Instructional Practices Audit

Part of the mission of our strategic plan, Learning for All, states that "Working together as a team, we will end the predictive value of race, class, gender, and special capacities for our children’s success through high-quality teaching and learning for all."

On average, our division outperforms the state of Virginia on a number of achievement measures. However, within our division, we have seen a gap in the achievements of our students of color and economically disadvantaged students.

To ensure that we are doing all we can to help all of our students succeed, ACPS is partnering with Bellwether to complete a third-party instructional audit.

Audit Findings

» Instructional Practices Audit Report to the Albemarle County School Board (PPT)  
» Report #1: Holistic Experiences of Students of Color 
» Report #2: Classroom Level Experiences of Students of Color 
» Report #3: The Role of Systems & Structures in the Achievement of Students of Color 
» Report #4: Root Causes and Recommendations

»Instructional Practices Audit Report to the Albemarle County School Board with translation options

Bellwether presented five broad recommendations, each supported by key initiatives and specific actions, to address deficiencies in the areas of instructional tasks, adult learning, curricular resources, strategic alignment, and stakeholder engagement:

  1. Organize instruction around rigorous tasks that allow all students to deeply engage with challenging, standards-aligned content and demonstrate learning in authentic ways.
  2. Develop a systematic approach to adult learning that combines workshop-based professional development, job-embedded coaching, and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to support staff, at all levels, to develop the skills to continuously improve instruction.
  3. Invest in high-quality instructional materials to fill gaps in content, including a consistent math curriculum for Algebra 1 and middle grades, a comprehensive system of interventions, and a state-recommended literacy program.
  4. Clarify how division actions lead to student outcomes; articulate and communicate beliefs about both why and how each role within the division is designed to contribute to strengthening the instructional core.
  5. Strengthen systems for input and feedback and processes for communicating decisions at all levels to ensure the full spectrum of stakeholders across ACPS are authentically engaged, including students, families, teachers, school leaders, central office staff, and community members.

In response to the audit findings, the school division is moving forward with a series of initiatives to put these recommendations in place. For example:

  • School administrators will use their quarterly school improvement plan updates to bolster their focus on instruction, professional development for staff, assessments and data analysis, and school climate.
  • New this year, and beginning next month, every school in the division will host four meetings per year to engage community members in discussions around reading and math programs, overall curricula, academic support structures for students, multiculturalism, and the social and emotional wellness of students.
  • The division will offer two opportunities in October for educators, administrators, support staff, students, parents and guardians, and community members to contribute to the development of a unifying “Theory of Change” document for ACPS that links strategies, activities and resources to student outcomes. The work sessions will take place virtually via Zoom on October 10 and 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Beginning this year, each school will now develop a strategic communications plan to help improve community engagement with their students and families.
  • The division is in the process of developing teams to update secondary math curriculum and K-5 English Language Arts curriculum.
  • The division will also implement quarterly assessments to measure student and academic success.

Also in support of the audit recommendations, the division has identified more than 20 project proposals that address areas such as professional development in reading, math and Responsive Classroom; additional assessment programs and classroom resources in reading and math; and staffing that will enhance data coaching capabilities and the expansion of staff and student mentors. The proposals total $600,000 and will be funded from the current budget. Assistant superintendents will serve as project sponsors, supporting the recruitment of stakeholder participation and input and providing guidance for the projects and their strategic alignment.

Division-level administrators have been divided into teams to plan, implement and monitor one or more of Bellwether’s five recommendations. To broaden input on how best to implement the recommendations, the division is forming several steering teams of teachers, parents and administrators, with particular focus on reading, math, professional development, and community outreach. The division is also organizing an adoption committee that will have similar representation.

Instructional Practices Audit News

»ACPS, September 7, 2023: Division Begins Implementing Instructional Audit Recommendations Designed to Close Achievement Gaps in Reading & Math 

»ACPS, June 20, 2023: "Instructional Audit Identifies Root Causes, Recommendations for Ending Achievement Gaps That Are Impacting Students of Color" 

»ACPS, March 23, 2023: "Division-Wide Instructional Audit, Designed to Close Achievement Gaps, Now Underway; Will Deliver Results Before School Year Ends"

»ACPS: "Theory of Change Presentation Slides"

Jamie Gellner
Director of Special Projects, Program Evaluation and Department Improvement
(434) 296-5820 ext 13518