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And Then There Were Two

More city schools receive accreditation, but Jefferson-Houston and Maury do not pass

According to preliminary data from the Virginia Department of Education, 14 of Alexandria's 16 schools have been fully accredited. Last year, 12 schools were accredited. Maury Elementary School and Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics were the two schools that were not fully accredited this year.

"We have made significant improvements in the past four of five years," said Superintendent Rebecca Perry. "Five years ago, only two of our schools were accredited. So this is a huge improvement."

School accreditation ratings reflect student achievement on Virginia's Standards of Learning tests. Categories include history/social science, math and science. Ratings are based on tests taken during the previous school year. The Virginia Department of Education uses these results to calculate Adequate Yearly Progress, a federal mandate under No Child Left Behind, as well as accreditation.

"It's the same test, but AYP has different ways of sorting and grouping the kids," Perry said. "In my opinion, accreditation is the true measure of what our kids are learning."

This year, the city will spend $183,182,138 on public schools — that's an expenditure of $14,805 per student.

"It takes a lot of resources if you are really going to do it right," Perry said.

Jefferson-Houston was accredited with warning in math, history and science. It did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind. Maury was accredited with warning in science. The Department of Education is still reviewing its scores to determine if it made adequate yearly progress.