Fluvanna schools middle of the road, but improving

This year’s results showed considerable improvement from last year, going from an average rank of 66th to 56th of the 132 school districts in the commonwealth.
“That’s pretty impressive growth,” said School Board Chair Camilla Washington at the Oct. 10 meeting.

There were a few shining exceptions to these scores, particularly at the high school level. For instance, Fluvanna is third in the state for geometry education.
“Mathematics is a strength for the county in both performance and participation,” said Mathieson. “The high school has really hit it out of the park.”

In addition, high school drop-out rates for economically disadvantaged students have decreased by 10 percent, putting the overall graduation rate in Fluvanna at 86 percent.

But there were also some concerning results. Of the 1,804 schools in the state, Fluvanna elementary schools have been added to a list of 72 schools who the Department of Education (DOE) has labeled as needing attention. The DOE has also required Fluvanna Middle School to submit an improvement plan.

The largest gap in scores is in reading at the elementary level, with only 66 percent of economically disadvantaged students passing the SOL exam, compared to 84 percent of the general student population.

“This is brutally honest data that tells us where we need to focus,” said Fluvanna Public Schools Superintendent Gena Keller.

The school district has decided to hire external contractor Rick Bowmaster to develop an improvement plan and intervention strategies. The funds to pay for Bowmaster’s services will come from federal Title I grants.

“We are considered a school division that’s not moving fast enough forward. We need to keep everyone engaged and stay focused on the children and really just try to stay positive,” said Mathieson. “There’s a lot of good folks in place and a lot of good things have started.”

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