This Week’s Headlines:
- What is Concurrent Teaching and What Does it Mean for You?
- Safe Holiday Travel Guidelines
- Nominate a Teacher of the Year
- Nominate a Support Staffer of the Year
- Be Ready for Weather Alerts — Update Your Contact Information Today!
- Mental Health Holiday Resources
- Young Story Readers Needed for ACPS-TV
- ACPS to Benefit from VDOE Security Grant Funding
- ACPS Enrollment Data for 2020-21
- FOOD ACCESS: Distribution Schedule and Winter Break Meal Kits
Dear ACPS Families and Community,
In our final edition of our newsletter before the winter break and the last one in 2020, I wanted to wish all in our ACPS family a happy, peaceful and healthy holiday.
For those of you traveling, please take all the precautions necessary and do your part in halting the spread of COVID-19. Please note that the guidance from the Alexandria Health Department is to remain at home and gather virtually. If you do travel, please follow the suggestions and guidelines from the City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department. We want to return from winter break ready to implement the timeline that will see our students returning to school buildings beginning on Jan. 19, 2021. This depends heavily on the community health metrics of our city. Each one of us plays a part in that.
Speaking of our return to school buildings, I wanted to make sure everybody understands what concurrent teaching is and what it will look like. Concurrent teaching gives us the opportunity to keep our students with their current teachers and keep our virtual schedules in place during the transition to hybrid learning. Concurrent teaching allows staff to teach students in-person and virtually at the same time, and it also allows staff who are unable to return into our school buildings an opportunity to remain teaching our students from their location. On Monday, I spoke in more detail about this subject. See my video and more information below.
Please complete the Family Choice Form through your PowerSchool Parent Access account. You now have until Friday, Dec. 18. This is critical information we need to further refine our plans for the return to school buildings in January.
As you know, our staff have been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic to ensure that our students’ social, emotional and academic needs are being met. We are extremely grateful for their hard work, dedication and commitment. Today, I wanted to ask that you give some consideration to nominating a teacher for our ACPS Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Member of the Year awards. The winner of the teacher award will be our ACPS nominee for the prestigious Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award.
Finally, we all know the holiday season can exacerbate mental health issues, especially during these unprecedented times, and we would like to share some helpful resources in the event that you or someone you know should need support over the coming weeks. Please review some of our mental health resources below.
Please stay safe, healthy and engaged. See you in 2021!
Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
ACPS will be using “concurrent teaching” when students start returning to school buildings in late January.
Please watch the following message from Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. to learn what concurrent teaching is, what it means for you, and how you can complete or update your Family Choice Form by Dec. 18.
One way you can help give our students the best chance of returning to school is to restrict your movements over the holiday season. Our opening of school buildings very much depends on the community health metrics of our city. If you are traveling, please take all the precautions you can and quarantine responsibly on your return to Alexandria.
The Alexandria Health Department is strongly encouraging residents to choose virtual gatherings instead of in-person activities and to avoid traveling and interacting with people outside their immediate household.
This year, more than ever, our teachers are stepping up to serve our students and families despite extremely challenging circumstances that no one was prepared for. Teachers across our division had to learn many new skills and practices from tackling technology to teaching virtually. All deserve a round of applause and our immense gratitude.
If you know a teacher who has gone above and beyond, please nominate them for Teacher of the Year.
To nominate a teacher, email their principal with a written statement of support by the deadline of 4 p.m. on Jan. 7. See the criteria below to help write your statement.
Teacher nominees must meet the following criteria:
- Instill in students a desire to learn and achieve.
- Understand the individual needs of students, encourage their talents and foster their self-esteem.
- Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of subject matter and the ability to share it effectively with students.
- Foster cooperative relationships with their colleagues and the community.
- Demonstrate outstanding leadership.
- Maintain their teaching position throughout the 2020-21 school year.
In January, each principal will choose their school’s Teacher of the Year, who will go on to the ACPS finalist round. An ACPS panel will choose the ACPS Teacher of the Year winner, who will be our ACPS nominee for the prestigious Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award. This winner will be announced in April, along with The Washington Post winner.
In celebration of the exemplary employees who are the heart of our school division, ACPS is asking you to nominate an outstanding Support Staff Member of the Year who has gone above and beyond their usual duties. Having high-caliber support staff is essential to the success of our schools and the well-being of our students.
Our support staff include office staff, cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals, school nurses, librarians, bus drivers, parent liaisons, registrars, technology staff and the many others who support our students and our schools. They are staff without teaching licenses and those who are not directors/administrators.
In January, each principal will choose their school’s Support Staff Member of the Year, who will go on to the ACPS finalist round. An ACPS panel will choose the ACPS Support Staff Member of the Year winner, who will be announced in April.
Did you receive today’s weather alerts? Please make sure you have provided your school registrar with current cell phone numbers and email addresses so that you automatically receive our weather alerts by text message and email. Now is a good time to make sure we have everything we need to keep you updated!
In the case that we need to close all school buildings due to power outages or bad weather conditions, there will be no food distribution, transportation out of district, or Virtual PLUS+ child care programs that day.
