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More City Schools See Accreditation Coming

Both Middle Schools Are Accredited

Unofficial, adjusted Standards of Learning (SOL) scores indicate that five additional Alexandria public schools will be accredited this year and that two others are very close.

Results show William Ramsay, James K. Polk and Patrick Henry elementary schools and both Francis C. Hammond and George Washington middle schools being accredited. Scores for John Adams Elementary School and Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy are too close to call until official accreditation lists are released from the Virginia Department of Education. Charles Barrett, Douglas MacArthur, George Mason and Samuel Tucker elementary schools and the Minnie Howard Ninth Grade Center have retained their accreditation.

“We are thrilled with these results,” said V. Rodger Digilio, a member of the city’s School Board. “This is a tribute to the hard work of our teachers, students, principals and parents.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that both of the city’s middle schools are accredited. “We were very close last year, and the staff did what they needed to do to see that we achieved the goal of accreditation this year,” said Kris Clark, the principal at Hammond, in an earlier interview.

NEWLY RELEASED RESULTS of the 2002 SOLs show that Alexandria City Public Schools continue to improve, with 24 of the 27 tested areas showing increased passing percentages. Although the Virginia Department of Education has not yet released accreditation status information on each school, it appears that the number of accredited schools in Alexandria has doubled to at least 10.

Hammond students showed their greatest improvement in history, going from a 52-percent pass rate in 2001 to an 80-percent pass rate in 2002. Most other scores stayed relatively the same, except in math, where scores declined from 69 percent to 63 percent.

Like Hammond, students at George Washington Middle School (G.W.) showed the most gain in history, improving from a 36-percent passing rate in 2001 to a 71-percent passing rate in 2002. G.W. students also had significantly better scores in computer technology, going from a 64-percent passing rate in 2001 to a 73-percent passing rate in 2002. The passing rate in writing improved by eight percentage points from 63 percent in 2001 to 71 percent in 2002.

“We are very proud of our staff and students,” said Robert Yeager, the school’s principal, in an earlier interview. “We will continue to work hard this year to improve these passing rates even more.”

WHILE T. C. WILLIAMS HIGH SCHOOL is not yet accredited, students improved in every area in which tests were given except earth science, which dropped from 51 percent in 2001 to 46 percent in 2002. Some of the most dramatic increases occurred in World History I and II, where scores rose from passing rates of 17 percent and 59 percent in 2001 to 72 percent and 78 percent, respectively, in 2002. The passing rate in Algebra I doubled, going from 29 percent to 58 percent. The passing rate for U.S. history increased from 32 percent in 2001 to 55 percent in 2002.

“I am very pleased with the test scores,” said T.C.’s principal, John Porter. “Our staff and students have worked very hard and are continuing to do so.”

Division-wide, the greatest gains made over the previous year were seen in eighth-grade history (from 49 to 79 percent of students passing); end-of-course Virginia and U.S. history (from 34 to 61 percent passing); end-of-course World History II (from 59 to 79 percent passing); end-of-course Algebra I (from 58 to 70 percent passing), and end-of-course World History I (from 72 to 83 percent passing)

"I salute our teachers, administrators, and students for their exceptional work and accomplishments," said Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry. "We will continue to focus our efforts this year on having all schools and all children reach this important benchmark."