By Stefanie Jackson- Metompkin Elementary School “dream makers” Principal Belinda Rippon and Assistant Principal SuCora Owens-Robinson presented their school improvement plan to the Accomack school board Tuesday night. (Assistant Principal Katie Farrell was absent.)
Metompkin is the only Accomack school currently accredited with conditions. All other Accomack schools are accredited.
Overall, Metompkin student performance on the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests increased significantly in all subjects compared to the previous year, but the school narrowly missed accreditation because two student groups failed to show adequate performance growth in reading.
Comparing Metompkin’s SOL passing rates in the 2016-2017 and 2017- 2018 school years, reading increased from 76 percent to 80 percent; math rose from 70 percent to 82 percent; science jumped from 58 percent to 78 percent; and history (Virginia studies) skyrocketed from 55 percent to 86 percent.
The two student groups that lacked adequate academic growth in reading were black students and students with disabilities. About 59 percent and 53 percent of those two groups, respectively, showed growth.
The percentages of other student groups that showed academic growth in reading were: economically disadvantaged students, 79 percent, English learners, 95 percent, Hispanic students, 92 percent, and white students, 84 percent.
Metompkin administrators discussed the steps that would be taken to help the two target student groups increase their academic performance.
For students with disabilities, monthly meetings with special education teachers have been planned. Teachers will receive professional development on inclusion, and they will learn how to provide more educational opportunities for students with disabilities through the College of William & Mary’s Training and Technical Assistance Center.
For black students, Metompkin will focus more on building cultural relevance, making instruction more relatable and engaging, and providing mentoring, intervention groups, and family outreach.
Reading will be promoted schoolwide. A reading specialist will visit the school weekly. All students in grades K to 2 will participate in the Fundations phonics program, which will also be used for Tier 2 and 3 learners (those needing the most assistance).
Every classroom will showcase a fun and engaging reading display. Principal Rippon will visit each class and read aloud to students once a month.
Metompkin will continue to use the Accelerated Reader program to keep kids “always reading” as well as the Principal’s Book of the Month.
Therapeutic Interventions (TI), the only school-based behavioral therapy program used by Accomack schools, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
It serves an average of 24 students in each of Accomack’s 11 schools.
Of the students who receive day treatment through TI, 43 percent receive fewer office referrals compared to the previous school year, 25 percent get no referrals, 13 percent get the same amount of referrals, and 19 percent are referred more often.
The majority of students treated by TI counselors – 44 percent – receives one to five referrals per year. Another 37 percent receive none, 12 percent get six to 10 referrals, and only 7 percent receive 11 or more referrals within one year.
After just six months of behavioral intervention, the number of classes these students pass rises from 60 to 70 percent.
More than half of kids in TI improve by the quarterly progress mark and only 7 percent regress in their behavior.
About two-thirds of students in TI are between the ages of five and 12, and 30 percent are ages 13 to 17. Three-quarters are male. Approximately half of the students are black, more than a third are white, and 5 percent are Hispanic.
Substitute Teacher Raises
The school board voted in favor of raises for substitute teachers at their Sept. 4 work session.
Substitutes will get $65 per day without a college degree or $90 with a degree.
Retired teachers who have 15 or more years of experience in Accomack schools will receive $125 per day to substitute.