Four schools in Stafford County and one in Spotsylvania County received distinguished achievement awards from the state Board of Education, a press release from Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday.

Chancellor Elementary in Spotsylvania and Winding Creek Elementary, Rodney Thompson Middle, Colonial Forge High and Mountain View High in Stafford received the award, which recognizes schools and divisions that “met all state and federal benchmarks and made progress toward the goals of the Governor and the Board of Education.”

Eight divisions and 175 schools in the state earned the award this year. It is the third highest award in the Virginia Index of Performance program.

The awards are based on student achievement and other performance indicators during the 2017–18 school year, the press release states. The VIP program was established by the state Board of Education in 2007 as a means of recognizing schools and school divisions that exceed state and federal accountability standards.

In April 2018, the board approved criteria for a new “exemplar school” recognition program to replace the VIP awards. The new program will include awards for high achievement, continuous improvement and innovative practices.

The first awards under the new exemplar school system will be announced this summer.

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Adele Uphaus-Conner: 540/735-1973 @flsadele