Some Local Schools Classified as "Focus Schools" By Federal Government

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- Several schools across the Valley have not performed up to federal standards.

That's according to federal accountability scores just released from the Department of Education.

Four schools in our area will be forced to work with a coach from the Virginia Department of Education.

In all, 73 schools statewide will work with a coach for improvements.

These schools working with a coach are called focus schools.

Bessie Weller Elementary School in Staunton is a focus school for the second straight year after failing to meet federal standards once again.

The "focus school" designation applies to schools receiving federal money for free and reduced price lunch, that have not met all of their benchmarks for reading and math.

Staunton City Schools' Director of Assessment, Stephanie Haskins, said now it's time to figure out how to improve.

"Every student matters and we want to see every student make academic progress. So no matter where that student is, we want that student to grow academically," said Haskins.

Focus school status comes from not meeting benchmarks in one of three gap groups.

A focus school keeps its designation for at least two years, which is what happened to Clymore Elementary School in Augusta County which did meet all of its benchmarks this year.

Haskins said Bessie Weller and other focus schools will now work with a coach from the Department of Education.

"They look at their data, they look specifically at curriculum and different ways that they can support in terms of curriculum. They also look at specific students and what specific interventions might be in place," said Haskins.

Haskins said they'll look at any options from adjusting the curriculum, to one-on-one attention to try to help their students learn.

"I think it is very easy to, because there are a lot of numbers, and a lot of facts and a lot of details to keep up with. To sort of get caught up, sometimes, in the details. When really when it comes down to it, it's about looking at every student, looking at where that student is, where we want that student to be and then measuring the progress," said Haskins.

Other Valley schools designated as focus schools: Robinson Elementary in Shenandoah County and Luray Elementary in Page County. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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