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Two schools work on plans for reading improvement / October 11, 2012
The Virginia Department of Education yesterday announced that 485 public schools across the state will have to implement plans to narrow achievement gaps in order to raise the achievement of student subgroups that fell short of federal annual measurable objectives (AMOs) in reading and math.

Included in that number are two Halifax County schools — South Boston Elementary and Halifax County Middle School, both of which fell short on reading scores.

“South Boston Elementary fell short only slightly” — less than one point, said Nancy Zirkle, testing coordinator for the local school division. Zirkle said she was pleased Halifax County Middle School achieved the required scores in math, although the tests this year were more rigorous than in years past when the middle school did not achieve passing scores.

“We have begun our implement plan to narrow the achievement gap,” Zirkle said yesterday, noting their first training session had been held earlier in the month with another scheduled for later this month.

Principals, as well as teachers and coaches are involved in the implement plan which the Virginia Department of Education offers through computer training sessions. Participants do not have to travel, but can log on and participate in the sessions right from their class or office, which she says saves a lot of time and money.

The AMOs represent the percentage of students within each demographic subgroup that must pass Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in reading and math in order to make what the state board and the US Department fo Education define as acceptable progress toward reducing achievement gaps over six years. The AMOs are intended as yearly progress measures for low-performing schools; higher performing schools are expected to maintain or improve upon current pass rates. High schools must also meet a benchmark for graduation.

“The waivers from the No Child Left Behind federal mandates granted by the Obama administration to Virginia and several other states mark a dramatic shift in federal education policy,” said Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said, “We are now able to target school turnaround efforts and resources on those schools where students truly are falling behind,” she said.

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I think this great that the schools that need help are getting the help!!

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