This Week’s Headlines:
- Mark Your Calendar for the Reopening of School Buildings in March!
- Reminder: ExecuTime Replaces TimeClock Plus This Month
- The Identity Project: Help Choose the Final Names for Maury and T.C. Williams
- Congratulations to our Two QuestBridge Scholars
- Recognizing Black History Month on ACPS-TV
- February is School Board Appreciation Month
Dear ACPS Staff,
As we begin the month of February, I am so pleased to share with you our revised timeline for transitioning all our students who chose hybrid learning back into school buildings between March 2 and March 16. Furthermore, our staff who are able to return will begin transitioning back into our school buildings and offices beginning on March 1.
That means for those families who chose hybrid through the Family Choice Form, which was completed in December 2020, we are looking forward to welcoming you back in person! Our community health metrics are finally going in the right direction and improving, and our successful vaccine program provides our staff with the additional reassurance that they can remain healthy and safe in our schools and offices.
This is news I am excited to share since school buildings closed on March 13, 2020, almost one year ago. It is no overstatement to say that the last year has been a challenging period in education globally and a source of great concern for us all. Also, this past year has brought opportunities for us to rethink public education and learning environments for the next generation. Now, we have light shining brightly at the end of the tunnel.
In the coming weeks, we will be collaborating with you to solidify our action steps in our plans and counting down the days until our hybrid students and staff are reunited. Please be sure to complete the return to school status form sent to your emails on Wednesday afternoon. We need 100% of our staff to complete this very important form to obtain your return to school and vaccination status. All staff unable to return will need to submit supporting documentation to the Department of Human Resources to remain in virtual status. We will begin our support and informational sessions for staff on Monday, Feb. 8 to begin preparing for our transition back into our school buildings and offices.
Also today, we are launching the second poll for The Identity Project. This contains our shortlist of new names for Matthew Maury Elementary School and T.C. Williams High School. Please help us to choose names befitting these wonderful schools.
February marks two important national celebrations of recognition with National School Counselor Week and School Board Appreciation Month. I hope you will join me in celebrating and thanking these two incredible groups of professionals who are assets to our community. ACPS school counselors work tirelessly to ensure the academic and social-emotional well-being of our students. The School Board’s sustained visionary leadership, valued partnership and careful decision making lead us in achieving educational excellence and equity for all.
And finally, please join me in congratulating Natnael Asegdew and Bridgette Adu-Wadier, our two QuestBridge Scholars. Both are exceptional seniors and our community is extremely proud of you both.
Please stay safe, healthy and engaged.
Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Revised Reentry Timeline Now Available
Please check out the revised transition timeline for families that chose hybrid learning. Our hybrid schedule allows for students to return to the classroom two days a week.
- Tuesday, March 2: Reentry of hybrid students in grades K-5 receiving special education services in citywide self-contained full-day class programs, students in K-5 receiving special education reading and math services in a self-contained setting, Early Childhood Special Education students, and students in grades K-5 receiving English Learner services
- Tuesday, March 9: Transition Hybrid Students in grades 6-12 receiving SPED citywide and self-contained reading and math services, and Newcomer EL students in grades 6-12
- Tuesday, March 16: Reentry of ALL remaining hybrid students in grades PreK-12
Our staff is diligently working toward these dates, remaining cautiously optimistic that our health metrics will continue to improve. Here are the latest health metrics from Wednesday this week*:
In the coming weeks we will be sharing with families all the details they need to prepare for the return of their children, including information about scheduled classroom days, their teachers’ in-person availability, nutrition and transportation services, child care and after-school programs, and our plans to keep everyone safe through mitigation measures.
NOTE: While we are confident that our reopening timeline is feasible, if our community metrics rise, we may need to consider delaying. See our revised decision matrix, which aligns with the Virginia Department of Health.
See the Feb. 4 presentation to the school board (PDF) about reopening planning.
