Preliminary SOL scores for Petersburg

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Encouraged and discouraged -- that's the response from the state's top educator about newly released preliminary SOL scores for Petersburg Public Schools. Early results show improvements in some subjects and poor performance in others.

Math at the middle school level for 6th graders took a tumble. In the 2009-2010 school year 67% of 6th graders passed the math portion of the SOL. Preliminary numbers for the most recent school year show a drop to 32%.

A similar story when it comes to grade 5 science at Walnut Hill Elementary. In the 2009-2010 school year 81% percent of 5 graders at that school passed the science section. During the most recent school year a decrease to 67% .

The superintendent of public instruction  for the state, Dr. Patricia Wright, calls those scores discouraging.

"It seems Petersburg continues to struggle in some areas while they're making progress in others," said Wright.

The progress is reflected in the 3rd grade science numbers. During the same time period 68% of 3rd graders at JEB Stuart Elementary passed the science section  -- that number jumped to 81%.

And for 7th grade reading at Peabody Middle -- a 21% increase in students who passed the reading section -- when comparing the two most recent school years.

"We'll continue to follow their progress and continue to support them as we can and we'll also nudge them when we need to," said Wright.

As part of a state mandate to increase student achievement the school district has an outside partner teaching hundreds of students at the middle and junior high school.

This upcoming school year another company will be brought on board to teach students at the elementary school level.

The superintendent of schools for Petersburg, Dr. Alvera Parrish, says success is a priority.

"All schools fully accredited and AYP. We're not accepting anything less than that," said Parrish.

Four of the seven schools in Petersburg are fully accredited. Final SOL or standards of learning numbers for the 2010-2011 school year will be released in August.

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