Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

What Should Alexandrians Know about Jefferson-Houston?

A week ago I attended a program presented by Agenda:Alexandria regarding Virginia’s new OEI law (OEI stands for “Opportunity Educational Institution”), and what a state takeover of one of our schools would look like. David Foster, president of the Virginia Board of Education, gave a very helpful overview of the OEI law’s current status. (As background, “the law requires any school that has been denied accreditation and permits any school […]

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Bullying Prevention Begins at Lunch

by Sarah Markel, guest blogger When it comes to social interaction, the middle school years are tough. That’s why George Washington and Hammond Middle Schools are celebrating Mix It Up at Lunch Day on Tuesday, October 29. Each campus is taking a different approach. At Hammond, Mix It Up at Lunch is a school-wide initiative. GW students must sign up with their counselors to participate. Mix It Up at Lunch […]

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How Can My Voice Be Heard? How Can I Learn More About Our Schools?

Different questions, overlapping answers. If you want to weigh in on the ACPS budget, a process that is just getting under way for Fiscal Year 2015, you can do that at one of three upcoming school board meetings that have been designated for budget-related public testimony: November 14, December 19, and January 23. All of the meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. at the ACPS central office building (first floor, 2000 […]

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What Percentage of T.C. Williams Students Earn a Diploma?

According to recent data from the Virginia Department of Education, 86% of T.C.’s Class of 2013 graduated on time, compared with 82% last year and 77% five years ago. The state average, which is now 89%, has also increased over the past five years, but by a smaller margin. The most noteworthy aspect of the data that were released last week is the improvement in T.C. graduation rates among subgroups […]

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What Should I Know About AVID?

AVID (short for Advancement Via Individual Determination) is an elective course in Alexandria schools for grades 7 through 12 that equips students (most of whom will be the first in their families to go to college) with important college readiness skills. AVID serves more than 425,000 students in 48 states and 16 countries. The 30-year-old program was introduced to ACPS about four years ago, and roughly 375 students are currently […]

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What’s Next for ACPS?

A month has passed since the school board ousted Mort Sherman as superintendent. What now? The good news is that our students haven’t suffered any disruptions. Acting Superintendent Margee Walsh is managing our school division effectively during this period of transition, and progress is being made on some important issues under her direction. The bad news is that the window for hiring a permanent new leader for our school division […]

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How are the New Elementary Progress Reports Different from the Old Report Cards?

The most obvious difference that you’ll see is that students in grades 3 through 5 will no longer receive “A” through “F” letter grades and younger children will no longer have the excellent/good/satisfactory/unsatisfactory scale. Instead, they will earn a score from 1 to 4 that indicates the progress that they have made during that quarter toward meeting certain benchmarks based on their individual instructional level—in other words, a score based […]

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