Loudoun County, Va. (September 26, 2014) – Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) received good news when the Virginia Department of Education released its Accreditation Ratings on Tuesday, September 16.
These ratings are based on Standards of Learning (SOL) testing during the 2013-14 school year.
The good news for LCPS is that three elementary schools designated “focus” schools during the last two school years – Guilford, Rolling Ridge, and Sugarland– are Fully Accredited for 2014-15. (Focus schools are federally designated Title I schools that employ a state-approved academic coach to develop strategies to improve student performance. Guilford, Rolling Ridge and Sugarland received this designation during the 2011-12 school year.)
“We are so proud of the students, parents, teachers, and principals of Guilford, Rolling Ridge, and Sugarland,” said LCPS Assistant for Instruction Dr. Terri Breeden. “Raising achievement and ensuring all students meet the benchmark is challenging, but through their collective efforts they were successful and we celebrate them.”
The percentage of Rolling Ridge students meeting proficient math scores on SOL tests in third through fifth grade jumped 11 points from 2012-2013 to 2013-14. (That percentage rose 28 points from 2011-12.) English scores jumped eight points between 2012-2013 and 2013-14 at Guilford and Sugarland. Sugarland’s math scores were up 15 points between 2011-2012 and 2013-2014, while Guilford’s gained a dozen percentage points.
In another positive development, five schools designated “accredited with warning” in 2013-14 – Frederick Douglass, Guilford, Middleburg, Sugarland and Sully elementary schools – are now Fully Accredited. This means they met the benchmarks of 75 percent proficiency in English or 70 percent proficiency in math.
The number of LCPS schools designated as accredited with warning dropped from seven to four. That means 80 LCPS schools (89 percent) are Fully Accredited. This is far higher than the state average.
Sixty-eight percent, or 1,246, of Virginia’s 1,827 public schools are rated as Fully Accredited for 2014-2015 compared with 77 percent for 2013-2014, and 93 percent for 2012-2013.
Virginia students began taking more challenging mathematics assessments in 2011-2012, and more challenging reading, writing and science tests the following year. The tests require students to apply content knowledge and critical-thinking skills to solve open-ended problems.
LCPS Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams was pleased with the gains the school division made in accreditation.
“The success of our schools which were previously identified as focus schools shows the importance of high expectations for all students. I commend staff, students, and parents in working to improve the growth of student achievement.”
However, Dr. Williams stressed the importance of not overemphasizing scores on state exams.
“The SOL scores that play a key role in accreditation are just one part of measuring student achievement. We want our students to perform well on state exams, but we also want them to demonstrate a mastery of content and competencies that will serve them well in life after high school.”