Albemarle elementary school at top of the class
Despite revamped Standards of Learning exams that sent test scores around the Commonwealth downward, Meriwether Lewis Elementary is among the nation’s top-performing schools.
On Tuesday, the Albemarle County school was named a National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes K-12 public and private schools that demonstrate high academic performance or significant gains in student achievement.
“I am enormously proud of our teachers, students and parents for their wonderful engagement with our school, for their enthusiasm for learning, and for the high personal standards they set for achievement,” Meriwether Lewis Principal Kimberly Cousins said. “Every member of our school community should be congratulated for making such a significant difference at our school.”
10 schools in Virginia received Blue Ribbon awards, 7 public and 3 private.
According to the Virginia Department of Education, schools are selected for the awards based on achievement in one of two areas: scores on state assessments—private schools use national standardized tests; or “dramatic gains in student achievement” at schools with an economically disadvantaged population of at least 40 percent.
The Virginia Standards of Learning results released last week show Meriwether Lewis students’ scores surpassed state benchmarks. For the 2012-13 school year, 88 percent of students passed in English, against a benchmark of 75 percent. In science, math, and history, pass rates ranged from 85 to 97, against a benchmark of 70.
Three-year average pass rates in those subjects ranged from 90 to 96, and earlier this year, the school was also awarded the Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award through the Virginia Index of Performance program, which is given to schools that meet or exceed all state and federal accountability measure for at least two years.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education invited Meriwether Lewis Elementary to apply for the Blue Ribbon Programs award. In the application, the school cited its commitment to student-centered learning, an emphasis on healthy learning environments, and strong community engagement as assets.
Meriwether Lewis Elementary, along with all of the country’s National Blue Ribbon Schools, will be honored on November 18-19 in Washington, D.C.