Yesterday the Virginia Department of Education released accreditation results for schools and school divisions of the Commonwealth of Virginia, noting that 86 percent of Virginia’s 1,823 public schools were rated as fully accredited for the 2017-2018 school year based on performance on the 2016-2017 Virginia SOL tests. 65 of 132 divisions statewide included all schools designated as fully accredited for 2017-2018.
Goochland County Public Schools continues its strong track record of having each of its five schools fully accredited by the State of Virginia. State accreditation is based on student pass rates on Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in English, mathematics, history, and science, as well as the division’s graduation rate. GCPS exceeded each of the state’s five overall benchmarks by an average of 15%. Goochland County Public Schools also has the distinction of receiving fully accredited status in all schools for the 11th consecutive year, sharing the distinction with only 10 of the 132 divisions in the Commonwealth.
While this distinction is determined by traditional achievement measures, school leaders believe it’s the division’s focus on what’s best for students that has led to the success. “Our mission to maximize the potential of every learner is at the heart of everything we do,” said Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent. “Accountability is important, but Goochland is far beyond a singular focus on minimum proficiency tests – and that’s really what the state’s SOL assessments are. We’re proud of the tradition of excellence in Goochland and we embrace the challenges of continuous improvement. These results are one of the many indicators of the excellence that is pervasive in our school division. There are many ingredients that go into accomplishing these results. The key ingredients are all of our hard working and dedicated employees who strive every day to meet the academic needs of all of our division’s learners and a supportive community that places a significant value on the importance of education”.
Goochland’s overall performance and accreditation rating was the result of a division-wide portfolio of strong achievement in many content areas. Highlights from the division’s Spring 2017 SOL results include:
- Goochland students out-performed the Virginia state average in SOL pass percentage in all content areas (English, Math, Social Studies, and Science)
- Goochland’s fifth grade science scores ranked first when compared to fifth grade students from 132 other school divisions in the Commonwealth
- Goochland’s world geography scores ranked first when compared to other students from 132 other school divisions in the state.
- Students in Goochland earned the 5th highest SOL pass rate in social studies in the Commonwealth
- Goochland’s reading scores ranked 2nd in the region and 14th in the state
- Student’s scores in writing, math, and science ranked in the top 25 in the state
Dr. Stephen Geyer, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, described Goochland’s focus on academic optimism as a key to the division’s success. “Every child’s learning is important, and our school division has created a culture built on academic optimism. Our belief that every student can be successful and that every student has strengths to celebrate is a primary reason for our continued strong performance. Moreover, we have remarkable teachers who work incredibly hard every day on behalf of our children and families.”
Despite the school division’s exceptionally strong overall results, team members remain committed to continuing to elevate expectations, as well as to targeting areas of relative weakness. Raley stated, “While we certainly have a lot to celebrate, we face the same challenges that most school divisions across the state and nation face when it comes to achievement gaps for our African American students. We have made some great progress in reducing the achievement gap for some of our subgroups with exceptional growth for our students with disabilities. Even with this growth, we still have more work to do. We are committed to closing these gaps, while continuing to raise the bar for every student.”