All Schools in FCPS Receive Accredited Status Level

News Release
September 30, 2019


All 194 schools in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) have received an accredited status level for 2019-20 based on performance in the 2018-19 school year. Two schools have been accredited with conditions for non-academic measures for dropout rate. One school has been accredited with conditions for performance in English. 

“We are pleased with our outstanding accreditation results. We have proactive plans in place to address remaining accreditation challenges,” said Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand. “We have provided side-by-side coaching and staffing supports at Justice and Mount Vernon High Schools to address student retention and the dropout rate and have given Fort Belvoir Primary an instructional coach and two additional resource teachers to address core reading instruction for their K-3 program. We fully expect these supports and strategies will result in accreditation improvement for these schools next year.”

Schools accredited with conditions are identified as Project Momentum schools within FCPS, or schools that have been receiving extra supports since the 2015-16 school year. Project Momentum schools have sustained increased performance in English and have maintained overall math performance above the state benchmark. Fort Belvoir Primary School, which only tests students in grade 3 and has a high student mobility rate, experienced a 22-point gain in math scores this year. The school reduced achievement gaps for Students with Disabilities and Black students and have consistently demonstrated smaller achievement gaps for these groups as compared to the state.

In addition to academic achievement, schools were assessed on student attendance, achievement gaps, and dropout rates for high schools. FCPS is aware that students sometimes experience extended interruptions to their schooling, hold jobs in addition to attending school, or have other issues affecting their attendance such as housing insecurity. The school division is reviewing available data and developing strategies to keep these students in school and  provide additional supports.

Two of the district’s alternative high schools are accredited pending the review of proposed alternative education plans. Once the plans are approved by the Virginia Board of Education, they will be granted waivers, guaranteeing them full accredited status for three years. 

In fall of 2017, the Virginia Board of Education revised its Standards of Accreditation to provide a more comprehensive view of school quality while encouraging continuous improvement for all schools. The revised state accreditation system is fully implemented for the first time during this accreditation cycle and is defined by two significant changes from the former system. 

First, the revised standards measure not just overall English, mathematics, and science assessment results and graduation and completion outcomes, but they introduce four new school quality indicators: achievement gaps for English and mathematics assessments, chronic absenteeism, and dropout rate, with an additional indicator—college career and civic readiness—scheduled to roll out in 2022-23. 

Second, the revised standards recognize three levels of accredited status for schools: “Accredited” schools meet targets or show adequate growth for all school quality indicators, and schools “Accredited with Conditions” have one or more performance area below the target but are actively addressing their area(s) of need. “Accreditation Denied” are schools that fail to adopt of fully implement required corrective actions.

These shifts in how accredited status is measured and reported at the state level are intended to promote critical reflection and strategic growth in all schools across multiple measures of performance. FCPS has fully embraced this revised accountability system, establishing a robust internal monitoring and support network for schools.
 
Many schools in FCPS will be recognized in October at a Fairfax County School Board meeting for achieving Excellence in Equity, including improved school performance across all student subgroups and significant reductions in achievement gaps among student subgroups. 

At this time under the revised system, 189 schools in FCPS are identified with “Accredited” status, and two schools are identified as “Accredited Pending Review of Alternative Accreditation Plan.” The three schools are currently identified as “Accredited with Conditions,” with appeals pending consideration by the state Board. No schools in FCPS have “Accreditation Denied” status for 2019-20. 

Individual school accreditation ratings status for 2019-20 are available through the Virginia Department of Education’s school quality profiles. The “Accreditation” tab within this online resource offers detailed information on performance toward each school quality indicator. 

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For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.