Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

Oh, the Places They’ll Go!

One of the most heart-warming aspects of the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria’s annual awards ceremony, which was held earlier this week, is witnessing students from so many backgrounds, cultures, races and ethnicities being recognized for their academic achievements. It’s equally gratifying to see how a broad swath of our local community—businesses, individual and family donors, nonprofit organizations, etc.—comes together to reward them financially for their hard work. Those in the […]

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Homelessness in our Schools

Social workers in Alexandria City Public Schools are tasked with helping students and families overcome a wide range of barriers to education, from family crises and child abuse to truancy and mental health issues. Every ACPS elementary and middle school has at least one full-time social worker.  At T.C. Williams, among their other duties, a team of social workers also works diligently to give students the support that they need […]

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Build for the Future

Most Alexandria residents by now are aware of the capacity constraints facing our public schools—a predicament that parents and teachers have been warning city officials about for many years. There are currently 14,670 students enrolled and there are seats available for 14,122. Moreover, even if our school buildings could accommodate all of the students streaming through the doors, some of the WWII-era and older structures are crumbling and in dire […]

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Setting the Record Straight on the Proposed New Chinquapin Pool

An editorial column in the February 11, 2016 edition of the Alexandria Times argues that the proposed new 50-meter pool at Chinquapin should not be built unless it is undertaken by a public/private partnership or paid for in full by a nonprofit organization. As a matter of fact, the Chinquapin project began as a public/private partnership three years ago. The Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics (AAA)—a group of private citizens interested […]

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A Parent’s Guide to the 2016-2017 Program of Studies

With the second quarter ending, it will be time once again for middle- and high-school students to make their course selections for the coming school year, and there are some notable additions to the 2016-2017 Program of Studies that families should know about. If you are new to the Port City Notebook, you might want to first read previous posts from 2014 and 2015, which contain general information about course […]

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Five Favorite Books of 2015

This year’s list is heavy on nonfiction. Even though I read a few novels that I enjoyed, most of them weren’t superb enough to make my top five for 2015. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates This winner of the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction is the most important book that I read this year. Ta-Nehisi Coates writes so elegantly and lyrically that this slim volume reads […]

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Time to Rotate School Board Leadership

On January 7, the new school board, consisting of four incumbents and five newly-elected members, will be sworn in. The first vote that the board will cast is to select its leadership—chair and vice-chair. The current chair, Karen Graf, has served since she was first elected to the board three years ago. Clearly, it is the board’s prerogative to choose its own chair and vice-chair. However, I believe that this […]

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