Where Are We Now?
During Phase I, we held a series of focus groups featuring students, business leaders, colleges and universities, ACPS families and staff, as well as the wider community. At the same time, ACPS staff and Alexandria City stakeholders worked with consultants who combined research with the results of this community engagement process. Three powerful themes emerged:
- Community Connected - people want the future high school program, culture and experience to be rooted in partnerships across our community.
- Diversity is a Strength - Alexandrians’ value access for all and want to integrate our differences into future programs.
- Experiential learning - students and the community want more hands-on learning experiences and internships.
The initial vision that grew out of this process recommended a connected high school network or a multiple campus approach as a way to add capacity to Alexandria’s future high school that is adaptable, flexible and allows for significant growth in choice and opportunities for students.
In November 2018, a new school board was elected keeping four incumbents and adding five new members. The decision was made to delay voting on continued planning for the CHSN approach for a few weeks to give the new Board time to meet.
Then on January 24, Board Members agreed to set the second phase in motion supporting development of a Connected High School Network model, but also asking for more exploration of a second high school option. That is the work that brings us to Phase II and is underway now.
Experts are working with ACPS to access building options, possible land acquisition and costs. At the same time, an Education Design Team, made up of ACPS teachers, staff and students are considering the best educational programming options for each possibility.
The first draft of this work will be provided to the community and the school board for review in the fall.
In addition, Industrial Advisory Boards made up of local business, government and organizations representing four major industries and 16 career clusters will work with the Education Design Team over time to ensure courses of study reflect real world current and future needs. These boards are focused on:
- Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
- The Arts
- Education and Human Services
- Business and Government.
They will provide ACPS educators with guidance on specific qualifications, certifications, skills, experiences and coursework needed for building futures in these areas.
As we move through Phase II, we continue to want community input. As we hold more meetings we strongly encourage all to attend.
Keep an eye on this website during Phase II for updates, meeting dates, documents, research and other information as we move through this process together.
We expect the design phase to start in 2020 and plan to deliver expanded learning space for students beginning in 2023.