Albemarle County Public Schools Will Hold Open Community Forums to Seek Feedback on Strategic Plan, COVID-19 Strategies

Albemarle County community members will soon have the opportunity to offer their views on the future direction of Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS). The division is requesting the participation of all ACPS stakeholders at two upcoming virtual community forums that will help shape the direction the schools take over the next several years. These forums, which will be held on November 17 and 19 from 6 to 8 p.m., are an opportunity for participants to give feedback on the ACPS Portrait of a Graduate that is currently being designed. Additionally, the forums will offer a chance to discuss ways that the school division can approach learning loss related to COVID-19 and school closures. 

A Portrait of a Graduate represents a school division’s vision for the 21st-century skills, character traits, and social-emotional competencies that students need to succeed in college, career and life. With the help of Battelle for Kids, a national not-for-profit that partners with school divisions in their strategic planning efforts, ACPS has met virtually over the last few months with more than 100 community members who reflect the wide range of perspectives in Albemarle County to begin designing a new Portrait. Once finalized, the Portrait will act as a guide in creating the division’s strategic plan, which will ensure that schools engage with and meet the needs of all students while preparing them with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a complex and rapidly-changing world.

Dr. Patrick McLaughlin, the division’s Chief of Strategic Planning, said of the forums, “Our division has spent months engaged in a highly collaborative approach to creating its new Portrait of a Graduate. The next step is to convene a diverse group of community members to get feedback on the work that we have done so far. In alignment with the ACPS Anti-Racism Policy, we are especially interested in hearing perspectives that have often been underrepresented in such efforts.”

The current ACPS strategic plan, Horizon 2020, was drafted and approved in 2012. It is home to the division’s mission to establish a community of learners and learning, through relationships, relevance and rigor, one student at a time. Its strategic priorities include creating a culture of high expectations for all, identifying and removing practices that perpetuate the achievement gap, and maximizing opportunities for students at all levels to identify and develop personal interests.

The upcoming Portrait of a Graduate community forums are intended to gain feedback that will lead the division as it updates the Horizon 2020 Strategic Plan. Ultimately, the final product will align with the Virginia Department of Education’s Profile of a Virginia Graduate, which values content knowledge, career exploration, workplace skills, and civic responsibility. Students who entered their freshman year in 2018 are already working toward the objectives of the Profile.

All who are affiliated with ACPS are welcome to join either community forum session. There is no preparation required prior to joining. The forums will be held via Zoom at the following links:

Community Forum #1 – Tuesday, November 17, 6 to 8 p.m.
(312) 626-6799
Meeting ID: 824 5376 4203
One tap mobile: +13126266799,,82453764203#

Community Forum #2 – Thursday, November 19, 6 to 8 p.m.
(646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 829 1085 0646
One tap mobile: +16465588656,,82910850646#

Discussions of the Portrait of a Graduate will take place during the first hour of each two-hour session. Then, from 7 to 8 p.m., ACPS Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas will join McLaughlin in gathering feedback on learning loss related to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Haas hopes to gain input from the community regarding potential mitigating factors like changes to the school calendar and summer school options. 

“The Portrait of a Graduate community forums are an opportune time to discuss the possible approaches that the school division can take to address student learning loss related to COVID-19 and school closures,” said McLaughlin. “We expect to have diverse points of view in those meetings, and that will give us a space to hear from families who represent some of the students affected. Any efforts we make to this end will be incorporated into our strategic planning, and we are very eager to hear from as many of our division’s stakeholders about this as possible.”

After these forums, the division will move forward by launching a community survey on strategic planning followed by community feedback sessions this winter. A draft of the strategic plan is expected to go before the Albemarle County School Board in May 2021, and the division hopes to implement its new strategic plan in the 2021-22 school year. 

For more information on these forums or the design of the Portrait of a Graduate, please email

CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Legislative and Public Affairs Officer
PHONE: 434-249-8379