Virginia earns highest special education rating for 11th year
The Virginia Department of Education announced Monday that Virginia has earned the U.S. Department of Education’s top rating for improving outcomes for students with disabilities and compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Virginia lawmaker encourages some school districts to reject adopting inclusive transgender policies
The General Assembly passed a law last year requiring school systems to adopt inclusive policies for transgender and gender non-conforming students by fall 2021, but some lawmakers are encouraging districts to reject this.
Virginia secures $1 million grant to research impact of COVID-19 pandemic on schools
During a time when the coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on Virginia’s education system, researchers are stepping in to take a closer look at its impacts. Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced on Wednesday that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has secured a three-year, $999,912 federal grant that will go toward support researchers from VDOE and the University of Virginia as they examine pre- and post-pandemic trends through the 2022-2023 school year. The trends that they will study include student attendance, grade-level retention, enrollment in advanced courses, student mobility and teacher retention. “The research funded through this grant will be critical as our schools move beyond the immediate concerns of reopening and shift their focus to addressing the short-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic and school closures on student outcomes and school operations,” Lane said. After the project is complete, the research will then be used for decision-making and policies at the state and local levels.
Statewide group formed to plan how kids will return to in-person learning
This school year has been a difficult one for many and with Gov. Ralph Northam’s recent directive to have students inside schools by next month, the Virginia Department of Education is taking action. On Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced the formation of a workgroup of educators, school administrators, mental health professionals, parents and leaders of community organizations. The Virginia LEARNS workgroup will assess the needs of students and support Virginia school divisions as they look to have in-person learning options available for students by Northam’s March 15 deadline. Smyth County Superintendent Dennis Carter, Franklin County Superintendent Bernice Cobbs, Chesapeake Superintendent Jared Cotton and Newport News Public Schools Chief of Staff Rashard Wright will also serve in leadership roles.
Alleghany County, Covington get state approval to consolidate school systems
The unanimous vote came during a Thursday morning meeting, that included the Virginia Board of Education Board of Directors, as well as school and government leaders for both Alleghany County and the city of Covington. Members of the Virginia Department of Education Board of Directors, as well as school, government leaders in Alleghany County and Covington react to the news of the resolution passing to merge the two school divisions on Jan. 28, 2021. (Virginia Department of Education)Acting Superintendent of Alleghany County Public Schools Sherman Callahan released this statement following the move’s approval:We did receive approval and are excited to proceed on with consolidation. Both men represent all of Alleghany County and Covington. Both Covington leaders, as well as Alleghany County leaders, approved the merger back in September.
Here’s Virginia’s new guidance as Gov. Ralph Northam announces push to reopen schools
Ralph Northam on Thursday afternoon. Ralph Northam announced that it’s time to begin working to get students back in the classroom safely. The Virginia Department of Education released its new guidance for schools at 3 p.m. on Thursday. The emphasis will change from “school should be closed” to “schools need to be open,” according to Northam. 10 News reported Northam would announce this change last week; however, the VDOE later rolled back that statement.
What’s News Today: College Lake Dam removal, virtual craft fair
Wytheville Community College holds an in-person advising and registration day for the spring semester. The YMCA at Virginia Tech kicks off its Virtual Craft Fair today. Lynchburg’s Water Resources Department holds a virtual town hall today about removing the College Lake Dam. The Virginia Department of Education will hold a PreK through 12th grade briefing for legislators today. Roanoke County leaders will deliver the State of the County Address today.
'Teach for the love of your children’: Franklin County teacher named Virginia Teacher of the Year
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – A local elementary school teacher has earned the state’s highest honor for teaching. Anthony Swann, a fifth-grade teacher at Rocky Mount Elementary, was named the 2021 Virginia Teacher of the Year during a virtual ceremony on Thursday night. He said he was inspired to teach after his teacher in fourth-grade comforted him during an emotionally traumatizing moment. Swann returned to Virginia in 2015, teaching at Johnson Elementary in Danville for two years before assuming his current position at Rock Mount Elementary in 2017. The 2020 Teacher of the Year was Andrea Johnson, a 12th-grade English teacher at Salem High School.
Roanoke school leaders say they’re on track for students to return to classrooms
ROANOKE, VA. – Roanoke school leaders said the beginning of the school year is off to a good start and they believe they’re on track for the return to the classroom plan. On Wednesday night the superintendent hosted a virtual town hall for parents and students to get an update on the progress. “If you are a parent thank you for hanging in there with us, for our students thank you for your hard work and your diligence," superintendent Verletta White said to open the program. Under the current plan, younger students are set to return to in-person learning in some form on November 2. The plan is to bring older students back to the classroom at the new year once the third quarter begins.
Virginia education leaders say 92.3% of class of 2020 graduated on time
Virginia education leaders said that despite the closure of schools in March due to COVID-19, nine out of ten students who entered the ninth grade during the 2016-2017 school year graduated within four years. Of the 98,481 students in the class of 2020, 92.3% earned a diploma, compared with 91.5% of the class of 2019, Virginia superintendent of public instruction James Lane announced Wednesday. Lane said the dropout rate for the class of 2020 was 5.1%, compared with 5.6% for the previous graduating class. Students who earn high school equivalency certificates, such as a GED, or complete high school without earning a diploma are not included as graduates in calculating graduation rates. The Virginia Department of Education also provided graduation rates and dropout rates for major student racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Study finds Virginia public schools could lose $160 million in funding due to an early drop in enrollment
RADFORD, Va. – Each year, public schools in Virginia report enrollment numbers to the Virginia Department of Education to help regulate state funding. A new survey estimates that Virginia’s public schools are down 36,000 students which could result in a loss of nearly $160 million. In Radford, public school attendance has dropped by roughly 70 students and Radford City School Superintendent Robert Graham predicts that trend will continue. Typically, Radford schools lose 15-20 students each year but add the same amount. Across the state, an estimated 36,000 fewer students are enrolled in public schools, according to a survey by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS).