VIDEO: See a staff message from Dr. Hutchings about this reopening news*:
*NOTE: the positive COVID-19 test metrics have been revised by 0.1% since Wednesday, pushing us out of Higher Risk level and into the Moderate Risk level at 7.9%.
This month, ACPS is replacing TimeClock Plus with a new clock-in system called ExecuTime.
Exempt staff began using this on Feb. 1.
Non-exempt staff will begin using ExecuTime on Tuesday, Feb. 16 and will receive an email before then with further instructions.
For further information on how to use ExecuTime, see the ExecuTime page on Canvas.
Have questions? Contact ExecuTime@acps.k12.va.us.
Through a robust community engagement process and vetted by the school board clerk and superintendent, the semifinalist names for each school have been announced. With thousands of entries from students, families, staff, and community members, we have revealed the top names from the polls that met the School Board policies (Policy FF [PDF] and Regulation FF-R [PDF]) and were deemed suitable for naming a school.
Now is the time for all community members to give their voice to the name they want to see as the final selection in this process. The second set of community polls will be open on Feb. 5 and close at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 19.
To learn more about the process visit The Identity Project webpage.
When T.C. Williams High School senior Natnael Asegdew was 6 years old, he moved to the United States from Ethiopia and his parents had one purpose in mind: to ensure their two children received a quality education.
Life in a new country was not without challenges for the family but their son thrived academically, first at John Adams Elementary School, then at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, and finally at T.C. Williams.
Now Natnael is a proud recipient of the prized QuestBridge Scholarship and this fall he is heading to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a full-ride scholarship, where he will major in Computer, Economics and Data Science.
QuestBridge is an extremely competitive college scholarship application process that helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to the nation’s most selective colleges.
“I think about the sacrifices my parents made for me all the time,” said the 17-year-old. “Moving to a new country, learning a new language, working long hours, all with their children’s future in mind.”
“They were so happy when I got the news about the scholarship. It made them realize that coming to America was the right decision.”
Natnael still recalls the kindness shown to him by ACPS teachers when he began school here in Alexandria.
He says he remains ever thankful for the teachers and counselors that supported him throughout his school career.
“Life would have been very different had we stayed in Ethiopia. I doubt that I would have reached the stage I am at now,” he added.
Another highly accomplished Titan, Bridgette Adu-Wadier, also learned that she was selected from the thousands of students who applied nationwide.
Bridgette, who has been lauded with multiple accolades this academic year, will be attending Northwestern University where she will major in Journalism.
Just last week, the gifted writer and visual storyteller was also named by PBS as a one of their 20 under 20 Up-and-Coming Storytellers of the Year.
February is Black History Month and a time for reflection and celebration at ACPS. Throughout February, ACPS-TV will be airing programs from our archives featuring prominent African Americans, including ACPS alumni.
- T.C. Williams alumnus Jefferi K. Lee recently served as the General Manager of WHUT-TV on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC. Watch him talk about his incredible career. He played an integral role on the team that took BET Holdings, Inc. public, which established the organization as the first black-owned company traded on the NYSE. In February 2019, he returned to T.C. to speak with Television Production Students.
When to watch: Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. on ACPS-TV, cable channel 71, or on the ACPS-TV YouTube channel.
- Historian Percy White’s presentation on Tracing Your Roots through Ancestral Research was featured seven years ago during a Black History Month event at T.C.
When to watch: Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. on ACPS-TV, cable channel 71, or on the ACPS-TV YouTube channel.
- Alexandria Legend Melvin Miller worked to desegregate Alexandria City Public Schools. Watch a recording of him speaking to students during Black History Month in 2014 in this program from our archives.
When to watch: Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. on ACPS-TV, cable channel 71, or on the ACPS-TV YouTube channel.
Full schedule of Black History Month specials on ACPS-TV:
Do not forget to thank your School Board members for all their hard work advocating for ACPS students and staff during Virginia School Board Appreciation Month.
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