For first time, all Alexandria schools receive accreditation

Two schools in Alexandria, Virginia, that had fallen short on key quality measures in recent years have now been fully accredited by state officials — marking the first time every public school in Alexandria has received accreditation since the statewide education bench marks went into effect 20 years ago.

The school accreditation ratings were released by the Virginia Department of Education Sept. 30.

The Jefferson Houston School, which serves pre-K to 8th grade students, was fully accredited for the first time since 2008.

The city’s lone high school, T.C. Williams, which had missed out on accreditation over the past few years, also received full accreditation in the new ratings.

The ratings evaluate school quality based on factors, such as student’s academic achievement, chronic absenteeism and achievement gaps among students.

Full accreditation means schools meet or exceed state standards or have shown at least sufficient improvement. Schools that fail to earn accreditation fall below state standards on at least one quality indicator.

The Alexandria school system celebrated the new ratings.

“This kind of success doesn’t happen by chance, nor does it happen overnight. It happens through planning, preparation and dedication for all students to experience success regardless of their life circumstances,” said Alexandria Superintendent Gregory C. Hutchins in a release.

“It has taken the hard work and commitment of six superintendents and many staff over the course of 20 years to get ACPS to where it is today. We are delighted to see the progress of our work validated.”

In a release, the school system said while the new ratings are a positive sign for the school system, “the school division is also aware that it still has much work to do to ensure all students are engaged in a high-quality education.”

The school system said it will focus on improving students’ reading scores and further narrowing achievement gaps in math and English among Hispanic students, black students, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.

Overall, 92 percent of public schools in Virginia were fully accredited this year.

It’s the year that schools have been evaluated under new standards adopted by the state board of education that measure student growth over the course of a year as well as overall achievement.

You can see the full evaluations for Alexandria school system’s 17 schools on the Virginia Department of Education’s website.

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