Wednesday, December 19, 2012
ACPS staff confident school construction will go smoothly.
Alexandria City Council approved a $44-million proposal to rebuild Jefferson-Houston School on Saturday. Alexandria City Public Schools cited rising maintenance costs, student population growth and a need for modern learning facilities as reasons to rebuild the struggling school, which was designated a priority school by Virginia’s Department of Education in October and has failed to meet accreditation standards. “This is the school that has received the least amount of capital investment of all our facilities,” School Board Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch said. “It needs to be brought up to the 21st century.” The plan calls for replacing the current school with a 130,000-square-foot L-shaped building framing a new turf athletic field. The …
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The new learning center has space for 100 students in a non-traditional environment.
Andrew, a senior at T.C. Williams High School, struggled with the traditional school schedule but was hesitant to attend the school’s new T.C. Satellite Campus at Landmark Mall because there wasn’t a teacher leading the class and he was afraid he couldn’t handle the workload on his own. “But from day one, if I had any questions, there was always someone there to answer them,” Andrew told school officials and others at a ribbon-cutting for the new campus Tuesday morning. “Satellite has been a big help for managing time, which helps in the real world. Satellite is a dream come true.” School officials and local dignitaries gathered at the mall Tuesday to mark the official opening of the new campus, which serves up to 100 students and already …
Monday, October 1, 2012
Principal Suzanne Maxey put forward the idea and says more input is needed.
T.C. Williams High School is considering abolishing student rankings, citing data that it can foster “unhealthy competition” among students. Principal Suzanne Maxey told the school board last month that student rankings don’t accurately measure student potential and takes things into account that students cannot control - such as what their peers are doing. “We believe having seen it, it fosters unhealthy competition among kids,” Maxey said, noting that rankings between students can fall to 100th of a point. “The only two people who win are the [valedictorian] and [salutorian] while others have made tremendous strides,” she said, adding that it's important to encourage excellence and think about more than just the top one and two. …
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Sheryl Gorsuch will serve as Alexandria School Board chairman until the end of her term.
The Alexandria School Board voted Monday to re-elect Sheryl Gorsuch as its chairman and Helen Morris as vice chairman. Gorsuch and Morris will hold these posts through Dec. 31, when the terms end for current school board members. Morris is seeking re-election while Gorsuch is not. Members elected by voters in the Nov. 6 general election will take office on Jan. 1. “I am honored to continue to serve as the board's leader during the remainder of my term," Gorsuch said in a statement released by ACPS. "We will move forward, working together as we have in the past, to ensure success for all Alexandria City Public Schools students." Morris was selected as the board's delegate to the Virginia School Boards Association. Gorsuch will serve as …
Monday, May 7, 2012
Council unanimously approves budget, reinstates some programs, but grapples with unfunded state pension mandate.
City Council on Monday evening voted unanimously to adopt a $587.9 million operating budget for fiscal year 2013 and to leave the real estate tax rate unchanged at 99.8 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The 2013 budget is a 3.7 percent increase from FY2012. Other city tax rates, as well as the solid waste and sanitary sewer tax rates, remain unchanged. The average Alexandria homeowner’s taxes will increase by $52, or 1.2 percent, due to increased property values, according to the city. “We wish we could have done more, but we feel we were responsive” to the needs and concerns of the community, said Mayor Bill Euille in council chambers before the 7-0 vote. Additionally, the city will transfer $179.5 million to Alexandria City …
Monday, March 19, 2012
Former Alexandria School Board member Scott Newsham says a return to an appointed board would give the city 'a more professional governing body.'
Monday, March 19, 2012
To the editor: It has been 10 days since the release of an independent accountant’s report on the Alexandria City Public Schools Capital Improvement Program processes from July 1, 2010 through Oct. 31, 2011. We have read and heard many public expressions of outrage, calls for the resignations of school officials, and demands for holding ACPS and the elected school board accountable for what the report called “a dysfunctional environment in relation to CIP related activities.” We have seen the school board close ranks around Superintendent Morton Sherman. Presumably to show that everything’s under control and ACPS’ financial house is in order, the board “has asked the Superintendent for an independent compliance audit of financial controls …
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Alexandria City Councilwoman Alicia Hughes believes greater leadership and oversight from council and city administration may be helpful to restore public trust in ACPS.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
To the editor: Public education funding in Alexandria has long been understood sacrosanct. As a result, when ACPS has sought funding increases from City Council, we’ve acquiesced. While less than 15 percent of all households in Alexandria have children in ACPS, approximately 33 percent of the city’s operating budget is given to schools annually, and Alexandria spends more money per pupil on average than all jurisdictions in our region and the country. Last year, the School Board made a case for us to do more under the CIP to make ready for the upsurge in the public school population. Though some of us scratched our heads at the enormity of the request, we substantially increased the CIP budget for schools to make way for a new Patrick …
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch and ACPS Superintendent Morton Sherman defend ACPS' actions regarding recent mismanagement of CIP process.
School Board Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch disagrees with Vice Mayor Kerry Donley’s calls for Alexandria City Public Schools' superintendent to resign. “I was disappointed in Mr. Donley last night,” Gorsuch said, referring to Donley’s remarks during a Tuesday evening City Council meeting. “I think he had some reasonable statements and some questions that deserve answers. But drawing conclusions before the School Board has had a chance to do its job is inappropriate.” The superintendent recently came under fire when results of an independent audit of the system’s Capital Improvement Projects showed deep flaws in the system, although no money was actually missing. Gorsuch said the School Board will continue to have discussions about the results of…
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Student enrollment up throughout the city's public schools.
Alexandria School Board Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch met with the Del Ray Citizens Association on Monday night at Mount Vernon Community School to talk about explosive enrollment growth and other issues affecting the school system. "It's not really a surprise that we have a lot of capacity issues," Gorsuch told the gathering. "We are full." Kindergarten enrollment has increased 30 percent over the last several years and K-12 enrollment has increased 19 percent across the school system, she said. To accommodate the increased number of students while still keeping class sizes small, school officials have allowed students to transfer to schools outside their neighborhoods, and added modular units at such elementary schools as John Adams, James K…
Thursday, December 15, 2011
School Board will address adult education programs at Thursday evening meeting, as well as host a Saturday morning meeting to solicit community feedback.
No changes have been made to Adult Education English Language Learners and Adult Basic Education for this school year, according to the School Board’s chairman, although the board will discuss the issue at its Thursday evening meeting. The GED program will continue for currently enrolled students. All of these programs are funded through June 2012, according to the School Board. "All students in these programs should feel assured that their classes will continue in January," the board said in a statement. The School Board "takes seriously our responsibility to ensure that our programs are continually improving to better serve our students," Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch said. The Alexandria community has been afire with comments on listservs and…