Bellwood achieves National School Change Award

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Bellwood Elementary School is one of just three schools in the country to earn a National School Change Award this year.

The award recognizes schools that have achieved significant positive change. Bellwood Elementary celebrated its National School Change Award last week. Dr. Lew Smith, founder and director of the National School Change Awards and the National Principals Leadership Institute, led the celebration. Students welcomed guests and perform during the ceremony. School Board member Carrie Coyner and Superintendent Marcus Newsome spoke.

Chesterfield County Public Schools has won five National School Change Awards — more than any other school division in the country. In addition to Bellwood’s award this year, Carver Middle (2009), Harrowgate Elementary (2008), Chalkley Elementary (2007) and Bensley Elementary (2002) have won National School Change Awards.

Located at 9536 Dawnshire Rd., Bellwood’s diverse enrollment of 500 students includes pre-kindergarten through fifth grade with 79 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. Student demographics are 44 percent white, 34 percent Hispanic, 19 percent black and 3 percent Asian.

Bellwood Elementary is fully accredited and has met adequate yearly progress standards for the past four years, however, in 1998 the school’s SOL results were lower than state pass rates. To make a change for the better, Bellwood Elementary staff members embraced the words “Every Child; Every Chance; Every Day” and committed to a holistic approach that includes academic interventions and removing social and physical barriers to education.

In addition to the National School Change Award, Bellwood Elementary was recognized in 2011 as a National Title I Distinguished School and earlier this year was named the region’s Active RVA Outstanding School of the Year by Sports Backers.

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