High achieving and improving
The reputation of the public schools often inspires families to make their home in Chesterfield County. But don’t just take our word for it: SchoolMatch consistently rates Chesterfield County Public Schools as having precisely the balance parents seek. Chesterfield residents say they are happy with their choice: In a 2010 survey, nearly 86 percent of residents rated Chesterfield schools as excellent or good. Is it any wonder that for the sixth time Chesterfield was named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance? Guided by the Design for Excellence 2020 strategic plan, the school system is working to achieve its vision of providing an engaging and relevant education that prepares every student to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world.
- More than 58,000 students attend 62 schools: 38 elementary schools (K-5), 12 middle schools (6-8), 11 high schools (9-12) that include 12 specialty centers and 1 technical center
- 25-to-1 pupil-teacher staffing standard for elementary school, 27-to-1 for middle school and 26-to-1 for high school
- $535 million operating budget (69 percent for instruction, 11 percent for operations and maintenance, 8 percent for debt, 6 percent for transportation, 4 percent for administration, attendance and health and 2 percent for technology)
- $9,271 cost per student
- 7,679 full-time and part-time positions
- 6.3 million meals are served in school cafeterias each year, and 33 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
- The student body is 55 percent white, 26 percent black, 11 percent Hispanic, 3.5 percent Asian/Hawaiian/Pacific islander, 4 percent two or more races and 0.5 percent American Indian/Alaskan native (2012-13 statistic)
Good steward of tax dollars
Audits consistently prove that Chesterfield schools are efficient and effective. Based on student enrollment, Chesterfield is among the country’s 100 largest school systems but still keeps costs low. In 2011, Chesterfield County spent less per student than all but nine of Virginia’s 132 public school systems. Standard & Poor’s compared reading and math proficiency with money spent and determined that Chesterfield schools are extremely effective, ranking the school division third among 15 of Virginia’s largest localities. A 2010 efficiency audit found Chesterfield County Public Schools to be “a very well-run school division” operating at 99.3 percent efficiency. Launching successful students
- To provide an engaging and relevant education, Chesterfield County Public Schools embraces three big ideas developed around national best practices and cutting-edge research:
- blended learning, which integrates technology into education and leads to anytime, anywhere learning
- project-based learning, which promotes problem solving, collaboration and communication
- service learning, which connects students with the community
- Chesterfield makes attracting and retaining the best teachers and staff members a priority. Working in Chesterfield schools are 1,871 teachers with master’s degrees, 100 National Board Certified Teachers and 87 employees with doctorates.
- Chesterfield County students generally continue to outperform their peers across Virginia on Standards of Learning tests, according to results from tests taken in 2012-13. Chesterfield County pass rates exceed the state average on 21 of 34 SOL tests and equal the state average on two tests. Additional Chesterfield County highlights include steady progress in math, a 100 percent pass rate on the geography test and perfect scores on 3,184 SOL tests.
- More than 90 percent of Chesterfield students graduate on time, outperforming their peers across Virginia. In 2013, there were 4,277 graduates: 60 percent earned advanced diplomas, and 83 percent planned to continue their education. The class of 2013 earned $21.9 million in scholarships.
- Academic initiatives include a school readiness program for 4-year-olds at a few schools, world language instruction in some elementary schools and algebra for every student during middle school. Alternative study options include day and night programs and online courses.
- Center-based programs in elementary and middle schools meet the needs of gifted learners. High school students may choose to attend their neighborhood school or apply to a specialty center, technical center or two regional governor’s schools based on individual interests and talents.
- The number of students taking at least one Advanced Placement class increased to 3,679 in 2011-12 from 2,699 in 2006-07. Dual enrollment registrations increased to 2,519 in 2011-12 from 381 in 2001-02. Each year, about 2,000 career and technical education students earn industry certifications.
- More than 4,000 students live in homes where English is not the dominant language. Most English language learners come from Spanish-speaking backgrounds, but more than 60 other languages are represented in Chesterfield schools.
- Hundreds of businesses, faith communities and organizations partner with schools, and thousands of individuals volunteer annually. In 2012-13, school supporters volunteered more than 53,000 hours ($1.2 million estimated value).
- In 2012, Virginia Tech’s School of Education recognized Chesterfield County Public Schools with the Excellence in Education Award for 21st-century teaching and learning.
- Chesterfield County Public Schools was selected for the 2012 Advanced Placement District Honor Roll for increasing access to AP classes while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.
- Chesterfield County Public Schools won Edmodo’s District of the Year award in 2013, the first year this national award was ever given.
- Dee Castelvecchi of Elizabeth Davis Middle School is the nation’s top health teacher in 2013. She is the third teacher in Chesterfield County Public Schools to win the nation’s top award: Bailey Bridge Middle’s Misti Wajciechowski won in 2010 and Carver Middle’s Kay Schiltz won in 2006.
- Bellwood Elementary was selected as a 2011 National Title I Distinguished School for sustained achievement. Bellwood is the fifth elementary school to be honored: Beulah in 2010, Harrowgate in 2006, Chalkley in 2005 and Bensley in 2002.
- The Cisco Academy of the Chesterfield Technical Center in 2012 won the first-ever Rigorous Programs of Study National Award from the National Association for Career Pathways Leadership.
- Sports Backers honored Bellwood Elementary as the region’s 2013 Active RVA Outstanding School of the Year.
- After being named Chesterfield’s 2014 Teacher of the Year, Tracey Zaval was chosen as the Region 1 Teacher of the Year, too; she teaches civics and economics at Midlothian Middle. Cathy Garrison is Chesterfield’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year; she teaches kindergarten at Woolridge Elementary. Kristin Breslin is Chesterfield’s High School Teacher of the Year. She teaches in Manchester High’s Success Program, helping at-risk students successfully transition into high school and beyond.
Chesterfield County School Board
Chair Dianne Smith, Clover Hill District
Vice Chair Carrie Coyner, Bermuda District
David Wyman, Dale District
Thomas Doland, Matoaca District
Dr. James Schroeder, Midlothian District
Marcus J. Newsome, Ed.D.