SOL test results mixed for Henrico students

Results are in from last year's Virginia Standards of Learning tests, and the numbers for Henrico County public school students are mixed.

Overall, Henrico students improved their average SOL pass rates in 14 of their 33 test subjects during 2011-12, when compared with the previous year's results, but suffered decreases in 13 other subjects. Pass rates remained the same in six subjects.

Henrico students fared best in history (improving in six of the eight tests, when compared to the 2010-11 results, while remaining the same in one) and reading (improving in four of the seven tests, while remaining the same in one).

But they – like other students statewide – struggled with the new mathematics tests, which last year included new, more rigorous standards adopted by the state's Board of Education in 2009.

Average math pass rates in Henrico fell in eight of the nine SOL tests – including significantly in the third-grade test (a 67 percent pass rate, down from 93 percent the previous year) and eighth-grade test (a 41 percent pass rate, down from 82 percent the previous year).

Sixth-grade students were the only ones to improve from their previous math results, jumping from a pass rate of 61 percent in 2010-11 to 72 percent in 2011-12.

In math, Henrico students fared worse than the state average in the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade math tests, as well as in the Algebra 1 test.

Overall, the county's students exceeded the state pass rates in 19 of the 33 SOL tests (four in English, six in history, four in math and five in science) but fell short of the state averages in 12 other categories.

“As school divisions align curriculum and instruction with the new standards and focus on strengthening students’ problem-solving skills, I am confident that we will see higher achievement in mathematics and more graduates who are truly college and career ready,” Board of Education President David M. Foster said.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell agreed.

“Raising standards was the right thing to do and in the long-term interest of Virginia students and our economy,” McDonnell said. “I commend all of our teachers and students for their excellent efforts in adapting to and embracing these challenging new standards. This is a necessary step in ensuring that Virginia students are ready to excel in our globally competitive economy. It is a challenge we must meet if we're going to succeed in the economy of the decades ahead.”

Hanover County students outperformed their Henrico counterparts in 27 tests, while Chesterfield students scored better than Henrico students in 19 tests.

SOL science results in Henrico were relatively stable, with pass rates in biology and Earth science up slightly (to 94 and 92 percent, respectively) and third-grade, fifth-grade and chemistry results remaining the same (92, 93 and 97 percent, respectively).

Writing scores were up from 90 to 92 percent at the secondary school level, down from 89 to 87 percent at the eighth-grade level and stable at the fifth-grade level at 89 percent
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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The Henrico Police Faith Community Coalition will meet from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Rd. The topic will be Home Safety & Security. All faith community leaders are welcome. No registration is required. For details, call 501-4838. Full text

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