NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Norfolk School Board members will have a lot to discuss at their Wednesday night school board meeting, including the recently released Standards of Learning tests results.
The Norfolk School division released the anticipated accreditation numbers and said they need to be looked at with a sense of urgency.
For the 2012-2013 school year, 31 Norfolk schools were fully accredited. For the 2013-2014 school year, the school division predicts only 14 will be fully accredited. There are 45 Norfolk schools in all.
10 On Your Side reporter Stephanie Harris asked the school board president, Dr. Kirk Houston, "How did this happen?"
"That's a good question," Houston said. "I think it’s an issue of curriculum issues, professional development issues coupled with changing in assessments from the state."
Speaking for Norfolk's school board, Houston accepted full responsibility for the situation. 10 On Your Side asked if replacing the school board would help.
"I'm sure people will feel that way, absolutely," Houston said. "I don't think that's the answer. We certainly had a couple of years of transition that did not help us in this situation."
Houston is referring to the fact that Norfolk has had a new superintendent for the last three years. However, Houston is convinced current superintendent, Dr. Samuel King, is putting the district on the right track.
The division says its schools and students did show improvement in math scores. However, Virginia Department of Education results show science, reading and writing scores went down. These are subjects the state introduced new and tougher tests in this past year that focus on critical thinking.
Norfolk's results do reflect a statewide trend, as well as how other Hampton Roads divisions did on the SOL pass rates.
King said the dropping accreditation ratings are concerning. When King joined Norfolk schools last year, he had outside experts assess the schools. Then he and the school board put together action steps to correct the problem in the five-year plan. The plan includes curriculum changes, teacher training and public charter schools that would allow struggling students to get more time in the classroom.
He will present the final charter school plan to the board in October for a vote.
The school board says on its agenda for Wednesday night's meeting, members plan to talk about its top two priorities -- the first priority is ensuring full accreditation; the second is increasing academic achievement of all students.
"Norfolk Public Schools is still a great school system to educate children in," Houston said. "I have a granddaughter that's a middle schooler, and we have no plans or consideration of moving her from Norfolk Public Schools."
And to parents who might consider pulling their kids from Norfolk Public Schools, Houston says to consider this: If just one class fails to reach 70 percent on one SOL test, the whole school fails to make full accreditation. It’s not an excuse, he said, it's just fact.
Norfolk Police are investigating the cause of death for male found unconscious on the beach.
Several local families could be out on the streets by the new year, if things don't improve at a Chesapeake shelter.
A disturbing national trend has found it's way into eastern North Carolina. There have been reports of young men punching innocent people -- with the intention of knocking them out -- and the victims never see it coming.