The Chalkboard


Tucker teacher Willment wins Washington Post honor

Jennifer Willment, a kindergarten teacher at Samuel Tucker elementary school since 2003, was namedthe Washington Post’s2009-2010 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher for Alexandria City Public Schools earlier this month.

She is one of 21 regional winners of thePost’sannual education award. Teachers, students, former students, parents, administrators and the general public choose nominees.

“I can think of no one on my staff more deserving of this recognition than Jennifer Willment,” said Loretta Scott, Willment’s principal at Tucker. “This creative teacher utilizes music, art, poetry and movement to bring learning into the reach of the variety of learners in her classroom.”

Alexandria Superintendent Morton Sherman cited Willment’s leadership over the past seven years as a factor in her school being one of the highest performing in the city.

“We all want a kindergarten teacher like Jennifer Willment for our own children,” Sherman said.

Other ACPS finalists for the award included Jacqueline Evansmcrae, a life skills special education teacher at T.C. Williams High School, Dr. Beverly Vick, a first-grade teacher at Douglas MacArthur elementary school, and Sharon Paton, art teacher at Lyles-Crouch elementary school.

Talk of Columbine worries T.C. administrators

In a somber note on April 16 the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings and four days before the anniversary of the school killings in Columbine T.C. Williams High School principal William Clendaniel sent a letter to Titan families acknowledging recent rumors about troublesome student references to the Colorado incident of 11 years ago.

“Due to confidentiality laws and the fact that an investigation is ongoing, we are limited in the details we can provide,” Clendaniel wrote, “but please be assured that Alexandria City Public Schools is working closely with the Alexandria Police Department and that the four students involved have been identified.

“No direct threats were ever made, no evidence indicates that students were in danger, and no charges have been filed; however, we found that the students’ conversations were not appropriate and indicated poor decision making,” he said. “They have been suspended.”

Clendaniel said such threats would be grounds for suspension, expulsion and arrest even if the students involved said it was in jest. While the situation last week was supposedly not considered anything more than out-of-place talk, he said “if that kind of threat existed, we would absolutely share it with our community.”

Titan debaters compete in state tournament 

Two debate teams from T.C. Williams High School are headed to the Virginia High School League Debate Championships this weekend at Liberty University in Lynchburg. Yasmin Faruki and Saif Chams-Eddine are competing in the contemporary policy category, while Michael Hailu and Dexter Austin will be competing in the classic policy category.

The teams qualified for the state competition by placing in the top three in their division at the regional tournament. The first round of the competition will start at 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon in the DeMoss Academic Center.

Ireton to host Model U.N. 

Aspiring diplomats descend on Bishop Ireton High School this Saturday for the school’s 34thAnnual Model U.N. Conference. The event will be conducted as a simulation of the Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee, the United Nations Security Council, a Yemen Cabinet Joint Crisis Committee, a N.A.T.O. Joint Crisis Committee, a Somalia Cabinet Joint Crisis Committee and a Pirate Organization Joint Crisis Committee.

The SOCHUM and the Security Council are intended for newer student delegates with limited experience who are freshmen, sophomores or juniors. The four cabinet simulations are intended for those student delegates who have at least a year or more of experience or who have demonstrated a degree of competence in their attendance at various Model U.N. conferences.The four cabinet simulations will include a “crisis” to test each participant’s ability to react to changing world events.

More than 175 students are expected to convene for the day from 10 other high schools across the region.