State of the Division

Through the annual State of the Division report, Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) provides information to the school board and the community about our successes and challenges from the previous school year. The report serves as an accountability tool, whereby the school division seeks to track our progress toward meeting our goals and to identify and improve our weaknesses. The report also informs our decision-making, whether we are evaluating an instructional method, shaping a systemic practice, or considering budget priorities.

Each year, ACPS shares the State of the Division report as another opportunity to engage our stakeholders, including our students and their families, our employees, and our community members. We consider stakeholder feedback to be an essential part of the continuous improvement process, and we encourage community members to contribute to our ongoing efforts to learn, adapt and grow through participation in school board meetings, community meetings, and online surveys.

Virginia School Quality Profiles​​

For every school division and school in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Education provides a School Quality Profile containing information about student achievement, college and career readiness, program completion, school safety, teacher quality, and other topics of interest to parents and the general public.

Access the school-based School Quality Profiles for Albemarle County Public Schools »

State of the Division 2022

Learning For All
Students work together in class.
AHS softball players toss the ball back and forth to warm up.
The pianist in the AHS jazz band practices with the group.

Dear Members of our School Community:

It is my pleasure to welcome all of our students, employees, families and members of our larger Albemarle County community to our 2022 State of the Division Report. 

As required by School Board Policy AF, Commitment to Accomplishment, it is the responsibility of our Board to present an annual report to the public on the extent to which the objectives of our division-wide strategic plan are being met. This report details both the strengths and the areas for improvement this past year and it defines our priorities in fulfilling our commitment to accomplishment.

Policy AF also requires our Board to evaluate their progress as well as the progress of the Superintendent and school staff.  This annual evaluation includes an awareness of the views of teachers, staff, parents, students and our community and is based on an approach that reveals strengths and opportunities for improvement.

I cite these words to emphasize that our school division always must be a learning and a transformative organization. In fact, the title of our five-year strategic plan is Learning for All.  

This title represents our determination that all students, employees, and families will learn together and be engaged in authentic, challenging, and relevant growth experiences. It is through these experiences that we become lifelong contributors and leaders in our dynamic and diverse community.

We are required to not only provide high quality education for our next generation of leaders but also be effective and caring community partners. After all, our community partners provide the tax dollars that advance our mission; they offer collaborative relationships that align curriculum with community needs; and, they volunteer in schools to help us achieve our goal of knowing and supporting every student and their holistic growth. 

As a responsible steward of this reciprocal relationship and our own continuous improvement, we seek out and welcome input from all who share our student-centered goals. It is this philosophy that enables us to best meet the academic, physical, and social-emotional requirements of our ever growing, dynamic and diverse families and society. 

As our County and school system have become home to an increasing number of cultures and life experiences, the varying perspectives available to us broaden the range of our collective creativity and deepen the quality of our problem-solving decisions and our ability to meet the promises of our strategic plan.

The same benefits are present for our county. Our entire community, including our local economy and ultimately our quality of life, gain from students and graduates who provide their talents in the local workforce as interns and apprentices, post-secondary students and employees. Our dedication to supporting the socio-emotional development of students will allow our young people to pay it forward for generations to come.

For us to realize these ambitions, every student must have full and equitable access to the learning that enables them to reach their highest potential. Equitable access means we will ensure that every student has the support and the opportunities necessary for them to thrive. Equity is the pathway for meeting our commitment in our strategic plan to end the predictive value of race, class, gender, and special capacities for our children’s success through high-quality teaching and learning for all. 

We seek to build relationships with families and communities to ensure that every student succeeds. We will know every student.

This State of the Division is our assessment of metrics tied to this strategic mission as well as our three goals of thriving students, affirming and empowering communities and providing equitable and transformative resources. Only by candidly measuring our successes and failures and only by recognizing the gap between where we stand as an organization and where we strive to be, will we be empowered to achieve these goals.   

As we close out the books on the 2021-22 school year, here are three examples of sustained improvement for our schools:

  • For the 14th time in the 15 years the state has been calculating on-time graduation rates, our Class of 2022 exceeded Virginia’s statewide average. Our rate of 94.3 percent compared to the statewide average of 92.1. Nearly two out of every three graduates, or 64 percent, earned the most rigorous diploma, the Advanced Study Diploma while just over one out of two statewide graduates, or 53 percent, achieved at the same level.  

