Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

A Parent’s Guide to the 2017-2018 Program of Studies

For the past three years, I’ve provided advice to middle- and high-school parents about the Program of Studies. If you are new to the Port City Notebook, you might want to first read those posts from 2014,  2015 and 2016, which contain general information about course requirements and selections that’s still current.* Each year courses are revised, added or deleted to stay current with changes in graduation requirements, student interest […]

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Supporting Our Immigrant Students and Families

There is growing concern among Alexandria residents about the impact on ACPS students and families of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids this week across northern Virginia. This was a topic of a presentation by Dr. Julie Crawford, Chief of Student Services, at the School Board meeting on February 16. (More information and video from the meeting here.) When Superintendent Crawley was asked at a meeting with Cora Kelly Elementary […]

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Rethinking Our Bricks and Mortar

Note: This is Part 3 in a series about meeting the twin challenges of increased enrollment and too little school capacity. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. In recent years our city’s leaders have grappled with some difficult budget decisions, but this year serves up the most bitter-tasting cocktail of pressing issues since the Great Recession: sewers, Metro, crumbling city infrastructure, and, of course, school capacity constraints. The […]

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Now is the Time to Rebuild Minnie Howard

Note: This is Part 2 in a series about meeting the challenges of increased enrollment and too little school capacity. Read Part 1 here. This week the School Board will vote on the 2018-2027 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget that has been proposed by the superintendent. Assuming that it will be approved with just a few tweaks to Dr. Crawley’s proposal, ACPS will be asking City Council to fund about […]

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Five Myths About ACPS Overcrowding

Note: This is Part 1 in a series about meeting the challenges of increased enrollment and too little school capacity. Whenever I listen to or participate in conversations around the city on the topic of overcrowding in our schools, several myths often crop up. Myth 1: Students whose families live in neighboring jurisdictions are part of the problem. In order to enroll a kindergartener or a transfer student in ACPS, […]

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A Post-11/8 Letter to My Daughters

Many parents are asking each other this week: What do I say to my children? We strive to raise them to embrace empathy and acceptance, and to reject name-calling and bullying. We teach them the importance of taking responsibility for their actions, being prepared in the classroom and the athletic venue, and using scientific methods, facts and reason in their intellectual pursuits. We teach our daughters, in particular, that they […]

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News You Can Use

A wide range of worthwhile programs are happening this fall around town.  Here are a few: Saturday, September 24: Family Fall Festival sponsored by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra at Fort Ward Park (4301 W. Braddock Road) from noon until 4 p.m. Featuring music and dance ensembles comprised of Alexandria area students; food trucks; activities for children and more. Adult admission (which includes $5 food and drink tickets) is $20; children […]

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