Three of the four Nelson County division schools received full accreditation from the state, according to accreditation ratings released Monday from the Virginia Department of Education.

Under the state’s revised standards of accreditation, schools are evaluated on several quality indicators, which provide information on overall student achievement and student engagement. Schools receive a status of level one, two or three on each school-quality indicator. Level one means overall the school performed at or above standard level, level two is near standard or improving and level three is below standard level.

The new school-quality indicators also rate schools on achievement gaps, meaning the difference in pass rates for different groups of students.

Nelson County High School, Middle School and Rockfish River Elementary School are fully accredited. Tye River Elementary School is accredited with conditions due to a discrepancy in pass rates between two student groups, black students and students with disabilities, and the rest of the student body. A school accredited with conditions has to improve areas that were given a level three status by implementing state approved corrective action plans after review by VDOE.

Division Superintendent Martha Eagle said overall Nelson placed 48th out of 132 divisions, placing in the top 36% of the state according to the Comprehensive Instructional Program Consortium for overall state standing. The CIP is a consortium of public school divisions in Virginia working together to approve student achievement. The division is up from 79th last year.

“I am very proud of our division staff and students,” Eagle said in an email.

Eagle said the division will continue to focus on increasing the impact of effective instructional strategies on all students to decrease the gaps in achievement for the state defined gap groups. This year, both elementary schools and the middle school received a level three English achievement gap for students with disabilities. The high school received a level two status.

“Nelson County Public Schools is an excellent school division and we will continue on the successful journey of seeing students excel in their academic endeavors,” Eagle said in an email.

Nelson County High School received a level one for academic achievement in math, science, and English. The school received a level one English achievement gap and a level two math achievement gap. The school received a level one in student engagement and outcomes.

Tye River Elementary School received a level one for academic achievement in English, math, and science as well as in student engagement and outcomes. The school received a level one math achievement gap and level three English achievement gap.

Tye River Elementary School Principal Marti Bradt said while this is the second year the school has a status of accredited with conditions, it’s important to recognize the school has not only been recognized by the VDOE for continuous growth over the past three years, but in all of the four content areas, the school has improved drastically.

“We still have room to grow. We’ll continue to focus on improving in overall instruction and an added focus on students with disabilities and our gap group two students, our African American population,” Bradt said.

Rockfish River Elementary School and the middle school received level one for academic achievement in English, math, and science as well as in student engagement and outcomes. The schools received a level one math achievement gap and a level two English achievement gap.

Rockfish River Principal Crystal Choate said the credit for the fully accredited status goes to the teachers, support staff, students, and families.

“It really takes a village and we rely on all members to ensure the success of our students,” Choate said.

Choate said the scores improved because of targeted intervention groups the school focused on in the second semester last year. Choate said the school will continue to focus on research based reading instruction for all students to address specific needs, but with an emphasis on reading instruction for students with disabilities.

“That’s where we see the achievement gap,” Choate said.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County. Reach her at (434) 385-5524 or econway@newsadvance.com.

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