Students attending Williamsburg/James City County Public Schools achieved all-time highs on their Standards of Learning (SOL) test results in every subject tested by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2009.
Superintendent Gary Mathews stated “We are most pleased with the overall long-term trends now under way which have resulted in all-time highs in every subject tested by the state, This is especially a tribute to our students and faculty given that the federal pass standard in reading and math has increased by 4 percentage points in each subject for each of the past three school
years. As for the NCLB Graduation Indicator, we still have work to do,” concluded Dr. Mathews. 2009-10 NCLB ratings are based on 2008-09 SOL results, graduation, and attendance.
The annual achievement goals are required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which provides funds and support for low income and academically at risk students. Virginia uses pass rates on its Standards of Learning reading and math tests for the AYP goals, which rise each year until 2014, when all students are expected to pass the tests. This year’s target pass rates increased 4 percentage points, from 77 percent to 81 percent in English and from 75 percent to 79 percent in math. Students in grades 3-8 and high school take the state-required multiple choice tests each year.
Schools and districts must report AYP results for all students in a school or grade, as well as subgroups of students the federal law considers considered academically at risk. These include low-income students, minority students, special education students and students learning English for the first time.
Schools that fail to meet the targets two or more years in a row are subject to sanctions ranging from offering students transfers to better performing schools and tutoring paid for by the district to more stringent steps specified in the law, up to reorganizing or closing schools.
This year, public schools throughout the Historic Triangle plugged along and made progress, although in Williamsburg James City County schools it was a handful of students whose failure to achieve meant the division as a whole did not earn AYP.
According to data released by W-JCC schools the division missed making AYP in reading by 13 students, four of whom are black and nine who have limited English proficiency.
The division’s biggest success was at D.J. Montague Elementary, where the staff faced possible sanctions because of failure to progress. Their students’ achievement this year was reflected in much higher, statistically significant scores in four of five subject areas.
W-JCC Superintendent Gary Mathews singled out the students and staff at Montague for praise.
He said the school "avoided possible reconstitution of the faculty and staff. This was certainly a heavy burden before D.J. and they passed with flying colors as we predicted a year ago. I continue to have great confidence in Principal Sammy Fudge and the entire D.J. faculty and staff."
In York County, 15 of the division’s 19 schools made AYP, with middle schools again proving the sticking point. Division-wide, York schools did earn AYP.
"All YCSD schools have earned full accreditation since the 2002-03 school year," said superintendent Eric Williams. "That is quite an accomplishment."
Like in W-JCC schools, specific subgroups of students in the four middle schools were identified as needing improvement to pass.
The school division earlier this year announced it would implement several changes at the middle schools beginning this fall. Among them are a new math program, block scheduling and a revised K-12 writing model.
Fifty-nine of the state’s 132 school divisions made AYP this year. Locally, that includes Poquoson City Schools.
Complete results, viewable by school division, are available here.
A breakdown of Williamsburg- James City County schools’ performance is available at the division’s website.
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