Glossary

The following list includes definitions of many key terms included in this Strategic Plan.

  • Access – providing students pathways, resources, and supports to equal and equitable opportunities during their full educational journey from preschool through grade 12, as well as in post-secondary education.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) – a program of courses developed by the College Board to give high school students an introduction to college-level classes. These courses are accompanied by exams that allow students to demonstrate mastery and potentially receive academic credit once enrolled in a two- or four-year college or university. (College Board, 2021)
  • Cambridge – Cambridge International AS & A Level courses and exams prepare U.S. high school students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college and university. Rigorously developed to meet the highest standards, the Cambridge curriculum brings college-level work to students, typically in their last two years of high school. (Cambridge Assessment International Education, 2021)
  • Climate – school climate refers to the quality and character of school life. School climate is based on patterns of students’, parents’, and school personnel’s experience of school life. It reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures. (National School Climate Center, 2021)
  • Cohort – a group of students who begin a program at the same time and remain together throughout the duration of that program. An example of this is an on-time graduation cohort. (VDOE, 2021)
  • Culturally Relevant Teaching – connects instruction with students’ life experiences, cultures, and languages to support their learning. (Mathematica, 2021)
  • Culture – a school culture can be defined as the guiding beliefs and values evident in the way a school operates. School culture can be used to encompass all the attitudes, expected behaviors, and values that impact how the school operates. (Fullan, 2007)
  • Curriculum – the lessons and academic content taught in a school or in a specific course or program.
  • Digital equity – providing students equal access and opportunity to digital tools, resources, and services to support teaching and learning.
  • Disaggregated Data – the presentation of data broken down into smaller units to analyze patterns and trends.
  • Diversity – values and respects differences of each individual person regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, ability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or political ideology.
  • Discipline Disproportionality – the disproportionately high rates at which students from certain racial/ethnic groups are subjected to office discipline referrals, suspensions, school arrests, and expulsion. (VDOE, 2021)
  • Dual Enrollment – students enrolled in both high school and college courses simultaneously.
  • Economically Disadvantaged – defines a demographic group related to a student’s eligibility for free or reduced lunch as defined under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Program, and students whose families participate in economic assistance programs.
  • Education Equity – eliminating the predictability of student outcomes based on race, gender, zip code, ability, socio-economic status or languages spoke at home. (VDOE, 2021)
  • English Learner – students in need of additional resources and supports to fully participate in an English teaching and learning experience.
  • Environmental Literacy – The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) defines Environmental Literacy as “having the knowledge, skills and dispositions to solve problems and resolve issues individually and collectively that sustain ecological, economic and social stability.”
  • Equitable Representation – the identification and development of all students who are capable of high levels of achievement when compared to others of the same age, experience, environment, or cultural background. (VDOE)
  • Equity – The fair and impartial provision of resources, access, and opportunities to all students based on their individual need regardless of race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, area of residence (rural locations), or sexual orientation. (Superintendent’s Advisory Council for Equity, 2021)
  • Equity Scorecard – both a process and a data tool used to measure and evaluate a system’s progress in the achievement of equitable outcomes. (Harris & Bensimon, 2007)
  • Evidence-based – Concepts or strategies that are derived from or informed by objective evidence—most commonly, educational research or metrics of school, teacher, and student performance (The Glossary of Education Reform, 2016).
  • Family Engagement – shared responsibility between schools and families. This partnership allows families to be met where they are and authentically engaged in as key decision-makers and champions of their student’s success. (NAFSCE, 2021)
  • Inclusion – the ability to create conditions for all students and staff to feel welcomed, valued, and positioned for success.
  • Inclusive School Communities – environments where all students, educators, and families feel supported and are extended a sense of belonging regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, identity, learning preferences, socio-economic status, or education. (VDOE)
  • Instructional Core – includes three related components: teachers’ knowledge and skill, students’ engagement in their own learning, and rigorous content. (Elmore, 2004)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) – an intense high school program which provides a rigorous curriculum to students in the 11th and 12th grades that emphasizes intercultural understanding and enrichment. It culminates in six rigorous subject exams. (International Baccalaureate, 2021)
  • Marginalized Students – those that have been systematically excluded or relegated to lower educational opportunities. In Virginia specifically, it includes groups overrepresented in the VDOE’s equity gap data: Black and Hispanic students, economically disadvantaged students, English Learners, and students with disabilities. (VDOE, 2021)
  • On-time Graduation Rate – the four-year On-time Graduation Rate is Virginia’s official graduation rate. This graduation rate is a cohort approach and includes the percent of students who graduate within four years of starting high school (VDOE, 2021). The formula does make adjustments for English Learners and students with disabilities who are allowed by law to take longer to graduate and still be counted as “on time.”
  • Opportunity Gap – describes the complex issues that contribute to achievement gaps and recognizes the historical and societal implications of the way race and class influence the education and access to support a student is likely to receive. (VDOE, 2021)
  • Persona – the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to others.
  • Positive Trust – how much students believe their teachers behave in ways that are beneficial to their learning and their community.
  • Post-secondary Opportunities – options beyond high school graduation that include college, university, technical school, career, or military experiences.
  • PSAT – Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test administered during the 9th, 10th, or 11th grade. Participation in this assessment in 11th grade allows students to become eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. (College Board, 2021)
  • Research-based – practices that were developed based on the best research available in the field. This means that users can feel confident that the strategies and activities included in the program or practice have a strong scientific basis for their use.
  • Restorative Practices – An emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections with communities. Restorative practice interventions may involve one of several possible approaches including community conferencing, community service, the circle process, preventative and post-conflict resolution programs, and/or peer mediation and social-emotional learning. (International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) and the Schott Foundation for Public Education)
  • Rigor – Instruction, schoolwork, learning experiences, and educational expectations that are academically, intellectually, and personally challenging. (The Glossary of Education Reform, 2015)
  • SAT – Scholastic Assessment Test, also known as a college entrance exam. (College Board, 2021)
  • SOL – Standards of Learning (SOL) describe the Commonwealth’s expectations for student learning and achievement in grades K-12 in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health and physical education, and driver education. (VDOE, 2021)
  • Sustainability – The United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as that “which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Brundtland, 1987)
  • Resource Equity – the allocation and use of (people, time, and money) to create student experiences that enable all children to reach empowering and rigorous learning outcomes. (ERS, 2018)
  • School Community – a general sense of belonging and respect amongst a group of individuals. (VDOE, 2021)
  • Targeted Student Groups – groups of students who need additional resources and supports to support their academic success.
  • Transgender – umbrella term for any gender identity that differs from the one associated with the sex assigned at birth.
  • Underrepresentation – refers to the lack of representation of a particular group within a course, program, or opportunity.
  • Undocumented Student – is a student who is living in the United States without U.S. citizenship or other legal immigration status. All children residing within a School Division are entitled to enrollment in the public schools. (U.S. Department of Education, 2014)
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) - a set of principles for curriculum development that gives all students an equal opportunity to learn. It provides a blueprint for creating flexible instruction that can be customized to meet individual needs.
  • Universal Precautions - treat all students with care and are the manifestation of the healing-centered belief that any student may have been impacted by trauma. These precautions benefit all students because they reduce management challenges that consume teacher time and energy, increase all students’ sense of safety and emotional well-being, and allow teachers to maintain a higher level of instruction.
  • VDOE – Virginia Department of Education.