This Week’s Headlines:
- Reopening Decision Updates to Come Each Monday
- Family Choice Form Results
- Resources to Help You Talk With Students About Wednesday’s Event at the Capitol
- COVID Vaccinations for Staff
- COVID Vaccine Dispensing Support Needed
- Coming Soon! New Clock-in System to Replace TimeClock Plus
- Last Chance for Students to Submit Entries for New Names for T.C. and Maury
- School Board Votes to Appoint Alderton as Chair for 2021
- Superintendent Proposes an Efficient Combined-Funds Operating Budget Aimed at Recovery, Retention and Reigniting
- Board Approves Fiscally Responsible Capital Improvement Program
- ACPS Appoints a New Executive Director of Facilities & Operations
- Equity Forum Opportunity
Dear ACPS Staff,
First, I would like to welcome you back to virtual learning and wish you all a happy and healthy 2021. I hope you have been able to enjoy this most unusual of holiday seasons and that you were able to spend some quality time connecting with your loved ones, near and far, even if not in person.
With information now regularly coming out about vaccination programs, we feel optimistic about 2021. This week we learned that K-12 staff will be eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1b of the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID Vaccination Response plan. We will be sharing updates on vaccination availability for staff and students as we learn more from the Alexandria Health Department. That said, we are keeping a close eye on our city’s health metrics and remain in daily contact with the Alexandria Health Department. Our cases have been rising in our city and our state. On Monday, Jan. 11, I will provide an update on our decision for our first cohort of students from our Citywide program on the Jan. 19 return to school. Each Monday, I will reassess the situation according to our decision matrix, based on community health metrics, staffing and capacity. I will also publicly share our decision regarding any necessary adjustments to our timeline for phasing students and staff into our school buildings.
During the winter break, we have been continuing to work hard and collaborate on preparations to pivot into our hybrid learning approach. Schedules are being finalized and a reopening decision matrix has been created to assist our community with understanding our decision making process. In addition to our decision matrix used for weekly updates, we will be providing families who opted for hybrid learning with their child’s hybrid schedule two weeks before their scheduled start date. The hybrid schedule will also include whether their student’s teacher has indicated if they are able to return in person or remain virtual. At that point, we will also reopen the Family Choice Form in PowerSchool for hybrid families to allow them to adjust their hybrid decision if needed based on teacher in-person/virtual status, community health metrics, vaccination timelines and/or identification of the new strain of the virus in the U.S.
As you know, it is important that we keep our staff and students together during this transition, which requires us to be extremely innovative and accommodating with both family and staff needs. It is a complicated task; however, we are confident that we will be able to keep our staff and students together. In order for this to work efficiently, it will require flexibility and some understanding that at this time we cannot replicate the educational experience we had before the pandemic. However, we will provide the best educational environment feasible for students in our hybrid learning environment and for those in our virtual learning environment. The social, emotional and academic needs of our students remains a top priority for us in ACPS.
As we embark on our 2021 journey, we must remain collaborative, communicative and keep you informed as we navigate these uncharted waters. Please stay safe, engaged and practice social distancing so we can minimize our community spread in the city of Alexandria and beyond.
Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools
ACPS and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) have developed a reopening decision matrix that combines three main metrics into one chart: community transmission rates, data on positive cases, and levels of school division impact. The goal is to provide this matrix so families can understand our decision making for the phased reentry plan.
This matrix will be posted on the ACPS website and will be updated each Monday with the new metrics. Using the data in this matrix, each Monday ACPS will share an update on our reentry plans on the website homepage. This information will also be shared via ACPS Express in our regular Wednesday edition.
The scheduled return of our students to our school buildings on Jan. 19 (per the updated timeline shared with the School Board) is dependent on these community health metrics, staffing and capacity.
Before winter break, ACPS had a response rate of 83% for the Family Choice Form. This means that the families of more than 12,000 students took the time to complete the form in PowerSchool Parent Access.
Overall, families of 59.5% of our students opted to remain virtual (this includes the 17% of students whose families who did not complete a form, and are listed as virtual by default).
Differences were seen across race/ethnicity with 53% of white students, 42% of Hispanic and 27% of Black students opting for hybrid. Differences were also seen across grade levels with higher rates of hybrid selected for the youngest students. There were also wide differences by school, with 68% of George Mason Elementary School families opting for hybrid compared to 26% at Patrick Henry K-8 School.
We know that many factors — including rising community health metrics, vaccination timelines and identification of a new strain of the virus — may mean that families’ choices have changed since December. Families will be provided the option to update their preference on the Family Choice Form in the coming weeks.
See more information in the superintendent’s reopening update presentation (PDF) to the School Board on Jan. 7.
Following Wednesday’s civil unrest in DC, student support teams have taken time to ensure the social and emotional health of each of our students.
Below are some resources that you may find helpful as we all try to process what has happened.
This week we learned that K-12 staff will be eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1b of the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID Vaccination Response plan. The Alexandria Health Department is waiting for approval from the state to begin this phase.
Please be assured that when a COVID-19 vaccination is available for ACPS staff, we will notify you with further instructions for receiving the vaccine.
