State of the Division 2016-17 Objective 3
Improve Opportunity and Achievement
Students in Albemarle County Public Schools are provided a wide range of opportunities to engage, both inside the classroom and through extra-curricular activities. Over 52% of secondary students participate in at least one extracurricular activity at their school, which is five percentage points higher than the national average.
Our increased focus on improving opportunities for students has also resulted in a continual increase in the attendance rate for students. Students who attend school more regularly are more likely to be successful. By providing students more opportunities we are improving their achievement.
- Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)
- Academies - MESA, HMSA, ESA
- Maker Spaces
- On-Time Graduation Rate
- Virtual Learning
- World Languages
In Albemarle County Public Schools we believe all students have the talent, ability, and interest to be successful; however some students may face more challenging paths to success. AVID is a program designed to identify and support students who may not yet possess effective strategies for navigating school but have the potential to succeed in the most rigorous of classes available to them.
AVID Participation - Numeric Data
|School Year||Student Enrollment|
- AVID was an integral part of the school culture at all three comprehensive high schools and 4 out of 5 middle schools in the division. For the 2017-2018 school year, the AVID program will be implemented in all secondary schools in the county.
- 431 Albemarle County students participated in the AVID elective course. Forty-four of those students were AVID seniors. Members of the 2016 AVID graduating class are now attending: University of Virginia, Georgetown University, James Madison University, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Christopher Newport University, and more.
- Over the years, the AVID program in ACPS has developed strong community partnerships in order to support AVID students in achieving their ultimate goal of graduating from college. AVID leaders in schools partner with The Curry School at the University of Virginia as well as Madison House, A Day in the Life, and Rise for Real Change which are three volunteer organizations on the grounds of UVA. These groups provide time and money to make the dreams of AVID students come true.
Albemarle County offers three specialty academies for students with specific career interests. Each academy offers a blended learning environment with a focus on an identified career growth industry. The Math Engineering and Science Academy (MESA) opened in 2009, the Health and Medical Science Academy (HMSA) opened in 2012 and the Environmental Studies Academy (ESA) opened in 2014. The academies collectively help meet the academic needs of over 500 students across the four grade levels and offer students expanded educational opportunities.
- Students participate in multiple internships and work-based experiences as part of the academies, including working in clinical settings, biology labs, chemistry labs, biotech companies, clinical research labs, veterinary clinics, hospitals, engineering firms, and computer science firms.
- Students participate in numerous academic endeavors from individual research and participating in science fairs to working alongside professionals and publishing research.
- Students develop an increased awareness of global citizenship as they participate in outreach along with service opportunities within the community.
- Students develop increased critical thinking and problem-solving skills by working collaboratively through a project enriched environment.
- Students have the opportunity to earn college credit along with industry certifications.
- Students gain additional depth and understanding in their area of interest.
ACPS Academies engage in 21st-century skills and learning and create a strong foundation for post-secondary education or career readiness through courses that feature increased lab work, build and design projects, integrated research projects, case studies, and internships. All of these, along with the increased capacity to work with professionals within the student’s area of interest, help to bring authenticity and real-world experiences into their education, and to prepare ACPS students to become the leaders of the next generation.
Academy Enrollment - Numeric Data
The maker-infused curriculum pathway which provides opportunities for students to experience our Life Long Learner Competencies is driving change throughout our 26 schools. When our maker work began with one high school library music studio we saw immediate positive impacts on attendance, behavior, school culture, and student academic success.
Today, there are MakerSpaces in 23 schools. A strong Maker Culture continues to grow by having maker summer schools support at-risk students at every level. We are seeing that when learning occurs through making, it offers a chance to significantly reduce the opportunity gap while building the kind of deep learning we want for every child.
We see our students from every background, accomplishing work far beyond the standards with the implementation of MakerSpaces. Some examples of effective MakerSpaces include:
- An ESOL/math collaboration turns into a student-designed and constructed custom tennis equipment storage shed at Monticello High School
- A Sutherland Middle School eighth-grade science project sends a student-designed and built high-altitude balloon into the stratosphere after careful consultation with the FAA and air controllers at Dulles and CHO
- Rising ninth graders work the complex math and materials science required to design and make custom wood baseball bats
- Maker work at the elementary level leads to a continuously improving and enlarging Middle School Mechatronics/CTE program, which leads to the dramatic new “Open Shop” spaces at Monticello and Albemarle High School, and music studios at all three comprehensive high schools and two middle schools
The cohort of teachers who give their students the freedom to make to learn continues to grow and challenge students daily.
