93% of Virginia’s public schools are fully accredited based on the state’s Standards of Learning. That’s according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Education. The number of schools earning full accreditation is down slightly from the previous school year, but some individual categories showed improvements. All but 122 of public schools are now fully accredited. Among high schools, 90% earned the highest rating—compared to 86% last year. And 96% of elementary and 88% of middle schools earned full accreditation. In 2011, 30 schools earned a “provisional” status, but this year only 6 fall into that category and must undergo an academic review. But compared to 30 schools last year, 100 schools in 2012 are accredited with warning, which means pass rates are below the standards and they must adopt school improvement plans. Nine are conditionally accredited new schools, and the status of five schools has yet to be determined. Peabody Middle School in Petersburg and Lafayette-Wynona Middle School in Norfolk are the only two schools denied accreditation. State education officials say the 3% decline in the total number of fully accredited schools is due, in part, to implementation of more rigorous college and career-ready mathematics tests. The same can be expected next year when new English and Science standards are implemented.
— Tommie McNeil