Fauquier County Public Schools Recognized as a School Division of Innovation
October 8, 2021
The Virginia Board of Education recognized Fauquier County Public Schools as a “School Division of Innovation” at its September 23 meeting. FCPS was one of five Virginia school divisions to earn this distinction for designing and implementing alternatives to traditional instructional practices and school structures to improve student learning and promote college and career readiness and good citizenship.
“We’ve known for some time what skills employers and colleges and universities want from our graduates. They typically have nothing to do with performance on standardized tests, for example,” said Superintendent David Jeck. “What they do want are people who can problem-solve, work with others, communicate effectively and in multiple ways and, well, innovate. Being selected as one of five school divisions to receive this distinction further demonstrates that we are committed to thinking and teaching differently.”
To earn the School Division of Innovation designation, a local school board must submit a plan meeting criteria set forth in the Board of Education regulations governing the recognition program. FCPS centered its application around four goals: authentic learning opportunities for all students, successful pathways for all students, reduction in the gaps between learners, and stronger preparation for postsecondary education and training. As part of the flexibility granted through this designation, FCPS will replace some traditional end-of-course multiple-choice SOL testing in certain content areas with performance assessments.
Reimagining what school could be will be part of the conversation in all twenty schools in the division. Fauquier County’s high schools are implementing interdisciplinary and project-based learning, with the goal of fostering the acquisition of the skills and attributes known as the Five Cs: creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and citizenship. This integration provides opportunities for students to meet state graduation requirements earlier in their high school careers and engage in authentic learning and career exploration during their junior and senior years. Middle and elementary schools are connecting career exploration with their learners to help develop student passions.
“We are seeking more experiences in our schools K-12 in partnership with our community that are connected to the Profile of a Graduate and the demonstration of the Five Cs,” said Director of Instruction Dr. Amy Acors. “Having more authentic learning experiences will give our students an opportunity to highlight not only what they know but also what they can do.”
The 2017 General Assembly authorized the School Divisions of Innovation program. The divisions recognized at the Board of Education’s September business meeting are the second group of divisions to earn the designation. Bristol, Dinwiddie County, Fairfax County, Fauquier County and Frederick County will retain the innovation designation for five years. The divisions are required to report annually to the Virginia Department of Education on progress toward meeting their plans' goals and performance targets.