Scottsville Elementary

Scottsville Elementary sits 20 minutes from Charlottesville down Route 20 South. Route 20 is actually a main artery from Orange to Charlottesville to Sprouse’s Corner, but its two-ane, winding curves make it feel dangerous and remote. Scottsville Elementary was built in 1974 and expanded in 1981 to replace the Scottsville school that sat within the town limits. Scottsville was historically a thriving and busy town when the Kanawha Canal was a major means of transporting goods to port in Tidewater Virginia. From 1744 to 1761 Scottsville was the county seat when Albemarle County contained Buckingham, Fluvanna and Amherst counties. As transport of goods shifts from canal boat to train and truck, Scottsville’s light dimmed. Although Scottsville has had many attempted renaissances over the years, it still lacks opportunities for the working class families that live in and around the town.
One source of steady decent pay was the Uniroyal factory which ultimately closed in 2009.
As such, Scottsville Elementary, deals with generational/rural poverty. 40% of Scottsville Elementary School students are eligible for free/reduced lunch. Rural poverty is different in some ways from urban poverty. Disadvantaged students may end up with similar outcomes, but the individual family struggles may look different. Schools at a distance from the university and the urban center, like Scottsville, suffer from a lack of volunteers. UVa students and others living in Charlottesville are unwilling to drive the 30 minutes one way to volunteer at the school, limiting the amount of individualized attention students receive and the variety of adults that they encounter. Rural students are less likely to be able to access after-school or cultural programs due to the time and resources driving to Charlottesville requires.
One of the challenges with small underperforming schools, like Scottsville, which only has 190 students, is that the ostensibly fair method of allocating resources through assigning a certain number of FTEs (Full Time Equivalents) per child creates a disadvantage for schools with high levels of remediation. If there are 100 students in two schools, and they have respectively 20% and 90% pass rates on the SOLs, the school with the 20% pass rate will be obliged to have more literacy and math specialists in order to achieve higher pass rates. The hiring of these specialists make it impossible to hire other types of instructors, such as art, music, or foreign language, because the school’s allotment of FTEs has already been used. In this case, students who need remediation in math and reading do not have access to instructors specializing in the subjects that can inspire them and support learning in the core subject areas.

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