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Three years for accreditation

Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 9:50 am

Superintendent Dr. James Smith is proud to reveal that once again all Richmond County schools are accredited. “Accreditation is very important and I think for this community, it’s a prideful moment every year when we announce that,” he said.

For the next three years, the public won’t need to wait for confirmation because Richmond County received an accreditation waiver, which  guarantees the schools’ status will remain intact.

Accreditation waivers are granted based on schools’ performance in recent years, Smith explained. Although Richmond County has been accredited during his entire nine-year tenure, Smith said delivering good education is not a destination, it’s a journey, and the school system has been focused on continual improvement.

Strong test scores

During the 2019 school year, Richmond County witnessed the positive results of measures it has implemented to boost its performance. Test scores for math, science, social science, history and reading all surpassed the state averages.

Richmond County has been particularly focused on improvements in reading. To help, they’ve been working with a reading specialist who focuses on grades K through 2. She identifies weaknesses, plans the curriculum and provides teachers with research-based instructional strategies to help their students. One tactic that has proven successful is called small group, whereby kids are grouped based on their reading level and they work with the teacher on their specific needs.

To boost scores in areas such as history and social science, the administration has realigned the content and shifted around staff to take advantage of teachers’ strengths and interests.

“We have the right people on the bus. Now it’s getting the people to the right places on the bus,” said Sarah Schmidt, Assistant Superintendent.

Richmond County’s writing scores came in below the state average, but that was a largely due to changes in how the assessments are measured, explained Smith. Anytime there are changes it creates learning curves for the teachers and students, he said. But now the reading scores are improving, the administration plans to focus on improving writing for grades K through 12.

For the full article, pick up the latest Northern Neck News 10/30/19