• COMMUNITY LISTENING SESSIONS
    Summary of Key Notes & Feedback

     

    GOAL 1: EMPOWERED STUDENTS

     

    Academic Excellence

    • LCPS balances academic rigor with developmentally appropriate expectations and considers students' and staff's mental health.

    • The LCPS grading policy focuses on measuring student learning; during the 2023-2024 school year, LCPS will conduct a program evaluation of the LCPS assessment and grading policy and its implementation.

    •  LCPS continues to work with legislators to advocate that school divisions have the opportunity to substitute Virginia Growth Assessment (VGA) with the more informative Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment.

    • Elementary students are subject to several standardized tests. LCPS advocates for more efficient assessment methods and has streamlined where possible. For example, LCPS will no longer conduct the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.

    • LCPS focuses on research-based teaching and learning in reading and writing, providing professional learning for teachers, and following the Virginia Literacy Act for literacy instruction.

    •  LCPS officials consistently conduct "learning walks" to improve teaching rigor and support the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) continuous improvement process.

    • LCPS teachers assign a range of reading materials at and beyond grade level, also encouraging independent reading at students' comfort level.

    • LCPS prioritizes arts programs and co-curricular activities, aiming to increase student involvement.

    •  LCPS teaches patriotism aligned with Virginia code and celebrates Purple Star Schools and the Month of the Military Child.

    • The possibility of expanding alternative education options at the middle school level is under consideration in the division.

     

    Virtual Elementary & Virtual Virginia

    • LCPS collaborates with families to support medically fragile students with tailored instructional services based on individual needs.

    • Accommodations and support are provided through IEP teams for students with disabilities in virtual or traditional schooling environments.

    • Virtual Elementary will not be an option in the 2023-24 school year. LCPS and IEP teams are working closely with families who wish to engage with Virtual Virginia.

     

    Grading

    • Teachers have shared their frustration with the LCPS grading and assessment policy policy, including the “50% floor” and the retake policy. LCPS will conduct a program evaluation of the grading and assessment policy and its implementation during the 2023-2024 school year to inform next steps.

    • LCPS established a Chronic Absenteeism workgroup this past year to support attendance for vulnerable students.  The work of this group remains ongoing to address this need. 

    • LCPS is working toward adopting a new elementary literacy curriculum by 2024, in alignment with the Virginia Literacy Act, with teachers receiving professional development for transition.

    • The division plans to focus on equitable, balanced assessment, highlighting mastering standards, personalized learning and maintaining academic rigor.

    • Information on the Gifted Education program can be accessed through the division’s Gifted Education webpage and local gifted resource teachers.

    • Title I funds are integrated into the overall budget development, aiding services for students

    • LCPS is working on improving communication around course planning and scheduling to ensure student eligibility and equitable access to all courses.

     

    Counseling and Supports

    • Counselors guide students on course selection and college/career goals, using resources like the Schoolinks platform; pre-requisite classes ensure access for all students.

    • Concerns exist about weighted GPAs; some colleges consider them, while others do not.

    • LCPS enhanced available support post-pandemic with more counselors, summer programs, and initiatives like CAMPUS, AVID, and advisory times.

    • Middle school students learn to design a six-year Academic and Career Plan (ACP), preparing them for high school and beyond.

     

    Student Behavior

    • LCPS employs 19 student assistance specialists to support attendance support and intervention, substance use prevention and intervention, and restorative practices.

    • Student-led initiatives like Sources of Strength and Positive Experiences in Educational Relationships (PEER) promote awareness and positive action.

    • Partnerships with local agencies support community awareness events about substances like Fentanyl and opioids.

    • LCPS staff, including administrators, nurses, and SSOs, are trained to administer Narcan in overdose emergencies, with doses available on campus.

    • Every drug or vaping offense at LCPS is reported to law enforcement, with legal charges determined by law enforcement and courts.

    • LCPS has a policy in place for drug possession; first-time offenders receive a suspension and must work with student assistance specialists.

     

    Commitment To Equity

    • LCPS combats bullying and harassment, supporting principals in issuing discipline and using restorative practices.

    • The division’s commitment to equity is demonstrated through proactive policies and regulations, such as Policy 8030 and Regulation 8030-3, targeting student discrimination and hate speech.

    • LCPS employs a multifaceted approach to handle racial slurs and hate speech, involving restorative practices, discipline for offenders, and preventive measures.

    • LCPS has partnerships with community organizations  like Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington to increase diversity awareness and bolster efforts to combat racism and discrimination.

    • Regular initiatives are conducted via school-based Equity Leads and Student Equity Ambassadors to ensure all individuals are valued.

    • The LCPS commitment to equity includes practices and procedures ensuring a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for all students, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

     

    Books/Library/Classroom Resources 

    • LCPS has adopted Policy 5055, mandating parental notification for books containing sexually explicit content used in instruction, and revised policies concerning review and challenge of instructional resources.

    • LCPS ensures library access and transparency with a revised book challenge process and maintains a list of previously challenged books and their outcomes on its website.

    • LCPS has recently revised Policy 5045, and adopted new policies 5046 and 5047, related to the challenge of instructional materials. Specifically, 

      • 5045 - Supplemental Instructional Materials:  The purpose of this policy is to define the criteria and selection of supplemental instructional materials. 

      • 5046 - School and Classroom Libraries: This policy sets forth the relevant considerations surrounding the selection of school and classroom library materials. 

      • 5047 - Challenge of Instructional Materials:  This policy considers the views of LCPS stakeholders in addressing challenges to the instructional and library materials purchased by or donated to the School Division and provides clear procedures for the challenge and review of those materials. 

