Wrapping Up 2019

Dear Western Families,

I can’t believe it.  We are about to wrap up another school year and celebrate the graduating class of 2019.  All graduating classes are special, but this one holds a special place in my heart.  As many of you know, this year wraps up my fourth as principal at Western.  I have had the chance to see this class start off as young freshmen trying to navigate high school and develop into young men and women about to venture off to new opportunities.

The end of the year is packed with many events and activities.  I hope to get the chance to see you over the next several weeks and I wish all of you a tremendous start to the summer.

We have many items to highlight below that I think you will find engaging.


Darah Bonham, Principal



Common Bell Schedule For ACPS High Schools

Principals, central administration, and staff from the high schools worked this spring to come up with a common schedule to help support student needs and to better use resources in the division to support our roughly 4,000 high school students.  Using survey data and information from each school, the team came up with a common schedule for all 4 high schools while allowing some flexibility within their school day.

Next year, all four high schools will have a common schedule that has our first four days of the week look similar to our non-Monday schedule now.  School days will run with periods 1,3,5,& 7 on one day and 2,4,6,& 8 on the other for long blocks.  Gone next year will be the 8 period “Monday” schedule.  The only tweak to the schedule will be to determine which day of the week is a “flex” day.  A flex day allows the schools to keep A and B days consistent if we are hit by inclement weather.

We will be working through the summer to finalize this schedule and make sure it is well communicated before the start of the new school year.

Intervention Period

One final consideration to the schedule we will be exploring is whether to incorporate an intervention period at Western for next year.  Currently, most teacher and student meetings happen at the same time during lunch at a time called CARE.  It has been determined by staff that supporting students during this time is helpful but not very efficient due to the time and volume constraints.  Departments will continue to explore this option to determine viability for next school year.  Stay tuned……

Girls State

Congrats to Frannie Gibson, Jeida Brooks, and Katia Amos for their selection to Girls State for this summer.

Western Albemarle Ranked in US News & World Report

U.S. News evaluated more than 20,500 public high schools around the country and identified Western Albemarle High among the top 40% of schools nationally ranked.   Western was 1,427 in national rankings and 42nd in the commonwealth of Virginia.  For complete details of the rankings, click here for more information.


Computer Collection

Laptop Collection – SENIORS

  • Counselors helped collect senior laptops at graduation practice on Monday, 5/20/2019.  All senior computers must be returned prior to graduation and students can bring them into the main office to return.
  • If a senior needs to keep their computer for school, they will complete a form on the 20th indicating the class and reason why.
  • All seniors and families will be getting information about how they can keep a school computer upon graduating.  These will not be their computers but will be from the lot of computers turned in and re-imaged.  Those Seniors wishing to keep a computer must complete a google form by the 20th.  The form can be found on our school web site.  Even if a senior wants to keep a computer, they must turn one in.


Laptop Collection- UNDERCLASS

  • All non-seniors will turn in their computers to their 4TH PERIOD teachers on Wednesday, May 29th.  We will adjust the schedule slightly to give a few more minutes to 4th period this day.
  • 4th period teachers will get labels to distribute to their students prior to the 29th for students to fill out and stick to their computer.
  • Similar to Seniors, if underclass want to keep their computers past the 29th , they must complete a form (which teachers will have) for them to complete and return.
  • We will have an additional collection during 4th period on Friday the 31st .
  • We will have a table set up during lunches all exam week for students to return their computers.
  • Only computers need to be turned in , NOT CHARGERS.  Students are responsible for their own chargers.

Please call the school if you have any questions.



Senior Art Show

Our end of the year Senior art show was a huge success as we had a chance to showcase our Seniors’ work and pay tribute to them as they wrapped up their last year in our fine art classes.


Science Fair

Albemarle County Public Schools students earned both Best in Show Awards at the 38th annual Virginia Piedmont Regional Science Fair recently held in John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia. Overall, students from Albemarle, Western Albemarle, and Monticello high schools received 49 awards at the show, including 11 first place awards in the 15 show categories. Students from Sutherland Middle School received six awards in their division, including a first place in Electrical & Mechanical Engineering.


Libby Terrell, a Western Albemarle High School junior, won Best in Show and first place in Medicine & Health Sciences for her project, “The Effect of a Low Carbohydrate Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors.” Her study tested whether lower carbohydrate diets improve cardiovascular health. The diets did not limit the intake of fats, but did reduce added sugars. Those who volunteered to follow the diets lost weight over a six-week period and improved their cholesterol results compared to a control group.


“The health and wellness implications of this study make its value much more than simply an interesting science exercise,” said Carol Stutzman, Libby’s science teacher at Western Albemarle. “Although a small study, it does indicate that lower-carb diets with less processed foods can improve heart health,” she said.

