Filling in the Blanks with Meagan Alderton: The hope a new year brings

Filling in the Blanks with Meagan Alderton: The hope a new year brings
Meagan Alderton

With the dawning of a new year, Alexandria City Public Schools is staying the course in 2022 with “Equity for All” at the heart of our strategic plan. On Jan. 4, 2022, an induction ceremony was held and the new Alexandria School Board was sworn in for a three-year term. This marks a time for new beginnings for our community: a time to let go of the struggles of the past and look forward to the hopes of the future.

The start of 2022 is exciting for many of our students. As the class of 2022 plans for the future, they will do so with a tenacity, perspective and strength unmatched by any generation. As did their predecessors in the class of 2021, they know all too well the uncertainty that life can bring. However, they will be ready to press forward, to strive and to thrive, no matter the obstacles that come their way.

As educators, it is our job to provide our students with the tools needed to thrive in a challenging world. That is what lies at the core of our work in ACPS. We must welcome students as they are, meet them where they are and actively remove barriers that impede access to resources and learning. This is what we mean by “Equity for All,” and this is what must remain top of mind when making decisions, from the boardroom to classroom.

For many, eyeing the road that lies ahead can be a daunting task. This is why it is so important for all of us as a community to encourage students to learn as much as they can, explore what life has to offer and advocate for themselves when needed. For this reason, ACPS has put in place a curriculum focused on students’ social, emotional and academic learning as part of their daily experience.

These lessons give students the opportunity to build connections with their peers and school staff and to further explore academic and career options. The emotional and social wellbeing of all students is a top priority at ACPS, and we want them to know that they have a full support team standing by and ready to help.

I also want all of our ACPS families to know that as the new School Board begins its work, it will continue to follow its mission to “ensure that all students reach their highest academic potential and that they are prepared for citizenship, higher education and the workforce.”

Joining three incumbents are six newcomers. Each of us look forward to working together, as we continue to guide the school division in making policy, budget and leadership decisions that are aligned with our vision, mission and strategic goals.

As we strive to achieve equity within ACPS, we are in effect continuing the legacy of the civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who, along with others, helped lay the foundation as part of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The words delivered by Dr. King in 1963, as part of the March on Washington, serve as inspiration for us today, and we look forward to celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King on Jan. 17.

I want to assure you that your superintendent and your School Board are ready to lead the way in this new year as the division continues on its path to success. I would also like to extend the opportunity to all ACPS families to express their thoughts in matters concerning the school division.

Please join us for our first scheduled School Board Public Hearing set for Jan. 20, 2022 on the proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Combined Funds Budget. Your input is valued and always appreciated.

Happy New Year!

The writer is chair of the Alexandria School Board.