COVID Closure Daily Update for Monday, May 18

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Day 41 — Learning from Home Experience

Today is a day of celebration! Today, we are announcing the ACPS Support Staffer of the Year, Teacher of the Year, and Principal of the Year. We will be celebrating them all week by highlighting their achievements in separate editions of ACPS Express. All of our winners, and indeed all of our ACPS finalists, are all so worthy of these acknowledgments.

Congratulations to…

Andrew (William) Sharpe, 2020 Support Staffer of the Year

Sharpe is a building engineer at T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus and has been an exemplary employee of ACPS for 36 years. He is also a proud Class of ‘78 Titan who holds to this day the school record for longest kickoff return for a 96-yarder set in 1978.

Ashley Sandoval, 2020 Teacher of the Year

Sandoval is a physical education teacher at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology. A dynamic and inspiring educator since joining in 2015, she has thrown herself into all areas of school life and is committed to the welfare of her students. This academic year she arranged swimming lessons for all fourth graders at the Title I school.

PreeAnn Johnson, 2020 Principal of the Year

An ACPS legend of 35 years standing, the James K. Polk Elementary School principal is a true leader who is much loved and respected by staff and students alike. Under her leadership, she has raised the academic bar at Polk year after year. She is also passionate about children’s health and in 2017 the school won the Let’s Move Active Schools National Award, the nation’s top physical education and physical activity distinction for K-12 schools.

Today, we highlight our Support Staffer of the Year. On Wednesday, we will feature our Teacher of the Year and on Friday you can learn more about our Principal of the Year.

Each year, we are faced with the near impossible task of selecting just three ACPS employees to acknowledge. However, I want to publicly thank each and every ACPS staff member for their commitment to our students and to the mission of our school division.

Another congratulations is in order today and that goes to our National Merit Scholar, Leah M. Nickelsburg. Leah, a senior at T.C., was awarded $2,500 by the prestigious academic organization that recognizes excellence in students across the U.S. Well done, Leah!

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay informed!


Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

Congratulations! Meet the Newly-Crowned ACPS Support Staffer of the Year

So much goes on behind the scenes to keep ACPS running smoothly from morning until night.

Our school division would be lost without the team of dedicated support staff who work so tirelessly.

Each spring, it is our pleasure to name one outstanding individual to be our Support Staffer of the Year.

This year’s deserving honoree is Andrew (William) Sharpe, a building engineer at T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus.

In a letter to the nomination committee, school nurse Randi L. Knight told how Sharpe was often the first person on site in the morning to prepare the school for the start of each day, and that everyone appreciated his diligence in keeping the building safe and secure.

She wrote of his humble disposition, which she said showed “a presence of strength, loyalty, trust, competence and consideration for the school environment and the people in it.”

Knight added, “My favorite thing to do is to make Mr. Sharpe laugh because when he does, his laughter is quite contagious and full of life.”

The father of five, who has supported all his children through college, was told the good news while taking part in his first ever Zoom meeting hosted by Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. and the ACPS Senior Leadership Team on Friday.

To get him on the call without giving away the surprise, Minnie Howard Lead Administrator for Campus Operations and Student Support Mark Eisenhour told him he was required to answer questions about building maintenance.

An ACPS employee for 36 years, Sharpe reacted with surprise and could not stop smiling. He admitted being speechless before managing, “I want to thank everybody who supported me.”

Sharpe in his junior year at T.C. Williams High School.

Our 2020 winner was raised in Alexandria and is a Class of ‘78 Titan with a proud school history as a star football player.

In fact, he still owns the school record for the longest kickoff return for a 96-yarder set in 1978.

He went on to play football for Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina before heading to trade school to get his engineering license in 1981.

Before joining ACPS in 1983, he spent two years working at the National Credit Union.

Peter Balas, T.C principal, led tributes, “Mr. Sharpe is a long-serving ACPS employee and this acknowledgment of his service is wonderful! I remember when I started teaching at Minnie Howard in 2001, I often called on Mr. Sharpe for help and he was always happy to help, which meant so much to me as a new teacher. I know that he does all he can to make the optimal learning environment for all students and staff. He is an institution at Minnie Howard and I know the staff will be ecstatic for this recognition of his hard work.”

Watch as Dr. Hutchings and division leadership surprise Mr. Sharpe on a Zoom call:

Congratulations to National Merit Scholar Leah Nickelsburg!

T.C. Williams High School senior Leah M. Nickelsburg has been awarded the prestigious academic honor of being named a National Merit Scholar.

Leah, who hopes to pursue a career in academia, was awarded a scholarship of $2,500.

Back in September, she and two other Titans, Riley M. Casagrande and James S. Grimes, learned they had made it down to the last 16,000 of 1.5 million applicants from 21,000 high schools nationwide.

The trio qualified by being among the highest scoring students in Virginia when they took the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) in 2018.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the $2,500 awardees are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

Peter Balas, principal of T.C., said, “We couldn’t be prouder of Leah for this distinguished honor. Leah is a model Titan in every way you would want for your students to be. In this time of uncertainty and loss, it is a great feeling to celebrate student accomplishments and Leah brings us that with her incomparable record of academic excellence.”

Leah will be attending Duke University in the fall.

Watch Friday’s Board Meeting

During the closure of school buildings, our School Board is meeting virtually each Friday at noon.

If you missed it live, you can still watch it.

Watch the School Board Meeting.

Information on how to give feedback to the School Board can be found on the School Board Meetings webpage.


