The Department of Education recently launched Virginia is for Learners, a statewide initiative to make sure all students are prepared for success after graduation by connecting each with the knowledge, skills and real-world experience they need to thrive in the future economy.
The State Board of Education has reduced the number of Standards of Learning (SOL) tests students need to pass in order to graduate, and included career pathways and work-based learning requirements. They plan to hold school districts accountable for “cultivating real-world skills, eliminating achievement gaps for minority students” and demonstrating continuous improvement. Schools will earn credit for growth in student achievement and a commitment to equity, including access to more learning opportunities.
Over the past few years, the Commonwealth of Virginia has worked to transform the way we deliver public education, aligning our approach with the needs of the modern economy. For the first time, all Virginia graduates will leave high school with life changing, work-based learning experiences,” said Governor Ralph Northam.
Work-based and hands-on learning are both components of future high school programming models. They will:
- Transform the high school experience by taking students out of the traditional classroom and giving them the chance to learn real world skills by embedding them into our community.
- Business and community members, teachers, students and ACPS staff will work together to build classes around local industries including STEM, Business and Government, the Arts and Education and Human Services, to give students hands on learning options and internships.
- Students will be exposed to more college level coursework and multiple pathways to a degree.
ACPS is recommending that T.C. Williams High School expands into a Connected High School Network — a concept that staff and the School Board are currently exploring alongside a two-high-school model. This decision will be voted on in the fall.
Read more about The High School Project.