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Principal's Message


Throughout the first quarter of the school year, we held sessions with staff, students, parents, and administrators to review our school performance data, discuss areas of success, as well as areas of needed improvement, and, ultimately, established goals for this upcoming school year.  This was an enlightening and rewarding process as we learned a couple valuable things that are not clearly communicated through a school improvement plan.  First, all stakeholder groups feel Andrew is having far more success than not.  In areas of academics, school involvement, and culture, the feedback was very positive.  Second, the areas in need of improvement were based on a shared agreement of what is important for our school community.  Finally, it was clear by all stakeholder groups the merits of the individual student have tremendous value and our goals should reflect those merits.

Through this process, the leadership team developed a measurement we are referring to as the Postsecondary Success Index (PSI).  This was the culmination of much dialogue, but at its essence allows us to view students through a lens of academic, social, and behavioral metrics.  This PSI will eventually be viewed by all stakeholders - staff, parents, and students - to assess individualized achievement and areas for growth.  The PSI includes the following eight criteria:  Unweighted Grade Point Average (GPA), Attendance, Referral/Discipline, Cocurricular Involvement, Community Service, On Track Credit Accumulation, SAT - College Readiness Attainment, and SAT Growth.  In short, these factors held the highest value by our stakeholders and match up with research that best predicts success in college and career performance after high school graduation.

This work also allowed us to successfully create five goals for the 2019-20 School Improvement Plan.  The following is a short description of those goals:

  • Attendance - The expected attendance rate for all students is 95% or better. Last year, 75.88% of our students met the 95% threshold.  In 2019-20, we will increase that percentage of students to 79% (3.2% increase).
  • Grade Point Average - Historically, 33% of students in all grades fall below expectations, or are at academic warning. Currently, 66.9% of the Class of 2022 are currently at a 2.8 GPA.  We seek to increase freshmen & sophomore students’ GPA’s that did not meet the 2.8 unweighted threshold.  This goal is to ensure that 70% of all freshmen reach the 2.8 cumulative GPA benchmark, and to ensure 70% all sophomores reach the 2.8 cumulative GPA benchmark (a 3.1% increase).
  • SAT Math - The SAT is a significant exam for students seeking to attain a post-secondary education. Last year, 44% of our juniors reached College Readiness Benchmarks on the math portion of the exam.  For the Class of 2021, we seek an increase of 3% (to 47%) of students reaching College Readiness Benchmarks (CRB) on the math exam.
  • Males / Poverty - According to our Postsecondary Success Index, our most challenged student group in meeting six of eight areas of success are boys who are identified as low socioeconomic status (SES). To increase the number of male / low SES students who meet the minimum expectations in six of eight categories as rated meets / exceeds, VJA is seeking a 20% improvement for sophomores through seniors.
  • 5Essentials - To increase the scale score on the 5Essentials Survey from 2018-19 to 2019-20 in categories rated as Average. In the categories of Effective Leaders (41) and Collaborative Teachers (56), we will realize a 3-point gain.  This would result in a scale score for Effective Leaders to 44 and Collaborative Teachers to 59.  The questions connected to these results are based on teacher feedback.

This process was both rewarding and informative, but the difficult part comes with establishing action steps to address these goals.  I look forward to this difficult work and welcome any suggestions or questions you may have.  As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Robert Nolting