The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 27, 2013

2 Raleigh schools placed on temporary accreditation

By Sarah Plummer
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY —  At Tuesday’s Raleigh County Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Jim Brown reported that the two of this district’s elementary schools have been placed on temporary accreditation.

The 2013 Annual Ratings Report of the Office of Education Performance Audits gave Cranberry-Prosperity Elementary and Marsh Fork Elementary temporary accreditation.

Brown said Director of Elementary Education Sandra Trent, Assistant Superintendent Kenny Moles, Federal Programs Director Sandra Sheatsley and others are working on a strategic plan to move forward and attain full accreditation for both schools.

The ratings report did grant Maxwell Hill and Crescent exemplary accreditation. Similarly recognized were Bradley Elementary, Daniels Elementary, Hollywood Elementary, Trap Hill Middle, Park Middle, Shady Spring Middle, Shady Spring High and Woodrow Wilson High with distinguished accreditation.

All other schools were granted full accreditation.

School accreditation ratings were based on a number of factors including WESTTEST and attendance

The board of education then discussed elementary attendance with Attendance Director Millard Francis.

Brown noted that attendance is low on the elementary level, especially in the younger grades. The highest accumulative attendance this school year in kindergarten is 94.2 percent at Stanaford Elementary. But several school are at 90 percent or lower, including Coal City (89.8), Cranberry-Prosperity (88.9),  Mabscott (89.6), and Marsh Fork (88.5).

Brown said the schools should be seeing an average at the elementary level between 93 and 95 percent to fall more in line with state averages.

Board President Richard Snuffer commented, “If you look at those same students and follow them all the way up to high school, they have already set a pattern in kindergarten and it follows them all the way up. If we have test problems in kindergarten and in first and second grade, attendance is a major indicator.”

“If students aren’t attending, it is really hard to increase student achievement,” agreed Brown.

“We spend major effort in high school dealing with truancy,” added Snuffer. “But if we look at truancy, the grade school level is where we need to hit hard, because if we don’t change it then, we aren’t going to change it when they get older.

Francis noted that overall county attendance has improved from 90.3 percent to 92.7 percent from the fifth month of school to the sixth.

He also noted that high school exits total 59, a significantly lower total from this month last year (83).

Comparing this year’s and last year’s exits per school reveals that each high school improved, from 40 to 35 at Woodrow Wilson, 14 to 9 at Independence, 12 to 8 at Liberty and 15 to 7 at Shady Spring.

Brown said he is equally concerned with boosting attendance rates at the high school level.

 — E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com