Richmond implementing a costly new plan to turn schools around

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After seeing SOL scores fall an average of 2.6 percent this year, Richmond Schools are starting a district-wide plan to turn things around.

However, it’s not yet clear how much these improvements will cost, or who will foot the bill.

One person at Thursday’s meeting asked Superintendant Dana Bedden just this.

“When you’re in school improvement, you have to [spend], regardless. Does that come with some money? Absolutely,” Bedden said.

Bedden said he wanted to promote the kids who could use logic and reason to solve their issues, not just kids who did well on tests.

“We want to promote critical thinkers and problem solvers so kids know how to tackle problems and [won’t just be] great test takers,” Bedden said.

The SPP has been in development since before this year’s testing, but sagging SOL scores that just came out this week has dialed up the sense of urgency.

“Our performance isn’t where we want it to be,” Bedden said.

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This Fall, each school will form a progress planning team to pinpoint the problems standing in their way.

“They have to evaluate different areas of the plan to make sure they’re meeting the standard,” Bedden said.

Every team will have to turn in a report of their findings in October, followed by quarterly monitoring by the superintendent.

Questions still linger over how much the state will help with the costs of data analysis, learning tools for teachers and other resources.

“The schools get a certain amount of allocation, we bring forth a certain amount for them. The resources for professional learning, pretty much the system has tried to cover,” Bedden said.

Each school will have to turn in their root cause analysis in October. From there, administrators will check up on each school’s progress throughout the year.

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