Virginia schools show problems with chronic absenteeism

It’s the first time we’ve had accreditation numbers from the Virginia Department of Education since before the pandemic

School stock photo of empty desks. (Pexels)

ROANOKE, Va. – It’s the first time we’ve had accreditation numbers from the Virginia Department of Education since before the pandemic.

Eighty-nine percent of schools earned full accreditation. That’s three percent lower than 2019-2020.

121 Virginia schools that are below state standard had problems with chronic absenteeism, compared with 23 schools before the pandemic.

10-percent of schools (190 schools) are Accredited with Conditions, that’s 3% higher than previous numbers.

Some highlights from our local school systems:

  • All Roanoke City schools are accredited this year, but Hurt Park Elementary is Accredited with Conditions.
  • All but two Danville City schools are Accredited with Conditions.
  • Eight Lynchburg City schools are Accredited with Conditions.

Many of these schools will have to undergo a review by VDOE or under its guidance. They’ll develop and implement a corrective action plan.

School-by-school accreditation ratings and school quality indicator data are available on updated online School Quality Profile reports and on the VDOE website.

“These ratings call into question the effectiveness of our accreditation standards in identifying schools where students are struggling to achieve grade-level proficiency,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said. “The number and percentage of schools earning accreditation is almost as high as three years ago, despite significant declines in achievement on Standards of Learning tests in reading, math and science — especially among minority and economically disadvantaged students. Accreditation is one of the primary drivers of state interventions and local efforts to improve outcomes for students, and frankly, the school ratings we are releasing today fail to capture the extent of the crisis facing our schools and students.”

[These] “accreditation ratings do not reflect catastrophic learning loss and growing achievement gaps facing Virginia’s students. This broken accountability system fails to provide a clear picture of the academic achievement and progress of our schools to parents, teachers, and local school divisions. Virginia must have the most transparent and accountable education system in the nation and these accreditation ratings demonstrate the imperative for change. Secretary Guidera will continue her work with Superintendent Balow and the Board of Education in their efforts to design an accreditation and accountability system that provides clear, actionable, and timely information. I expect the release of our school accreditation ratings next year to provide Virginians an accurate and understandable picture of how well every one of our schools is preparing our students for success in life,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

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You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.