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Nearly all area schools make grade on SOL
Region's public schools are fully accredited for 2005-06, with few exceptions.

Date published: 10/26/2005

By KELLY HANNON

Public schools get report cards, too, and yesterday, most in the Fredericksburg region learned they made Virginia's Honor Roll.

Student pass rates on state standardized tests were announced by the Virginia Department of Education, and almost all Fredericksburg schools are performing at top levels.

Eighty-six of 93 local schools earned the state's top rating for 2005-06--fully accredited.

Of the remaining schools, four opened this fall or restructured student-body grade levels and are conditionally accredited. Three schools were accredited with warning for the second consecutive year: Caroline County's Caroline High and Caroline Middle; and Westmoreland County's Washington & Lee High. The schools missed full accreditation by a few percentage points on one or two Virginia Standards of Learning exams.

Schools in Colonial Beach, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, King George, Orange, Spotsylvania and Stafford all reached the fully accredited standard.

"We certainly are excited!" said Marci Catlett, Fredericksburg's assistant superintendent. "It reflects the hard work of all the stakeholders."

The news was not a surprise to everyone. Schools received preliminary results in August, and had time to prepare for yesterday's official announcement, Catlett said.

In Fredericksburg, banners proclaiming the fully accredited status were already hanging in school hallways, she said.

Spotsylvania trumpeted its fully accredited status at a School Board meeting in recent weeks.

"Spotsylvania County schools has made tremendous strides in student achievement over the past five years," wrote Edlow Barker, Spotsylvania's assistant superintendent of instruction, in an e-mail yesterday. "It is an exciting time for the students and staff."

To earn the coveted title of fully accredited, schools must have a significant percentage of its students--usually 70 percent or higher--passing SOL exams in English, math, science and history/social studies. Students are tested in grades 3, 5, 8 and in high school.

Statewide, 92 percent of Virginia's 1,834 schools are fully accredited or conditionally accredited for 2005-06. That's up from 86 percent of schools last year.

In 1998, the first year Standards of Learning exams were administered, only 2 percent of schools earned full accreditation.


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