Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

What’s Happening with Middle-School Honors Language Arts?

In recent years, middle-school parents have voiced dissatisfaction with the honors language arts classes in our middle schools. The complaint, in a nutshell: not enough writing and not enough challenging reading outside of class. “The people spoke and we listened,” wrote GWMS 1 language arts department chair Claire Given in an email to me last week. On Thursday, August 29, all ACPS middle-school language arts teachers attended a day-long workshop […]

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Why was Mort Sherman Let Go?

This is the question that I’ve been getting from a lot of puzzled friends and neighbors since Dr. Sherman announced that he was resigning as superintendent. Yes, he technically resigned, but let’s be honest: He didn’t wish to leave Alexandria, because he didn’t believe that his work was done. After five years, the reforms that he implemented and the management systems that he put into place to turn around a […]

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Will the New T.C. Tennis Courts Be Ready for the Spring Season?

Based on the latest information from the ACPS facilities department at last week’s school board meeting, don’t expect the new tennis courts to be ready for opening day in 2014.  However, if winter weather cooperates, the T.C. Titans may have a true home court advantage sometime before the tennis season concludes. (The T.C. tennis team currently plays its home matches on courts in Fairfax County that are rented by ACPS.) […]

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Which Governor Were We Meeting?

Last week Governor McDonnell was in town to talk about struggling schools at a roundtable discussion in the Rotunda Room at T. C. Williams High School.  It was nice of him to stop by and reminisce about his football career at Bishop Ireton and his brief stint as a young Alexandria city employee. But, as far as education policy is concerned, let’s be honest, little meaningful discussion can take place […]

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Why Does Alexandria Love to Hate Its Schools?

Over the past ten years, as a parent of two children enrolled in Alexandria City public schools, I’ve been frustrated and saddened by the way in which denigrating our schools—and even our students—has become one of our city’s favorite pastimes. A year or so ago I heard T.C. Williams High School principal Suzanne Maxey tell a group of parents how surprised she was at how little support the community showed […]

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