Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

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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News You Can Use

$50 for 50 Years of TCW In honor of the 50th anniversary of T.C Williams High School, the T.C. Williams PTSA has launched a $50 for 50 years campaign. Please help us celebrate this milestone by raising $5,000 for teacher grants and student programs.  Your $50 (or more) gift will help support creative educational activities and supplies that our teachers at T.C. have requested. The PTA also donates thousands of […]

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An Interview with Outgoing School Board Member Marc Williams

By John Ladd, guest blogger At the end of this year, Marc Williams will be stepping down after 7-1/2 years on the Alexandria School Board. As a fellow parent and a good friend who appreciates Marc’s desire to make Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) the best school division it can be, I asked him to share with me his thoughts on lessons learned, on how the board functions, and what […]

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What is ASO Sympatico?

Think about what you’re doing at 6:50 a.m. on a typical weekday. At that hour about 50 John Adams Elementary School students are tuning their violins or sitting around a circle of Orff instruments. Every day. Another 50 or so stay after school until 4:00 p.m. for choir or bucket band. Every day. These students participate in the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s (ASO) Sympatico program, which was born out of the […]

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Fact-Checking the City Council Candidates

There is something about local elections in Alexandria that causes candidates, particularly challengers, to make outrageous claims about Alexandria public schools. One of the latest examples is a letter to the editors of local news organizations by city council candidate Phil Cefaratti, an independent who ran unsuccessfully in a previous election. Cefaratti is a realtor by trade, and he states in the letter that many of his clients with young […]

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What Obama CAN Do About Gun Violence

Last weekend a large group of parents were protesting the opening of a gun store just steps away from an elementary school in McLean, Va. This weekend, after nine college students were gunned down in Roseburg, Ore., the 45th school shooting this year, parents once again hugged their children a little tighter and a grim-faced President once again called on Americans to “find the courage to change.” While Obama alone […]

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