Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George schools among 2017 VIP award winners
Original article posted on The Progress-Index Web site by Michael Buettner
Top performers were announced on Tuesday by the governor’s office and Virginia Board of Education
CHESTERFIELD – Eighteen schools in Chesterfield County and one each in Dinwiddie County and Prince George County have been recognized as top performers by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the state Board of Education.
The governor’s office and the Board of Education announced Tuesday that 386 schools and 17 school divisions received 2017 Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) awards, which recognize “schools and divisions that exceed state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the governor and the board,” according to a press release from the state Department of Education.
The 17 division winners represent about 13 percent of the state’s 132 public school systems, while the 386 schools that were recognized amount to about 21 percent, or one in five, of the 1,865 public schools in the state.
The awards, which are based on measures of performance during the 2015-16 school year, were presented in three categories:
- The top award, the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, went to nine schools this year: six in Arlington County, two in Fairfax County and one in Henrico County. To qualify, “schools and school divisions must meet all state and federal achievement benchmarks and achieve all applicable excellence goals for elementary reading, enrollment in Algebra I by the eighth grade, enrollment in college-level courses, high school graduation, attainment of advanced diplomas, increased attainment of career and industry certifications, and, if applicable, participation in the Virginia Preschool Initiative,” according to the department.
- The Board of Education Excellence Award was presented to two school divisions (Falls Church and West Point) and 146 schools. Locally, this award went to nine schools: in Chesterfield, Bettie Weaver Elementary, Cosby High, Grange Hall Elementary, Midlothian High, Robious Elementary, W.W. Gordon Elementary, Winterpock Elementary and Woolridge Elementary; and in Dinwiddie, Midway Elementary.
These schools “met all state and federal accountability benchmarks and made significant progress toward goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunities,” according to the press release.
The Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award went to 15 divisions and 231 schools statewide, including 10 schools in Chesterfield – Alberta Smith Elementary, Bon Air Elementary, Elizabeth Scott Elementary, Enon Elementary, J.B. Watkins Elementary, Midlothian Middle, Robious Middle, Spring Run Elementary, Swift Creek Elementary and Tomahawk Creek Middle – and one in Prince George, William A. Walton Elementary.
Those schools “met all state and federal benchmarks and made progress toward the goals” set by the governor and the Board of Education, the press release noted.
Chesterfield, the fifth-largest school system in Virginia and by far the largest in the Tri-Cities, has had multiple schools win awards in the VIP program each year. This year’s 18 winners represent about 30 percent of the county’s 61 schools. Last year, 10 of Chesterfield’s schools were recognized with VIP awards.
Dinwiddie, which operates a total of seven schools, and Prince George, which operates eight, have consistently received one award each over the past several years. Dinwiddie’s Midway Elementary has now received the Board of Education Excellence Award for three years in a row, while Prince George’s L.L. Beazley Elementary received the Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award every year from 2013 to 2016.
The awards were restructured in 2013. The previous year, three elementary schools in Chesterfield – Bettie Weaver, Grange Hall and Robious – as well as Midway in Dinwiddie and L.L. Beazley in Prince George received the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to thank the teachers, principals, staff and students who worked so hard to achieve this honor,” said Board of Education president and former Chesterfield County supervisor Daniel A. Gecker. “The success of these schools and divisions is the direct result of their commitment. The board expects that the commitment to excellence will continue throughout the upcoming school year.”