Despite getting accreditation, Petersburg schools have room for improvement

The Tri-Cities

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Things are looking up for Petersburg schools after all city schools have received at least partial accreditation from the state.

The state’s new accreditation system focuses on overall growth. Some schools in the district were accredited with conditions, meaning the schools have things to work on. 

School administrators told 8News that students not coming to school and keeping teachers in the school district remain some of Petersburg’s biggest challenges. 

Petersburg City Public Schools can proudly say all of its schools are accredited by the state. Chief Academic Officer Cyndee Blount says more technology in the classroom has made a difference. 

“It’s a very big deal for us, we’re excited it’s an opportunity to celebrate,” Blount said. 

Despite the excitement, the school district says there’s still room for improvement. 

“We have a large problem with absenteeism,” Blount told 8News. “We have a large amount of students that have missed more than 10 days of school and the other piece to that is this new accreditation system has a accountability tool for attendance.” 

The new accreditation system works best for this school division as it recognizes teachers and students for improvements that weren’t recognized under the old system. 

“Your goal now is truly about growth, you’re trying to move categories, move red to yellow, move yellow to green,” said Blount. “And so it really honors growth.”

Absenteeism is considered one of the school district’s barriers. Blount says it will take the community to break these barriers, in order to reach full accreditation status. 

“We want to start to change the colors,” Blount said. “We talked about there are areas that are red, areas that are yellow and our ultimate goal in every situation is growth.”

Several schools plan to recognize students with improved and perfect attendance.

The school district is planning a community meeting to find out more effective strategies to encourage children to come to school. 

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