Three Loudoun “focus” schools fail state testing standards
Three of Loudoun County’s public schools have been labeled “focus schools” after failing to meet standardized testing goals that are part of Virginia’s annual measurable objectives (AMOs). The three schools – Guilford Elementary, Rolling Ridge Elementary and Sugarland Elementary must employ a state-approved coach to help improve student performance.
The AMOs, created by the Virginia Department of Education, replace the adequate yearly progress (AYP) requirements imposed by No Child Left Behind that would have required 100 percent of students to pass standardized tests.
The Department of Education waived those requirements for Virginia earlier this year. The AMOs are measured by the percentage of students who pass SOL tests in reading and mathematics and high school graduation rates.
The three “focus school” principals have attended training with the Virginia Dept. of Education Office of School Improvement and are working on development plans, according to LCPS Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Sharon Ackerman.
“We began working with these schools in August when we got the preliminary information about their designation,” Ackerman said in a statement.
Student performance is measured among students as a whole and among various subgroups, according to the Virginia Dept. of Education’s website.
28 other schools in Loudoun were identified with failing subgroups and are required to implement improvement plans: Algonkian Elementary, Ball’s Bluff Elementary, Buffalo Trail Elementary, Catoctin Elementary, Cool Spring Elementary, Countryside Elementary, Creighton’s Corner Elementary, Dominion High, Dominion Trail Elementary, Farmwell Station Middle, Forest Grove Elementary, Heritage High, Horizon Elementary, J. Lupton Simpson Middle, John W. Tolbert Jr. Elementary, Legacy Elementary, Loudoun County High, Meadowland Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Newton-Lee Elementary, Park View High, Rosa Lee Carter Elementary, Seneca Ridge Middle, Smart’s Mill Middle, Sterling Elementary, Sterling Middle, Steuart W. Weller Elementary and Sully Elementary.
All schools in the county are required to have a school improvement plan, which meets the AMO requirements, Ackerman said.
“There will be a renewed focus on the use of student performance data compared to the delivery of instruction school-by-school in cooperation with the principal and school staff,” Ackerman said.
In Loudoun County, only 71 percent of “limited English proficient” students passed the reading SOLs, failing to meet the AMO target of 85 percent passing. The county also graduated 68 percent of its disabled students on time in 2011, short of the AMO goal. The school system’s graduation rate among disabled students is significantly higher than the state average, which is only 48 percent.
Roughly 68 percent of Virginia schools met their AMO objectives, according to the Dept. of Education press release. AMOs for mathematics SOLs are set at 61 percent passing for the 2012-2013 school year because of new rigorous tests students will take. The AMO will rise to 73 percent passing by the 2016-2017 year. The remaining schools have through the 2016-2017 school year to make improvements or lose state accreditation.
Individual school and division report cards can be found at the Virginia Department of Education’s website here.