York County schools hit test score standards, identify areas for improvement

Contact ReporterYork/Poquoson reporter

The York County School Division expects all of its schools to be fully accredited, but it still wants to see better Standards of Learning scores in some of its demographic areas at certain schools.

Division staff members presented a breakdown of SOL test scores to the School Board at its meeting Monday.

According to the presentation, most of the division’s schools met all of the federal targets for all demographic groups, but eight schools missed specific targets in math or English.

The target demographics include students with disabilities, English learners, economically disadvantaged students, black students and Hispanic students.

The main area in which the division hopes to make progress is special education. Stephanie Guy, the division’s chief academic officer, said the division had the fourth-highest test scores for students with disabilities in Virginia, but they would still like to see improvement.

At the meeting, James Carroll, chief human resources officer, went over job vacancies in the division, which include six and a half unfilled special educator positions.

Carroll said there were some last-minute resignations, but the division has experienced shortages in special educators recently. The board and staff agreed the division should work on hiring people further in advance.

Overall, the division has 37 open positions, about 15 more than usual, according to Carroll.

Board Chairwoman Barbara Haywood said she was once again happy with the division’s test scores, and the challenge was to maintain them and continue improving.

Candi Skinner, director of elementary instruction, and Tony Vladu, director of secondary instruction, both went over initiatives they think have helped test scores and planned actions to continue growth.

Both highlighted collaboration between teachers and schools as benefits to the overall quality of teaching. Skinner pointed out emphasis on early literacy as an effort the division wants to push. Vladu said a literacy academy for middle school teachers that taught new strategies was met with positive response this summer.

Official school accreditations from the state are expected to be released later this month.

Reyes can be reached by phone at 757-247-4692. Follow him on Twitter @jdauzreyes.

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