Danville Superintendent responds to accreditation concerns

Two Danville schools lost accreditation in the last year

Danville Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Stan Jones is responding to criticism after the state Department of Education report noted that two Danville schools lost their full accreditation, leaving only two of 11 schools fully accredited in the system.

"Are we a failing school system? The answer is no," Jones said. "Do we have areas where we are underperforming? The answer is yes and there's no school division in the state that doesn't have same challenge."

The division is also taking to social media to explain to the public just what accreditation does and does not mean with a new web series.

 "The SOL test is an autopsy, so you monitor your vital signs long before you have an autopsy, schools operate the same way," Jones said.

The division said it was no surprise when the state removed full accreditation for two schools, leaving Forest Hills and Galileo Magnet as the only two fully accredited schools in the system. It will meet with state leaders in December for guidance, and they said work to correct this issue is already underway.

"We're intervening long before the state rolls out its performance results, so this idea that we're going to wait for the state to tell us how we're doing before we start reacting is just a huge misconception," Jones said.

The superintendent argued the accreditation process overall is flawed and that it's more of a political metric than a scholastic one. And he said the other nine schools accredited with conditions don't mean failure.

"Accredited with conditions means there are some areas where we're meeting state targets and there are other areas where we aren't," Jones said.

The division points to recent gains in mathematics across the board and a new staff member to assist teachers that need help. Jones said they're making progress every day despite a stacked deck in front of them.

"There are some structural financial problems with how schools are funded, coupled with the fact that we're still not funding schools like we were prior to the recession," Jones said.

Jones added that he believes the accreditation process is deeply flawed and he predicts that in a decade the accreditation process as we know it will no longer be used.

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