All six Waynesboro Schools are accredited, the school division’s Executive Director of Instruction Tim Teachey reported to the school board Tuesday night.
Wenonah Elementary and Kate Collins Middle received accreditation with conditions. Both schools need to work on Science scores.
Teachey said that 27 students passed in Science last academic year, which allowed Wenonah to earn accreditation in Science, but 26 passed this year. The school now has a score of 63.4 percent. At the same time, five more students were tested in Science this year than last year.
“I point that out because, in a school the size of Wenonah, that fluctuation can happen easily,” said Teachey.
Two or three students can change the test scores at a school Wenonah’s size. The narrow margin is what leads some teachers to diligently work with one or two students before test time in the hopes of improving their scores.
The Virginia Department of Education benchmark for accreditation is a score of 75 percent or higher in English, and 70 percent or higher each in Math and Science.
Waynesboro Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Cassell said that Science is only tested in 5th and 8th grades when it comes to accreditation, while English and Math are tested in grades 3 to 12.
William Perry Elementary earned full accreditation for the first time since 2010.
“What a terrific accomplishment for that staff and for those kids,” Teachey said. “You try not to put so much focus on SOL scores, but it is hard not to celebrate [for this school].”
The school’s English score is 78.4, Math is 90.6 and Science is 74.7.
Westwood Hills Elementary’s full accreditation was earned with an English score of 79.4, Math score of 85.2 and Science score of 74.1.
“We celebrate that they historically have done really well,” Teachey said of Westwood Hills.
Berkeley Glenn Elementary, like Wenonah, is an example of the size of the student body creating fluctuation.
Berkeley Glenn earned 81.3 percent in English, 80.8 in Math and 73.9 in Science.
“We celebrate being above, but we’re also conscious of it doesn’t take a whole lot of kids not understanding or not doing well on a particular test to drop below that benchmark,” Teachey said.
Kate Collins’ English score is 71.8, Math is 75.8 and Science is 68.1.
“So, while there’s work to do at Kate Collins, and, again we look at it as this: it’s information that tells us where we need to spend our time and energy,” Teachey said.
Waynesboro High’s students earned 86.7 percent in English, 75.8 percent in Math and 70.8 percent in Science.
The high school’s graduation rate is at 89 percent.
Cassell said the graduation rate has increased by one point each year for the last five years.
“I think when you have a trend like that, that tells you you’re doing the right things,” said Cassell. “That’s quite an anomaly.”
Teachey also reported that 50.2 percent of Waynesboro High’s 2018 graduates went on to post-secondary education. Waynesboro Schools tracks high school graduates for one or two years after they graduate.
The school system’s SAT score is 1094, Teachey reported, compared to Virginia’s score of 1113 and that national score of 1039.
“We fair pretty well nationally,” Teachey said of the SAT scores.
Teachey also made a presentation to the school board on the Virginia Tiered Systems of Support, “a template that helps our schools make decisions for our kids.”
VTSS was implemented at Waynesboro High School and Kate Collins Middle four years ago as part of a grant, according to Teachey, and at all four elementary schools two years ago.
The state program encourages students academically and behaviorally.
“If kids feel invited to be at school, and feel welcomed and supported, and their needs are met behaviorally, that reflects in an academic [way],” Teachey said.
Along with VTSS, Waynesboro Schools launched Waynesboro Way of Work to help interpret data, and also enable each school within the division an opportunity to outline areas of focus. For example, Berkeley Glenn Elementary is focused on respect, kindness and responsibility.
“It’s beginning to help at the administrative level as we start to look at a five-year plan for our division,” Teachey said of the initiative.
Keeping it simple is the key, Teachey said, when it comes to data and incorporating VTSS into each Waynesboro school.
“You’re going to see such positive things come from this,” Teachey said of Waynesboro WOW.
Teachey said administrators have already begun to see effects at the high school and middle school as students have been part of the program for two to four years.
The school board approved a resolution for Waynesboro Schools to join the Coalition for Small and Rural Schools. Cassell read the resolution, which said that 80 school divisions in Virginia are defined as rural.