Did you know that on May 22, 2016 Fairfax County Public Schools’ Adult and Community Education (ACE) will celebrate its 60th anniversary? The Plum Center for Lifelong Learning located at 6815 Edsall Road in Springfield will host activities, demonstrations, games, and food for children and adults.
Even with 60 years of history ACE is too much of a well-kept secret and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce wants to help change that. Both ACE and the Chamber encourage lifelong learning because the workplace and technology rapidly change. We can't afford to not stay up to date.
The ACE catalog lands in over 400,000 mailboxes in Fairfax County four times per year, but still not all residents realize that ACE has been, and continues to be, a wonderful resource for all of Northern Virginia. ACE is a self-supporting operation that offers classes at locations throughout the County, primarily FCPS high schools. Springfield is the site of the administrative offices and it’s the only dedicated ACE facility. The facility was the result of a bond referendum passed in 2003 and houses 22 classrooms including six specialty labs for computer, culinary, dental and medical classes.
As Fairfax County has changed and grown over the last six decades, ACE has evolved as well. In the early days a small group of part-timers worked from home or out of the office space at various high schools. ACE shared administrative centers for 50 years.
The original course offerings during the 1955-1956 school year included shorthand, woodworking and clothing for the family. The first semester there were 108 students. Today ACE enrolls over 24,000 students per year in over 1000 classes. The array of classes is most impressive and when ACE advertises they have “something for everyone,” all one would have to do is to review the catalog or website, fcps.edu/is/ace, to understand it’s more than a slogan.
The mission of ACE has always been about providing educational and training opportunities for all ages. For the younger crowd, ACE offers summer camps, study skills, driver’s education, world languages and test preparation. Adults will find classes for job readiness, apprenticeship, ESOL, career enhancement, life enrichment, do-it-yourselfers, business education, information technology, health careers and more.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend ACE's fun-filled, family-friendly May 22 celebration and discover all there is to learn.
Want to know more about ACE and the classes you can gain from? Visit fcps.edu/is/ace or give the ACE Plum Center a call, 703-658-1228.
Nancy-jo Manney has served as executive director of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce since 1998. She loves sharing the stories of Chamber members, ACE being one of them.