Charlottesville City Schools is hosting a series of listening sessions to solicit feedback for the development of its strategic plan to guide the division through 2023. The largest meeting, open to anyone in the community, will be held at Charlottesville High School on Wednesday, January 25 at 7pm.

“We want to hear from the community – parents, students, teachers, employers, and more,” noted Jeff Faust, Director of Technology for Charlottesville City Schools, and co-director of the planning process. “We want to present some of the themes and trends that are unfolding on a national level and in other innovative school settings. More importantly, we want to hear feedback and ideas. Ultimately, we want to discern how these trends fit into our local setting.”

In addition to the community-wide meeting, a schedule of school-based meetings has been posted to the school division’s web site at charlottesvilleschools.org/strategic-plan. Furthermore, students at each school are participating in focus groups, and other specialized groups are being formed to tap community perspectives and expertise, including employers and higher education.

The planning process dovetails with Virginia’s recent changes to high school graduation requirements, which will emphasize real-life skills potentially gained through experiences such as internships or earning industry credentials. Giving students greater responsibility for their own goal-setting and growth is another recurring vein in educational innovations.

“In our focus groups, students — even elementary students — have echoed these same themes,” commented Beth Cheuk, the division’s Community Relations Liaison who is also co-directing the planning process. “Students appreciate having choices and flexibility in their day. They see value in doing real-life projects, whether in the science lab, their school gardens, or the community.”

To learn more about the process, visit the Charlottesville City Schools’ web site (charlottesvilleschools.org) or contact Beth Cheuk at 245-2962.

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