Elementary schools in Roanoke County and the counties of Rockbridge and Montgomery won the state’s highest student achievement award under the Virginia Board of Education’s new exemplar performance program.

The winners are among 52 schools across the state to earn the honor. The board announced the awards Thursday.

In Roanoke County, Bonsack, Burlington and Green Valley elementary schools earned the recognition. Rockbridge County’s Mountain View Elementary, and Montgomery County’s Gilbert Linkous Elementary also earned the honor.

Winners of the award must be accredited and meet benchmarks related to pass rates on science, math, reading and writing state assessments. The schools must also have a narrow gap between lowest-performing students and all other students in the same subjects.

The board approved the criteria to update the state’s exemplar performance award program in April 2018. The new program was designed to complement the state’s revised accreditation standards, and replace the old Virginia Index of Performance recognition awards.

The new program also recognized 183 Virginia schools that are making continuous improvement. To earn the recognition, a school must earn a rating of accredited or accredited with conditions and meet at least one of the state’s benchmarks for improved performance on accreditation-related school quality indicators.

The benchmarks include improvements related to pass rates on state assessments, chronic student absenteeism, and graduation and dropout rates.

The following schools in the Roanoke region and New River Valley earned the continuous improvement award:

  • Botetourt County: Central Academy Middle, Eagle Rock Elementary and James River High
  • Craig County: Craig County High
  • Floyd County: Check Elementary, Floyd County High, Floyd Elementary
  • Giles County: Giles High and Narrows High
  • Montgomery County: Christiansburg Primary and Eastern Montgomery Elementary
  • Radford: Belle Heth Elementary
  • Roanoke: Crystal Spring Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, Patrick Henry High and Westside Elementary
  • Roanoke County: Glenvar High, Hidden Valley High, Mountain View Elementary and Oak Grove Elementary

State Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane congratulated the schools for the academic success represented in the awards through a news release from the Virginia Department of Education.

“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,” Lane said.

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