Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria


Who are our ACPS Students? An Update

A recent Facebook chat comparing Alexandria’s average cost of educating a student to that of neighboring school divisions was a helpful reminder to update a blog post from the fall of 2013. Especially during budget season, it’s important for city residents to understand the composition of our student population, and how it is similar to and different from our surrounding jurisdictions. About 15,000 students are currently enrolled in ACPS, up […]

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Seven Favorite Books of 2016

Nonfiction dominates my list of favorite books for 2016. Part of that was driven by my desire to better understand why the economy and society more broadly are failing certain segments of the U.S. population, and how those failures could help explain the outcome of the 2016 election as well as the racism and xenophobia that were unmasked by the campaign. If you’re not already a lawyer, Just Mercy by […]

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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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