Four local elementary schools were recognized by the Virginia Board of Education Wednesday for raising the achievement levels of their economically disadvantaged students.
York County's Bethel Manor Elementary School was named one of the state's nine Title I Highly Distinguished Schools. That designation recognized schools that exceeded state and federal accountability benchmarks for two consecutive years and also achieved pass rates for reading and mathematics SOLs at or above 85 percent.
This is the second time Bethel Manor has been awarded the distinction. In December, Bethel Manor was also selected as a 2015-16 National Title I Distinguished School — one of two in the state. At the time, Principal Mike Lombardo, in his second year at the school, said the work teachers did in weekly meetings to create assessments and analyze data helped them better instruct their students.
"(Those were) true action steps on the part of the teachers that put the students in a position to reach high achievement levels," Lombardo said. "We are just so proud of the students, the staff and really the parents and the entire community. It really took great efforts on the part of the teachers, students and parents to hit these high marks."
The state also honored 46 schools as Title I Distinguished Schools, which included Gloucester County's Botetourt Elementary School, Isle of Wight County's Carrsville Elementary School and York County's Dare Elementary School. Those schools also met all state and federal accountability benchmarks for two years while meeting or exceeding a 60-percent pass rate in reading and mathematics SOLs.
"We are proud to learn of today's announcement from the Virginia Department of Education honoring the hard work and dedication of our staff, students and parents," York County School Division Superintendent Victor Shandor said. "Our school administrators and staff continuously review data to implement, and adjust, strategies to support the success of every student."
Title I provides federal funding for schools to raise achievement levels of students who are identified as being at risk of academic failure.
Hammond can be reached by phone at 757-247-4951.