Board of Education discusses potential changes to Virginia school accreditation process

The Board of Education met Thursday to discuss the way schools earn accreditation

RADFORD, Va. – The Virginia Board of Education is debating on whether or not to change the way they determine public school accreditation.

There are nine factors that are measured to determine a school’s accreditation:

  1. Academic Achievement -English
  2. Achievement Gap-English
  3. Academic Achievement-Mathematics
  4. Achievement Gap-Mathematics
  5. Academic Achievement- Science
  6. Chronic Absenteeism
  7. Graduation and Completion Index
  8. Dropout Rate
  9. College, Career and Civic Readiness Index

The Department of Education is considering taking out chronic absenteeism as a factor that determines a school’s accreditation.

According to the Department of Education, Chronic absenteeism is when students miss two to three days per month based on a 180-day school year.

“Most states do not use chronic absenteeism as an accountability score measure. And the reason they shared was that it is a measure that is not exclusively in a school’s control,” said board member, Dr. Alan Seibert.

The Virginia Board of Education met Thursday to discuss the proposal of removing chronic absenteeism as a measurement.

Radford City School’s Superintendent Robert Graham says he supports its removal.

“I think it’s not a real fair indicator of a school’s performance. Because it is not a school systems job to wake a child up, get them ready to prepare them, to clothe them to come to school,” he said.

Not everyone is on board with the change. Board President Daniel Gecker believes getting rid of this measurement could make the problem worse.

“To now say that this is ok, we talked yesterday about masking problems, this is masking a problem,” said Gecker.

10 News is working for you to find out which schools in our region are struggling with chronic absenteeism.

According to the VDOE, eight out of 10 schools in Danville are near or below standard.

That’s compared to six out of 21 schools in Montgomery County. Over half of the schools in both Lynchburg and Roanoke City are struggling with chronic absenteeism.

Even smaller school districts like Martinsville are seeing the effects.

“It is a challenge. We work very closely with our family to identify root causes of issues and then we work with community resources to connect them. Because we need the students in school to teach them and make sure they get what they need,” said Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Angilee Downing.

The Board of Education is expected to make a final decision on whether or not to remove the measuring of chronic absenteeism at their next business meeting in April.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.