A local elementary school was added to this year's list of schools that need additional help to improve for next year.
Washington-Lee Elementary School in Bristol, Va., has been added as a 'focus' school by the Virginia Department of Education.
The school was among the two lowest-performing in the city in terms of last year's SOL scores, and when those scores were released last month, Superintendent Mark Lineburg said staff are making a concerted effort to make improvements at the school.
Some 73 schools have been designated as focus schools, and they must employ state-approved school improvement coaches, according to a written statement.
Two schools in Smyth County, Oak Point and Marion elementary schools, are on the focus list and were noted this year as having made improvement, because they met a set of annual measurable objectives, which are set under a two-year waiver granted last year that grants school relief from outdated No Child Left Behind rules, the statement said.
The waiver also requires the state to designate the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title I schools as priority schools, and an additional 10 percent as focus school. Title I of the No Child Left Behind program provides funding for schools with a high percentage of low-income students.
An additional 37 low-performing schools have been identified as priority schools, and they must get state-approved partners to help them design school reform models, the statement said.
"It is important to consider the increased rigor of Virginia’s new reading and mathematics Standards of Learning tests before making conclusions about schools that missed annual objectives,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said in the statement. “Virginia has raised the bar to prepare students for the realities of the 21st century. Our challenge — from the superintendent’s office to the classroom — is to make sure students have the instruction and interventions they need to achieve the commonwealth’s college- and career-ready expectations, regardless of who they are or where they live.”