The first day of school is just over a week away, and, on behalf of all our teachers, staff members and administrators, let me say that we are excited and ready for an outstanding 2018-19 school year.
We are fortunate here in Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS). We have a wonderfully supportive and engaged community, a stellar team of innovative and creative educators dedicated to the children of this city and, of course, incredible young people, who come to us with imaginations, passions and a thirst for learning.
Thanks to these combined efforts, this division has seen exceptional student achievements that make VBCPS a leader in the state and nation as well as a sought after destination for families.
What do I mean by that?
For one, data released by the Virginia Department of Education confirmed that we will once again be a 100 percent, fully-accredited school division for the second consecutive year. No other division in Hampton Roads shares this accolade, and it evidence of the hard work we do each day to meet the individual needs of every child in our division.
We also have seen increases in the amount of – and the diversity of – students who are taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses in school. These are some of the most rigorous classes available, and students are not just taking them; they are excelling in them. We have seen more students taking the end-of-year AP exams and more students earning college-credit by passing those exams.
In addition, our most recent graduates in the Class of 2018 were offered more than $100 million in scholarships, which is an all-time record for the division. This class is also projected to have the highest on-time graduation rate of any graduating class before.
All this to say, we are seeing more of our students engaged in their schools, meeting the state standards, challenging themselves with high-level coursework and exceling in all of those efforts.
For good reasons, this city has high expectations for our schools; and year after year this division delivers tremendous results. That said, it can be easy to become accustomed to accolades and believe that these achievements are commonplace. I want to be clear: This division is far from common. School divisions across this region, this state and this country are wishing for and working for this level of achievement.
As such, I say to our community, we should take great pride in this school division. There is much to celebrate and much to champion. I am proud to lead this amazing organization, but I am prouder still to have my own children learning and growing in our schools today.
We are excited to welcome all 67,000 of our students back to school Tuesday, Sept. 4. While we know we still have work to do and opportunities for improvement, incredible learning is happening each day in our classrooms, and we look forward to another groundbreaking year ahead.