School Board Approves High School Ed Specs to Act as Guide for Future High School Construction Projects

The Alexandria City School Board has approved the Educational Specifications that will be used as a template when looking at future construction work around high school buildings.

The Educational Specifications, based on a high school building for approximately 1,600 students that should act as an anchor of the community, will be used to benchmark the existing school facilities at high school level, as well as acting as a guide for the focus of future resources and future building projects. They are not intended to serve as a design for the proposed high school capacity projects in the School Board adopted 2018-2027 Capital Improvement Program. Rather, they serve to guide future planning efforts for high school development as well as assess current conditions of T.C. Williams King Street and Minnie Howard campuses.

Any high school construction project, including the plans to rebuild and expand the Minnie Howard campus as proposed in the Capital Improvement Program, will require a separate, site-specific Educational Specification and thorough community and staff engagement process.

The Educational Specifications provide that the classroom of the future should be more personalized, collaborative, student-directed, interdisciplinary and hands-on than ten years ago. As the focus of the education moves away from just the transmitting of information to developing creative problem-solving and communication skills, the classroom setting is morphing into “a beehive of activity” – or in other words, a learning studio where technology is infused seamlessly into the education program.

Libraries become an extension of the classroom and the social heart of the school, with both quiet areas and areas for collaboration and socialization. Instructional spaces maintain continuity throughout all grades with the need for spaces to accommodate sensory experiences, integrated cross-content learning and flexible groupings. Future high school facilities also need to serve as neighborhood assets and centers for parent, family and community interaction and engagement.

The Educational Specifications were finalized after several months of input and feedback from students, secondary-level teachers and high school administrators and Central Office staff. Educational Specifications for pre-K were approved by the School Board on July 5, 2016. These will also be used as a guide to steer the focus for any new pre-K projects.

View the presentation to the School Board of the High School Educational Specifications.

View the High School Educational Specifications.

Join us for the first meeting in the next stage of the work around the Long Range Educational Facilities Plan (LREFP).

TONIGHT: Monday, January 30, 6:00 p.m.

School Board meeting room

ACPS Central Office, 1340 Braddock Place

All meetings are open to the public.

In 2012, a 19-member working group including of members from the community, ACPS School Board, City Council, Campagna Center, and the PTA Council, supported by ACPS and City staff, was established to explore the major issues impacting public school facilities over the long term. During phase one, the group was tasked with guiding staff in the development of a Long Range Educational Facilities Plan specific to elementary and middle schools for consideration by the School Board and City Council. The group met quarterly through spring 2015 leading to the LREFP adopted by the School Board and endorsed by the City Council in June 2015.

This meeting marks the start of the convening of the LREFP Work Group for the second phase of the LREFP process, which includes planning for the future needs of ACPS at the high school and pre-K grade levels using the School Board’s adopted Educational Specifications as a guide.

At Monday’s meeting of the work group, we will review the role of the working group, the scope of the second phase of the LREFP and provide an update on high school and pre-K enrollment as well as proposed Capital Improvement Projects. Staff from the City and ACPS will be present along with representatives from organizations involved in the first phase of the LREFP.

You can learn more about the LREFP on the City of Alexandria website. You can also read the complete LREFP and sign up to receive updates via email from ACPS.

ACPS, ACPS 2020, Alexandria City High School, Minnie Howard, School Board