Last night, the ACPS School Board has empowered the superintendent to move forward with planning for a Connected High School Network in Alexandria, Virginia that includes the modernization of the T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. was empowered to move forward with all aspects of a Connected High School Network strategy, including the expansion of the T.C. Williams Satellite Campus and the implementation of an Early College program on the campus of Northern Virginia Community College, which will offer students the opportunity to graduate with an associate’s degree or certification in addition to their high school diploma.
The Board also asked the superintendent to continue to explore the feasibility of a second comprehensive high school in the next phase of the planning so that the public could be clear about the site options and land constraints that Alexandria faces in resolving its high school capacity issues.
“We are asking the superintendent to move forward with a strategy that makes sense for Alexandria’s high school population, without overlooking the long-term need to modernize Minnie Howard,” said School Board Chair Cindy Anderson.
The School Board outlined several guiding priorities for the Connected High School Network, including a preference for co-location of multiple programs in order to maximize flexibility, enhance cross-program interactions and reduce logistical obstacles. The Board underscored that all students will have continued access to support services, including counseling, social work, nursing, psychological and nutrition services, as well as ensuring equitable opportunities in program offerings and a high level of flexibility in programs allowing students to change their academic path after initial selection.
The next phase of the planning for the high school will provide tangible options for programming, program locations and cost options.
“We will now be progressing with the next phase of planning that includes actual site options, as well as the design of program options. It’s essential that we keep these two pillars of the project – the physical space and innovative programming – running parallel throughout this project. The goal is to see this as an opportunity to provide our students with the skills they need to be successful in the workforce of the future. We want to focus on which programs to offer in order to fulfill those needs, as well as the location of those programs,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
The High School Project aims not only to resolve the issues around growing student enrollment and space at the high school, but it also attempts to redefine the high school experience for future generations of Alexandrians.
The project aims to create spaces and programming that are designed for the flexible style of learning expected in future generations that will stand the test of time, and that will remain flexible around future enrollment needs.