ACPS is collaborating with the state to ensure all families who need it have access to food.

Any family with a student in ACPS who is already approved for Free or Reduced Priced Meals (FARM) will automatically receive a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) card, which can be used to purchase food during the crisis.

If your financial situation has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or for other reasons, and you were not previously receiving Free or Reduced Priced Meals, please make sure you complete a FARM application. These applications can be completed online or requested through Once the application is completed (preferably online) or by completing an application and forwarding to School Nutrition Services either by scanning or mailing to 1340 Braddock Place, Ste 220, Alexandria, VA 22314, we will process your application. If your family is eligible you will be added to our existing list of families to receive the EBT card payment.

Questions? For more information, please refer to the Food Access section of the ACPS-at-Home website or visit the VDSS Pandemic EBT website.


We want to hear from you! Send us a photo, video or story about your experiences while school is closed. Email us at


Learning Together: At-Home Tips from One ACPS Family to Another

Have a learning tip that works well for your child, or a particularly interesting project or story you think others would enjoy? We invite you to share it with the entire ACPS learning community!

Upload your video or audio story or post it to the ACPS Facebook page.

See this great example from one parent and her son.

Food Distribution

ACPS has multiple distribution meal site locations throughout Alexandria for all ACPS students and children over the age of two.


Grab and Go breakfast, lunch and snack meals are available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. at the following locations:

  • William Ramsay Elementary School
    5700 Sanger Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22311
  • Francis C. Hammond Middle School
    4646 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22304
  • Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology
    3600 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305
  • Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School
    1501 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
  • T.C. Williams High School
    3330 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22304

And available at our “Pop-Up” sites located at:

  • Mason Apartments at South Reynolds Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Brent Place Apartments at 375 South Reynolds Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
    11:20 to 11:50 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Ruby Tucker Family Center at 322 Tancil Court, Alexandria, VA 22314
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Community Lodgings at 607 Notabene Drive, Alexandria, VA 22305
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Old Towne West Apartments (parking lot) at 500 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
    11:20 to 11:50 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Corner of Florence Drive and Four Mile Road, Alexandria, VA 22305
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • The Fields at 4309 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Bennington Crossing Apartments at 441 North Armistead Street, Alexandria, VA 22312
    11:30 a.m. to noon, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

NO SIGN UP OR REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE MEALS. Meals consist of breakfast, lunch and snack and include, for example, fresh fruits and vegetables and sandwiches for multiple days.

NOTE: No food distribution will occur on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The limited days for distribution is to support the practice of social distancing and to limit social gatherings. Meals for two days will be provided on the pick-up days, (Monday/Wednesday/Friday).

Other Food Resources in the City of Alexandria

For food pantry locations and schedules in Alexandria, visit or call ‪703-662-1067.

Questions? Or Need Translation?

Send us your question in Spanish, Arabic or Amharic:

  • Text ACPSMEALS to 797979 (English and Spanish)
  • Call or text 703-927-6866 (Amharic)
  • Call or text 703-927-7095 (Arabic)


Call the FACE Center’s Bilingual Parent Information Lines:

  • For Spanish, call 571-775-9719, Monday-Friday (9 a.m. — 5 p.m.)
  • For Amharic, call 703-927-6866, Monday-Friday (9 a.m. — 1 p.m.)
  • For Arabic, call 703-927-7095, Tuesday-Thursday (9 a.m. — 3:30 p.m.)

SAFETY REMINDER: Please remember to observe social distancing practices while at the food distribution site by maintaining six feet of personal space between you and other families or individuals.

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of a respiratory illness like fever, runny nose, sore throat, coughing or difficulty breathing on the day of food distribution or in the previous 24 hours should not visit a food distribution site but call a health care provider instead. If you do not have a primary care physician and are not enrolled in a clinic, you may CALL an urgent care center or emergency room.


The Teen Wellness Center at T.C. Williams is still open regular hours Monday through Friday for all Alexandrians ages 12-19. All services are provided in the clinic and if the teen is ill with an elevated temperature (100.0 or more) we will see them through our telehealth video format. Make an appointment over the phone by calling 703-746-4776.


The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep 6 feet apart from others when in public. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. For other questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Hotline at 703-746-4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Additional updates can be found at

Coping with COVID-19 Fear and Uncertainty

Check out the City of Alexandria webpage Coping with COVID-19 Fear and Uncertainty which includes the COVID-19 Wellness Resource Guide.


Please consider donating through ACT For Alexandria and the COVID-19 Response Fund if you are able. 

Community members who would like to volunteer should reach out to or 703-836-2176 to register for any additional potential volunteer opportunities.


Continuity of School Support and Academic Advisement

School Student Support Team staff, including school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and school social workers will be available during school hours throughout the closure. Monday — Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. staff will be connecting with students and their families. The Department of Student Services, Alternative Programs and Equity staff members are also available during this time and can be contacted by voicemail and at

Emergency Supports

If there is a crisis or emergency during the time of the closure, students and families can access the supports below:

We know that this is a challenging time. ACPS will continue to share information through the ACPS website, social media, and email. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your student’s school counselor or school social worker with any questions.


Don’t Feel Well?
Contact your primary health care physician. Don’t have insurance? Contact Neighborhood Health at 703-535-5568.


Have questions, concerns or feedback? Contact us.

Stay Healthy!
Wash your hands regularly. Regular soap is OK.

ACPS, Coronavirus