NBC12 is learning what school leaders in Richmond plan to do about SOL scores they call devastating. The school board has asked the interim superintendent and academic team to crunch the numbers and come up with a plan by its meeting September 3.
There's no mincing words when it comes to School Board Chair Jeff Bourne's thoughts on the SOL scores.
"We've got some rates that aren't acceptable by any stretch of the imagination," he said.
Unfortunately, those unacceptable rates come in the basics. On average, Richmond students saw declines of more than 30% in English and Science.
NBC12 examined those numbers. At Chimborazo Elementary, the fourth graders had a passing rate of 80% last year. This year that number fell to just 32%. In Science for the 8th graders at Henderson Middle School, the rate last year was up at 80%. Now, only 28% of those students passed.
Even in high school there are issues. Last year the writing rate at Armstrong High School measured at 64%. This year, it fell to just 37%.
On the surface, the fix sounds simple - Bourne says they've got to stop doing the things that didn't work.
"We're going to look at everything from curriculum to what we benchmark but probably most importantly what's going on and who's providing the services in the classrooms in the schools because if we don't have the right people there then we've got to make some changes," Bourne asserted.
Education Specialist Dr. Bill Bosher offered suggestions.
"Analyze the results at the teacher level, not at the building level," he explained. "There's some teachers who have probably been successful, others have not. The second is what are the best practices in schools around you with young people like yours."
No matter what the system decides to do, Bourne says one thing is clear.
"We've got to get this right because we failed our children," he added.
The presentation from the superintendent is expected at the September 3 meeting, which starts at 5:30 at city hall. That is also the first day of school for students.
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