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Sharing Our Successes: A Year in Review

We are a community of learners and learning. Let’s take a look at how we are doing to ensure success for our students:

2013 Division Accolades

  • Our students’ SAT scores in critical reading, math and writing exceeded state and national averages by as much as 15%.
  • Our students outperformed their peers across the state in Virginia’s most recent Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, with scores higher than the state average on 26 of the 34 tests. On two other tests, scores were even with the state average.
  • In 2012, our Advanced Placement Program was in the top 3% of all school divisions in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Our seniors had among the highest on-time graduation rates in the state, according to the Virginia Department of Education. The county’s rate of 93.4% topped the average for all school divisions in the state of 89.1%. The county’s on-time graduation rate is an increase from 91.9% recorded a year ago.
  • Two out of every three of our graduates (66%) earn Advanced Studies diplomas.
  • An additional 15 of our teachers earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, successfully completing a rigorous, year-long process for demonstrating classroom excellence. Across the country, only 3% of more than 100,000 teachers are board certified, and in Virginia, approximately 1,200 teachers, or 2%, are certified. With 40 certified teachers, Albemarle County Public Schools is among the top school divisions in the state, and our percentage of certified teachers exceeds both national and state averages.
  • We received the top environmental award in Virginia in the annual Green Schools Challenge conducted by the Virginia School Boards Association. The competition is designed to encourage school divisions to implement environmental policies and actions that reduce carbon emissions. In the category for school divisions with a student enrollment of 10,001 or more students, Albemarle placed first in the state.
  • Nine of our schools received a combined total of more than $13,000 in innovation grants for classroom projects from the Edgar and Eleanor Shannon Foundation for Excellence in Public Education. According to the Foundation, teachers who have received grants have documented an increase in student test scores and greater enthusiasm for learning among students.
  • Twenty-nine of our teachers received Golden Apple awards or grants as part of the annual program that recognizes excellence and innovation in the classroom. Two teachers received 21st Century Learning in the Classroom grants of $1,000 based upon innovative proposals to enhance instruction, and seven other teachers received Golden Apple Grant Awards, also for $1,000.
  • Superintendent of Schools Pamela R. Moran was appointed to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).
  • Eighteen student teams representing 12 Albemarle County elementary, middle and high schools qualified for the State Finals of Destination ImagiNation, a non-profit organization that hosts annual competitions around project themes designed to develop critical thinking and analysis, creativity, collaboration and communications skills. Five teams advanced to compete against more than 1,000 teams from around the world in the Global Finals. Two of those five teams finished among the top 10 in their categories.
  • More than 1,000 students participated in interscholastic athletics at our three comprehensive high schools, winning one state championship, 14 regional titles, and 25 district titles.
  • 2012-13 marked the 20th anniversary of the Albemarle County Public Schools Visual Arts Festival. In commemoration, more than 1,500 pieces of student artwork were featured at four different locations throughout the county.
  • We were one of only two public school systems in the country participating in Maker Education’s MakerCorps program in 2013, and the only one offering multiple site locations for the program. Relatedly, two of our teachers were invited to present at the 2013 International Maker Faire.
  • A number of our teachers and administrators presented at state and national conferences this past year. Most notably, our professionals showcased our school division’s work at the VASCD (Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) and VSTE (Virginia Society for Technology in Education) conferences; the National Responsive Classroom Conference; the Internet Librarian Conference; and VAHPERD, a state physical education conference.

