Volume 3, Issue 4 | December 2023
A Message from the Superintendent
As the holiday season approaches, one thing I most look forward to is finding the time to settle down with a good book and a warm blanket. In the age of social media and what seems to be unlimited TV streaming options, reading will strike many as a curious way to spend spare time but the intense connection it can provide to a story is special.
We always are looking to foster a love of reading in all our students. In tandem with the Virginia General Assembly and the Virginia Department of Education, our teachers and administrators are taking advantage of two opportunities to improve early literacy outcomes for all of our young learners.
The first opportunity is the selection of a new reading curriculum for our elementary students. During the past several months, the English Language Arts Adoption Committee — made up of more than 60 teachers, administrators, academic coaches, parents and community partners — reviewed six programs on the Commonwealth's approved list and now have narrowed those options down to two programs for our community to review. (More information on these programs and how they were judged can be found on our Virginia Literacy Act webpage.)
The committee identified Benchmark Advance and HMH Into Reading as the best fit for our division. Program materials are available for community members to explore at our elementary schools, online or at Center I at 1180 Seminole Trail in Charlottesville. After their review, we are asking families to complete our ELA Adoption Caregiver/Community Survey by December 8. In January, our School Board is expected to chose the program we will use next year.
The second opportunity is a state-funded intensive tutoring program to strengthen the reading skills and capabilities of students in grades 3-8. Thousands of students across the division will benefit from this instructional support and parents and community members can help ensure its success. The division currently is looking for tutors and if you are interested in helping students learn at their highest potential, I hope you will consider becoming a tutor. You can find information about the program at one of these three links:
- Tutors for western feeder pattern schools
- Tutors for southern feeder pattern schools
- Tutors for northern feeder pattern schools
I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday and with winter break approaching, I hope you will keep a good book handy.
Dr. Matthew S. Haas, Superintendent
In Case You Missed It
A lot has happened this month! Here's what we think is important to know:
ACPS In the News
Read a roundup on all of the cool and fun things that happened in our division during November!
Golden Apple Nominations
Golden Apple nominations are now open! To learn more or nominate a teacher, visit our Golden Apple Awards webpage.
Community Information Session
If you weren't able to make it to our Community Information Session, a recording of the meeting is available on our YouTube.
This Month's Video Highlight
Tuesday, Dec. 12
SEAC Meeting, 7 to 9 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 14
Regular School Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
Parent Council Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2
National Special Education Day
Monday, Dec. 4 to Friday, Dec. 8
Hour of Code
Question of the Month
During community meetings and various other gatherings, Superintendent Dr. Haas collects suggestions and questions through an anonymous Suggestion Box. Each week, he chooses one question to answer or suggestion to address. In each edition of Connections going forward, we will highlight one of those questions and link to the other questions on our website.
What is our systemic professional development plan to support improving the appropriateness of student behavior?
Albemarle County Public School is implementing a school discipline approach that has been moving toward a more community/relationship based problem solving model as indicated by professional development, practice and support of models like Responsive Classroom, Developmental Designs, the STEP program at the secondary level as well as opportunities for students to engage in mediation and community circles. These approaches have the common ground of building classroom and school communities by supporting students.
Did You Know?
Albemarle County public school teachers have raised more than $300,000 for classroom projects through the online nonprofit DonorsChoose. Nearly 700 projects across the division have been made possible by donations from the community. See our DonorsChoose webpage to learn more about the partnership and how to fund special classroom projects!
Opportunities for You!
At the heart of a strong community is a thriving public school system. The Albemarle Foundation for Education (AFE), ACPS’ designated philanthropic 501(c)(3) partner, is working to generate a community commitment to helping each student thrive. AFE leverages philanthropic support to invest in new ideas, propel promising ventures, and scale proven practices across the division. Visit the AFE's webpage for more information!