According to an analysis of public school data, the schools in Franklin are not doing so well. Out of 132 public school districts in the state of Virginia, standardized test scores in the district were the second worst in the state.
Only 75% of students in Franklin passed what are known as the Standard of Learning (SOL) tests, which include separate tests for science, math, English and history. The only district in the state in which students performed worse was Petersburg.
Not all the schools in the region, though, are doing poorly. Students at Isle of Wight schools had the 12th best scores in the state while students in Southampton scored in the upper 50%.
School administrators in Franklin, Petersburg and Southampton were provided the analysis and were asked to comment about it.
Dr. Michelle Belle, who is the superintendent of schools in Franklin, said that she had never before seen SOL scores ranked, nor has she seen scores in different subject areas averaged together in the way they were in the analysis. Not knowing how the numbers were compiled, she insists that she cannot speak about them in any meaningful way. Though she admits that her school system needs to improve.
In Petersburg, where only 73% of students passed the SOLs, the district will soon have a new superintendent, as Dr. Alvera Parrish will be leaving her job as superintendent to take a similar position in Southampton, where she will be replacing Charles Turner, who is retiring.
Parrish declined to respond to the low scores in Petersburg. Instead, she said that she is very much looking forward to moving on to Southampton, where she hopes to have a “positive start.” She further added that she did not feel that it was appropriate to discuss student scores in Petersburg, nor did she feel that doing so would accomplish anything positive.
In Southampton, 85% of students passed the SOLs. This ranks the school system there 56th in the state. In response to this, retiring Superintendent Turner said that, while they are proud of both their students and staff, there is still room for improvement.
Isle of Wight schools achieved their high ranking based on the fact that 91% of their students passed the SOLs.
Looking a little deeper into the test score data shows that, in Franklin, 87% of students who did not receive free or subsidized lunches passed the SOLs while only 72% of those who received either free or subsidized lunches passed. Also, 95% of white students there passed the tests while only 71% of blacks did.
In Petersburg, there was not much difference between those students who received free or subsidized lunches and those who did not. 77% of those who fully paid for their lunches passed the tests while 73% of those who received free or subsidized lunches passed the tests. But the difference between white and black students was about the same. 98% of white students passed the tests while only 73% of black students did.
Isle of Wight schools and Southampton schools saw data breakdowns that were a bit different.
95% of Isle of Wight students who fully paid for their lunches passed the SOLs while 84% of those who received free or subsidized lunches passed the tests. 94% of white students there passed the tests while 83% of black students passed the tests.
As for Southampton, 91% of students who fully paid for their lunches passed the tests while 81% of those who received free or subsidized lunches passed the tests. 91% of white students there passed the tests while 79% of black students passed the tests.
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