I kicked off the season of Alexandria City Public School Open House events on Wednesday morning.
By my count, more than 80 parents gathered in the auditorium to hear Principal Patricia Zissios’ opening remarks before touring the school in groups led by current PTA parents. Ms. Zissios mentioned that many families who are in the attendance zone for Lyles Crouch are also considering private schools and as a courtesy to these families, Lyles Crouch opens its doors in February so that families will have time to visit the school before the spring contract deadlines at private schools.
Indeed, I noticed several parents on the tour who were comparing notes about which schools they had applied to and some of the parent tour guides indicated that they had considered private education but chose Lyles Crouch in the end.
Ms. Zissios gave an overview of what makes Lyles Crouch so special. She highlighted the school’s diversity, the uniform policy, the Core Knowledge Teaching Model, and the high level of involvement from parents and community volunteers.
Questions from the parents in the audience included:
If I live in the attendance zone for Lyles Crouch, is my child assured a spot in this school? Ms. Zissios answered a definitive yes, but encouraged early registration. Check the ACPS website for details about kindergarten registration.
How many students are in the Kindergarten classes? Kindergarten classes at Lyles Crouch have an 18:1 student/faculty ratio with one teaching assistant. Currently there are five kindergarten classes and a total of 416 students in the school.
What is the school day schedule? Breakfast is available at 7:30 a.m. and doors open to the classrooms at 7:45 a.m. Class begins at 8:10 a.m. and kindergarten students are dismissed at 2:25 p.m.. Before school care and after school care are available on-site at the school.
Highlights of the tour included the lovely and welcoming media center where we observed children having a media center lesson and a few students working individually with adults. Our tour guides explained that parent volunteers work individually with students who need extra help or need an extra challenge. We were invited to walk into the kindergarten and lower grade rooms to observe the students and teachers “in action” and walked through the cafeteria, nurse’s office, art room, music room, counseling center, reading resource room, and the Pillars of Character.
I found Lyles Crouch to have a small, friendly, and community oriented feel with very enthusiastic parent volunteers. The current parents spoke in glowing terms about the open door policy of Ms. Zissios and spoke candidly but positively of how the school has accommodated a larger than expected number of new students this past fall (Ms. Zissios was expecting 60 kindergarten students and 91 enrolled this year!). If the turnout was any indication, Lyles Crouch can expect another strong kindergarten turnout next year.
All 11 ACPS schools will host open house events for prospective families. Old Town residents can mark their calendars for Jefferson Houston Elementary school’s Open Houses on Mar. 22 and Apr. 19 at 9 a.m.