ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) is beginning the process of crafting a new strategic plan, hosting the first meeting of a design team that will shape the direction of the plan with a “Portrait of a Graduate.”
As it kicks off crafting a new strategic plan, ACPS is asking itself a simple question: What does it want a graduate from the district to look like?
“The strategic plan doesn’t just represent us, this represents the community at large,” ACPS Chief of Strategic Planning Patrick McLaughlin said. “We want to make sure the work that we’re doing in the community, or in our schools, represents the work that the community sees as really important.”
To that end, the new strategic plan is starting with the finish line in mind. The county is asking itself what kind of scholars, community members, and people they want ACPS graduates to be by the time they walk across the stage and collect their diploma.
“What the ’Portrait of a Graduate,’ does is it helps us really set our targets for where we want our students to be when they leave,” McLaughlin explained. “That’s going to take us a couple of months.”
With 112 members from varying backgrounds, careers, and walks of life, the county says the design team for the “Portrait,” project reflects the community as completely as possible.
“We’ve got some teachers and support staff some school administrators involved as well as community but we have community leaders from business we have faith leaders, we have community service leaders,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve got about 20% of our team made up of current middle school and high school students, you know, kids who are living the K-12 experience right now.”
The district says that recordings of the design team’s meetings will be available for public consumption. Once a draft of the “Portrait,” is completed, ACPS will host sessions for public feedback.
The new strategic plan, and the new “Portrait of a Graduate,” are being developed in lockstep with ACPS’ new anti-racism policy. That policy, initially developed by students and adopted in March 2020, mandates things like reporting of racial disparities and anti-racism training for staff. It also outlines the goal of implementing anti-racism curriculum as well.
“One of our goals is to end the predictive value of things like race and socioeconomic status on student success,” McLaughlin explained. “When we can meet that goal, we’ll be in a much better place than we are right now.”
The “Portrait,” process is just the first step in the larger strategic plan development. The draft of the plan is expected to be finished by May of 2021, with the goal to have the plan in place by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.