Albemarle County

Arts & Letters Pathway

Categories: Albemarle County | 2017

Recognizing the evolution of the creative process in instruction from Science, Engineering and Math (STEM) to include the arts (STEAM), Albemarle High School has established an Arts & Letters Pathway.  The program offers students 14 different areas of concentration in the visual, creative and performing arts.  Students suggest additions to the curriculum, for example, a music theory course and are linked with professional artists and organizations in the community, who serve as mentors, arrange job-shadowing and provide internships to align student interests with authentic learning opportunities outside the classroom.  Internships can range from creativity and performance to the management and financing of resources, facilities and businesses.  In their senior year, students present a capstone project as evidence of the maturity of their skills, from one-person art shows to original films to theater productions that they write, direct and perform.  Recognition of their achievements becomes part of their college application transcript.  

Contact:

Jennifer Morris
jmorris@l12albemarle.org
Director, Arts & Letters Pathway
434-975-9300


Culturally Responsive Teaching

Categories: Albemarle County | 2017

Over 10 years, student enrollment in Albemarle County Public Schools is up by eight percent overall but 37 percent for English language learners.  Students represent 94 birth countries and 75 languages are spoken in their homes.  To meet the learning opportunity gaps that have multiplied from this diversity, the division launched a new program to instill culturally responsive teaching throughout the division.  Research-based and delivered through professional development sessions and coaching, this program provides teachers with targeted strategies and individualized instructional practices focusing on the widely different ways in which students and their families learn and process information and value and relate to their peers and teachers.  Surveys show stronger student and parent engagement levels and test scores.  To embed these practices,  a certification program credentials teachers who demonstrate their competence through portfolios and presentations.  The school division is the first in Virginia to certify teachers in this practice.

Contact

Dr. Bernard Hairston
Executive Director, Community Engagement
hairston@k12albemarle.org
434-293-2088


Multi-Age Classroom

Categories: Albemarle County | 2017

In 2015-16, instead of adding six conventional classrooms to accommodate enrollment growth, Agnor-Hurt Elementary School unveiled one room---a multi-age classroom, housing 120 students in grades K-5.  It includes abundant open space, flexible and comfortable student furniture, the latest technological capabilities and a strong emphasis on project-based, collaborative learning.  Teachers are learning facilitators centering the project-based, collaborative curriculum on student interests.  Students work across grade levels based upon their levels of proficiency and often assist one another.  Early returns are remarkable—SOL pass rates went from 69 to 80 in English; 64 to 78 in Math; 69 to 95 in History and 60 to 85 in Science.  The waiting list of parents wanting their children to be enrolled is so large that next year, the school will free up additional space to meet this demand.  Governor McAuliffe visited in 2015 as part of his tour around innovation in education.

Contact

Michele Castner
Principal
mdcastner@k12albemarle.org
434-973-5211