Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

Should T.C. Offer Honors History and English?

By Lisa Jacobs, guest blogger ACPS created an Honors Review Committee which met several times during the fall to discuss honors courses in the middle and high schools.  The committee recommended several changes to the middle school honors class expectations and descriptions in the 2014-2015 Program of Studies, which were incorporated into the proposed 2015-2016 Program of Studies. View the agenda (see #17). Several other proposals–including the creation of honors […]

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News You Can Use

Helpful Dates for Parents of T.C. Williams Juniors   Here are the 2015 SAT and ACT test dates and registration deadlines. All registrations are online, and all of these tests will be administered at T.C. Williams. Fee waivers are available for students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch; bring your eligibility letter to the college and career center to receive a waiver code. SAT (www.collegeboard.org; $52.50) Jan. 24             […]

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Aren’t Students More than Just a Number?

by Amanda Wilcox and Kelly Townsend, guest bloggers As high school students in 2014, we can’t escape the impact that numbers have on our own and others’ perceptions of our success.  We repeatedly refresh PowerSchool [the online gradebook] to check our grade averages, we strive for that perfect 2400 on the SAT, and we cross our fingers for a 5 on every AP exam and a Pass Advanced on every […]

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ACPS Enrollment: It Keeps Growing and Growing

To no one’s surprise, the ACPS enrollment data show that significantly more children are enrolled in our schools this year compared with last year. The 4.4% increase over 2013-2014 is slightly above the average increase over the past eight years. Total enrollment at the end of October was 14,157 students, an increase of 594. ACPS has 34% (3,600) more students now than when the Class of 2015 finished elementary school. […]

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Why is Safety First for Drivers but not Gun Owners?

In no other country is driving and owning a car as quintessential to the culture and lifestyle as it is in the U.S. “Two cars in every garage,” promised the Republican campaign slogan in 1928. Willie Nelson “just can’t wait to get on the road again.” For some of us, our love affair with the automobile began with our first wheels—a red Corvette Matchbox car, perhaps, or a pink Barbie […]

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What’s Up with the T.C. Tennis Courts?

More than a year ago, Port City Notebook reported that there was a good chance, weather-permitting, that the new T.C. Williams High School tennis courts would be finished in time for the end of the spring 2014 season. But now it’s looking very doubtful that they will be ready for spring 2015. Why the delay? No official explanations have been offered, and given that ground has still not been broken, […]

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News You Can Use

Provide Input: Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility Expansion There’s still time this week to share your thoughts about the best design for a new 50-meter indoor pool at the Chinquapin Park Recreation Center and Aquatics Facility. AlexEngage—a new online forum and a tool of the What’s Next Alexandria civic engagement initiative—allows you to express your opinion to decision-makers, and also to view what other residents are saying. Comments will be […]

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A Back-to-School Reading List

The Port City Notebook took an unexpected hiatus this summer, but will be back publishing on a regular basis very soon. Thank you for your continued interest! Meanwhile, I’ve collected a few items to highlight as the end of summer draws near and the start of the new school year approaches: Teens and Money My good friend Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine and a leading authority on […]

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Lazy Days of Summer Reading

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved libraries—the way they smell, the way they sound, and the way they look and feel. It’s no surprise, then, that I have loved taking my own children to the library, and that has always been part of our summer routine. It’s the one time of the year when we don’t have to rush in and rush out. We can stay as […]

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What is the ACPS Curriculum and Why Does it Matter?

One of the strengths of ACPS—its comprehensive written curriculum for all courses and subjects in all grades—is also one of its best-kept secrets. Even among parents who know of its existence, there is a lot of confusion about it. First, some background: Prior to 2010, ACPS had no fully-developed written curriculum. The school division had Standards of Learning (SOL) Pacing Guides for teachers to use to gauge their progress in […]

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