Archived Story

Preliminary SOLs good at FHS

Published 11:57am Saturday, February 22, 2014

FRANKLIN—Since full accreditation at Franklin High School has slipped because of math, Principal Travis Felts can’t count just the hours of sleep he has lost.

While he fully admitted that there was still plenty of work to do, he did take a moment this week to congratulate FHS students for all they have accomplished.

“There is no time to celebrate, but we decided to clap for ourselves a little bit,” Felts said. “We’re excited because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

That’s because out of the 11 subjects they were tested in, there were marked improvements in eight categories. The decreases were in writing, reading and algebra II, while Virginia and U.S. history, world history, world history II, earth science, biology, chemistry, algebra I and geometry all improved in pass rate.

Overall, English dropped from 79 percent pass rate to 55.2. History went from 71 to 82.8, science from 74 to 84 and math – yes, math – from 60 to 72.54.

“Historically, we have been strong in English,” Felts said. “We are not satisfied with that, and I think by the end of the year we can get that turned around.”

Even if they were not able to, English is a category where they can use their three-year average, which Felts said would bring it up to where English would continue to be accredited.

“We can make it on our three-year average, but that is not our goal,” he added. “We want to make it up by the end of the year.”

Being up 12 percent compared to last year in math has the staff especially excited.

“MATH,” Felts exclaimed. “We have really lamented over math, and I still lose sleep. But it is good to see some progress.”

These figures are preliminary, based on the progress made during the first semester at FHS, and he also said that they are not official. But they do offer a good SOL benchmark, Felts said.

“We have worked hard to make sure these figures are as accurate as possible,” he said.

In the English categories, writing dropped from 89 to 52.1 percent pass rate; and reading from 76 to 58 percent pass rate.

In the history categories, Virginia and U.S. history went from 63 to 79.6 percent pass rate; world history from 78 to 84 percent pass rate; and world history II from 72 to 88.4 percent pass rate.

In science, earth science went from 66 to 77.1 percent pass rate; biology from 72 to 96.2 percent pass rate; and chemistry from 93 to 100 percent pass rate.

In math, algebra I went from 50 to 88.2 percent pass rate; geometry from 38 to 67.44 percent pass rate; and algebra II dropped from 75 to 60 percent pass rate.

Of the big jumps in biology and algebra I, Felts credits having good teachers.

He also acknowledged the children.

“I think sometimes even our kids get the blame for the situation at the school,” he said. “You can criticize the adults all you want, but we take it to heart when you criticize the students.

“We have great students at Franklin High School.”

Felts said the school has not slacked off, and will continue to improve.

“One thing we are doing is preparing a dinner for the parents and students who are retakers,” he said. “We’re going to ask for their parents help to get the students in tutoring early in the semester. We want them to pass on the retake.”

At the beginning of the year, Felts said that by the 2014-15 school year, Franklin High School would be fully accredited.

“My wife criticized me, saying that I shouldn’t have said that,” he said. “But I still say that we are going to be fully accredited

“We are still in the game.”

A former coach, Felts used a football analogy.

“Now, this is just halftime, so we aren’t celebrating the victory yet,” he said. “But we are feeling good about what we have accomplished.”

  • Liberty With Responsibility

    Yeah, this rubs me the wrong way–now, we’re going to treat the families of FAILURE to a special dinner?? What did a school board member previously say about “chicken dinners?” Here is the proof of what he said, but I don’t hear anyone screaming about it this time! What does this say to the “good” students and parents who diligently did their duty to study hard all along? You get MORE of what you encourage, people. This is wrong.

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  • employee2

    I am not sure, but is Travis Felts the son of Fred & Martha Felts? If so, they spent many years as teachers at FHS in the 70′s & 80′s.

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    • simplifyingit
      • wahoohick

        Yes, they did. His dad was an excellent coach, teacher and his mom was an excellent teacher. Good people.

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  • DBenton

    Mr. Felts and FHS teachers – thank you for your hard work this year! Keep it up! Congrats on the rising tide of SOL test scores. You are showing this community that it can be done when people take their responsibility seriously. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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  • hellcat

    Are these scores actual SOL test results, or FCPS-created benchmark tests? Either way, it’s great to see improvement!

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  • RWH

    I like the can-do attitude Felts exhibits because if HE doesn’t believe it then who will?

    Parent/s, get involved for the benefit of your own child. Your children need you more than ever. No one wants to be a failure in life.

    Contrary to what some on the street corner think, stupid is not cool.

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  • shocked

    Congratulations to Mr. Felts, teachers, and students! It never ceases to amaze me how negative articles motivate bloggers to comment within an hour of posting, but positive articles such as this receive very few comments. Keep up the good work FHS!

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    • simplifyingit

      not sure i am seeing this as a positive. One subject has a “preliminary” improvement while the others all declined. Then you have to examine the “legitimacy” of the SOLs to begin with. SOLs are a govt imposed testing process to ensure the school continues receiving money, not that the kids are becoming better educated for the future job market. I’m not saying you’re wrong just that I’m “on the fence” and don’t know how to feel yet.

      I agree that Felts is the greatest principal FHS has employed, ever. He also has a an excellent core staff. So Congrats on the “prelims” improvement and i hope your team pulls out the win in the second half!

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    • JustWondering

      I have to agree with you. If there is bad or disturbing news – 30 bloggers weighing in in minutes. Progress and good news get no support. Felts and all the current principals are good leaders. One concern though is serving dinner to get parents to work with their own children. That speaks volumes. Parents should be knocking the doors down asking how they can help theirs and other children, but I know that all the schools have to take money that could be spent on something else to buy food to bribe parents to be temporarily involved…until the chicken is gone. Sad, but keep up the good work FHS – and JPK and SPM!

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  • wahoohick

    A big congrats to the students for starting on the road to improvement and kudos to Mr. Felts and the high school staff for help guiding them in the right direction! Franklin High has a great asset in Travis Felts. I’ve known him and worked around him for many years and he always has had the school as his top priority. It means alot to have area educators in our system that really care. Hope FCPS knows what they have in Felts. We need more like him, of his caliber, in our schools, system wide.

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