ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WRIC) — 8News reached out to every school system in Central Virginia to see how superintendents are preparing for the coming school year. Here is what Superintendent Dr. Pamela Moran of Albemarle County had to say.
1. What do you believe your school system’s biggest strength is?
We have a term we use in describing our operational strategy—collective efficacy. In Albemarle County Public Schools, what that means is a tight alignment between our Board of Supervisors, School Board, staff, students and families on our one strategic goal—preparing all students to be successful as learners, in careers and as citizens. There’s agreement that the best way to achieve this goal is for learning to be student-centered in our schools. That leads to high levels of engagement in class, innovative leveraging of technology and an openness to new ideas that connect with the companies and organizations that many of our graduates will serve.
2. What are you most looking forward to this school year?
August 21, that first day of the new school year always is so special for educators. There’s an excitement around all the new promise that will begin to unfold on that day. You can see it in the faces of the students and in the enthusiasm of our entire team, from the bus drivers to our building services and cafeteria employees, our office staff and of course, our teachers. I’m encouraged by some of the progress we have begun to make on some of our highest priorities, narrowing the achievement gap for instance. It is humbling but exhilarating as well to be a part of a responsibility that can have such a wonderful impact on our communities and county in the years ahead.
3. What changes can parents expect to see in your school system this year?
This is our strategic plan renewal year and both parents and community members will hear a great deal about opportunities for them to offer their ideas and suggestions for improvements and new goals. Over the course of the year, parents will see new security protections added to our schools, more steps to improve student health and reduce stress levels, stronger
partnerships with businesses around internships, more choice for high school students to attend classes at any one of our high schools, more opportunities to communicate with teachers about their child’s progress and enhancements to our grading system to provide more useful information about how students are progressing in their learning. We also our modernizing our gifted program to include all students in a talent development model.
4. Is there anything else you want parents to know ahead of this school year?
Most important, that their participation in the education of their child and in the decisions of our school division not only are welcome but they are encouraged. Parents are a competitive edge for our students and we hope they will become more involved in volunteering in our schools, following our School Board meetings through our new video live-stream and supporting our students on the stage, at athletic events, in our strategic planning and of course, in the classroom. A recent national survey rated our school division in the top two percent of the nation and that’s only possible with everyone making a contribution. All voices count.