SOLabration celebrates school division’s 100 percent accreditation

Next time you’re visiting Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ administration building, look up.

There is one more flag proudly flying below the United States flag and the Commonwealth of Virginia flag. It’s a flag that denotes an achievement that the entire school division is proudly celebrating: 100 percent full Standards of Learning (SOL) accreditation.

On Oct. 24, the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach hosted a “SOLabration” to celebrate this achievement and to raise an SOL flag that will be displayed for the remainder of the school year.

“Today, we, together, get to present this flag that encapsulates the work and the effort and the trials and the resilience and, yes, the many successes both big and small that have led to our full accreditation as a school division,” Superintendent Aaron Spence shared with Mayor Will Sessoms, School Board members, principals, division administrators, students and parents who attended the event. He went on to credit teachers who “work tirelessly in our schools day in and day out to get us to this point.”

Ironically, he also shared that accreditation was not the goal.

“But let me also be clear: accreditation is not our goal,” Spence added. “Our goal is to have schools that are focused on meeting the needs of all students every day. Accreditation should only be the byproduct of the critical work. This is a celebration of those schools, those leaders and those teachers who work tirelessly in the service of children. It is a celebration of what is possible when talented people commit to a mission.”

Fifth-grade Green Run Elementary School student Ayana Acevedo, who was one of the students who helped raise the flag for the first time, has seen that commitment firsthand.

“I like how teachers and the principal work with students to help us succeed,” she said.

Schoolmate Zion Artis-Bruce, who is in fourth grade, agreed. He, like Spence, shared that everyone’s hard work is for the purpose of helping students.

“We do a lot of work so we can build up knowledge so we’ll be ready for when we go to the upper grades,” he said.

The last time the school division was fully accredited was in the 2010-2011 school year. This flag denotes full accreditation for 2017-2018. Similar flags can be seen across the division’s schools, which held similar celebratory events at the start of the school year.

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