  • For the first time in our division’s history, we established a formal non-profit foundation, the Albemarle Education Foundation, giving it the capability of directly influencing the achievement of all three of our  goals in Learning for All.  A Board of Directors of prominent school, community and business leaders has been appointed.  It  soon will recruit an experienced Executive Director to develop both a strategic and operating plan that will bring our broader community together and will generate non-taxpayer dollars to affirm and empower community partners, to generate funding for equitable and transformative resources, contributing to our third strategic plan goal, thriving students.

  • Coming off the pandemic, we addressed each of our division’s four values, equity, excellence, family and community and wellness with a significant expansion of professional resources dedicated to the social and emotional health of students.  Research has established that meeting this need accelerates a child’s ability to learn at their highest potential.  During the previous school year, we added professional counselors to existing staff at every school and we now have more than 53 such professionals on staff.  Working with students and families, these professionals  supported nearly 600 students this past year, with 87 percent of these students receiving social and emotional health services.  We also reached agreement with one of our nation’s largest therapeutic care providers, Health Connect America, which will reduce the wait time for families and their child to see an outside therapist from several months to a matter of weeks or days. This past year we also introduced student safety coaches, in which highly trained professionals assigned to our secondary schools work directly with students to establish trusting relationships that improve the learning environment. 

This past year, however, also reminded us that much remains to be done:

  • While all 24 of our schools were accredited, four were accredited with conditions based on standards of learning assessment test scores in some student demographic groups that were below standard. As a division, we underperformed state averages for Black and Hispanic students, for students from economically disadvantaged homes and for students who reside in homes where English is not the primary language.  Given our mission of reducing and eliminating learning gaps in all student demographic groups, this will be a heavy focus for the year ahead beginning with an outside audit of our instructional systems to identify improvements.

  • During 2021-2022, the first full year of in-person school since the pandemic, we experienced substantial staffing shortfalls that reduced services to our families and students.  Persistent gaps in bus driver staffing led to continual delays in transporting students to and from schools on time.  A similar shortage of substitute teachers required our full-time educators to cover open classes, reducing their planning and student support time.  We experienced staffing issues in Child Nutrition, school nurses and in building services, which supports the operation of our facilities.  We engaged last spring, an independent, outside internationally renowned consulting firm to audit our market competitiveness.  They analyzed our ability to compete with other public and private employers who seek to hire the same professionals as we do.  The audit has led to actions by the School Board to improve compensation in areas where we are at a disadvantage. Goal three of our strategic plan highlights the importance of this work, promising that we will attract, develop and retain the highest quality staff.  It is these professionals who will make it possible for us to achieve the values, mission and goals of Learning for All.

  • Our school division now is home to families and students who come from 96 different birth countries and from homes that speak 73 different languages. Yet relatively small numbers of our families engage with our schools or participate in important policy, program or budget decisions.  As noted above, diversity is a powerful resource for improvement and growth but only if it is welcomed, encouraged and impactful.  Quite frankly, we have not fully met our responsibilities to affirm and empower communities, preventing us from fully realizing our potential.  We prioritized the importance of embracing community voice this past year by strengthening our School and Community Engagement Department and by making it a priority that in the year ahead, parents, students and staff will have more opportunities to offer their counsel in the decisions that most directly impact their lives in our schools.  This is a need and an opportunity that has not been forcibly addressed for far too long.  

As you take time to read and review the facts, figures, and data in the ACPS 2023 State of the Division report as well as our strategic plan, I invite you to share your thoughts on topics, measures, areas of success and needed improvements by emailing me at the Superintendent’s Office Email to let me know what you think. Your point of view and feedback are welcome as we continue to learn and change to meet the needs of all our students. 

Thank you for your time and support of our school division.  

Signature Matthew S. Haas

Dr. Matthew S. Haas
Superintendent of Schools

Keep Reading: Open the full State of the Division 2022 report »