Dr. Alvin L. Crawley, superintendent of schools, talks with students.
Alexandria City Public Schools is quite literally on the move! Our students are showing clear growth based on our latest Standards of Learning (SOL) test data. The largest increases were seen in English and math, which were targeted focus areas during the past year. I applaud the extraordinary work of our teachers and principals who kept their focus on student success and in doing so, were champions for every child. While these results are commendable, our relentless focus on the whole child will be the hallmark of an ACPS education as we work to ensure excellent schools where every student is happy, healthy and well-educated.
Enrollment is growing by an average of 4 percent yearly. As a consequence, our school division will begin the process of redistricting with the goal of implementing new school attendance boundaries for the school year 2016-17. Redistricting is needed because all but two elementary schools are at capacity and enrollment is projected to continue its upward trend over the next decade. Redistricting is a challenging task, but we pledge to engage every part of our community in the process.
Our aging facilities will be undergoing modernization, as we know that learning environments have a direct impact on instruction. Four ACPS schools have reached their recommended 75-year life span and 14 of our 17 school buildings are more than 45 years old. Due to rising enrollment, some of these schools no longer have music rooms, art rooms, teacher work rooms or science labs. Included in the 10-year Capital Improvement Program budget are plans to build a new Patrick Henry PreK-8 school and modernize Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, George Mason Elementary School, and Matthew Maury Elementary School. As a community, we will also need to find creative solutions to address secondary school capacity challenges given enrollment trends and available land space.
Through the awesome commitment of community members and staff, our School Board adopted ACPS 2020, a new strategic plan that will guide the school division for the next five years. This plan reflects the essential components of a high-performing school division by focusing on six goal areas: academic excellence/educational equity; family and community engagement; exemplary staff; facilities and learning environment; health and wellness; and effective and efficient operations. This fall, the plan will come alive throughout the school division as we transform words to actions.
Central to our strategic plan is our promise to our families and community that every student succeeds. As we begin another exciting school year, we invite Alexandrians to become part of our success story by getting involved in volunteering at a school or mentoring a child. We welcome the opportunity for you to join us in our pursuit of excellence.