This week, the project team from The High School Project: Inspiring a Future for Alexandria presented to the School Board their recommendation for an educational vision based on findings from community, staff and student listening sessions over the past four months.
The School Board will now review the feedback, alongside research on future trends and business needs, before making a decision on the direction of the high school planning on December 6. The School Board will be asked to vote on the educational vision, a model by which to successfully implement the vision, and commitment to develop curriculum, operations and practices to accommodate this vision.
The 40 listening sessions culminated in three recurring themes for the educational vision: a connected community, diversity as a strength, and experiential learning. Using this feedback as a framework, the project team also conducted research into the latest educational findings and programmatic models. These will be discussed by the Board at a work session on November 26.
As part of the outreach, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. has launched The High School Project Podcast, which will take the community through each stage of the project. Listen to the first episode now:
Here is how you can stay informed about The High School Project as it evolves:
- Subscribe to The High School Project podcast
- Bookmark The High School Project web page and check the Project Updates page often
For background information on the project, you can:
- Read the project launch announcement
- See what students had to say during their focus groups
- Read the high school staff feedback (PDF)
- See what students and business community leaders had to say (PDF)
- View the presentation to the community at town hall/listening tour sessions (PDF)
Our journey over the last four months leading to the recommendations presented to the School Board has been both engaging and informative.
Here is how we got here:
In July we launched The High School Project: Inspiring a Future for Alexandria with a visioning session with principals and administrators. It included drawing up guiding principles for The High School Project and brainstorming the what, why and what could be.
In August, we announced the launch of the process to redefine the high school experience for future generations of Alexandria students. And, we invited the community to take part by completing an online survey, participating in town hall meetings and attending the School Board meeting last Thursday.
We also conducted five focus groups with students from T.C. Williams High School and other high schools in Alexandria who shared their vision for the future of the high school. See what they had to say.
In September, staff from T.C. Williams High School took part in five separate sessions, including a survey around their hopes and fears and their vision for the future high school. The superintendent met staff to discuss their collective vision drawn from survey data on November 1.
In late September and early October, business leaders and members of higher education institutions gathered in Old Town to take part in two focus groups around their vision for the future of the high school, the future needs of the workforce and the skills they wanted to see in future graduates. See what students, business community and education leaders had to say (PDF).
In October we also held four town hall meetings/listening sessions where community members and parents were invited to give input on their vision for the skills needed in the future high school graduate.
The culmination of these events, forums and the online survey, and the feedback that we received as a result, have led to the recommendations that were presented to the School Board last Thursday.