Even though Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg has received word that all nine of the county schools will receive accreditation, there’s “always room for improvement,” he said Thursday.

The Virginia Department of Education will not release the official accreditation ratings until September.

On Tuesday, VDOE released the 2018-2019 SOL assessment data that showed much improvement in math, minimal improvement in English scores and reduced scores in science and history and social studies amongst the county schools.

Science scores dropped in five of the nine county schools, and history and social studies scores dropped in five of the nine county schools.

Cluster Springs Elementary School, Scottsburg Elementary School, Halifax County High School and Halifax County Middle School students performed well on the science SOL with higher scores in the subject than in the previous year.

Meadville, Sinai, South Boston and Sydnor Jennings elementary school students performed well on the history and social studies SOL with higher scores in the subject than in the previous year.

But, Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg said they plan to continue to focus on reading as well writing at the middle school.

He also noted revisions to the graduation requirements passed in 2017.

These requirements will affect the class of 2020, and state a student must pass at least one SOL in English reading, English writing, mathematics, science and history/social science for both a standard diploma and advanced diploma.

At Halifax County Middle School, the writing SOL scores dropped from 59% to 55%.

He also said eight teachers throughout the division are currently being trained as reading specialists.

“We will match the necessary students with the teachers who have the skillset,” said Lineburg.

Currently, school divisions are required to provide reading intervention services to students in grades K-3 who demonstrate deficiencies on diagnostic tests.

The Standards of Quality, however, do not mandate that school divisions provide reading specialists. Rather, the SOQ recommends that one reading specialist be provided in each elementary school, at the discretion of the local school board.

He also said there was growth shown on math tests amongst the subgroups particularly SPED students.

“I’m just real proud of our students and teachers,” said Lineburg.

Additional information on the performance of students on SOL tests during 2018-2019 — including pass rates for schools and school divisions — is available on the VDOE website and on the online School Quality Profiles.

VDOE will announce school accreditation ratings for the 2019-2020 school year in September. Accreditation ratings reflect achievement in English, mathematics and science; student growth toward proficiency in reading and mathematics; progress toward closing achievement gaps in English and mathematics; and other school quality indicators.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com