Community Schools — 04 March 2010

Making up time, not days

The verdict is in. Starting Monday and running through June 4, Alexandria City Public Schools will open 10 minutes earlier and close 20 minutes later to make up for the dozens of hours missed during this winter’s exceptional snowstorms, according to a School Board decision made February 25.

After a nearly 45-minute conversation on the topic that left several Board members “underwhelmed,” the measure passed 8 to 1.

Elementary schools will begin the day at 7:50 a.m. and close at 2:55 p.m. the lone exception being Douglas MacArthur where an exceptional schedule was already in place while middle schools will open at 8:20 a.m. and dismiss at 3:35 p.m. T.C. Williams High School will start classes at 8:25 a.m. and dismiss at 3:35 p.m.

The decision shortens the school year to 175 days but keeps instructional time well above the state requirement. High school graduation is set for June 17.

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Jefferson-Houston officially becomes a magnet school

Without a hint of dissension, the Alexandria School Board voted unanimously February 25 to approve a new focus to the Jefferson-Houston elementary school in north Old Town.

Starting next year, students throughout the city will have the opportunity to opt into Jefferson-Houston for its unique programs and ACPS will provide transportation, Superintendent Morton Sherman said, calling the decision a “proud” and “truly a celebratory moment” for those in attendance.

The school’s twin focuses a kindergarten through eighth grade school model and a corresponding International Baccalaureate educational program could attract students from around the city to the under-capacity school and potentially alleviate school-crowding issues elsewhere.

“There were always problems that were interfering with students’ ability to learn at that school,” Board member Arthur Peabody said, lauding principal Kimberley Graves’ recent work to bring stability to the school, making the Board’s decision far easier.

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Mt. Vernon power woes

For one day last week, there was no place to play indoors in Del Ray after a power outage at the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center and elementary school led to the cancellation of activities on Friday and relocated students to neighboring schools for the day, according to a city spokesperson.

Buses took some students to Cora Kelly elementary school and others went to George Washington Middle School, the spokesperson said. The electricity issues also closed the Duncan Branch Library for part of the day.

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Turn the Page author To visit T.C. Monday

Nurtureshock co-author Ashley Merryman comes to Alexandria this Monday for a discussion of how many of modern society’s popular strategies for raising children are backfiring because they overlook key points in the science of child development and behavior.

The event takes place Monday at T.C. Williams High School and the author will be available to sign books after the lecture. This free event is the final part of this year’s “Turn the Page” community read.

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Zpizza day to benefit T.C. drama

This Monday, the T.C. Williams High School drama department is holding a savory fundraiser for its upcoming production ofChicago, to take place in April and May.

During the event, just mention “T.C. Williams drama” when picking up or paying for your order at Zpizza on Duke Street and the restaurant will contribute a portion of the purchase to the school’s drama department. Orders can be made in advance by phone (703-600-1193) or online, (zpizza.com) for dine-in or take-out only. Home delivery is not available for this event.

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Alexandria Times Staff

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