     

    School Calendars

    • The School Board, which adopted the 2023-24 calendar, determines school holidays, with a possibility to recognize additional dates per Regulation 7040 (changes require full board action).

    • The calendar development process must consider the needs of over 83,000 students, LCPS policy, Virginia code, and the requirements of more than 30 staff work calendars impacting over 12,000 employees.

     

    Dress Code

    • Policy 8070 was updated in September 2021; concerns should be directed to the school principal and appropriate Division staff.

     

    Special Education and Student Services

    • LCPS explores technology compatibility and works with parents and experts for better diabetes management, taking inspiration from Spotsylvania's recent improvements.

    • The community's concern about current events affecting vulnerable populations within LCPS necessitates further details on planned support measures.

    • LCPS offers the full continuum of services to students eligible for Special Education. IEP teams plan according to SOL content area instruction.

    • Special permission for school choice is regulated by Policy 8155 (based on school capacity) to avoid discrimination toward students with IEPs.

     

    GOAL 2: EXEMPLARY STAFF

     

    Staffing Standards

    • LCPS leverages around 200 staffing standards outlined in each posted budget appendix, striving to safeguard schools and positions during the student projection phase.

     

    Retention and Recruitment

    • The acting superintendent utilizes a Teacher Advisory Council (TAC) to evaluate strengths and areas for growth, develop improvement strategies, and prioritize teacher morale.

    • Division-level staff are examining leave policies and enhancing incentives for substitute teachers to support regular teachers' wellbeing.

    • Parents and community members are encouraged to communicate with teachers regarding concerns, initially through emails or brief calls, and escalating if needed following policy 8070.

    • Human Resources and Talent Development have implemented a substitute loyalty program.

    • Active recruiting programs, including the Teacher Cadet program, are in place, with the LCPS website recently updated to highlight opportunities and benefits of working for the division.

    • LCPS aims to address the shortage of substitute teachers by refining the onboarding process for efficiency, reevaluating long-term rates, and increasing site-based substitutes in the 2023-24 academic year.

    • The FY24 budget ensures all eligible LCPS employees receive an average 2.5% step increase, with an additional potential increase up to 3.3% pending final state budget adoption.

     

    GOAL 3: ENRICHED DIVISION

     

    Communications

    • The Special Education Department communicates with parents through flyers, schools, and counselors.

    • The Student Services Department holds over 25 community events per year on various topics.

    • LCPS responds to FOIA requests according to Virginia law and provides resources on the division website.

    • The division conducted community listening sessions and established a parent advisory committee. It also invites questions through the website.

    • Feedback about employees can be submitted through the LCPS Comment and Complaint form or by contacting the Office of the Ombuds.

     

    Facilities and Transportation

    • The School Board discussed boundary changes in fall 2022, but decided not to make changes to Sanders Corner Elementary School.

    • LCPS has a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget for modernizing and renovating school buildings.

    • LCPS shifted to five tiers of bell times to improve reliability and eliminate second bus loads.

    • Secondary school attendance zones were reviewed and adjusted in fall 2022.

    • Willard Middle School's overcrowding is being addressed through ongoing work, assessing capacity, and reviewing attendance zones.

    • The county's population growth has led to the construction of new schools. Future new schools are projected to open in 2028.

    • LCPS regularly reviews attendance zones and brings recommendations to the School Board for a vote.

     

    Restroom Privacy and Safety

    • LCPS is addressing safety issues in school restrooms, including fighting, vaping, drugs, and vandalism.

    • The division is piloting technology that detects vaping, drug use, and distress signals in restrooms.

    • Safety and creating productive learning environments are priorities outlined in the ONE LCPS: 2027 Strategic Plan.

    • The Capital Improvement Plan includes funding for improving restroom privacy and safety.

    • Gender-neutral restrooms are already in place and a pilot program for renovations and technology solutions is being developed.

    • Feedback is being gathered from principals, student advisories, and parents to find a balance between safety and privacy.

    • Renovations and technology pilots are scheduled for implementation in summer and fall of 2023.

    • Efforts are being made to collaborate with other school divisions and evaluate alternative restroom facilities and technology solutions.

     

    Safety

    • The safety, security, and wellbeing of students and staff are the division's top priority.

    • Measures and strategies used for security purposes cannot be disclosed, but LCPS takes actions to keep everyone safe.

    • Collaboration with law enforcement, including Student Resource Officers, helps prevent and address threats.

    • A Title IX reporting system is in place to report complaints and initiate investigations.

    • Seven policies have been reviewed and revised following the special grand jury report.

    • Mental health support services have been increased to address students' struggles.

    • Community engagement is important in addressing concerns and questions about safety and discrimination.

    • LCPS monitors and modifies internet content filtering settings for student safety and will be introducing a parent portal for further visibility and control.

     

    GOAL 4: ENGAGED COMMUNITY

     

    Legislative Advocacy

    • LCPS engages in regular meetings with the local delegation and holds an annual legislative breakfast to present its advocacy platform and discuss it with legislators.

    • The current priority is addressing the budget shortfall caused by a Virginia Department of Education error and collaborating with the County Board of Supervisors to support the schools in light of the error.

     

    Policy

    • LCPS allows public comment on every policy for review and provides information through the division's homepage and newsletters.

    • The Loudoun Education Alliance of Families (LEAF) was created in 2022 and includes representatives from each school. The group provides a parent advisory for the division.

Last Modified on August 8, 2023