Volunteers are needed to support the City and Alexandria Health Department (AHD) in staffing Community Vaccination Point of Dispensing (POD) events. AHD is currently vaccinating health care workers employed within the city limits of Alexandria who are unaffiliated with a hospital, regardless of residency.
Vaccination POD events are expected to occur several times per week, eventually expanding to up to four per week, based upon vaccine availability (doses) and number of confirmed patients/clients.
Staff committing to support may be assigned to a variety of roles and tasks, including greeters, flow control, registration, vaccination assistants, translators, and resource support. All support staff will receive appropriate PPE based on their assigned role. For assigned roles that require an N95 mask, a fit test is required and a medical clearance form has to be completed and uploaded for evaluation by a City doctor.
If interested, please complete the Vaccine POD Support Form.
Starting in February, ACPS is replacing TimeClock Plus with a new clock-in system called ExecuTime. This new system works directly with our financial platform, MUNIS, and will provide for a more efficient process of employee timekeeping.
What does this mean for you?
For most employees, this just means you will log in to ExecuTime instead of TimeClock Plus to clock in/out each day and to request leave.
For those who are supervisors or who review and edit other employees’ time in TimeClock Plus, you will receive training and support over the next few weeks to learn how to use ExecuTime.
When will we start to use ExecuTime instead of TimeClock Plus?
Feb. 1 for Exempt employees (staff who do NOT qualify for overtime)
Feb. 16 for Non-Exempt employees (staff who DO qualify for overtime)
Get a sneak peek at ExecuTime now!
Want to see what ExecuTime looks like and give it a trial run? From now until Jan. 25, you can log in to ExecuTime during our ‘testing’ period:
To log in, go to: www.acps.k12.va.us/executime
Username: Your ACPS employee ID number
Password: First three letters of your first name and first three letters of your last name, in all caps
For example, an employee JOHN SMITH with ID number 12345:
IMPORTANT: Any actions you make in ExecuTime during this trial period (now until Jan. 25) are for testing purposes only and will NOT be recorded. You must continue to use TimeClock Plus for all official clock-ins and leave requests until the switch to ExecuTime begins (Feb. 1 for exempt staff and Feb. 16 for non-exempt staff). Please also continue to follow your request for leave protocols.
Want to learn more?
All supervisors any time editors will receive additional instructions for training and transitioning to ExecuTime over the next few weeks. However, if you want to take a deep dive into ExecuTime and learn more about how to use it, take a look at our training videos:
Have questions? Contact ExecuTime@acps.k12.va.us.
Stay tuned to Insider for more information about this transition over the next few weeks!
Today is the last day for students to submit an essay or poster for the renaming of T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School. Learn more about this process.
Next week, we will launch a Community Poll to allow community members and staff to show their preferences from among the student submissions or to submit additional naming options.
The Alexandria City School Board has voted to appoint Meagan L. Alderton to the position of chair of the Board and Veronica R. Nolan to vice chair of the Board for this year.
Alderton was first appointed to represent District C of the School Board in Nov. 2018 and will be the second African American female to be appointed to the role of Board chair in the history of Alexandria City Public Schools. She follows in the footsteps of Shirley Tyler who was the first African American Board chair from 1980-82. Tyler worked closely with Ferdinand T. Day, who, in 1964, became the first African American to hold the position in the Commonwealth of Virginia — just 10 years after the Brown versus Board of Education decision.
Superintendent Proposes an Efficient Combined-Funds Operating Budget Aimed at Recovery, Retention and Reigniting
ACPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. has proposed a combined-funds operating budget for FY 22 that aims to focus on recovering strongly from the dual impact on education of the COVID-19 pandemic and the reemergence of issues surrounding racial inequity.
The combined funds budget of $320.59 million will support an instructional program focused on recovering from learning losses, recruiting and retaining quality staff, and reigniting a love of teaching, learning and leadership. In addition, the comprehensive financial blueprint provides for the resources and support necessary to continue the division’s efforts to keep racial equity at the heart of all work.
Read more about the proposed budget.
The Alexandria City School Board has approved a 10-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget that allows ACPS to continue to modernize its buildings and technology, while also taking the current economic climate into consideration.
The Approved FY 2022-2031 CIP Budget, which totals $551,483,000, provides funding for technology upgrades, online and physical textbook materials, and the expansion of the T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus as part of The High School Project. This will keep ACPS on target with its program to expand seating capacity at the high school level, while also ensuring schools stay up-to-date with technology needs that have been highlighted over the past year.
The School Board approved funding for urgent building repairs such as HVAC, roof, safety and security upgrades. However, the modernization of George Mason Elementary School and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology were deferred by one year in light of the current economic forecast. The modernization of the ACPS Transportation Facility will also be deferred by one year, and a new ACPS school and modernization of Matthew Maury Elementary School will be deferred by two years.
ACPS is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Alicia Hart as the new Executive Director of Facilities and Operations.
Dr. Hart has been with ACPS since Dec. 2019 in the role of director of educational facilities.
Join The Bond Educational Group on Feb. 2-4 as they host The Equity Summit: Designing an Antiracist Future, a virtual conference where you will join top media executives, politicians, academics, athletes and policy experts to discuss how to create a more equitable society.
Don’t Feel Well?
Contact your primary health care physician.
Have questions, concerns or feedback? Contact us or contact your direct supervisor.
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