Filling in the blanks: Summer brings us the results of our work

Filling in the blanks: Summer brings us the results of our work
School board chairwoman Karen Graf

By Karen Graf (File photo)

Enrichment Program ended last week and students who don’t normally have access to summer learning were exposed to experiences that many of them may not otherwise have had. Summer enrichment included hands-on-learning of ecosystems, field trips to the U.S. Capitol, trips to nature reserves and visits to possible college destinations.

But summer is also about results. August brings us the result of our support of Superintendent Dr. Alvin L. Crawley’s progress in his goal of academic excellence for the school district. The Commonwealth of Virginia measures success through the Standards of Learning (SOL) test results. They want to know if our sixth-grade students know the value of 200-2.62. Our sixth-grade students know how to tackle this kind of math question and are able to write an essay that presents clear arguments that flow to a logical conclusion. SOLs may not show the whole child, but assessments are important, as they are the method the state uses to determine the success of a school system.

Next Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Education will publish the SOL results for jurisdictions across the state, and our community will find out exactly how Alexandria City Public Schools students are performing across the board in key skills such as language arts, math, science and social studies. These SOLs are crucial measures for the state, as this is how they evaluate the progress of our schools. The assessments are also the measure the state uses to decide whether our schools are meeting instructional standards.

The Alexandria City School Board is looking for consistent and indisputable growth across all schools within ACPS. We will find out Tuesday if we have achieved those goals and if the systems put in place to boost instruction over the past year have reaped the results we all hope for.

While the benchmarks are significant, each school needs to be seeing growth, even if they have attained the state’s benchmark over multiple years. This growth indicates strong instructional practices are occurring at all of our schools.

To keep abreast of all the SOL test results on Tuesday, sign up to follow ACPS on Twitter @acpsk12 or like us on Facebook at The results will be posted here first with the hashtag #ResultsTuesday.

In the meantime, are you smarter than a sixth-grader?

A spinner has four equal sections labeled W, X, Y and Z. A fair coin has faces labeled head and tails. Edward will spin the arrow of the spinner and flip the coin one time each. What is the probability that the arrow will land on the section labeled Z and the coin will land on heads face up?


The writer is the chairwoman of the Alexandria City School Board.