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Halifax County schools meet accreditation benchmark

Halifax County Public Schools met the Standards of Learning benchmark to earn full accreditation for 2012-2013.

According to a Virginia Department of Education release Wednesday, 93 percent of Virginia’s 1,836 public schools met all state standards to receive full accreditation in English, mathematics, history and science and graduation in the case of high schools.

And Halifax County Public Schools were among the fully accredited systems. 

Clays Mill Elementary, Cluster Springs Elementary and Scottsburg Elementary received above 90 percent in grades 3-5 English, and all other schools scored above 80 percent.

The most challenging subject proved to be mathematics with Halifax schools scoring in the 70-80 percent range. 

South Boston Elementary scored the highest with 84 percent. 

History also presented a challenge with South Boston third graders receiving the highest score of 84 percent. Scottsburg Elementary fifth graders earned the highest score of 95 percent. 

Science ranged in the high 70s to 100 with Scottsburg Elementary third graders earning 100 percent and fifth graders receiving 95 percent.

Halifax County High School received a 90 percent in graduation and completion index. High schools must have at least 85 percent to receive full accreditation.

Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon said she was “thrilled” and “proud” Thursday morning when asked how she felt about the school system earning full accreditation.

“You just look at it and say, ‘that’s great,”’ said Herndon.

However, the percentage of Virginia schools earning full accreditation for 2012-2013 is three points lower than the percentage that earned the highest rating for 2011-2012.

“This year’s decrease in the percentage of schools meeting the fully accredited rating is attributed, in part, to results of the new college and career ready mathematics tests that were first introduced during 2011-2012,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright.

“We can expect a similar impact next year when we see the results of schools implementing more rigorous tests in English and science this school year,” she added.

In order to receive full accreditation middle and high schools must have a pass rate of at least 70 percent in all four core subjects, elementary schools must have a combined pass rate of at least 75 percent on English in grades 3-5 and must receive a 70 percent in grade 5 mathematics, science and history. Pass rates of at least 50 percent also must be achieved in grade 3 science and grade 3 history. 

However, beginning with tests administered this school year, the minimum pass rate for English will rise to 75 percent for all grades, and the pass rate for the other three core areas for all grade levels will be 70 percent.

 “We’re proud of all the work of the teachers and students who worked to achieve this… We appreciate all the hard work of the students and staff,” Herndon concluded.