Alexandria City Public Schools has extended a contract to American Institutes for Research to help the school system close the achievement gap and address other issues at Jefferson-Houston School.
AIR was chosen out of seven qualifying proposals submitted to ACPS after ACPS leadership and a Jefferson-Houston team reviewed them. The state funds the $369,300 contract through the school’s Title I designation reserved for poorly performing schools.
The Virginia Department of Education designated Jefferson-Houston as one of the commonwealth’s bottom 5 percent lowest-performing schools based on its achievement levels of the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments, or SOLs.
Virginia was required to identify these 36 schools as part of its waiver of federal No Child Left Behind regulations. Those schools, such as Jefferson-Houston, were then asked to select a school improvement model—Transformation, Turnaround, Closure or Restart.
ACPS chose the Transformation model, which includes new school leadership, 50 percent new staff, new curriculum and instructional program and increased instructional time. ACPS said in a statement that most of these actions have already been addressed, but the remaining requirement is to contract a “Lead Turnaround Partner” such as AIR to provide support and coaching to the school.
In December, Alexandria City Council approved the construction of a new Jefferson-Houston School on its current site.