In a report headed to the School Board tonight, staff at Alexandria City Public Schools have pinpointed racial disparities within the school division’s Talented and Gifted (TAG) program.
Overall, staff found that in 2019 while white students only account for 28% of the school population, they comprise 62% of the TAG programs. Black students, who make up 25% of the overall student population, represented only 15% of the TAG program. The highest disparity was Hispanic students, who comprise 38% of the student population but only 13% of the TAG program.
“The data suggest that ACPS has disproportionality in enrollment in all of its advanced courses or programs,” the report said. “The ACPS 2025 Strategic Plan commits to eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps by monitoring our progress through: disproportionality of underrepresented students in advanced courses; disproportionality rate of students in TAG at the elementary level by school and student group; and disproportionality rate of students in advanced coursework at the secondary level by school and student group.”
A presentation prepared for the School Board outlines the racial disparities at every level of the program and outlines some paths forward to right-sizing the enrollment figures.
“The data indicates that the program has identified a substantial amount of white Talented and Gifted students in comparison to non-white Talented and Gifted students,” staff said.
The disparity also existed in advanced classes placement. At T.C. Williams High School, white students comprise 25% of the student population but 59% of the advanced placement program, 37% of dual enrollment, and 38% of the honors program.
The presentation ends with a series of recommendations to help close the gap, including:
- Honors and dual enrollment summer boot camps
- Honors information sessions during advertisement for students
- Professional learning for staff on equitable instructional practices for minorities in honors courses
- Collect additional data and feedback about how many students of color drop out from advance courses and why
Top photo by Jay Westcott, graph via ACPS