School, Academy, & Program Accolades

  • Buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Twenty-three of our schools have earned ENERGY STAR certification: Agnor-Hurt Elementary, Albemarle High, Baker-Butler Elementary, Broadus Wood Elementary, Brownsville Elementary, Burley Middle, Cale Elementary, Crozet Elementary, Greer Elementary, Henley Middle, Hollymead Elementary, Jouett Middle, Meriwether Lewis Elementary, Monticello High, Murray Elementary, Red Hill Elementary, Scottsville Elementary, Stone-Robinson Elementary, Stony Point Elementary, Sutherland Middle, Walton Middle, and Woodbrook Elementary.
  • Our M-Cubed (Math, Men, Mission) program, developed to improve the academic achievement of African-American male students and encourage them to enroll in higher-level math classes, was honored as the Magna Awards 2013 Grand Prize Winner in the 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment category. The Magna Awards is a national recognition program that honors school board best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning.
  • Forty-two Albemarle High School students, all but one from our Math, Engineering & Science Academy (MESA), earned 59 awards at the 32nd annual Piedmont Regional Science Fair, including three Grand Awards, 26 Senior Division Category Awards (including 10 first place finishes in 15 categories), and 30 Special Awards. Western Albemarle High School students won 14 awards, including one Grand Award, six Senior Division Category Awards (including one first place finish), and seven Special Awards. Middle school students from Henley and Sutherland added to our division’s success with a total of nine Junior Division Category Awards and four Special Awards.
  • Four MESA students, including two seniors and two juniors, earned a first place, second place, and two third place finishes, respectively, at the 29th annual Virginia State Science & Engineering Fair. By virtue of having also won Best in Show honors at the Regional Science Fair, the two seniors advanced to compete in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair.
  • The Virginia Department of Education designated our Health and Medical Sciences Academy as a regional Governor’s Health Services Academy; in turn, the division received a $10,000 state planning and implementation grant.
  • Scheduled to open in 2014-15, our Environmental Sciences Academy aspires to impact quality of life issues across the globe and offer graduates highly attractive professional career options. The academy will nurture community partnerships in such industries as agriculture, manufacturing and construction.
  • Our CoderDojo pilot program has expanded to four regional academies serving more than 200 students in grades K-12, plus an expanded summer academy offering students exposure to computer programming; robotics; and web, computer app, and video game design.
  • Jouett Middle School was recognized as a National Demonstration School for its college and workforce readiness program, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a level achieved by only 3% of AVID programs worldwide. AVID National Demonstration Schools are exemplary models of the program and demonstrate the very best AVID methodologies and strategies.
  • Meriwether Lewis Elementary School was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Secretary of Education. The National Blue Ribbon Schools program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.
  • Our two public charter schools, Murray High School and the Community Public Charter School, which serves middle school students, were awarded grants from the Virginia Department of Education totaling $46,225. Murray will provide the bulk of its $25,000 award to its students to support the school’s project-based approach to learning, with $5,000 of the grant reserved for expansion of professional development opportunities for teachers. The Community Public Charter School will use its grant to enhance its arts program offerings, including graphic and visual arts and as well as such creative programs as metal-working and ceramics.
  • MESA’s Sailbot team placed first in their division in the International Robotic Sailing Regatta during the first year in which high school teams were eligible to compete in the event.
  • This year, the composting programs at Crozet and Meriwether Lewis elementary schools and Jouett and Sutherland middle schools, have diverted more than 126 tons of discarded food from landfills and saved the equivalent of nearly 900 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Since its 2012 inception, the Renewable Energy Resource Center at Henley Middle School, which utilizes solar photovoltaic panels and a wind turbine to generate electricity and a solar thermal system for heating water, has produced over 120,000 kilowatt hours and eliminated 88 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • A team of students from Jouett Middle School placed first in the Virginia KidWind Challenge 2013, a statewide competition among middle and high school students to design and demonstrate an efficient wind turbine.
  • Students from four of our elementary schools, Stony Point, Scottsville, Red Hill and Yancey, participated in an innovative new education program with important implications for the future of the advanced manufacturing industry in the United States. Albemarle County was one of only 20 locations around the country to host the national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) based program.
  • Albemarle High School is home to the best high school mathematicians in the state, according to a statewide competition sponsored by the Virginia Mathematics League. Over 1 million students participated in math leagues across the country in 2013, including 77 high school teams from Virginia, and Albemarle High School’s team placed first.
  • Newsweek ranked Western Albemarle High School among the top 500 high schools in the nation based on its effectiveness in turning out college-ready graduates.
  • New in 2013-14, advanced manufacturing technologies were installed at Jouett and Sutherland middle schools as part of a collaboration with the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and School of Engineering and Applied Science to establish the first U.S. Laboratory School for Advanced Manufacturing Technologies. The “lab school” aims to address the U.S. need for global technology competitiveness; provide training for students in science and engineering in preparation for high-tech jobs; help prepare future teachers in the integration of engineering concepts into science education; and enable middle and high school students to benefit from the expertise of the University, while advancing the professional training and research of University students and faculty.
  • Stony Point Elementary School was recognized as a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The Green Ribbon Schools award honors schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.
  • Cale Elementary School currently is piloting a Foreign Language in Elementary Schools model in which students receive 75-180 minutes of weekly instruction in the target language. Now in its second year, this pilot program aims to help students gain conversational fluency in the target language by the end of fifth grade.
  • Teachers and students in our ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and World Languages programs are engaged in the Language Exchange Program, which fosters interlinguistic partnerships and a civic focus on giving back to our community.
  • Career Technology students at Walton Middle School received regional attention for their SPCA project building doghouses for pet owners in poverty.
  • The libraries at Monticello High School and Walton Middle School received recognition as exemplary national MakerSpace models through visits by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s School of Education and by Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero.
  • Sutherland Middle School students were honored to speak at the Jefferson Library at Monticello, the Smithsonian Institution, and with PBS regarding their 3D printed version of Vail’s 1845 telegraph.
  • Students from Walton Middle School earned two first place awards and one second place award in the Student Technology Integration Challenge sponsored by the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE).

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