WAHS Honor Council Disbanded With No Public Discussion?

Curious – what’s the impact of the elimination of the Western Albemarle High School Honor Council? Why no debate or discussion?

Click through and read the whole thing.

“I’m incredibly sad to say that Albemarle County Public Schools has disbanded the Western Albemarle High School Honor Council. The news was confirmed this morning by a WAHS administrator. The Honor Council has been an active body at WAHS since the early 1980s and has tried countless cases of honor code violations.

The most SHOCKING aspect of this entire ordeal doesn’t even have to do with the merits of the Honor Council itself, but with the fact that the county made this decision – which has important (and immediate) implications for school policy and school culture – with no conversations whatsoever with Western students or faculty. In fact, the Honor Council was supposed to meet this week to receive notice of our disbandment, but the meeting was cancelled because the council no longer technically exists. “

I’d love to hear from administrators/teachers … if you’d prefer an anonymous comment (I’ve seen it frequently challenging to have an honest discussion when one’s name is attached publicly to something) – send me an email here.

Read Tim’s post in its entirety.

Give Input on Western’s New Principal

It’s been only two years since WAHS searched for a new high school principal. Now it’s time to do it again.

And this is the time when I implore all denizens of Western Albemarle to express feedback and get involved – even you elementary school parents; this is the high school to which many of you will be sending your kids.

Even if you don’t have kids in the Western schools, the school quality matters – for the quality of education and our property values.

School quality matters for a lot of reasons, not least because school quality directly impacts property values – and school quality is one of the very few things in which home buyers do not compromise.

via email:

Good Evening Western Albemarle Feeder Pattern Families:

Western’s current principal John Werner will be leaving at the end of this school year. As such, we are beginning the search for your next principal. The principal search is a rigorous process which has transformed and developed over the course of the past few years. The process allows us to look at each candidate through a number of different lenses to help make an informed decision about who will be Dr. Werner’s successor. The search process will begin this week with the posting of the vacancy announcement for Principal at Western Albemarle High School.  

Continue reading “Give Input on Western’s New Principal”

WAHS Principal Resigns; Search is On for New Principal

Less than two years in, Dr. John Werner, WAHS principal, is resigning, effective 30 June of this year.

And this is the point of the story where I encourage parents – of elementary school and middle school kids in particular – to get involved and vocal in this process. This is the school where either you’ll send your kids or you’ll depend on when you sell your house.

School quality matters for a lot of reasons, not least because school quality directly impacts property values – and school quality is one of the very few things in which home buyers do not compromise.


Letter from Dr. Werner after the break. 

Related  conversations from 2013:

Continue reading “WAHS Principal Resigns; Search is On for New Principal”

Beauty and the Beast at Western Albemarle High School – March 12-15

Beauty and The Beast - March

via email:

Beauty and the Beast at WAHS – featuring a mix of  55 students from Western, Henley, Crozet, and Brownsville and a 15 member orchestra, a crew of 20-25, nearly 100 Crozet kids are involved in this production.

New dates … because Snow Happens!

Thursday March 12th– Benefit preview, by donation- 7:30 pm
Friday March 13th– show 7:30 pm
Saturday March 14th– show 7:30 pm
Sunday March 15th– show 2:00 pm

Friday and Saturday  March 6 and 7 at 7:30 pm and Sunday March 8 at 2:00 pm

Benefit preview Thursday March 5th at 7:30 pm (tickets by donation)

Tickets available in WAHS main office and online.

– Students $6 in advance $8 at the door

– Adults $12 in advance $14 at the door

– Seniors $6 in advance $8 at the door

Classic story of character triumphing over appearances, with memorable songs such as “Be Our Guest” and “Home”, charming characters, poignant scenes, beautiful costumes, and heartfelt message, this is sure to be a remarkable event.

WAHS’ Environmental Academy Taking Shape

K Burnell Evans at the Daily Progress reports:

Plans are taking shape for one of the few new initiatives to escape the chopping block this spring when Albemarle County school officials slashed $3.9 million from the fiscal plan for the coming school year.

Students have been selected and a curriculum drawn up for freshmen entering the Environmental Studies Academy at Western Albemarle High School this fall. A group of 16 male and nine female students will form the academy’s entering class, said Adam Mulcahy, a biology and ecology teacher at Western who will lead the program.

And. Wow.

In an informal survey of his students, Mulcahy (a biology and ecology teacher at Western who will lead the program) told the School Board last week, about 80 percent of respondents had never planted something with their own hands.

The new Environmental Academy looks pretty cool.

NO Addition to Western Albemarle High School?

Update 18 July – please see the clarifying comments from Ned Gallaway, at-large school board member.

Update #2 , 18 July – please see Barbara Massie Mouly’s response below.

And … I apologize for mis-reading the original story’s wording and and interpreting that as a vote. 

“The Albemarle County School Board last week rejected recommendations to focus resources on expanding existing schools to satisfy an expanding student population, leaving the possibility of a fourth high school in the county on the table.”


It would be interesting to hear White Hall School Board representative Barbara Massie Mouly provide her rationale for voting against adding onto Western Albemarle High School.

Charlottesville Tomorrow’s outstanding new Education division reports: (bolding mine)

During their discussion of the division’s capital improvement program, school board members unanimously agreed to continue the planning process for a new high school, despite the recommendation from the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee to build additions on Western Albemarle and Monticello high schools. The committee had said that the expansions would be a more cost-effective way to accommodate the growth in enrollment.

