ACPS Superintendent Calls for Community Support
Superintendent Morton Sherman writes in a letter to neighbors and colleagues that the school system is "on the cusp of becoming exceptional."
Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman has moved to curb growing concern over the direction of the school system with a letter to colleagues and neighbors calling for families and the community to have confidence in ACPS.
“You work in a school division with wonderful challenges and opportunities, and which is also recognized as being on the cusp of becoming exceptional,” Sherman wrote.
He outlined program reviews as “ongoing, methodical and transparent” as ACPS releases relevant reports to the School Board and community, noting that the most recent reports on facilities and adult education revealed “significant systemic flaws.”
A facilities report showed mismanagement and dysfunction within the system, fingering two rogue employees for their bad behavior while the state is now investigating possible test fraud in an adult education program that is already in flux.
However, Sherman points out, if you think things are bad now, don’t forget that in and around 2007 the system’s reputation may have been worse. That year, Forbes magazine included ACPS as “one of the worst bangs for the buck in America." Additionally, Tenants and Workers United, the federal government and the African American community also criticized ACPS for various reasons.
“Rather than focusing only on the division’s deficits, we established the mentality of being transparent, turning the page, looking ahead, and building on the wonderful things that have gone on in ACPS for a very long time,” Sherman said.
In turn, through hard work, ACPS has made “remarkable progress” in the face of a rapidly growing enrollment and a budget increase of only about 2 percent, he said. Among the progress Sherman cites are: high Standards of Learning (SOL) scores at T.C. Williams High School, better pass rates for middle schoolers in math and expanded pre-kindergarten programs.
Meanwhile, former City Council candidate Scott Gordon, who called for Sherman’s resignation in a Patch letter to the editor, is also circulating a petition calling for his ouster. As of Tuesday morning, 27 people had signed the petition. Vice Mayor Kerry Donley has also called for Sherman's resignation.