Local schools implement African American history class launched by Gov. Northam, VDOE
AMHERST COUNTY, Va. 16 schools across the commonwealth, including some here at home, are offering a new African American history class this school year. Ralph Northam and the Virginia Department of Education recently launched the new course to ensure that all students will have a better understanding of African American history from the past to present. Amherst County High is one of the schools doing this. School officials said theyve always offered it as a partial credit elective, but this changes now that the Virginia Department of Education is involved. Franklin and Alleghany counties, as well as Covington, are other area schools who are offering the new class in person and online.
Virginia education leaders waive accreditation for 2021-2022 school year
Virginia schools will reopen this fall without the added pressure of accreditation. The states superintendent of public instruction, James Lane, used his emergency authority on Tuesday to waive accreditation requirements for the 2021-2022 academic year. Schools were issued an accreditation waiver in April for the 2020-2021 academic year. Because accreditation ratings are based on performance during the previous school year, there is insufficient data to calculate ratings for the 2020-2021 academic year because there werent any spring 2020 SOL results, according to the Virginia Department of Education. Lane said the waivers allow for schools to focus on students health, safety and emotional well-being without the accreditation pressure.
More than $38 million available to Virginia schools in additional coronavirus relief
RICHMOND, Va. – More money is coming to Virginia schools to help cover COVID-19-related costs. This additional federal money to help schools cover COVID-19-related costs is from two relief funds established by the CARES Act: the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. $21 million in available GEER funds will be distributed to schools through formula-based and competitive grants. $17.75 million in available ESSER funds will be distributed to schools through formula-based and competitive grants. Virginia’s state superintendent also called on Congress to include more federal support for public schools in the next coronavirus relief package.
Virginia Dept. of Education is not approving school reopening plans, it’s up to local school boards
All public schools must submit both a health plan and an instructional plan but now the Virginia Department of Education is saying it does not approve the plans. In a letter to superintendents the Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Health Commissioner said:“This process leaves the final decisions about reopening squarely in the hands of local school boards. But ultimately, it is up to the local school board to decide when and how schools reopen, according to VDOE. Pyle points out public school divisions should separately notify the VDOE if they intend to exceed the recommended program offerings or significantly deviate from the guidance. Below is a document outlining the guidelines for Virginia schools when submitting 2020-2021 instructional plans:
Henry County schools approve two days in-person, three days virtual learning plan
HENRY COUNTY, Va. As school divisions across Virginia are planning for the upcoming school year, we now have a better idea what the school year will look like in Henry County. On Thursday, in a 6-1 vote, the Henry County School Board approved its plan, which now needs to be approved by the Virginia Department of Education. According to the plan:Students would attend school in-person two days a weekThree days a week, they would attend in a virtual mannerParents will also have the option of having their children learn 100% virtuallyStudents and staff will undergo daily health screeningsThe school divisions technology team is working to ensure access to the internet outside of each of our schools for families who need to take advantage of internet in their community. Students will also be able to checkout MiFi devices is they need internet support at home.
VHSL to allow practices, starting June 15
Starting June 15, schools can begin out-of-season practices; however, before these can happen, schools must submit health plans to the Virginia Department of Education outlining compliance with Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mitigation strategies. By a majority vote taken Wednesday, the VHSL Executive Committee reinstated the out-of-season practice rule, 27-7-1, and suspended the summer dead period for all athletic teams during the week of June 29 through July 4. The VHSL Executive Committee believes that getting students back into some level of education-based activities will be supportive of their physical and mental health and well-being, said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. Billy Haun. Allowing students and coaches the opportunity to begin out-of-season extracurricular activities and athletics will allow school communities the ability to begin moving in a positive direction." The VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) is completing work on the VHSL Guidelines for Reopening Sports/Activities.
Plan outlined for reopening of Virginias K-12 public schools
ROANOKE, Va. While addressing Virginians on Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam discussed the plan of reopening Virginias public schools. All Virginia schools will open for students in the upcoming school year, according to Northam. Schools must submit plans to the Virginia Department of Education the before entering Phase Two or Phase Three. Each school division will be given flexibility about how to approach learning within their particular division.
VHSL developing plans for reopening of fall athletics and activities
VHSL staff continues to meet regularly with region superintendents, principals, athletic directors, and the VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC). VHSL staff will begin meeting with Coach Advisory Committees of fall sports to discuss developing reopening plans. VHSL is drawing input to provide answers to the questions: How and when do VHSL sports and activities return? We will continue to advocate for them and the return of high school athletics and activities, said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. Billy Haun. As a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the VHSL works closely with other states in developing guidelines for the reopening of sports, as well as monitoring NCAA reopening guidelines.
Only one subject sees statewide increase as Virginia releases 2018-19 SOL test results
ROANOKE, Va. - The Virginia Department of Education released SOL results Tuesday and its changes to the math assessment showed a sizable improvement statewide. The new math SOL test reflects revisions to the state mathematics standards approved by the state Board of Education in 2016. The introduction of the new tests marked the end of the three-year transition to the revised standards. The math SOL is the only test that saw an increase statewide with 82% of students passing, compared to 77% passing the previous version in 2017-18 school year. As for the other four assessments, in the 2018-19 school year:78% passed reading tests, compared with 79% during the 2017-2018 school year76% passed in English writing, compared with 78% from the previous year81% passed in science, which was unchanged from the previous year80% of students tested in history/social science passed, compared with 84% in the previousBelow you'll see a break down of four years of both statewide and district-by-district data:Click here if you can't see the data belowCopyright 2019 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.