NORFOLK,Va. (WAVY) – When someone has a problem, family and friends will step in, and it’s called an intervention. That’s exactly what teachers are doing in Norfolk Public schools to break the cycle of bad test scores.
And the interventions have been so successful at three schools that the state is recognizing them for their efforts.
Ocean View, Willoughby and Sewell’s Point elementary schools are being recognized as Title I Distinguished schools. This means the schools are meeting all state and federal accountability requirements for two consecutive years and achieving reading and mathematics SOL pass rates at 60th percentile or higher.
In a school district known for poor SOL’s scores, what’s happening at Ocean View Elementary is noteworthy.
Students at the school are doing drastically better in the Standards of Learning test. The dramatic shift is all thanks to what Norfolk Public Schools calls an intervention. Not the kind you might first think of, but an intervention nonetheless. The schools move quickly and decisively to get the kids the extra time and attention they need.
“Some of the students need maybe a different way of learning or need it broken down in simpler form or need additional time or support,”said Sandra Barrett, a teacher at Ocean View Elementary.
Teachers know which students need help because they are constantly testing SOL standards throughout the year. Students who are not passing those tests visit what’s called the “intervention hallway” with a specialist, like Jenn Boyer.
“We’re jumping in to get the children where they need to be,” said Boyer. “The classroom teacher does core instruction, and children that don’t meet standards, they receive an intervention. We run out of hours in a day and it takes a village, so to speak, to get kids to grade level.”
Teachers use hands on learning and interactive activities so kids retain what they learn. Over At Willoughby Elementary, teachers are boosting scores by teaming up in the classroom.
“One or two teachers are instructing kids on what our goal is for the day, the other teachers are moving around the classroom helping kids and supporting them anyway they need,” said Math specialist at Willoughby Elementary, Tracie Kunkel.
Teachers also break the students up into groups to give them more one-on-one instruction. Now, other schools in Norfolk are using the intervention techniques in hopes they work for them too.
“That’s our goal is to make them all life long learners,” said Boyer. “We want them to feel great when they take a test, we want them to pass those state assessments, and we want them to feel great about themselves.”
Last year, only 15 out of 45 Norfolk schools met all SOL standards.
The Virginia Department of Education released the following news release about schools and school districts that were recognized for achievements:
Title I Schools Recognized for High Achievement
Two Divisions also Cited for Raising Achievement of Disadvantaged Students
The Virginia Board of Education is honoring 57 schools and two school divisions for raising the academic achievement of economically disadvantaged students. The awards are based on student performance on Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments during the 2012-2013 and 2011-2012 school years.
West Point Public Schools and Poquoson Public Schools earned the Highly Distinguished Title I School Division designation by exceeding all federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) achievement objectives in English and mathematics for two consecutive years, having all schools fully accredited for two consecutive years and for graduating more than 80 percent of students with Standard or Advanced Studies diplomas.
The board recognized two schools as Title I Highly Distinguished schools and 55 as Title I Distinguished schools.
“I commend the teachers, principals and other educators in all of these schools for helping students meet the commonwealth’s expectations for grade-level learning in reading and mathematics,” Board of Education President David M. Foster said. “Virginia’s new SOL tests — which emphasize the application of content knowledge and critical thinking — set a higher bar and the students in these schools are better prepared for having met it.”
Title I Highly Distinguished schools must exceed all state and federal accountability benchmarks for two consecutive years and have achieved pass rates on English and mathematics Standards of Learning (SOL) tests at or above the 85th percentile. The two schools achieving this distinction are as follows:
- Falls Church’s Thomas Jefferson Elementary
- Scott County’s Yuma Elementary
Title I Distinguished schools are recognized for meeting all state and federal accountability requirements for two consecutive years and achieving reading and mathematics SOL pass rates at 60th percentile or higher. The 55 Distinguished Title I schools are as follows:
- Amherst County — Temperance Elementary
- Arlington County — Henry Elementary
- Charlotte County — Eureka Elementary
- Charlottesville — Greenbrier Elementary
- Chesterfield County — Elizabeth Scott Elementary
- Culpeper County — Farmington Elementary
- Fairfax County — Belvedere Elementary and Lorton Station Elementary
- Franklin County — Callaway Elementary and Snow Creek Elementary
- Gloucester County — Achilles Elementary, Bethel Elementary and Botetourt Elementary
- Hanover County — Mechanicsville Elementary
- Henry County — Rich Acres Elementary
- Highland County — Highland Elementary
- Isle of Wight County — Carrsville Elementary
- King George County — King George Elementary
- Middlesex County — Middlesex Elementary
- New Kent County — New Kent Elementary
- Norfolk — Ocean View Elementary, Sewells Point Elementary and Willoughby Elementary
- Prince George County — L.L. Beazley Elementary and South Elementary
- Pulaski County — Pulaski Elementary
- Richmond — Broad Rock Elementary
- Rockingham County — Peak View Elementary, Pleasant Valley Elementary and South River Elementary
- Salem — East Salem Elementary and G.W. Carver Elementary
- Scott County — Weber City Elementary
- Stafford County — Hartwood Elementary and Kate Waller Barrett Elementary
- Tazewell County — Abb’s Valley-Boissevain Elementary, Dudley Primary, Graham Intermediate and Tazewell Elementary
- Virginia Beach — Diamond Springs Elementary, Newtown Elementary and Rosemont Elementary
- Washington County — Abingdon Elementary and Greendale Elementary
- West Point — West Point Elementary
- Williamsburg-James City County — D.J. Montague Elementary, Matthew Whaley Elementary and Rawls Byrd Elementary
- Wise County — Coeburn Primary, St. Paul Elementary and Wise Primary
- York County — Bethel Manor Elementary, Dare Elementary, Magruder Elementary and Waller Mill Elementary
“Teachers in these Title I schools challenge their students every day to meet the same expectations we have for students in more affluent communities,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. “They believe in their students and reject the idea that family incomes predetermine educational outcomes.”
Each school and division will receive a certificate celebrating its status and achievement.
Title I of ESEA provides funding to school divisions and schools for programs to raise the achievement of students identified as being at risk of academic failure. The federal education law, whose most recent reauthorization is also known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, requires schools and school divisions to meet annual objectives for increasing student achievement on statewide assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics.