Every public school in Loudoun County earned the top accreditation ranking, according to information released by Virginia Department of Education today.
The division’s 88 schools scored well enough on the Standards of Learning exams in the spring to receive the state’s “fully accredited” designation. It is the second year in a row that every Loudoun County school met that standard. Loudoun’s schools were among 1,683 statewide to earn full accreditation this year, 92 percent of Virginia’s public schools.
This is an especially big deal for Sugarland Run Elementary, which has missed the mark in recent years. After Sugarland Run fell short of the state’s benchmark in 2015 and 2016 because of low science scores, the school worked with education coaches from VDOE and received extra support from Loudoun school system’s instructional staff to better prepare students for the state assessments. The work has paid off, and the school has tallied scores high enough to earn full accreditation the past two years.
For a school to earn full accreditation, students must earn pass rates of at least 75 percent on English reading and writing SOL tests, and at least 70 percent on tests in math, science and history. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation and completion.
The new Standards of Accreditation also evaluate schools’ success in reducing absenteeism and lowering dropout rates. Loudoun school system’s attendance rate dropped slightly from 2015-2016 to the 2017-2018 school year, from 96.21 to 95.84, but it is still among the highest in the state.
The Loudoun school system saw also saw a slight decrease in SOL scores this year. The schools saw the biggest slump in mathematics, where 83 percent of students passed, down two points from last year. Reading, history and social sciences, and science fell by just one point to 86 percent, 91 percent, and 88 percent, respectively. The pass rate in writing stayed level at 90 percent.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Ashley Ellis told the School Board at its meeting Tuesday to expect good news Thursday, referring to the VDOE report that showed all of the county’s schools meeting the accreditation benchmarks. She told the board, “That’s absolutely a celebration.”