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Schools throughout both districts have been preparing for this week’s V.I. Territorial Assessment of Learning (VITAL) exams. Every year, a good amount of the VITAL data is factored into the territorial report card, which shows what kind of progress students in grades three, five, eight and 11 are making toward standards in reading and math. The VITAL results, along with attendance and participation rates, are also used to measure how far each school, and school district, has come in meeting requirements outlined in the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Last school year, the number of V.I. schools meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP) standards set by the Education Department dropped dramatically. But Education officials expect the numbers to climb this year, as efforts over the past few months to focus on the students’ strengths and weaknesses has culminated in a variety of after-school programs, professional-development sessions and one-on-one parent meetings, among other things. In addition to forums held on all three islands by the Education commissioner, the department has also been taking out ads in the newspapers and stressing the importance of the VITAL on various radio public-service announcements.

Last week, pep rallies were all the rage at a number of schools throughout the territory. On St. Croix, Claude O. Markoe Elementary held an honor roll and perfect-attendance assembly on Friday, attended by students, teachers and parents who came out to show support for their children’s good academic performance and 100% attendance. St. Croix’s John H. Woodson Jr. High held a parent-teacher meeting Thursday to discuss the purpose of the test and how parents can assist in students’ success. Parents were encouraged to make sure their children were on time and prepared.

Read the full article on school involvement at OnePaper.