The Alexandria City School Board voted to endorse a one high school model for Alexandria on Thursday evening — keeping T.C. Williams High School at the heart of Alexandria’s education system.
The Board voted in favor of the Connected High School Network that includes opportunities to partner with higher education institutions as well as with local industry.
The decision will redefine the high school experience to expand hands-on experiences, knowledge and skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, and address anticipated growth in student enrollment over the next ten years.
This decision ensures all students across Alexandria will continue to have access to the wide variety of opportunities T.C. offers now and in the future. The T.C. experience is a gift for our young people that can’t be replicated. We know with one high school, we will be able to ensure all students have access and are fully engaged in a high quality learning environment,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
The School Board opted to expand T.C. Williams with a major facility on the Minnie Howard campus as part of the Connected High School Network. The Connected High School Network will continue to encompass a satellite campus for online learning and Early College program in collaboration with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). Staff will also continue to explore options at Potomac Yard.
The one high school model will:
- Give students access to the most educational opportunities; and even out disparities that currently exist at the elementary and middle school levels.
- Give ACPS the flexibility needed to increase or decrease the number of buildings required in line with changes to student enrollment in future decades.
- Give ACPS flexibility to create or adjust programs in line with changing student needs and interests.
- Develop partnerships with higher education and businesses that can give students skills in the 16 career clusters aligned with the Virginia Profile of a Graduate requirements.
The vote follows more than a year of study and analysis of educational programming concepts, as well as real estate and site locations, by teams of experts, staff and teachers.
The final decision was driven by the need to ensure all students are exposed to the same educational opportunities, as well as the need for future adaptability. The one high school model allows ACPS to add to or contract learning space if fewer students come our way, as happened in the 1970s and 1980s, and again between 2000 to 2006. In addition, no new land on which to build could be identified within Alexandria.
The choice to expand the Minnie Howard Campus with a new building that can serve 1,600 students, provides much needed addition to our high school capacity while offering many possibilities for creative programming,” said School Board Chair Cindy Anderson.
In the coming weeks, an expanded Education Design Team (EDT) will reconvene to take a deeper dive into programming for the new high school experience. An industry advisory board made up of local Industry leaders will join with the Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee, to provide input to the EDT that will enhance course work and the student experience. This will help inform what types of educational spaces will be built on the sites.
Read more about The High School Project on the ACPS website.
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