I’ve written about Crozet schools quite a bit; this is the Schools category. These are two of the more recent stories on the redistricting and growth conversation.

Note: I’ve emailed Barbara Massie Mouly and will post her response.

Update 18 July (bolding mine) – At-large school board member Ned Gallaway offers more information and insight (bolding mine):
An addition was not removed from the table. The LRPAC recommended removing the concept of a new high school from the table – whether a comprehensive or smaller scale concept which is a school board interest – and only recommended additions (WAHS or MHS). The school board opted to keep the new high school option in the picture. In the 5 – 10 year view the school board sees a value in having both options available if needed. The view that an addition was voted down is not accurate. There was no vote. Consensus was to keep all options on the table. Additions are different from renovations. A WAHS modernization and kitchen upgrade are in the 5 year plan and are prioritized ahead of high school additions/new high school in the current list of CIP projects. Happy to follow up if needed.

Editor’s note – in response to my question, “What are the options for WAHS and Henley, specifically? No additions, but renovations?” Ned responded again.

Please refer to (this PDF) Henley has the highest priority item after already in motion projects – a gymnasium addition and media center renovation. WAHS – Phase 1 is to upgrade the kitchen facilities. Phase 2 – is the modernization – the concept/details of the modernization will be worked out when the project goes in to design phase.

Refer to the current list of projects –

1-9 are ongoing/approved/in process projects. 10 is the new project – in motion and will complete. Number 11 (Henley) and up will be new projects – not yet approved.

The CIP process for the next set of projects is just beginning. Henley is slated for year one out 14/15. WAHS (Project 15) kitchen upgrade project – design slated in year 1 – work in year 2. Modernization design of WAHS slated for year 3 – work in year 4.

The prioritization of projects can change year to year. My guess is at the end of the current process the Henley project will likely make it through. However, it will not be certain until the CIP process runs it course.

* Editor’s note – I edited Ned’s comments for formatting.

Thanks, Ned, sincerely, for taking the time to comment and clarify.


Thank you to Barbara Massie Mouly for taking the time to respond:

The long range planning advisory committee recommended a “placeholder” in the school board’s proposed capital improvements plan for a high school addition or additions which could be at WAHS or Monticello. The committee also mentioned that if the school board wants the “placeholder” to be a magnet school the school board should give the committee appropriate direction. (I am reprinting an excerpt from their report below, and the entire report is available on Electronic School Board under the 6/13/13 school board meeting, at which the committee presented its report.) At our school board meeting on 7/11/13, we arrived at consensus to make the “placeholder” more broad to include the possibility of some sort of magnet school which could serve students from the whole county. I agreed with this consensus as it just enlarges the possible ways of addressing the anticipated increased need for high school “seats” over the next 10 years; possible additions would still be considered; there has not been any vote against an addition at WAHS. I note that any addition at WAHS or Monticello would require redistricting students to the school that gets the addition. As you probably know, our capital improvements plan is always a proposal which has to be approved by the Board of Supervisors. The BOS can decline to fund any of our proposed projects based on its capital budget and other needs in the county.

Also, I note that the our plan now includes renovations to WAHS including kitchen upgrades and interior modernization. I would be happy to describe these in more detail; these are in a separate item from the high school placeholder that I describe above.

Thanks for writing.


Excerpt from the LRPAC report of 6/13/13: “Please note that the recommended plan includes a placeholder for an addition (or additions) onto Western Albemarle and/or Monticello High Schools. It does NOT include land for a new school.

The enrollment projections indicate that the division will be short 300 seats at the high school level in the next ten years. While there is a deficit, the committee does not feel that it is large enough to warrant a new school. The shortage is at Albemarle & Western Albemarle while Monticello is projected to have extra seats. Per School Board direction, Albemarle High School should not be made larger. As a result, the addition will have to be accompanied by redistricting. The committee feels this is the most efficient use of funds. If the Board prefers a different path (i.e. a new high school or a magnet school) for other reasons, they need to provide clear direction and this committee will re?evaluate their recommendation.”

Editor’s note: I added the link to Albemarle’s Electronic School Board, which is a pretty useful tool.

Crozet Schools Growing. Unexpectedly?!

Now … how are we going to pay for it?

Aaron Richardson at the DP reports:

According to the report, Meriwether Lewis Elementary, Crozet Elementary, Monticello High School andWestern Albemarle High School all will need expansions in the next five years. The cost of renovations to Western Albemarle, which the committee recommended accelerating by three years, could run as high as$15 million.

“We do see accelerated population growth in the western feeder pattern,” he said. “We are now expecting [Western Albemarle High School] to go beyond its capacities earlier than expected.”

I’m baffled how anyone who’s been here for more than five years can be surprised by the fact that Crozet is growing fast. Crozet’s population in 2000 was 2,820 and the population in 2010 was 5,565.

I wrote more about this at my real estate blog, looking at this “surprise” from the APF angle.

WAHS Student Breathalyzed?

From The HooK:

An allegation of drinking some spiked lemonade at Western Albemarle High School led to a 10th grade girl getting pulled out of class and forced to take an on-campus, police-administered breathalyzer test. With the test allegedly finding no trace of alcohol, a Charlottesville-based civil rights organization contends that the school trampled the student’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches.

“That’s not a good idea if you want to protect freedom,” says John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. “It’s a good idea if you want a police state.”