Words of Wisdom: Being a Student in FCPS

Posted on: Thu, 05/10/2018 - 09:00

This series of blogs will explore common themes discussed by seniors during my visits to every high school. These young adults offered valuable insights for consideration.

picture of Dr. Alban talking with THS studentsOne of my favorite parts of spring is the opportunity to visit every high school to meet with a group of seniors. I get to spend 90 minutes getting feedback from our students, and I always find the conversations invigorating. Typically, I ask the students to give me feedback on the things they believe FCPS has done well for them as students, and then to tell me what they believe we can do better. This year, I also asked them to give me feedback on high quality instruction and grading practices. We also discussed an idea that students from GTJHS posed—creating countywide experiences for students to interact with other students from diverse cultures.

This blog will focus on the things these high school seniors feel that FCPS does well.

Our seniors feel fortunate that they have adults who support them and encourage them to do well. They acknowledge teachers, administrators, counselors, and support staff who share advice, ask about them, and exhibit a genuine caring. As one senior noted, there is always an adult who makes a connection with students and helps them.

FCPS offers many opportunities for students, and they recognize how important that has been to their high school experience. Students appreciate the variety of courses offered, and particularly like being able to earn college credit through Dual Enrollment or Advanced Placement courses. They like taking online courses as a way to free up time in their schedule for additional electives. The opportunity to participate in student internships or work-study or to attend CTC was valued.

Extracurricular opportunities are very important to students, and they feel FCPS has provided options that appeal to just about everyone.  Sports, theatre, and clubs are mentioned frequently. This year, students also touted Model UN and the opportunity to participate in state and national competitions through FFA, robotics, and more.

Finally, the seniors described the sense of community within their schools. They note a feeling of belonging among the student body and a pride in their school. Ironically, students often believed this was unique about their school, and yet it was a common message repeated across the district.

These seniors were pleased with the experiences provided by FCPS, but they also offered ideas for improvement.  Those ideas will be shared in Words of Wisdom: Part 2.

Are you a soon-to-be or recent FCPS graduate or has someone in your life graduated recently? What would you want to share about your FCPS experience? Share your thoughts on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.