Academic success is attainable at Jefferson-Houston School

Academic success is attainable at Jefferson-Houston School

By Leslie Zupan, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

To the community’s delight, Alexandria City Public Schools has announced a new principal for Jefferson-Houston School. Christopher Phillips comes to Alexandria from Suffolk Public Schools, and his credentials and achievements seem impressive.

In response to Jennifer Topping — whose letter about the school appeared in a recent edition of the Alexandria Times (“Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the new Jefferson-Houston,” August 28) — and in fairness to the incoming principal, might I correct the record?

Her letter referred to the “past 10 to 11 years of failing to meet testing benchmarks.” However, that’s not quite accurate.

Based on tests administered in the spring of 2008, Jefferson-Houston was fully accredited by the state for the 2008-09 academic year with no warnings in any academic areas. This was no fluke: data for the years leading up to 2008-09 shows that the school steadily improved every year until earning accreditation.

The school’s accreditation status in 2008-09 is confirmed in state Board of Education public documents as well as an August 29, 2008 email from former Superintendent Morton Sherman to the Jefferson-Houston community. In that message, the then freshly-appointed superintendent expressed pleasure not only at Jefferson-Houston’s recent accreditation by the state but also because the school met benchmarks under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The letter can be found online at

The record shows that accreditation was achievable at Jefferson-Houston just a few short years ago. The community looks forward to Phillips proving that academic success can be attained there once again.