The race is on to turn around schools that need to improve their test scores. Right now, an East Henrico school is challenging itself to make the grade with tougher standards in place state wide.
When 17 Henrico schools found out they were no longer fully accredited last year, Harvie Elementary was on that list. That's when teachers and students took a moment to think about how to re-focus.
"If it counts now, it will count in the future when I go to college," said 5th grader Kelvin Gilliam.
That's the message from Harvie Elementary where teachers helping students make the grade.
"That has always been my challenge to work with schools where at some point people think that we might not be able to do," Principal Pam Bell said.
Only 77% of Virginia's schools are considered fully accredited -- meaning their students have a 70 to 75 % passing rate on standardized tests. Harvie is considered "accredited with warning" - because it fell short of that mark.
"We know what students are able to achieve," Bell said.
This year, the school is raising the bar - rewarding students who have an 80 % passing rate on benchmark tests. That's above the state requirement. Friday, teachers threw a huge celebration for the 250 students who met or exceeded that grade this week. Representatives from the school board and board of supervisors were also there to reward students for their hard work.
"I like getting A's on my test. That makes my parents proud of me and I feel proud for myself," said 3rd grader Trenell Givens.
"We want to be represented in Henrico so they'll know Harvie is always on point," Gilliam added.
Students won't know until the summer whether Harvie is fully accredited again but students are counting on their renewed focus to bring results.
Last year, all state schools took on new, more difficult tests for reading, writing and science - so many students saw lower scores throughout the area.
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