Fifty-eight schools from across West Virginia, including elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and career technical centers and programs, were honored Thursday for achieving Exemplary Accreditation status. Three others also were recognized for being among 269 schools nationwide named 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools.
"We have high expectations for all schools in West Virginia and these schools have achieved the state board's highest level of recognition," said West Virginia Board of Education President Wade Linger. "This accomplishment speaks highly of the quality of education throughout West Virginia, with schools from every area of our state identified as exemplary."
Exemplary distinction is the gold standard of educational achievement, said Gus Penix, director of the Office of Education Performance Audits. Schools must meet a set of rigorous standards to achieve such status:
1. All schools will be ranked by the percent proficient in each subject, including reading/language arts, math, science, social studies as well as the Writing Assessment. Schools earning the top combined ranking will be eligible for the next step of ranking on a student achievement index. All students in each school will be ranked by a student achievement index in each subject on the WESTEST2 and Writing Assessment with progressive weighting for scores at each performance level (.25 for Below Mastery, .5 for Mastery, .75 for Above Mastery, and 1.0 for Distinguished) and aggregated for a total ranking. The top 10 percent weighted ranking for elementary, middle and high schools will be designated as Exemplary if other criteria are met.
2. The student attendance rate is at or above 94 percent in the most recent year for which data are available.
3. The percentage of students who successfully complete Advanced Placement, dual credit and honors classes as defined in Policy 2510 is at or above five percent in high schools.
Career technical centers also have strenuous criteria to meet. Such schools must meet a minimum of 95 percent of school performance standards across all concentrations; have a 97 percent job placement or continuing education rate; and a 75 percent in-field job placement and continuing education rate, among other requirements.
Among schools that earned 2012-2013 Exemplary Accreditation status are:
Fork Elementary School in Pendleton County and Pickens Elementary/High School in Randolph; and
Randolph Technical Center in Randolph County.
For more information, call the OEPA at 304-558-3788 or the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.