Petersburg school earns SOL accreditation after investigation

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -  It's the day school leaders in Petersburg City Public Schools have been waiting for. A second day of success, as another school at the center of a state investigation makes SOL accreditation.

This news comes just a day after the district named a new principal at A.P. Hill. Sabrina Beamon will be taking over as principal of the school.

An emotional day inside this building after a summer of hard work as leaders learn that A.P. Hill Elementary makes it's SOL accreditation.

"It feels almost like the birth of my first child," said Petersburg Superintendent Dr. James Victory, just moments after learning of the unanimous decision by the state board.

The new comes, despite at least a dozen students not taking one or more of the required SOL testing this past spring at the school.

"It's like a huge weight just lifts off of you and you feel the joy of the moment," said Dr. Victory.

The board determined the school would still meet accreditation standards, even if those who didn't take the test had failed. Now 4 of the districts 7 schools are accredited. It's progress for a board member, whose kids went through the struggling school district.

"As Dr. Victory was standing and getting emotional, I did everything I could to hold back myself," said Kenneth Pritchett.

A.P. Hill submitted a corrective action plan to make sure everyone takes the SOL test from here on out, which includes more supervision, attendance taken twice during the exam and more.

Still, there is a lot of work to be done in the district. Since 3 of the schools still did not make SOL accreditation, the district must offer an alternative option for middle school students in the district.

"At the rate they are improving, it will still be a while if they maintain the same rate," said State Superintendent Dr. Patricia Wright. "I plan to help Petersburg."

She, along with the board, will come up with a list of options Petersburg City Public Schools can use as an alternative for those middle school students. The schools will review that list in October.

"We got to stop talking but make it happen," added Dr. Victory.

In addition to that, Dr. Victory tells us the success they've had is great not only for the schools and the City, but also for other cities across the country that need the hope and vision that such success can happen in their schools as well.

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