With winter break upon us, I want to express my gratitude to each of you for your contributions to our school division and to all of those we serve. Just as important, I want to wish each of you and your loved ones the very best of enjoyable experiences this holiday season. I hope the break in our schedules will bring you well deserved opportunities to rest, explore, and spend valuable time with family and friends.
As has become traditional this time of year, I want to congratulate each of you for the remarkable experiences and achievements you are making possible in our division every day.
Earlier this week, we had five of our middle school students visit the White House and the Supreme Court. It was not the usual tourist tour; our students visited the residential quarters of the White House and had a behind-the-scenes tour of the Court’s chambers. Even more extraordinary was how this invitation came to be—from three of our alumni who now serve in these hallowed spaces. Not many school divisions in America can claim that distinction.
Most also cannot claim the degree of national recognition we recently earned from Niche, the national educational rankings research firm. They evaluated more than 10,000 school divisions across the country, and Albemarle County Public Schools was in the top four percent. We received straight As in the six rating categories, including an A+ in perhaps the most vital measure—student college readiness. The organization also evaluated nearly 20,000 high schools, and Albemarle, Monticello, and Western Albemarle were in the top six percent with strong scores for academics, teaching, and college readiness.
These results are a tribute to all of our schools, teachers, support staff, and departments, who so well prepare our students for lifelong success as they move through K-12 classrooms.
Performance excellence is not, however, confined to our classrooms. Our Transportation Department is fast approaching five million safe miles of student travel; our Child Nutrition team expertly serves more than 8,200 meals a day (not even New York’s finest restaurants come close); and among our most impressive achievements this year have been the Red Hill modernization, the Woodbrook expansion design, and the success of the first school bond referendum in more than 40 years. All of our successes are, in part, thanks to the exceptional work of our Building Services professionals.
While not all of our students come to us with the same interests, backgrounds or needs, they all come to us with similarly high hopes and aspirations. It is our shared responsibility to unlock the potential within each student to turn their dreams into reality.
I am proud of your commitment to do just that; for the care and respect you show to honor and benefit from the diverse cultural traditions our students and their families bring to us; for the time and planning you devote to know each student’s individual strengths and learning styles; for the innovation and excitement you bring to the pristine purpose of public education.
Best wishes for a wonderful winter break and a prosperous and healthy new year.