Two Alexandria moms recently sent out a short query to neighborhood email groups asking: “Anyone interested in improving Alexandria public schools?”
The response they got back was overwhelming, and their simple question and its answers led to the formation of Friends of ACPS.
“We quickly discovered that a major issue confronting the schools is the missing or misinformation that lead parents to opt out of the schools,” said group co-founder Kristen Mason Coreas. “Additionally, abundant research indicates that the best predictor of school success is parent involvement.”
Mason Coreas and co-founder Lee Lynch said they seek to directly engage families of potential Alexandria City Public Schools students, increase public awareness about facts relating to academic progress and achievement within ACPS, offer information about how to help improve the system and correct misperceptions.
“We formed Friends of ACPS because we believe there are opportunities to improve both gaps that may be standing in the way of student achievement and perceptions relating to the quality of the school system,” Lynch said. “Our vision is to become a community of parents and other citizens who are working together—and with existing student- and education-focused organizations—to fill those gaps and correct those misperceptions to help promote greater academic success throughout the Alexandria City Public Schools system."
The group is hosting its inaugural and public meeting Nov. 3 in the T.C. Williams High School Rotunda Room from noon to 1:30 p.m.
At the meeting, titled “Getting the Facts and Charting a Course for the Future” parents and others will hear from group founders Lynch and Mason Coreas as well as ACPS Deputy Superintendent Madye Henson, Director of Communications Kelly Alexander and Director of Pre-K-12 Programs Gregory Hutchings.
"ACPS encourages community engagement in our schools. We know that it means additional support for our students,” Alexander told Patch. “I am pleased to talk with the group about how we can work together to support students and am always interested in how we can enhance communications with parents."
Several parents are also on the agenda to speak, including those with children at Jefferson-Houston School, Maury Elementary and Hollin Meadows, a Fairfax County school.
After hearing presentations from several other outreach ACPC officials, Friends of ACPS plans to form its goals and objectives and discuss next steps.
"Ultimately, our mission is that Alexandria City Public Schools will be recognized across the Washington, D.C., region as a successful and desirable public school system where families will be excited to send their children," Mason Coreas said.