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Superintendent's Message, September 2023

September 1, 2023 -- Ensuring that students learn and demonstrate a profound understanding of knowledge and skills is a goal in Vestavia Hills City Schools. Measuring the success of a school system requires considering a multitude of factors. Last year, test scores in Vestavia Hills City Schools were the second highest in the state. Additionally, we had the most National Merit Semifinalists of any high school in Alabama, and the Class of 2023 was offered more than $41 million in scholarships. 

Another example of success is in the Advanced Placement program at VHHS. Last year, 625 students took more than 1,400 exams. The results were impressive with 87% earning scores that made them eligible for college credit. Students are clearly demonstrating knowledge at a profound level which gives them an advantage when starting college. 

One of the hidden gems of experiential learning within the Advanced Placement program is the WE Project. Its purpose is to identify local, state, and global problems and develop solutions. Teacher Zach Morgan describes the WE Project as an opportunity that allows students to “use their historical skills to foster and fulfill a service project related to the AP U.S. History curriculum.” Teacher Mrs. Amy Maddox says, “This service learning program empowers our AP United States History students to have a positive impact on their communities while simultaneously enriching their understanding of historical context.”

Since its inception two years ago, 80 students have completed the requirements of the WE Project. Their projects have resulted in donating toys for Toys for Tots and more than 8,000 books to promote literacy for children living in the Black Belt. Mr. Morgan adds: “My favorite part is for the students to see the connection between the historical aspect of the project…and that what they do matters in their community.” This is the power of profound learning!

Developing the habits of good character is an important outcome of the WE Project. In fact, one of the most rewarding learning experiences in life is the act of giving. Google defines philanthropy as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.” Merriam-Webster adds depth to its meaning by calling it “a spirit of goodwill toward all people.” No matter which definition most speaks to you, the act of serving others is most meaningful when done without an expectation of getting something in return.

Students who attend Vestavia Hills City Schools have this spirit of giving and service in their DNA. Over the course of the school year, there will be many student-led efforts to donate money, supplies, or time to the service of others. We invite the community to engage in these meaningful learning experiences. This is one way you can invest and add value in our children’s education.