APS NewsCheck

Transitions Bring Hopeful New Beginnings

By Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy

Earlier in my career, I had the pleasure of serving as a middle school principal which gave me a deep appreciation for the importance of smooth transitions. Greeting new students after completing their foundational elementary school years and preparing students to transition to high school successfully is a pivotal milestone in every student’s academic career as we prepare them for the transition of being college and career ready.  All of us play a part in these transitions and in making them successful.

Over the past week, I had the opportunity to celebrate with our students through a variety of promotion and graduation events where I witnessed many students sharing welcome remarks, reflections, and speeches. In one school, students presented carnations to the staff to say “thank you” for all they have done to support their journey. A common theme linked all these ceremonies—students prepared to make that next transition, explore new challenges and create hopeful new beginnings.  A special thank you to our teachers, administrators and staff who played a critical role in facilitating these transitions and contributing to the success of ALL students.

One thing is clear. Our students make us proud with the consistent progress and growth that they illustrate through their maturity and academic achievements. A few highlights for the graduating class of 2018:

  • Preliminary results show that we have 1,503 graduates in the class of 2018 which translates into a 100 percent on-time graduation rate at our comprehensive high schools by the end of this summer.
  • Among this group of graduates, 72 percent have earned an Advanced Diploma and
  • 75 percent have earned at least one Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB) credit.
  • 69 have completed the requirements for an IB Diploma and
  • 257 who have earned the Virginia Board of Education’s Seal of Biliteracy.
  • Over 88 percent reported that they plan to attend a two- or four-year college or university after graduation.

We are also very encouraged by the average 12 percent increase in students securing scholarship offerings this year to support their post-secondary plans. These results are not surprising given that there are 397 valedictorians in the Class of 2018 who have demonstrated a commitment to academic achievement through rigorous coursework.

The success of our students would not be possible without 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. It is this aspect of APS that gets me charged up every day to lead this incredible school division. One that offers a myriad of opportunities and choices for every student and a wide variety of resources for students and staff to support a path of their choosing.

With the long days of summer upon us, I hope that you will take time to relax, recharge and reflect on all you have accomplished in your classrooms, departments and beyond for APS and the community. You’ve made a huge difference in the lives of our students as they prepare for their next transition. Watch the short video below to hear from some of our graduates about transitions.

Best wishes for a safe, restful and enjoyable summer! We look forward to opening up our school doors in September and welcoming back all of our families to keep the learning going.