Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

News You Can Use

Parents are heading into that time of the school-year when calendars are chock full of plays, concerts, games, matches, meets, meetings, programs, SOLs, AP exams and so on. Let me throw a couple more dates into the mix: On Wednesday, May 14, Delegate Rob Krupicka will be the guest speaker at the Alexandria PTA Council meeting in the Media Center at the Minnie Howard campus of T.C. Williams High School […]

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What’s the Latest at Chinquapin?

Alexandria has now taken the crucial first step in the process to build a 50-meter competition pool at Chinquapin.  In early March, a contract was awarded to the Hughes Group Architects to assess the feasibility of a 50-meter pool on the Chinquapin site. Hughes will notify the city by late March or early April whether or not a 50-meter pool is feasible there. If the answer is yes, the firm […]

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Recent Developments: The Effect of the Proposed City Budget on our Schools

In addition to selecting a new superintendent and implementing a significant change in middle-school structure, the school board is also in the middle of their annual budget process. In early March the board approved a budget that would increase the cost to the city by $7.4 million for the 2014-2015 school year, bringing the total ACPS budget to $235 million. By contrast, in his submission to the city council, the […]

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Recent Developments: Five Middle Schools Become Two

On February 20, the Alexandria School Board voted to restructure the middle schools, consolidating the three schools at Francis Hammond and the two schools at George Washington into one school on each campus beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. A work-group made up of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community members had recommended in December that Hammond (FCH) be recombined into one middle school but that George Washington (GW) remain […]

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Recent Developments: New Superintendent Selected

Developments during the past two weeks regarding our schools have been fast and furious, and will have important ramifications for our students and families. I’ll be providing my take on four issues that have been in play lately, starting in this post with the appointment of a new school superintendent, and followed in subsequent posts by the change in middle-school structure, the debate over the program for the new Jefferson-Houston […]

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Some Random Things to Know about the Program of Studies

The 2014-2015 Program of Studies is an important document for middle-school and high-school students and parents.  It outlines all of the graduation requirements for both the advanced studies and standard diplomas, and provides descriptions of required and elective courses. A quick scroll through the Program of Studies illustrates the advantages that a high school as large as T.C. can offer students who wish to explore subjects as diverse as photography, […]

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What Role Should Marching Band Play in a High School Band Program?

Last November, a group of parents* representing 15 former and current band students at T.C. Williams High School met with Principal Suzanne Maxey, Band Director Carlos Gonzalez and Athletic Director Steve Colantuoni to discuss the ongoing conundrum of students exiting the band program at 9th or 10th grade—before reaching the pinnacle of their high school band experience—because of the marching band requirement. Under the current program of studies, band students […]

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