Alexandrias public school teachers will be taking notes from the nations top educator during the districts annual ceremony kicking off the school year.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is scheduled to speak before the citys roughly 1,200 teachers at the T.C. Williams High School auditorium on September 2, said Sandy Hudnall, spokesman for Alexandria City Public Schools. President Barack Obama tapped the former chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools for the position soon after his election.
While Washington, D.C. is a scant few miles from Alexandria, its not every day a high-ranking cabinet official comes to the city, Hudnall said.
Were very fortunate to be very close to Washington, she said. We are fortunate in that we can get really highly placed people to come by. No, its not every day you get a secretary of education for our convocation.
Duncan will hold a question and answer session with local teachers following his remarks, according to Hudnall.
Yvonne Folkerts, School Board Chairman, said this wont be the first time Duncan has come through Alexandria, but its the first hes addressed the school systems staff. She called it terrific news, especially in the wake of the high schools designation as persistently low-achieving by the state and federal governments.
School officials want to show national leaders the work they have put into turning T.C. Williams around since the March announcement, the School Board chairman said.
While the details of Duncans speech are unknown, Folkerts expects the secretary of education to address Alexandrias recent poor performance under the No Child Left Behind legislations standards, as well as changes in national education policy during the next few years.
Folkerts also believes Duncan will gain more of an understanding of how school systems like Alexandrias have struggled to meet federal benchmarks.
I do hope he understands that with such a diverse population and so many teachers and administrators working so hard, we really are trying to meet these benchmarks, she said. I hope the secretary understands we just have more barriers. I hope he does understand and recognize how much were trying, but also appreciates the challenges.