I am very happy to announce that Albemarle County Public Schools is launching a new strategic plan, entitled Learning for All, which will guide our school division over the next five years. This plan represents a collective, local vision that articulates our community’s hopes for all of our students. It charts a path for ACPS to provide our students with an educational experience that prepares them to be lifelong learners and to make positive contributions to society, while they are our students and in the future. It helps prepare the leaders who will make it possible for each of us to benefit from a more equitable, inclusive and prosperous world.
Under the direction of Dr. Patrick McLaughlin, Chief of Strategic Planning, this process was a collaboration between our students, employees, families and community. Our objective was to have an innovative and comprehensive understanding of what is needed to resource and operate a school division that successfully addresses the needs of all students and promotes equity in a profound and measurable way. We consulted with Battelle for Kids, a highly respected national, not-for-profit organization skilled in advising school divisions across our nation in strategic planning, to make sure that we were using the best nationally-recognized methods for this kind of work.
The first step in the development of our plan was to draft a division-wide Portrait of a Learner, which would serve as a foundation for the rest of the plan. The Portrait comprises eight competencies that answer the questions, “What are our brightest hopes for our students?” and “What knowledge and skills do our students need to thrive in a complex and rapidly-changing world?” With the help of over 100 community members reflecting a wide range of perspectives about future school division goals and priorities, the result was a document that captures a desire for ACPS students to possess the competencies of adaptability, anti-racism, communication, creativity, critical thinking, empathy, a learner’s mindset, and social justice and inclusion.
With these competencies in mind, our next step was to convene an intersectional group of students, employees, families, and community members to identify the goals, objectives and strategies that would ultimately make up the strategic plan. ACPS staff then served as a dedicated deliberative team to draft the plan’s language and vet the details to ensure that the plan was aligned with our existing division priorities, such as our Anti-Racism Policy.
Finally, we invited all students, employees, families, and community members to review a draft of the plan with us and give as much feedback as possible so that we could fine-tune our work and be sure the plan accurately reflected their needs and aspirations. As a result of this process, we have a new vision:
“Our learners are engaged in authentic, challenging, and relevant learning experiences, becoming lifelong contributors and leaders in our dynamic and diverse society.”
And a new mission statement:
“Working together as a team, we will end the predictive value of race, class, gender, and special capacities for our children’s success through high-quality teaching and learning for all. We seek to build relationships with families and communities to ensure that every student succeeds. We will know every student.”
Our values—equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness—will serve as the four pillars of a high-quality educational system.
In order to get the word out about our new strategic plan, beginning July 13, all email messages sent from ACPS staff accounts will contain our vision and mission statements as well as our values in the footer section of the emails. (The Department of Technology will add this content to all email messages automatically; employees do not need to do anything. The strategic plan content will appear only once in an email chain.)
The result of this work is a strategic plan that will enhance our ability to have a meaningful impact on the students and communities that we serve in ways that they really feel. It will help us end the predictive value of race, class, gender, and special capacities for our children’s success, making us all stronger. It will help us build relationships that will make us better at understanding each other’s needs and seeing each other’s perspectives. That will make us all stronger, too.
Dr. Matthew Haas
Superintendent of Schools