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The Virginia Board of Education recently announced that Bel Air, Sinclair and Minnieville elementary schools are among only 52 schools statewide being recognized for high student achievement under the state board’s new exemplar performance recognition program, earning the Board of Education’s Highest Achievement Award. 

“Kudos to the students, staff, and parents,” Superintendent Steve Walts said. “This is an outstanding accomplishment that rewards your focus on high expectations for student achievement.”

Bristow Run, Leesylvania, and Springwoods elementary schools are among 183 schools earning the Board of Education Continuous Improvement Award.

The board approved the criteria for the new awards in April 2018. The exemplar performance school recognition program is aligned with the Board of Education’s revised accreditation standards and replaces the Virginia Index of Performance recognition program.

“I congratulate the principals, teachers, support staff, and students of all of these schools for the academic successes and hard work these awards represent,” said James Lane, state superintendent of public instruction. “I am especially pleased to see schools that went unrecognized under the previous awards program receive the recognition they deserve for consistent gains in academic achievement and successful efforts to reduce absenteeism and dropout rates.”

To earn the Board of Education Highest Achievement Award, a school must earn a state accreditation rating of Accredited, and meet all of the following benchmarks:

  • 70% pass rate on state assessments in science and mathematics
  • 75% pass rate on state assessment in English reading and writing
  • No more than a 5% gap (for schools with two student groups) or a 10% gap (for schools with three or more student groups) in English reading and writing between the lowest-performing group and all other students in the school
  • No more than a 5% gap (for schools with two student groups) or a 10% gap (for schools with three or more student groups) in mathematics between the lowest-performing group and all other students in the school

To earn the Board of Education Continuous Achievement Award, a school must earn a state accreditation rating of Accredited or Accredited with Conditions and meet at least one of the following benchmarks for improved performance on accreditation-related school quality indicators:

  • A cumulative 10-point increase over three years in the combined rates for reading and mathematics and in the pass rate for science, with improvement each year on each indicator
  • A cumulative 10-point increase over three years in the combined rates for reading and mathematics for two or more student groups, with improvement each year for each group on both indicators
  • A cumulative 15% decrease in the chronic absenteeism rate over three years, with a decrease each year
  • For schools with a graduating class, a cumulative four-point increase in the Graduation and Completion Index over three years, with an increase each year, and a cumulative 15% decrease in the dropout rate, with a decrease each year.

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