Back to school

Back to school

We hope you enjoy this week’s “back-to-school” issue of the Alexandria Times. 

It wasn’t really planned as such, but the stories came together just in time as Alexandria City Public Schools began their 2023-24 school year on Monday and the city’s private schools will be opening in the next couple of weeks. 

Today’s page 1 photos capture the excitement of the first day of a new school year for students – particularly little ones. Backpacks full of new supplies, a new pair of athletic shoes, fresh haircuts, excitement to see old friends and meet new ones combined, for many students, with a thirst for knowledge make the start of a new school year magical. 

Yes, that magic swiftly morphs into routines, many not scintillating – and problems with drugs, violence and learning deficits will quickly reappear. Those are the realities of life, and are all the more reason to celebrate magical moments when they come along, such as the first day of a new school year. 

Our page one story on new Alexandria City High School principal Alexander Duncan III provides insights on the new leader’s ascent through ACPS during the last 16 years – as well as his welcome missive to parents four days prior to the start of school. 

We think Duncan sounded just the right note in alerting families that ACHS will be enforcing its “closed campus” policy this year. Duncan was also clear that there will be consequences for violations, ranging from taking away privileges to suspensions, for violations. 

The new principal also emphasized the importance of regular attendance at school, which is obviously essential for sustained intellectual growth and also a way for students to avoid getting into trouble outside of school. 

Our second front page story, about the Alexandria treasure that is Mary Calvert, illustrates Calvert’s approach to speech-language therapy during her 35-year career. Calvert, who has helped a couple generations of Alexandria children learn to form their words correctly, has parlayed what she’s learned into an award-winning children’s book called “Bailey Speaks! Book One: Sounds and Gestures.” 

So now, instead of “merely” helping Alexandria children gain the skills needed to overcome their speech delays, Calvert can help children nation-wide surmount what could become obstacles to learning in school. Even better news: Calvert’s book is just the first in a series. 

As the return to school that began this week continues, our wish for all of Alexandria’s students is a safe and fulfilling school year, marked by measurable academic and emotional growth