Like kids, schools will get letter grades
Students will not be the only ones who may dread showing their grades to parents. Starting in 2014, each Virginia public school will get a very public letter grade ranging from A to F.
On the last day of the legislative session, the General Assembly passed a bill creating a system to rate each school on an A-to-F grading scale based on student performance.
The final version of House Bill 1999 was approved on a 22-17 vote in the Senate and a 65-31 vote in the House. This version had been negotiated through a conference committee of members from both chambers.
One difference between the conference committee’s report and the original draft of HB 1999 involves when the schools will receive their first letter grade.
In the original bill, schools would have been assigned a letter grade by October 2013. The grade would have been based primarily on state accreditation ratings and would not have taken into account students’ educational growth.
Under the adopted version, schools will not be given a grade until October 2014 after the Virginia Board of Education establishes standards to measure student growth.
Students’ academic growth will be based on statewide tests and school test scores. The numbers will be compared with scores from previous year scores and statewide averages.
The Virginia Association of School Superintendents has concerns about the grading system. It takes away the constitutional power of the cities and county governments to manage their own educational systems, said Pat Russo, president-elect of VASS and superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools.
VASS is concerned that if a school gets an F, it will be placed under state authority – usurping local control.
However, Gov. Bob McDonnell believes an A-F grading system will allow for more transparency about the performance of Virginia’s schools. McDonnell received support from two prominent Republicans – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – who had implemented such systems in their states.
HB 1999 was sponsored by Delegate Thomas “Tag” Greason, R-Lansdowne.
The 10th Annual Filipino Festival will be held Aug. 7-8 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 8200 Woodman Rd., beginning with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Friday and continuing with live entertainment, food and exhibits until 10 p.m. On Saturday the festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a full schedule of performances featuring traditional Filipino dance, music and song.
Filipino cuisine, including BBQ, pansit, lumpia, adobo, halo-halo, lechon, empanada and leche flan, will be available for purchase. The festival will also feature a children's area, church tours, exhibits, and health screenings. > Read more.
The Children’s Museum of Richmond last week opened its new Short Pump location at Short Pump Town Center, to the delight of children who attended a sneak preview of the location July 10. The new facility, located under the forthcoming LL Bean store (formerly the food court) is 8,500 square feet in size – much larger than CMoR’s former Short Pump location at West Broad Village, which opened in 2010. The new space includes The CarMax Foundation Service Station, the Silver Diner, a grocery store, a performance stage and an art studio, as well as a giant Light Bright Wall. > Read more.
The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Henrico Police are both presenting community events tomorrow, Aug. 1. The Feria Community Resource Fair at Richmond International Raceway brings together community service providers, embassies/consulates from Latin American countries, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and corporations that impact the Latino community. The Division of Police’s Community Day will feature demonstrations and displays from police, fire, animal protection and sheriff’s office, as well as family activities, food, entertainment and more. Other events this weekend include wine, chess and theatre! For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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Jul. 16, 2015Click here to read the print edition.
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