous year.

History went from 91 percent to 87 percent.

Absenteeism also is included with the new accreditation standards. Local schools also received an 88.1 percent in absenteeism for students who missed 0 to 17 days during the 180-day year.

Cassell said that the schools have worked “very hard on approving our attendance rate” by implementing changes on how absences are addressed.

Schools work closely with court services and participate in diversion meetings, according to Cassell. Beginning this school year, there is a court services representative at the Patrick County High School each week to work with students, families, and staff.

The representative works with students who are put on plans related to attendance, she said. The goal is to work through attendance issues before students must go to court.

Local school officials also work to help address and close achievement gaps, Cassell said, adding the teams work closely during grade level planning.

Patrick County is “part of 31 school divisions that work together, share resources, meet across the state to look at progress and benchmark assessments,” she said. That is accomplished by pinpointing areas that need to be focused on, she added.

Each school then works hard to provide remediation for students that need additional assistance, Cassell said.

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