Dear New Directions Family-
As the Principal of New Directions Alternative Education Center, I want to share how proud I am of the legacy our students and staff have created as we move into our second decade of existence! Our second decade will target the 20/20 Vision for PWCS Graduates.
Annually, we serve 800 students and another 350 in our summer program! We continue to provide our academic scholarship program offering tuition free virtual courses to over 400 high school Seniors throughout the district each year. With summer school a permanent part of our program, we provide educational services to approximately 850-1200 PWCS students. To accommodate our students, we have full, partial, and flex day schedules to address the needs of our students and families. During the last four years, we average over 140 graduates with 90% of eligible seniors graduating on schedule.
Our entire staff is dedicated to providing a world class education for all students. With SOL pass rates over 90% in several content areas, our students are thriving in the classroom. Having observed every professional educator, their lessons are content driven, creative, and differentiated to meet and exceed the needs of each student in class.
Our teaching and school counseling staff continues to sponsor several academic clubs and extra-curricular activities. Our Underwater Robotics Team has been nationally ranked 2 out 4 years. Our student LEAD Team has played an integral role in supporting PWCS initiatives to include being a part of the development of the PWCS code of behavior documentary. The Green Team, our environmental club, has continued our award winning recycling program and the Outdoor Club has engaged in a variety of ecological pursuits. Our Senior Class continues to provide outstanding community service to Ellis Elementary students and faculty. In addition, we have active partnerships with both Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University. These include college readiness as well as dual enrollment programs. Our staff is dedicated to providing a World Class education that is truly student centered, challenging, and focused on skills needed to be successful as a 21st century citizen.
New Directions continues to offer Advanced Placement English, Government and Spanish. Our focus is comprehensive, world class, and individualized education opportunities for all of our students. We believe our students have the ability and capability to be successful at all levels of academic challenge.
Our Student Services Department is a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) by the American School Counselor Association. We are the first and only alternative school in the nation to earn this recognition in multiple years. Our school counseling team assists students and families with internal and external transitions and provides dynamic academic counseling sessions to groups and individual students. The sessions focus on academic performance through earning high school credit, preparing for the world of work and exploring options for higher education. In 2009, the professional school counselors developed a graduation credit card to assist students in tracking their progress toward graduation and this has been updated for use in 2014. Seniors complete a comprehensive academic portfolio to include a service learning component, college preparatory assignments, and independent living activities.
Seniors are then required to defend their portfolio with the principal in preparation for college and career interviews.
Our support staff meets and greets our students each day in a supportive manner, is respectful and helpful to students and families, and always go the “extra mile” to support our mission. Each team member has multiple position responsibilities and each has expertise in several areas of office support. As a team, they are the linchpin that allows our professional educators to excel and serve our students.
In my opinion, our school is one of the safest and best maintained in Prince William County. Our student survey each year notes the above and is a direct testament to the visibility, care, and professionalism demonstrated by our security specialists on a daily basis. Our custodial staff does a wonderful job and our school looks brand new to this day. Our cleanliness evaluations continue to be among the highest in PWCS.
Most importantly, the students at New Directions have shown a perseverance and drive to be successful despite the barriers they may have faced in the past. Our students, as a whole, are the most resilient in the school division. Despite a variety of challenges, our students demonstrate year in and year out that given an opportunity; they will not only seize it but make the most of it.
The students at New Directions Alternative Education Center are our inspiration and each provides a constant reminder of what it means to be a dedicated life-long learner.
I am honored to be a small of each student’s educational journey.
Robert L. EichornRobert L. Eichorn