Hardy Elementary School scores improved

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2016

By Ryan Kushner


Staff writer

Hardy Elementary School saw significant improvements to its reading and math SOL scores after being declared a focus school last year by the Virginia Department of Education.

The focus school label is applied to Title 1 schools with a large population of students from lower-income families that do not meet federal government standards for proficiency in gap group pass rates in math and reading. The three proficiency gap groups, or groups that have historically experienced difficulty meeting state standards, include students with disabilities, economically disadvantage students and black and Hispanic students.

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Reading scores for black students at Hardy Elementary had a 24-point increase according to the latest Standards of Learning results, rising to 76 percent, two percent higher than the state average. Economically disadvantaged students also had a major bump in reading scores, rising 15 points to achieve a 71 percent pass rate, three points ahead of the state average. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Reading scores for students with disabilities at Hardy Elementary went from 11 percent to 33 percent, a 22-point increase, though still 16 points shy of the state average.

Hardy Elementary’s math scores also showed significant progress, with black students’ scores skyrocketing 27 points from 44 percent to 71 percent, just three ticks below the state average rate. Economically disadvantaged students scored an 80 percent pass rate in math, up from 23 points from the previous year and 22 points higher than the state average.

Overall, Hardy jumped 13 points in English in this year’s SOLs, matching the state’s average of 84 percent. Its math scores also showed positive strides, as the elementary school swung up nine points to 86 percent, beating the state average of 84 percent.

Hardy Elementary Principal Shante Denson attributed the improvements to teamwork. 

“Teachers collaborated with each other and used every minute of every day to focus on individual students and not just numbers,” Denson said in an email. “The entire school focused on literacy by ensuring that the reading block was uninterrupted time dedicated to reading.”

Leading the Isle of Wight division is eighth grade science, which was bumped up three points from the previous year to 91 percent, 12 points ahead of the state’s 79 percent average.

Each of Isle of Wight County’s schools saw an increase in English scores except for Smithfield Middle, which dropped two points to 83 percent, one point below the state average.

Isle of Wight schools also showed decreases in mathematics scores, except for Hardy and Windsor Elementary schools, with Windsor Elementary gaining seven points since the previous year and rising to 94 percent.

Superintendent Dr. James Thornton said he was pleased with the overall performance of the county’s schools this past year.

“We have a great instructional team of teachers, parents, students and community,” said Thornton in an email. “I truly believe our focus on deeper learning and the five C’s—creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship—will enable all of our students to discover their unique talents and gifts and prepare them to be college, career and life ready.”  

Board of Education President Billy K. Cannaday, Jr. noted in a press release the continuing gaps separating the achievements of black and Hispanic students from those of white students, stating that closing these gaps would “remain the state board’s top priority.”  

While the gap between blacks and whites is likewise still apparent in most categories overall in Isle of Wight county schools, the SOL scores of black students remain above the state’s average in a majority of the categories.

In Isle of Wight, 72 percent of black students passed the English performance section of the test, with 66 percent being the state average. Likewise, despite falling three points from the previous year’s score, 71 percent of black students passed mathematics, compared to the state’s 67 percent average.

For writing performance, black students in Isle of Wight County scored 69 percent overall, up from 67 percent, with a state average of 63 percent. In history, black students fell three points to a score of 80 percent with a state average of 74 percent.

The science score increased 4 percent as the amount of students who passed leaped to 74 percent, beating the state average of 70 percent. {/mprestriction}