Central High loses full accreditation, absenteeism to blame

Published 8:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2023

Schools in Lunenburg County have been fully accredited without conditions except one. That’s what the data from this year’s accreditation reports show. The ratings were released Friday, Sept. 8, showing both elementary schools and the middle school meeting or exceeding state standards. Central High School (CHS) is another story.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Education, Central High has received Accreditation with Conditions from Chronic Absenteeism.

Of 482 students, 143 were reported at or above 10% Absenteeism, meaning 29.67% of Central High School students were chronically absent during the 2022-2023 school term. For the prior year school term, 2021-2022, absenteeism was reported at 12.39%, with 59 students reported at or above 10% Absenteeism.

Central High did improve regarding the dropout rate, going from 6.35% in 2021-2022 to 2.48% during the 2022-2023 school term.

The Virginia Department of Education decides if an individual school is accredited or meets state standards based on six categories. The state looks at a school’s English pass rate, English achievement gaps, math pass rate,

math achievement gaps, science pass rate, and if there is chronic absenteeism. If a school doesn’t meet state standards for multiple years, then the Department of Education will help determine what’s needed to address the issues.

Regarding the classroom, Lunenburg County School performed below state percentages but still showed improvement from the two previous years.

For the 2022-2023 school term, 64% of students passed state reading tests. The state percentage is 73%.

In writing, Lunenburg students performed at 59% compared to the state average of 65%. This was below the previous year’s percentage of 61% passing.

In Math students showed the highest percentage of improvement from previous years, with just a few points below the state average of 69%. students in Lunenburg passed with 61% compared to 33% during the 2020-2021 school term.

In Science, students held steady this school term and last with a 65% passing rate compared to a 67% state passing rate.

The same goes for History. Students held their own for the past two school terms with a 56% pass rate to the state’s 65% passing rate.

FOCUSING ON ‘ALL IN’

In an interview last week, new LCPS Superintendent Dr. Sharon Stanislas said,

“The focus this year will be on the governor’s “All In VA Plan.” Specifically, the division will focus on the “All In Lunenburg County Public Schools Plan.”

Stanislas said that the plan involves decreasing chronic absenteeism, increasing students’ achievement in all subgroups and across all subject areas, and supporting implementing and expanding the Virginia Literacy Act on the elementary and middle school levels. “These objectives directly mirror those outlined in the governor’s plan,” she added.