RD519 - Virginia Board of Education’s 2016 Annual Report on the Condition and Needs of Public Schools in Virginia - November 2016

Executive Summary:
The 2016 Annual Report on the Condition and Needs of the Public Schools in Virginia discusses the critical needs in public education, achievement of our students and schools, and recommendations for revising the Standards of Quality (SOQ) to support continued improvement.

By nearly every national and state measure, Virginia’s public K-12 schools, students, and educators continue to improve and lead the way in academic achievement and accountability:

• Virginia students outperform their peers nationwide on the ACT by 15 or more points.

• The average science scores of Virginia fourth-grade and eighth-grade students on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – also known as "The Nation’s Report Card" – were significantly higher than the averages of their national peers.

• Virginia’s on-time graduation rate continued to climb, reaching 91.3 percent in 2016 - a three point increase since 2012 - and more than half of Virginia’s students graduated from high school with the Commonwealth’s most rigorous diploma.

• Virginia students perform at least 19 points higher than the national average in math, reading, and writing on the SAT college-admissions test.

• The School Quality Profile was unveiled in October 2016 to better express, communicate, and report important achievements and information about our schools and school divisions to the public.

• The Board of Education is developing a Profile of a Virginia Graduate to describe the knowledge, skills, competencies, and experiences students should attain during their K-12 education to make them “life-ready.”

• The Board is reforming its accountability system to ensure that tiered support is provided to struggling schools, all schools work towards improvement, and Virginia’s state accreditation system, federal accountability system, and public reporting take into account the multiple measures of school quality.

While most Virginia students continue to show academic growth, the Board recognizes the constitutional and shared responsibility to ensure that all children in the Commonwealth, regardless of their circumstances, have access to a quality education that prepares them for a successful, healthy, and fulfilling life. To reach this goal, based on extensive public feedback, the Board heard the following priorities must be met:

• The public school experience must be redesigned to better prepare students for life after high school by ensuring that all students, during their K-12 experience, achieve and apply appropriate academic knowledge, demonstrate productive workplace skills, exhibit responsible and responsive citizenship, and align knowledge, skills, and interests with career opportunities.

• Teachers and school leaders must be better supported to effectively deliver and serve all Virginia K-12 students.

• Virginia’s accountability system must provide tiered interventions aligned to need, encourage continuous improvement for all schools, and measure and report multiple indicators of school quality.

• Greater attention and support must be provided to school communities with high poverty where achievement and opportunity gaps persist.

Addressing conditions that affect student learning and well-being will require a continued investment of resources, as recommended in the revisions to the Standards of Quality (SOQ) articulated in this report. Addressing these needs will also require partnerships between the Board of Education, the General Assembly, the Governor, local school boards and divisions, educators, families, community organizations, institutions of higher education, and business industries.