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Two Alexandria Schools Put on Education Department 'Priority' List

T.C. Williams High School and Jefferson-Houston School must work with state-approved partners on improvement plans. Several schools are now considered focus schools as well as some that must offer improvement plans.

Alexandria’s only public high school as well as Jefferson-Houston School, serving kindergarten through 8th grades, have been designated by the Virginia Department of Education as priority schools.

Priority schools such as T.C. Williams High School must utilize state-approved partners to help design and implement school reform models meeting state and federal requirements.

An Alexandria City Public Schools spokeswoman said T.C. Williams likely will not be considered a priority school next year if it continues making the progress it has made during the last two years.

“The waivers from NCLB mandates granted by the Obama administration to Virginia and other states mark a dramatic shift in federal education policy,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright. “We are now able to target school turnaround efforts and resources to those schools where students are truly falling behind.”

The No Child Left Behind flexibility program requires states to designate the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title 1 and Title 1-eligible schools as priority schools. The VDOE designated 36 schools in the state as priority schools.
 
Additionally, the department identified John Adams and Patrick Henry elementaries as focus schools, which now must employ a state-approved coach “to help develop, implement and monitor intervention strategies to improve student performance,” according to a statement from VDOE. Those two Alexandria elementary schools are part of 72 focus schools across the state, representing 10 percent of Virginia’s Title I schools.
 
The department also identified 485 schools where improvement plans are required. In Alexandria, those are Charles Barrett, Polk, Maury, Mount Vernon and Samuel Tucker elementaries as well as Francis Hammond 3 and the two George Washington middle schools.

Edmund Lewis October 11, 2012 at 10:14 PM
The dire need for improvements to T.C. Williams and Jefferson Houston are nothing new. These schools, in addition to the middle schools, were to be areas of focus for the superintendent upon his hiring. That was four years ago. Since 2008 the superintendent has sought to reform nearly everything under the sun within ACPS. Many of those reforms have been met with pushback, confusion, and at times, scandal. So where are we now? 2012 and we still have the same concerns about T.C. Williams and Jefferson Houston. ACPS is a small school district. The excuses regarding the diversity of our students are ridiculous and are a shameful shift of responsibility. ACPS has nine, count them, nine school board members, a superintendent paid more than the Governor of our Commonwealth, a never-ending sea of central office administrators and staff, yet only one, repeat, one high school. With the amount of supposed oversight in ACPS there must be better results than what we have now. The incoming school board must be held accountable and must hold the superintendent accountable for the state of affairs of our schools. They must justify why they have so many administrators yet are strained for teachers, how they can afford consultants and triples digit salaries yet are passing retirement and healthcare costs off onto teachers (who take home less this year), and why they continue to make changes when the changes already made are simply not working.
Nisa Harper October 12, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I agree with many of the comments on here about the school system. It's imperative that we as parents and taxpayers demand accountability for our children's school's. There will be many new voices on the School Board after the election, and a team of people who know how to balance a budget, listen to the parents/ teachers concerns, organize key people in the community to form partnerships with tangible goals, and most importantly you have to be able to be bold enough to speak up to the Superintendent if a "proposed" change isn't the way to go with our students. I'm voting for Joyce Rawlings in District A. It is a new day in this city, and the School Board will reflect that after the elections take place. It is up to us as parents to hold the people we elect accountable for the decisions that are made.
DTP October 14, 2012 at 08:57 PM
http://redalexandriava.com/2012/06/14/morton-sherman-why-are-we-the-taxpayer-paying-for-his-car/ "On top of his $250K salary, plus a $40,000 a year tax sheltered annuity payment & monthly medical insurance premiums as well as monthly VRS (retirement) payments, we the taxpayers of Alexandria are footing the bill to lease Dr. Sherman a vehicle to drive...According to ACPS sources, we the taxpayer are also paying Dr. Sherman $650 a month to pay for him to drive Mercedes SUV."
Andrew Wilson October 24, 2012 at 06:21 AM
Thank you for explaining how we pay the salaries of our public officials. I suspected that taxes had a purpose, but now I really know. So did you use your salary to buy your car or did you just yell at the salesperson until they gave it to you for free?
Andrew Wilson October 24, 2012 at 06:27 AM
That is the first correct thing you have ever said. I can't even troll this one.

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