The maker work of the Albemarle County Public Schools has been widely celebrated. ACPS administrators, teachers, and students have told their stories and demonstrated their work at the White House.
We believe the culmination of a good education is recognized through on-time graduation from high school. Albemarle County students have an on-time graduation rate higher than the state as a whole, with nearly every student graduating on time.
As a Division, Albemarle County graduated nearly 95% of students on time in the 2016-17 academic year. That is an increase of over 7 percentage points from the 2007-08 academic year and is 4 percentage points better than the state.
Individually all of our high schools graduate well over 90% of their students on time. The combined efforts of teachers, administrators, counselors, and support staff help make every child able to graduate on time.
Graduating students leave our school prepared to be lifelong-learners, with skills and experiences that will carry them through college, careers, and civic duty. Our students will become the teachers, entrepreneurs, problems solvers, thinkers, and statesmen of tomorrow. The learning and opportunities we provide will be the foundation for fruitful futures for all of our students.
On-Time Graduation Rate for All Students - Numeric Data
As part of the Digital Learning Initiative, Albemarle County Public Schools began a focused effort in 2012 to develop and administer virtual courses. The development process began with Economics and Personal Finance. Concurrently, during the Spring of 2013, ACPS developed Health I and II in a virtual format that was piloted over the summer and introduced to all students in the 2013-14 school year. At the conclusion of the 2014-15 school year, all students planning for the following school year could select from five virtual courses that now include Physical Education I and II, which was developed throughout 2014-15 and successfully piloted in the 2015 High School Summer Program.
With every iteration of each virtual course student feedback was an important piece to ensure the student experience is of the highest quality and students are able to take advantage of the affordances that modern technology bring to a virtual learning experience.
We believe that languages are at the heart of what makes us human: expressing thoughts and ideas, making new friends, and learning about the world. Learning other languages not only helps us meet new people and explore new places; being multilingual improves attention, creativity, problem solving, self-control, and organization. Multilingual students are better prepared to succeed in a global economy, connect across cultures, and be the problem-solvers our communities need to meet their greatest civic, social, and economic potential. Our students acquire multilingual and multicultural competencies best when they begin learning in early childhood.
Enrollment in Elementary World Languages Program
|Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES)||112||230||242||271||545|
|Total Elementary World Languages||112||230||339||463||806|
The school board supports the expansion of world languages to elementary schools throughout the county. The Department of Student Learning has created a plan to continue and complete the expansion of the immersion program. The initial school to pilot this program, Cale Elementary, has had great success in its FLES and immersion programs, with demand for spaces in the program outstripping supply, even as the school program has doubled capacity in three years. In the fall of 2016, Woodbrook Elementary School began a Spanish FLES program and Meriwether Elementary School began a French FLES program. This expansion will continue and will have implications for both middle and high school language programs in the future.
Middle school world languages teachers have created curricular plans to prepare for the students proficient in another language who will arrive at the middle schools in the fall of 2018. The county’s secondary world languages program has also adopted a new curriculum and digital resources to improve all students’ language capacity.
As a result of these improvements, our programs have achieved higher scores on national metrics such as the STAMP and AP assessments:
Average STAMP Scores by Domain - Numeric Data
AP World Languages Pass Rate - Numeric Data
|Division AP Pass Rates||2011-12||2012-13||2013-14||2014-15||2015-16||2016-17|
|All Languages Average||77||69||79||90.6||80||87.5|
A relatively new measure is the Virginia Board of Education’s Seal of Biliteracy which certifies attainment of a high level of proficiency by a graduating high school student in one or more languages in addition to English. This Seal is earned by students who receive high marks on the writing and speaking portions of the STAMP assessment. We administer the STAMP to all students in Level 3 classes. The number of Albemarle County Public Schools students who earned the Seal of Biliteracy increased from 8% of STAMP test-takers in the spring of 2016 to 23% of test-takers in the spring of 2017.
Seals of Biliteracy Earned - Numeric Data