Exemplar Awards

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Exemplar Performance Awards

Schools are identified for exemplar performance under the Board of Education’s authority prescribed in the Regulations Establishing the Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8VAC20-131.410) which states: 

Recognitions and rewards for school and division accountability. 

Schools and divisions shall be recognized by the board in accordance with guidelines the board shall establish for the Exemplar School Recognition Program to recognize (i) schools or school divisions that exceed board-established requirements or show continuous improvement on academic and school quality indicators and (ii) schools, school divisions, and school boards that implement effective, innovative practices. Such recognition may include: 

  1. Public announcements recognizing individual schools and divisions; 
  2. Tangible rewards; 
  3. Waivers of certain board regulations; 
  4. Exemptions from certain reporting requirements; or 
  5. Other commendations deemed appropriate to recognize high achievement. 

In addition to board recognition, local school boards shall adopt policies to recognize individual schools through public announcements, media releases, and participation in community activities when setting policy relating to schools and budget development, as well as other appropriate recognition. 

The last time any of these recognitions were given was in the 2019-2020 school year. Due to the pandemic, accreditation was waived in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 and therefore, there was not accreditation data available for selection of these awards. The recognition cycle began again with accreditation year 2022-2023, based on 2021-2022 school year data. 

Highest Achievement Award

For the 2022-2023 award year, 48 schools met the criteria for the Highest Achievement Award. These schools are listed in Appendix A. Schools identified for this recognition must meet all of these criteria using 2021-2022 school year data: 

  • The school must be Accredited. 

  • The school meets state benchmark in reading, math and science (75 percent for reading and 70 percent for math and science) based on the current year pass rate on state assessments (not including growth or English Learner progress); 

  • All student groups within the school meet state benchmarks in reading and math (75 percent for reading and 70 percent for math) based on the current year pass rate on state assessments (not including growth or English Learner progress), and 

  • For schools with two student groups, there is no more than five percentage points between the lowest performing group and all other students in the school; or 

  • For schools with three or more student groups, there is no more than ten percentage points between the lowest performing group and all other students in the school 

Continuous Improvement Award

For the 2022-2023 school year,  93 schools are being recognized for the Continuous Improvement Award. These schools are listed in Appendix B. To receive this recognition the school can be Accredited or Accredited with Conditions and must meet at least one of the following criteria: 

  • The school demonstrates an increase in the combined rate for math, reading and science for each of the past three years (for 2022-2023 only, the three years are 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2021-2022), with a total increase across the three years of ten points or more; 

  • The school demonstrates an increase in the combined rate for two or more student groups in reading and math for each of the past three years (for 2022-2023 only, the three years are 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2021-2022), with a total increase across the three years of ten points or more; 

  • The school demonstrates an increase in the Graduation and Completion Index (GCI) for each of the past three years (for 2022-2023 only, the three years are 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2021-2022), with a total increase across the three years of four percent or more; and school demonstrates a decrease in the dropout rate for each of the past three years (for 2022-2023 only, the three years are 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2021-2022), with the total reduction across three years of 15 percent or more of the first year’s dropout rate. 

 Note: Both the highest achieving and continuous improvement awards criteria were amended for 2022-2023 awards (based on 2021-2022 school year data) to remove chronic absenteeism criteria since 2021-2022 school year chronic absenteeism data was not used in accreditation calculations for 2021-2022.

Innovative Practice Award

There are seven school divisions and one school being recognized with the Innovative Practice Award. The divisions and school, along with a summary of the innovations, are listed in Appendix C. Eligibility for recognition of an innovative practice is open to all accreditation-eligible schools, any school division, and any local school board. Schools, divisions, and school boards are recognized every two years for innovative practices based upon the following criteria:  

  • School- or division-wide implementation of a new or creative evidence-based alternative to existing instructional or administrative practices in a defined student population  

  • Practice must be implemented for at least two full academic years.  

  • Goals and objectives for practice must align with one of the following priority areas:  

  • Developing an integrated STEM approach to learning;  

  • Building genuine relationships with families to support overall family well-being and children’s healthy development;  

  • Elevating the quality and character of the school environment so that it the reflects the positive and support norms, goals, and values of the community;  

  • Retaining high-quality teachers; and  

  • Developing life-ready students through implementation of the Profile of a Virginia Graduate  

2022-2023 Exemplar Performance Awardees

The Virginia schools and school divisions which have received these awards for the 2022-2023 school year are listed in this document.