Goal 1: Academic Excellence and Educational Equity
Every student will be academically successful and prepared for life, work and college.
Why this is important: The preparation of students for post-secondary life is a fundamental purpose of PK-12 education. ACPS pledges to educate students in an atmosphere of excellence and educational equity, and to ensure that students are challenged to stretch their talents and aspirations. Upon graduation, students will be ready to pursue college, or a career, or independent living. Although educational equity does not mean that all students will have the same experiences or the same results, it does mean that the education provided by ACPS will respond to each student’s individual challenges, interests, and abilities, and that each student will be provided with the tools needed to excel.
1A: A Curriculum that Challenges and Engages: Every student will experience a rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning environment that responds to his or her interests and challenges.
Why this is important: Students who are challenged learn to problem-solve and create solutions to difficult issues. They stretch themselves to do things they did not know they could do, and they prepare for facing and resolving issues and circumstances they will face in other settings. All students can be challenged and thereby motivated to reach beyond perceived limits. A challenging education engages students and encourages them to reach new levels of personal excellence.
1.1 Educational Excellence
ACPS will regularly assess and respond to the needs, interests, and abilities of individual students.
1.2 Achievement Gaps
ACPS will target academic achievement gaps and increase positive educational outcomes across race/ ethnicity, income, disability, and language subgroups.
ACPS will focus on increasing representation of minority students in talented and gifted programs and in Honors and Advanced Placement courses; decreasing suspension rates of minority students, particularly males; and preventing over-identification of racial/ethnic minorities for remedial or special education services. ACPS will also focus on eliminating gender and racial/ethnic disparities among students enrolling in science, technology, engineering, math, and literature classes and in advanced classes such as honors and Advanced Placement.
1.4 Educational Equity
ACPS will provide each student with opportunities to be challenged and supported.
1.5 Teacher Resources and Supports
ACPS will make available to each teacher the resources and supports needed to provide an outstanding education for each and every student, differentiated according to the student’s learning style and background.
1.6 Early Childhood Education
ACPS will continue to participate with the Early Care and Education Work Group to create an early care and education (ECE) system focused on improved access, quality, and public awareness of ECE services available for children and families.
1.7 Adult Education and Services for Adult English Language Learners
In pursuit of its desire to provide life-long learning opportunities, ACPS will facilitate English-language education programs in support of individual economic advancement and civic engagement in Alexandria.
1.8 Alternative Education
ACPS will create or expand alternative education strategies and programs that will respond to individual learning styles, minimize out of school suspensions, and improve opportunities for all students.
1B: An Inclusive Organizational Culture: Every student will develop habits and attitudes that reflect the principles of cultural inclusiveness, civic responsibility, and ethical and respectful behavior.
Why this is important: In the change-dominated and technology-driven world of the 21st century, students must “see themselves” in the curriculum they study. They must be challenged and supported to maximize their achievement. This process requires that the demographic diversity of the school division guide and inform educators’ commitment to cultural competence and building an atmosphere of mutual respect in every school and office. In addition to a rigorous, relevant, and engaging curriculum, students must also have access to a range of school and community service opportunities that promote civic engagement. Finally, ACPS must set expectations for the habits and behaviors that every student needs to succeed, laying the foundations for students’ exploration and demonstration of ethical conduct.
1.9 Cultural Competence and an Atmosphere of Respect
ACPS will implement practices that maximize the benefits of cultural, linguistic, racial, ability, religious, gender, gender-identity, and ethnic diversity within the student body to ensure optimal levels of cultural competence among staff members and students, and that engage every student in a respectful school environment.
1.10 Civic Engagement and Civic Responsibility
ACPS will engage with its students in an atmosphere conducive to mutual respect, civic engagement, and good citizenship.
1.11 Ethics and Behaviors for Success
ACPS will set expectations for the habits and behaviors students need to succeed and will lay the foundations for student explorations of ethical conduct.