A Perfect Record: All Charlotte County schools fully accredited

Published 8:14 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

It’s an announcement every school district wants to hear, but few are able to. Charlotte County schools have a perfect record this year, when it comes to accreditation. Every school in the district is fully accredited with no conditions, meeting or exceeding state standards. 

The Virginia Department of Education decides if an individual school is accredited, or meets state standards, based on six categories. The state looks at a school’s English pass rate, English achievement gaps, math pass rate, math achievement gaps, science pass rate and if there is chronic absenteeism. If a school doesn’t meet state standards for multiple years, then the Department of Education steps in to help determine what’s needed to address the issues.

That’s not a problem for Charlotte County. And when it comes to overall Standards of Learning test scores, Charlotte County excelled there too. The district ranked 18th in Virginia, beating out dozens of larger groups. 

“Our students and staff are constantly overcoming obstacles such as high poverty rates to realize exceptional achievement,” said Charlotte County Superintendent Robbie Mason, adding that he was proud of the work they’ve done. 

High school keeps improving 

Randolph-Henry High has a record to maintain at this point. The high school has been fully accredited without conditions since 2019, excelling in the classroom and beating the state standard when it comes to graduation rates. 

“We are thrilled to see the fruits of our labor in this most recent report,” said Randolph-Henry Principal Erin Davis. “There is a saying that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’, but this phrase comes to life within our school. Every person on staff has an impact on student achievement. Our teachers work to provide top notch instruction in the classroom, paired with hands-on applications and field experiences.” 

And that shows in the data. In English, 94% of Randolph-Henry students passed the state tests. That’s not just significantly above the state standard of 75%, but it’s above the school’s own previous records. Last year, 93% of Randolph-Henry students passed. Even pre-pandemic, the school’s pass rate was at 90%. The same goes for math and science. In math, 82% of students passed, compared to the state standard of 70%. And in science, 79% passed at the school.  

Davis said she and her staff do things a bit different than some schools. 

“I would guess that we take far more field trips than other high schools, but I know that these immersive experiences provide context for our students,” Davis said. “They can see and apply what has been learned in class. We also hold high standards for student behavior in our school, so that each classroom is a conducive learning environment for students. We create inclusion settings with more than one adult in the room for students who need additional support in core classes. In addition, we build in remediation during the school day twice a week and we have additional remediation that takes place after school.” 

More growth in Charlotte County schools 

The positive numbers for Charlotte County schools weren’t limited to just Randolph-Henry either. Central Middle School also exceeded state standards in all tests. That was especially impressive for science. Last year, only 60% of Central students passed the state science tests. This time around, 79% did it. Math and English scores at Central Middle remained the same as last year, with 89% passing math and 80% passing English. 

The school also exceeded state standards when it comes to dealing with achievement gaps. That means helping students that are struggling and causing them to improve. Over a one to two year period, 17% of struggling students at Central Middle improved on their test scores with extra help from the staff. 

Improvements on the elementary side

On the elementary side, Eureka, Phenix and Bacon District all exceeded state standards with their scores as well. While this isn’t something new, the three schools kept improving on their own records from previous years. At Eureka, English pass rates rose from 89% to 91%. One of the school’s projects, the staff says, is to motivate students to read by letting them work with a puppy from the pound during reading class. If they meet their reading goals outside of class, they can pick a puppy to work with and read to. Science was another impressive subject, when it came to the school’s test scores. Last year, only 61% of Eureka students passed science. This year, the number jumped to 88%. Math scores, meanwhile, also ranked among the state’s highest, with 92% passing. 

At Bacon District, it was a story of growth. The school didn’t just exceed state standards. The test scores also beat pre-pandemic numbers. In 2019, 84% of Bacon students passed English. This time, 88% did it. A total of 78% of Bacon students passed science last year. Now that number’s spiked to 82%. And finally in math, 93% of Bacon students passed, better than the 89% that did it in 2019.

Finally, at Phenix Elementary, the numbers have dropped, but they’re still above the state standard. Pre-pandemic, 84% of students passed English. In 2022, that was true as well. Now that pass rate’s dropped a bit, to 78%. The same is true in math, where 92% passed before the pandemic and 91% passed in 2022. At the end of last semester, that number dropped to 80%.