Harrisonburg High School’s Writing Standard of Learning (SOL) scores increased by 16% in the past two years. In the 2015-2016 school year, 84% of students passed the Writing SOL. However, in the 2016-2017 school year, 100% of students passed the Writing SOL.
In-between the 2014-2015 and the 2015-2016 school years, the SOL scores dropped by 3%, which Harrisonburg High School principal Cynthia Prieto believes has encouraged teachers to be more strategic with teaching methods.
“We made improvements. We always have ways to improve. We’ve gotten very strategic about how to help students pass it the first time. But if they don’t pass it the first time, how do we get it while it’s still in your brain, polish it off, and test it again, instead of waiting until you’re a senior and you’re scrambling and thinking ‘oh I need one more’ or that sort of thing,” Prieto said.
SOLs and exams do not normally appear until the middle of the school year or the end of the school year. Educators have been preparing for these educational examinations since the beginning of the school year, according to Prieto.
“We start from the beginning. I showed [the SOL scores] to the faculty and then in the next faculty meeting we go a little bit deeper into it.” Prieto said. “We’ve provided individual teachers with their information, so then they can look at their performance by question reports and say ‘Hmm, my students didn’t do well in geography’ or ‘yeah we nailed geography but need to work on this…’ So already the teachers are looking at their information and thinking ‘Hmm, what do I keep? What do I add? Do I change this?’ So that they can be more successful.”
SOLs and exams are coming up in a few months, according to teachers and faculty. With that being said, some students feel like they need teacher support in their rough times. Prieto has a message for all students.
“I think that you would be pleased and surprised at how much the teachers ponder and analyze to get the best for you guys and for the next group,” Prieto said.