Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

News You Can Use

The last month of school is always a busy time, but these events merit your attention:

Wednesday, May 16: Alexandria PTA Council Education Forum at T.C. Williams High School from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. This forum will focus specifically on the mayoral and city council candidates’ views of education in the City and the role of these elected officials in addressing education in the City of Alexandria. You can submit questions here.

The June 12 Democratic primary will effectively determine the make-up of the next city council. Every Alexandrian—not just ACPS parents—should care about how well-informed their elected officials are about our schools. Thirty percent of the city’s budget is allocated to ACPS, but less than 15% of households have school-age children. This election is typical for our city in that most of the candidates do not have a parent’s bird’s-eye perspective on our schools. Of those participating in Wednesday evening’s forum, only Justin Wilson (mayoral candidate) and Amy Jackson (council candidate) have children enrolled in ACPS.

That’s not to say that other candidates don’t care about our schools or can’t be effective champions for ACPS. Wednesday’s forum will be a chance to see which ones have done their homework, have talked to teachers, parents and students, and have a solid grasp of the most important issues. One council candidate is a former parent liaison at George Washington Middle School. Another reached out to me and spent nearly two hours over lunch asking good questions and listening. On the other hand, a mailer from a third candidate states that his education priority is to “enhance before and after school programs for ACPS students.” Yes, those opportunities are important, but is that our most pressing challenge?

If you missed the May 2 mayoral debate hosted by the Del Ray Business Association, watch the video here.

Saturday, June 2: Northern Virginia Wear Orange Rally
at Market Square at 7:00 p.m. Wear Orange, an event to honor and recognize victims of gun violence, was started by Everytown for Gun Safety after the death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in Chicago just one week after performing in President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade. Orange is the color that Hadiya’s friends wore in her honor and also the color that hunters wear to protect themselves and others from harm. Wear orange and show up on June 2 to raise awareness about gun violence and to demand action. For event updates and speaker list, check here.

Saturday, June 16: The 29th Annual All-Night Drug- and Alcohol-Free Graduation Party for the Class of 2018
in the T.C. Williams Gym. Volunteers are needed to make this night a fun time for our newest graduates. If you are an ACPS parent or staff member, a community member, or a T.C. Williams alum over the age of 20, consider volunteering to help with this wonderful celebration.

Sponsored by the T.C. Williams PTSA and made possible by the generous support of local businesses, citizens, community organizations, and alumni, the All-Night Grad party sends the clear message that our community cares deeply about youth safety and well being. Since this tradition began in 1989, there have been no drug- and alcohol-related graduation night fatalities for T.C. Williams High School. Sign up to volunteer here, or check out the website for more information. For questions, email jeanetterfeldman@gmail.com.

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