State partially accredits four Hampton schools

Four Hampton schools were partially accredited by the state Board of Education on Thursday.

The schools — Syms and Davis middle schools and Smith and Machen elementary schools — could have been denied accreditation, based on Standards of Learning scores over the past several years, but made enough progress to approve reconstitution instead.

Reconstitution entails taking actions to improve student performance, which can include restructuring the school’s administration or staff and changes to instruction.

Last school year, the state approved a rubric that showed what would essentially mean an automatic recommendation for reconstitution. The rubric lays out progress a school must make in SOL subject areas to fall into the category, such as making a two-point gain in English performance if the previous year’s scores were between 70 and 73.

The benchmark for full accreditation is a score of 75 percent or higher.

“This is true recognition of the work of teachers, students and families, and speaks to the commitment to academic excellence in the spirit of continuous improvement,” said John Caggiano, deputy superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment for Hampton. “These schools are being recognized because scores on SOL assessments either exceeded state benchmarks and/or growth targets that were established during the previous school year. We are certainly proud of their efforts.”

The reconstitution application the School Board submitted for Syms cited the school’s three new assistant principals this year who have “proven track records of success,” and also praised the continuation of a school-wide literacy effort.

In the cases of Smith, Davis and Machen, each school fell short of the English benchmark of 75 percent, but science, math and history scores exceeded their respective marks of 70.

There are still four schools in Hampton and eight in Newport News that have yet to find out their accreditation status for the 2017-18 school year: Bassette, Kraft and Cary elementary schools and Lindsay Middle School in Hampton; and Hines and Passage middle schools and Epes, Saunders, Palmer, Lee Hall, Newsome Park and Sedgefield elementary schools in Newport News.

They each did not meet the criteria for reconstitution laid out in the state’s rubric, but applied for consideration anyway, citing changes and progress made in the buildings. The state board will vote on their statuses on Oct. 26.

Hammond can be reached by phone at 757-247-4951 or on Twitter @byjanehammond.

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