Bessie Weller Fails Federal Reading Benchmarks For Black Students

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Antonio Battle is making sure his stepson keeps up with his school work.

But he said he is an A's and B's student.

"My stepson Donovan has been doing very well going to Bessie Weller," Battle said.

Battle said Donovan was successful in his reading Standards of Learning Test thanks to the preparation he got at Bessie Weller.

He said Donovan received homework and quizzes to take home and prepare.

The United States Department of Education created Annual Measurable Objectives for reducing proficiency gaps between low and high-performing schools.

Students are divided in subgroups. The AMOs represent the percentage of students from each of the subgroups that must pass the Standards of Learning Tests in reading and math.

The scores from Bessie Weller Elementary show some black students at Bessie Weller didn't pass the reading test.

Erica Cusson whose daughter goes to that school is shocked to hear that.

"The kids that I know are exceptional learners so I don't understand why they would think it was those children," Cusson said.

Bessie Weller is now considered a focus school.

The school will need to develop and carry out plans to increase the achievement among black students.

Staunton School Superintendent Linda Reviea said the state assigned them a coach that will make sure they're following guidelines and a timeline.

"We need to make sure that we are instructing with fidelity. That we are identifying students early and often who need additional support, we need to make sure we're providing the appropriate resources to our teachers so they can instruct our children so they can achieve at their highest levels," Reviea said.

Reviea said their challenge is having students come to the school with different levels of learning.

"The accreditation process, the standards don't give a whole lot of leeway to students that come to us that maybe are not as prepared as others so it's a challenge, we embrace," Reviea said.

For Battle is not only the school's responsibility.

"I don't think is the school's fault, if anything is up to the parents or something like that to make sure that their kids are doing their homework, check their tablets, Tuesday folders," Battle said.

Other schools that missed benchmarks in Staunton are Ware Elementary and Robert Lee High School.

They won't need a coach because they have different demographic makeups.


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