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(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia)—Three Albemarle County public schools were recently honored by the Virginia Board of Education with a 2023-2024 Highest Achievement Award for outstanding assessment performance and practices during the previous school year. Community Lab School, Ivy Elementary School, and Virginia L. Murray Elementary School were among 64 schools recognized by the board as part of the state’s Exemplar School Recognition Program. This year’s Exemplar Performance Awards recognized 37 Virginia schools with the Highest Achievement Award and 27 schools with the Continuous Improvement Award.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, recognition in the Exemplar Awards program is one of the highest achievements a school can receive in the Commonwealth. Schools receiving the Highest Achievement Award have demonstrated high levels of success across all school quality indicators, including success in narrowing achievement gaps.

“These schools exemplify excellence in education and serve as models for others to follow,” said Dr. Matthew Haas, Superintendent for Albemarle County Public Schools. “We are immensely proud of the hard work and commitment demonstrated by the staff, students, and community members of Community Lab School, Ivy Elementary, and Virginia L. Murray Elementary.”

In order to earn the Board of Education’s Highest Achievement Award, a school must achieve Performance Level One for reading, mathematics and science based on the student pass rate for the “all students” group in the school, as well as for each student group. The school also is required to achieve Level One in the Chronic Absenteeism, Graduation and Completion Index, and Dropout Rate school quality indicators.

More specifically, schools that receive the Highest Achievement Award must be accredited and meet the state pass rate benchmarks in reading, math and science (75% for reading and 70% for math and science) on state assessments. All student groups within the school must meet those state benchmarks in reading and math. Additionally, for schools with two student groups, there can be no more than five percentage points between the lowest performing group and all other students in the school, and for schools with three or more student groups, there can be no more than 10 percentage points between the lowest performing group and all other students in the school. The school must also demonstrate a chronic absenteeism rate of 15% or lower.

For schools with a graduating class, such as Community Lab School, two additional criteria apply. The school must demonstrate a Graduation and Completion Index of 88 points or higher, as well as a dropout rate of 6% or lower.

“I commend the faculty, students and families of these schools for their dedication to academic excellence and continuous improvement,” said Haas. “Their achievements reflect the collective effort and solid commitment to student success within Albemarle County Public Schools.”

For more information about Albemarle County Public Schools’ performance, visit the division’s Virginia School Quality Profile.

CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-249-8379