Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Gators earn a pass on accreditation

Garrisonville Elementary students take their school pride seriously.

Imagine a year without Standards of Learning tests. If you study or work in an elementary school, it can be hard to picture. But for Garrisonville Elementary students and staff, testing might be a little less high-pressure in the next three years. The North Stafford school is one of the area’s only schools to earn an SOL waiver from the state. In Virginia, 101 schools have earned this waiver.

Technically, the testing will continue. But the schools don’t have to worry about accreditation with this waiver.

The schools qualified for the flexibility by achieving pass rates of 95 percent or higher in all four tested SOL content areas for two consecutive years. Division superintendents have until July 1 to apply for the flexibility. Each school awarded a waiver will remain fully accredited through 2014-2015.