Investigation finds SOL violations at Petersburg elementary school; several employees fired

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — After a thorough investigation, Petersburg City Public Schools (PCPS) has determined that Standards of Learning (SOL) testing procedures were violated at A.P. Hill Elementary School this spring.

PCPS sent a release Wednesday morning saying the school division does not comment on specific personnel disciplinary actions, however, “several employees are no longer employed by PCPS as a result of the investigation.”

RELATED: Source: Petersburg elementary school under investigation for possibly cheating on SOLs

On June 12, representatives from the Virginia Department of Education notified PCPS officials that they had received an allegation of testing irregularities at A.P. Hill Elementary.

The school system immediately began a comprehensive investigation that included interviews with students, teachers and administrators.

“We must ensure the integrity of the testing environment, and violators of state procedures will face consequences. The vast majority of our teachers, staff members and administrators are doing the right thing to improve instruction and academic achievement throughout the school system. Petersburg students can and will succeed when we provide engaging and relevant learning opportunities,” Superintendent Marcus Newsome said.

According to the release, “A.P. Hill Elementary students will not be asked to re-take the tests, and the school system expects that students will not receive score reports for any spring 2017 SOL tests, Virginia Grade Level Alternative assessments or Virginia Alternate Assessment Program assessments because the integrity of the test results cannot be determined. Because of the testing violations, A.P. Hill Elementary’s accreditation will likely be withheld by the state.”

In an effort to ensure the validity of all of the school system’s accountability data, PCPS administrators say they will review practices and processes.

“I encourage all staff members to report concerns about any irregularities to my office,” Dr. Newsome said.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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