Alexandria Schools recognized for achievements


Two Alexandria Public Schools were recognized recently for achievements in both academics and health, using lessons and goals within the Standards of Learning.

At Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, students sang a few verses of Go for the Gold, a song about health and physical education, which landed them the Governors Gold Award for Best Practices in Nutrition and Physical Activity. Lyles-Crouch was one of two gold awards in the state along with Walker Upper Elementary School in Charlottesville.

We did our best in every way to exercise daily and eat right too, and we live more healthy every day, the song went. In attendance at the recognition ceremony on Wednesday, May 30, were Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille, a former student of Lyles-Crouch, former Governor Mark R. Warner, and School Superintendent Rebecca Perry. Warner noted a physical education program he initiated four years ago while in the Governors office, and one that is continuing under current Governor Tim Kaine (D-VA). The concentration on health and physical activity needs to be one of the elements of the schools curriculum. It needs to, this is a national crisis, Warner said. Im really glad Kaine continued this, he said.

Principal Patricia A. Zissios noted how the health and physical education are equally as important as academics in the school environment. She extended their 20-minute recesses once a day to 30 minute sessions, and included outdoor activity learning classrooms, learning gardens and a walking club into their daily schedule. It paid off, said Zissios. Its all about the whole child, this is just one piece, she added.

Robin Spencer, the physical education teacher, used the six National Association for Sport and Physical Education standards as a guideline, and went down a list of sports she teaches in class. Currently the students attend two 30-minute PE classes a week, and next year were looking at doing 45 minutes of PE for grades three, four and five, she said.

Maggie Majia, a parent of a first grader at Lyles-Crouch, likes the improvement shes seen in the student activity at Lyles-Crouch. I think kids need to get out every day. Shes [Spencer] a very proactive type of teacher, Majia said.

Math magic
At Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, students were recognized for their math skills recently, excelling in a computer-based program called First in Math, program, which is based on the popular 24 game that students are being introduced to as early as third grade. One fourth grade team at Tucker was initially rated near the top for schools competing in the program in Alexandria, and 11th in Virginia in April. Since then they moved up to eighth place among all the teams participating in Virginia. Another team is rated at 15th in the state.
On Tuesday, May 29, Barbara Asteak, vice president for Suntex International Inc., the company that created the game, awarded the students for their achievement. These kids deserve recognition, they did an outstanding job, Asteak said. This was the first year Alexandria schools participated in the program.

Its a very hands on program, added Tucker math specialist Pam Tiemeyer.

The program involves everything from one step addition to multi-step algebra. Games are divided into eight areas targeting skills needed at that grade level. When an incorrect answer is entered, the program shows the correct way to solve the problem.