By Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy
It is an exciting and rewarding time of year! Over the past week, I have enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate with our students through a variety of promotion and graduation ceremonies where I watched many students share welcome remarks, reflections, and speeches to mark key milestones in their lives. A common theme linking all these ceremonies is that students are prepared to take that next step to successfully explore new challenges and create new opportunities. It is very rewarding to see students succeed, realize their own abilities and have the confidence to continue to reach for the stars—that’s what makes this time of year so exciting and meaningful.
A special thank you to our teachers, principals and staff who all play a pivotal role in facilitating and guiding students on their academic journey and contributing to the success of each individual student.
I am continually amazed by our students who show progress in their academic journey. Preliminary results show that APS has 1,648 graduates in the Class of 2019, representing all high schools and secondary programs. Among this group of graduates, 66 percent have earned an Advanced Diploma. At our three comprehensive high schools, 73 percent of our graduating seniors have earned an Advanced Diploma and 75 percent have earned at least one Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB) credit, including 94 graduates who have completed the requirements for an IB Diploma. Overall, 88 percent of our graduates self-reported that they plan to attend a two- or four-year college or university after graduation.
There are 489 valedictorians in the Class of 2019 who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to academic achievement through rigorous coursework. We are also very encouraged by the more than $52M in scholarship offerings to our seniors, a significant increase over last year, to support their post-secondary plans.
Congratulations to all our graduates who continue to make us proud at Arlington Public Schools!
Success at APS is also attributed to the dedicated and caring staff that make up the instructional, administrative and support teams – all working in tandem to ensure that all APS students have a successful academic experience throughout their careers – one that meets their individual needs and interests. Coupled with that is the support that we receive from our families and community that serve as an extension of our team – a vital ingredient of our recipe for success.
This summer, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn and more time to take advantage of the educational spaces right here in the D.C. metro area. Whether you plan on staying local this summer or traveling abroad, make plans to visit new places, take a college tour and make some trips to the library. This supports continued learning while having fun which prepares our students to be ready for the new school year.
Best wishes for a safe, restful and enjoyable summer! Please make reading part of your summer plans and continue to pursue new learning experiences. Staff is looking forward to welcoming everyone back in September and opening five new schools and programs. Remember that our doors are open all summer if you have questions or need support in the coming weeks. It has been an honor to serve APS for the past decade, and I wish you many successes in the future.
And, most importantly, keep reading and experiencing the virtues, adventures and excitement of books – it is the best way you can change the course of your life.