Two West End Schools Recognized as Exemplary by the State

The Virginia Board of Education has announced that Patrick Henry School and James K. Polk Elementary School are among only 52 schools statewide being recognized for high student achievement.

The schools on Alexandria’s West End have been recognized for the academic growth they have seen in their students under the state board’s new exemplar performance recognition program. Both have been awarded the Board of Education’s Highest Achievement Award.

To earn the Board of Education Highest Achievement Award, a school must produce consistent gains in academic achievement and successful efforts to reduce absenteeism and dropout rates. Patrick Henry School and James K. Polk Elementary School have been fully accredited for the past five years – meeting both the achievement benchmarks set under the old recognition system and the growth benchmarks under the new one adopted in 2018.

Both schools have worked hard to ensure that all students from all backgrounds receive quality core instruction as well as researched based remediation to combat inequities such as  economic disadvantages and second language acquisition. These two schools have also both placed emphasis on parent engagement including home visits and events that assist families in understanding the curriculum while  providing them with strategies to support their child’s learning. This combination of data driven instructional practices and increased parent involvement have proven instrumental in their success. James K. Polk and Patrick Henry are both Title I schools with high percentages of students eligible for free and reduced school meals. They also serve a significant number of students for whom English is a second language. We take pride in having received this recognition in two schools that capture the diversity that makes our city unique and that face the challenges that all of our schools are working together to overcome.

This is an outstanding accomplishment that recognizes the hard work that has gone into ensuring every student succeeds,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.

In addition to this remarkable recognition, George Washington and Francis C. Hammond middle schools are among 183 schools earning the Board of Education Continuous Improvement Award.

The exemplar performance school recognition program is aligned with the Board of Education’s revised accreditation standards and replaces the Virginia Index of Performance recognition program. The board approved the criteria for the new awards in April 2018.

I congratulate the principals, teachers, support staff, and students of all of these schools for the academic successes and hard work these awards represent. I am especially pleased to see schools that went unrecognized under the previous awards program receive the recognition they deserve for consistent gains in academic achievement and successful efforts to reduce absenteeism and dropout rates,” said James Lane, state superintendent of public instruction.