The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

ACPS 2025: Working Toward Equity

The new five-year plan, ACPS 2025, aims to increase equity among students in the district. Photo courtesy of ACPS.
The new five-year plan, ACPS 2025, aims to increase equity among students in the district. Photo courtesy of ACPS.

New Five-Year Plan Aims to Decrease Disparity Between Students in the School System

Stella Williams

ACPS 2025, the school system’s new five-year plan, is focused on equity, which ACPS defines as “empowering students, families and staff by providing relationships and nurturing capability to collectively remove barriers that prevent anyone from achieving their aspirations.” 

Since minorities have fallen behind in the past, the plan aims to narrow the achievement gap in the school system to “meet students where they are and not necessarily where we want them to be,” according to a page on the ACPS website.

The data workbook for the 2025 Strategic Planning Committee shows the gap between students of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. “Many achievement gaps persist. White and Asian students tend to outperform black and Hispanic students in terms of SOL pass rates, average SAT scores, and on-time graduation rates,” states the workbook. Furthermore, “Gaps between white and Hispanic and English Learner students’ SOL pass rates and on-time graduation rates have widened. Large gaps remain between white and Hispanic kindergarten students who meet fall benchmarks.”

An example of this achievement gap is the scores for the third grade reading SOL. White students had an 85 percent pass rate, while 62 percent of Asian students passed, 55 percent of Black students passed, 43 percent of Hispanic students passed, 44 percent of EDS passed, 45 percent of ELL students passed, and 26 percent of students with disabilities passed. 

There are other disparities besides differences in test scores. “Hispanic students [are] disproportionately chronically absent,” according to an ACPS Preparing for Strategic Planning: Engaging Community and Assessing Needs presentation. There are “multiple instances of disproportionate suspensions, especially among black students” and students of color, and those from culturally and linguistically diverse families are more often referred to specialized instruction.

Also, the presentation states that there are “disproportionately high rates of white students identified for TAG and participating in Honors.”

To fix these problems, educational equity is the focus of ACPS 2025. It “will be focused on ensuring all students get what they need to succeed,” said the ACPS Express publication. “We see diversity as our strength.”  

In a column in the Alexandria Times, Superintendent Gregory Hutchings said that it is “not simple to achieve equity in a school division like ours, which, like so many others, was not developed and grown on equitable principles and practices from the start.” 

“Unfortunately, the way that some of our specialized programs and learning pathways are implemented means that we have vestiges of modern-day segregation of students based on their learning abilities or life circumstances in our school,” he also said. 

“It will take a community to make ACPS the best place to teach, work and learn. But once we get there, the entire community will reap the rewards and the City of Alexandria will be a beacon in which to live, work, learn and play,” said Hutchings. 

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ACPS 2025: Working Toward Equity