The Virginia Board of Education has ruled in the case of five Richmond Public Schools that were in state accreditation limbo after last year’s round of SOL testing.
Martin Luther King Jr. Middle school, located in the East End, and the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, a charter school in South Richmond, have been denied accreditation. Schools are denied accreditation for failure to meet, or show progress toward state benchmarks for student performance on the Standards of Learning tests (SOLs) for four consecutive years.
Supt. Dana Bedden said in an email that he hopes leadership and staff changes at MLK are a step in the right direction.
"We fully anticipated what the accreditation status would be for our denied schools and will continue to work with the leadership teams and staff at those schools to make strides in improved performance and practices that are necessary," Bedden said.
The rating means the school board will have to submit turnaround plans to the board of education and enter an agreement detailing how it will improve student performance. Schools that are denied accreditation still receive state funding.
About 1 percent of the state’s 1,822 public schools were denied accreditation for the 2015-16 school year, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
Three other RPS schools – Binford Middle in the Fan, Henderson Middle on Northside, and Lucille M. Brown Middle in South Richmond – have received a rating of "partially accredited: reconstituted school," meaning they have made “significant internal changes that represent a clear commitment to improved performance and substantive reform of practice,” according to a release from the VDOE.
"The new program at Binford Middle School and the expansion of the [International Baccalaureate] program at Lucille Brown Middle School definitely should have an impact on their continued progress," Bedden said.
Thirty-one schools across the state received the rating.
A "partially accredited: reconstituted school" can maintain the rating for up to three years. If after three years it does not achieve full accreditation, the state board of education can deny its accreditation.
In October, 17 of 45 RPS schools received full accreditation for the 2015-16 school year.