In 2021, for the first time since the 1980s, Chesterfield County Public Schools opened before Labor Day. Even with masks, it was easy to see the joy of students and teachers who were finally able to come together in the classroom after being apart for so long because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clearly, the start of the 2021-22 school year was like no other. The cheer of face-to-face teaching and learning was accompanied by challenges, including difficulties with transportation. A national shortage of school bus drivers caused a ripple effect and created stress for everyone — families, teachers, bus drivers and other employees. Recruiting and retaining other employees was also more difficult than in previous years.
Despite ongoing challenges, many related to the pandemic, student enrollment is rising because the reputation of our public schools often inspires families to live in Chesterfield County. Chesterfield County Public Schools continues to be a leader in public education:
- 100% of schools are fully accredited.
- On-time graduation rate rose to 92.3% for the class of 2021, and dropout rate declined to 5.6%.
- 59% of the class of 2021 earned a more rigorous advanced diploma.
- Chesterfield County Public Schools staff members consistently win statewide honors. Virginia’s 2021 psychologist, world language teacher, technology educator, art teacher, FBLA adviser and more all work in CCPS.
As we implement our strategic plan, Imagine Tomorrow, Team Chesterfield is creating classrooms of the future that will allow our students to soar to even greater heights. Our daily focus is to provide amazing learning experiences in remarkable learning environments while encouraging students and staff to exemplify personal responsibility and supportive relationships.
We all want kids to be back in the classroom safely and back to a more normal school experience. Families and staff members want to have a regular routine again. The school system is committed to providing students with a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment and will continue working diligently to make that happen. But Chesterfield County Public Schools (and Virginia’s other school systems) can’t do this alone. Just as a change in state law allowed school systems to better manage their calendars and choose to open before Labor Day, additional challenges can be aided by a statewide legislative approach.