Marcel Tisdale, Maeci Frank, Natalie Gomez, Emma Blackman, Libby Terrell, Darrah Sheehan and Kimball Sheehan presented their projects at the Virginia Peidmont Regional Science Fair on March 14.

Band Takes Awards

Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Band both received Gold (1st place) awards in their division and the Symphonic Band was the top overall Concert Band at the festival (out of 16 bands) at their festival in Nashville over spring break.

Scholastic Bowl Wins

Western’s Scholastic Bowl team Second in the Central Virginia It’s Academic Championship and won $500 for their efforts at the championship.

Golden Apple Winner

Congrats to Monica Laux for being this year’s recipient from Western Albemarle as the Golden Apple Award Winner.

Art Fest in the West

We can’t thank the parent and community volunteers enough for their amazing support of the annual Arts Fest in the West event this spring.  Thousands of dollars was raised to support art programs in the western feeder pattern.

Here is a brief clip of the event…..



Parking 2019-2020 

On Friday, May 24, we will be sending out information to rising seniors and juniors about parking plans for next school year.  We have made some adjustments to the parking procedures and will be sure to pass these along prior to the end of the school year.

Underclass Exams

Exams for underclass students will start Monday, June 3rd and run through June 7th.  Your son or daughter may be exempt from one or more of their final exams for two reasons.  1) The class utilized an alternative assessment over the past few days in lieu of a final comprehensive exam, or 2) Your son or daughter earned a 90 average, or higher, and met the exam exemption qualifications to not have to take the final.    I would encourage you to talk with your son or daughter to determine their status with each class.  Many students have completed their obligations for many of their classes prior to exam week.  Your child’s teacher can also answer any questions you may have.

If your son or daughter is not taking a final exam, they do not have to come to school during those blocks and you do not have to call attendance to indicate they will not be present.

Students may take their exam early DURING THE EXAM window.  If you have a question or concern regarding this, please contact your child’s grade level administrator.

WAHS 2019 Underclass Spring/Final Exam Schedule

Monday, June 3:  4th and 8th Period Exams

8:55-9:45 4th Period-Review Period

9:45-9:55 TAB

9:55-11:55 4th Period Exam (120 min)

11:55-12:45 LUNCH

12:50-1:40 8th Period-Review

1:40-1:50 TAB

1:50-3:50 8th Period Exam (120)


Tuesday, June 4: 3rd & 7th Period Exams

8:55-9:45 3rd Period-Review Period

9:45-9:55 TAB

9:55-11:55 3rd Period Exam (120)

11:55-12:45 LUNCH

12:50-1:40 7th Period-Review Period

1:40-1:50 TAB

1:50-3:50 7th period exam (120)


Wednesday, June 5: 2nd & 6th Period Exams

8:55-9:45 2nd Period-Review Period

9:45-9:55 TAB

9:55-11:55 2nd Period Exam (120)

11:55-12:45 LUNCH

12:50-1:40 6th Period-Review Period

1:40-1:50 TAB

1:50-3:50 6th Period Exam (120)


Thursday, June 6: 1st & 5th Period Exams

8:55-9:45 1st Period-Review Period

9:45-9:55 TAB

9:55-11:55 1st Period Exam (120)

11:55-12:45 LUNCH

12:50-1:40 5th Period-Review Period

1:40-1:50 TAB

1:50-3:50 5th period Exam (120)

Friday is a half-day schedule for make up exams.

Congratulations to all students who competed at the Virginia History Day Competition on April 27.  WAHS earned a share of the Virginia History Day Cup.

Individual Documentary

1st Place – Isabelle Jordan – Charlottesville: Democracy, Diversity and the Paradoxical Legacy of Thomas Jefferson

* 2019 Commemoration Prize for Changemakers in Virginia History


Group Performance

2nd Place – Lexie Farris and Natalie Farris – Roermond Witch Trials


Group Website

2nd Place – Caroline Jones, Amber Parker, Nina Perrone – The Deadliest Part of The Great War: The Spanish Influenza


Individual Website

2nd Place – Ineke La Fleur – I’ll Fly Away: African American Women’s Flight for Freedom from Virginian Slavery



3rd Place – Evelyn Garey – From the Ashes, to the Flames: The Triumphs and Tragedies of OJ Simpson



Special congratulations to our own Elizabeth Mulcahy for winning this prestigious award as the NHD teacher of the year for Virginia. 

-From the Twitter Feed



Helpful Links

* Subscribe to Zoe Padron’s “Thursday Round Up” by emailing her at zpadron@k12albemarle.org.  Mrs. Padron is our Gifted Resource Teacher at Western and provides  a great weekly resource for students and parents about college opportunities, scholarship info, and much more.  You can also access the Round Up through the link HERE.

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