Our weather notifications are shared in four languages in the following ways.
- ACPS website (information is always posted here first)
- Text messages and emails to ACPS parents/guardians
- ACPS on Facebook and Twitter
- ACPS mobile app
- ACPS-TV local cable channel 71
- ACPS emergency hotline: 703-866-5300
- local radio and TV stations
- City of Alexandria’s eNews — We strongly encourage community members and staff to subscribe to this platform.
If students or staff need social, emotional or mental health supports while ACPS is closed for Winter Break, they should contact one of the options listed below:
- Crisis Text and Crisis Link:
- Text: CONNECT to 85511
- Call: 703-527-4077
- Alexandria Safe Place
- Alexandria City 24-Hour Emergency Mental Health Services
- Alexandria Health Department and AHD Contacts
- Inova Alexandria Hospital (ER)
This information is also available on the ACPS Virtual PLUS+ Mental Health webpage.
All ACPS students are invited to submit read-aloud videos for broadcasting on ACPS-TV, local cable channel 71. Through the ACPS Kids Read program, students will have the opportunity to record themselves reading books from an approved list of publishers and share their videos with other students.
Join us on Zoom for an Information Session at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17 to learn more! Passcode: read123
ACPS has been awarded $250,000 from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to fund additional security equipment.
The funds will be allocated to Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology; George Washington Middle School; Matthew Maury Elementary School; William Ramsay Elementary School; and T.C. Williams High School.
The grant will fund video monitoring systems, voice and video internal communications systems, school bus interior cameras, mass notification systems, visitor identification systems, access control systems, two-way radios, security vestibules and other security upgrades.
“This year, we have doubled the amount of assistance available to help Virginia school divisions protect our students and the educators, administrators and staff dedicated to preparing them for success,” Governor Ralph Northam said. “We remain focused on supporting students and their families in navigating the pandemic and preparing for in-person learning to resume, which includes ensuring that our schools have all the necessary technology, equipment and systems to keep everyone safe and to respond to emergencies.”
A total of $12 million in state School Security Equipment Grants to protect students, faculty and visitors is being distributed to 489 schools in 102 school divisions across Virginia.
Every fall, ACPS is required to report the enrollment numbers submitted to the Virginia Department of Education through the Fall Student Record Collection. This year’s report was presented to the Alexandria City School Board on Nov. 12, 2020.
ACPS’ student enrollment for the 2020-21 school year for preK-12 is 15,588. Division enrollment has decreased approximately 500 students from June 2020, with elementary enrollment impacted the most.
For the latest information on student enrollment, see ACPS Fast Facts.
The last day for ACPS meal distribution before winter break is Friday Dec. 18. Food distribution will begin again on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
For those who requested a Winter Break 5-day Meal Kit, remember to pick up your kit on Thursday, Dec. 17 between 7:30 a.m. and noon at the school site you chose on the sign-up form. Any meal kits not picked up on Dec. 17 will no longer be available for pick up — no exceptions. In the event that winter weather disrupts this plan, we will send out an updated message.
ALIVE’S Winter Break Student Emergency Breakfast and Lunch Bag Distribution:
On Monday, Dec. 28 between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., ALIVE will be distributing seven days of breakfast and lunch food items for ACPS students in need only at William Ramsay and Chick Armstrong Recreation Centers. Each student will receive one bag of food.
ACPS has multiple distribution meal site locations throughout Alexandria for all ACPS students and children over the age of two. See a map of food distribution locations.
GRAB-AND-GO MEAL LOCATIONS:
Grab and Go breakfast and lunch meals are available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 7:30 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
- Mount Vernon Community School
2601 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305
- Patrick Henry K-8 School
4643 Taney Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304
- T.C. Williams High School
3330 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
And available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at our “Pop-Up” sites located at:
- Mason Apartments at 75 South Reynolds Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- Brent Place Apartments at 375 South Reynolds Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
11:20 to 11:50 a.m.
- Ruby Tucker Family Center at 322 Tancil Court, Alexandria, VA 22314
10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- Community Lodgings at 607 Notabene Drive, Alexandria, VA 22305
10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- Old Towne West Apartments (parking lot) at 500 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
11:20 to 11:50 a.m.
- Corner of Florence Drive and Four Mile Road, Alexandria, VA 22305
10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- The Fields at 4309 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- Bennington Crossing Apartments at 441 North Armistead Street, Alexandria, VA 22312
11:30 a.m. to noon
- 2727 Duke Street (behind Bank of America), Alexandria, VA 22314
10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
NO SIGN UP OR REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE MEALS.
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 Mondays and Wednesdays, and meals for three days will be provided on Fridays.
Other Food Resources in the City of Alexandria:
For food pantry locations and schedules in Alexandria, visit www.hungerfreealexandria.com 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, available Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
- For Spanish/English, call 571-775-9719
- For Amharic/English, call 703-927-6866
- For Arabic/English, call 703-927-7095
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.
UPDATES FROM THE ALEXANDRIA HEALTH DEPARTMENT
For all updates, see www.alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus.
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.