Nominate a Teacher or Support Staff Member Before the Holidays!

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Dear ACPS Staff,

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 in my staff webinar. Watch the recording:

Please remind our families to complete the Family Choice Form through their PowerSchool Parent Access account. They 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 colleague 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.

Sign Up Now for ACPS Weather Alerts

Did you receive today’s weather alerts? Please be sure you are signed up to receive them. 

To receive weather alerts via text message, ACPS staff members must subscribe to the ‘ACPS Emergency Announcements’ category via City of Alexandria eNews.

All staff will receive weather alerts to their ACPS email address.

Staff can also receive weather alerts via:

Nominate a Teacher of the Year 

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.

Timeline for Teacher of the Year selection:

  • Jan. 7, 2021, 4 p.m.: Deadline for parents, students, staff and community members to send their nominations to the school principal.
  • Jan 8-15, 2021: Each principal chooses their school’s Teacher of the Year and collects all materials required for their complete nomination packet. 
  • Jan. 15, 2021, 4 p.m.: Deadline for each principal to submit their school’s Teacher of the Year nomination packet to Alex Bourdouane ( in the Office of Communications. Each nomination packet must be in Google Doc format.
  • Jan. 19-25, 2021: The ACPS Teacher of the Year is selected and submitted for The Washington Post’s Teacher of the Year Award. The ACPS winner and Washington Post winner are both announced in April 2021.

All schools are required to submit a nominee for Teacher of the Year.

Nominate a Support Staffer of the Year 

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.

Support Staff nominees should have the following qualities:

  • Demonstrates outstanding commitment to the division’s mission
  • Fosters cooperative and collaborative relationships with colleagues and the community
  • Contributes to ACPS in an exceptional way
  • Takes initiative to address issues, solve problems or make improvements
  • Seeks opportunities to learn and grow
  • Exemplifies high achievement in their work

Support Staff nominees should meet the following criteria:

  • Is a full-time ACPS employee
  • Has been with ACPS for more than three years
  • Has good or above average evaluation (proficient or exemplary)
  • Is NOT on a Plan of Improvement
  • Is recommended for continued employment
  • Plans to continue employment with ACPS next school year

Support Staff Nomination Process

  1. Complete the Support Staff Nomination Form (MS Word).
  2. Collect up to three letters of support, one of which must be from the nominee’s supervisor. The statements of support should describe and give examples of how the employee demonstrates the qualities listed above.
  3. Submit all documents to the nominee’s principal or department director by 4 p.m. on Jan. 7. 
  4. Principals and department directors must choose one nominee and submit their complete nomination packet to Alex Bourdouane ( in the Office of Communications by 4 p.m. on Jan. 15. Each nomination packet must be in Google Doc format. Late nominations will not be considered. 

An ACPS panel will choose the ACPS Support Staff Member of the Year winner, who will be announced in April.

All schools are required to submit a nominee for Support Staff Member of the Year.

Nominate a Principal of the Year 

Want to nominate one of our school leaders for Principal of the Year? Email their assistant principal(s) 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. 

Please note that only those who have been a principal with ACPS for five years or more are eligible. Anyone who has previously won this award is not eligible. Not sure if the person you want to nominate qualifies? Contact the assistant principal.

Principal nominees should meet the following criteria:

  • Manage effectively.
  • Demonstrate and encourage creativity and innovation.
  • Foster cooperation between the school and the community.
  • Maintain a continuing dialogue with students and parents as well as faculty and staff.
  • Keep abreast of developments in the field of education.
  • Encourage team spirit.
  • Demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment.
  • Continue to play an active role in the classroom.
  • Maintain their position as principal throughout the 2020-21 school year.

An ACPS panel will choose the ACPS Principal of the Year winner, who will be our ACPS nominee for the prestigious Washington Post Principal of the Year Award. This winner will be announced in April, along with The Washington Post winner.

Safe Holiday Travel Guidelines

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.

Mental Health Holiday Resources

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:

This information is also available on the ACPS Virtual PLUS+ Mental Health webpage.

Reminder: December Pay Changes

Please note that due to the Winter Break, the pay date for the second paycheck of December will be Dec. 22.

Young Story Readers Needed for ACPS-TV

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

Please encourage your students to participate!

ACPS to Benefit from VDOE Security Grant Funding

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. 

ACPS Enrollment Data for 2020-21

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.

Equity Forum Opportunity

Join The Bond Educational Group on Feb. 2-4, 2021 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.

Register online and use discount code acps2020 by December 31, 2020 to receive the $15 partner ticket rate. For more information, email

Temperature Screening at ACPS Buildings

Anyone requiring access to an ACPS facility or school will be required to undergo a temperature check to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Testing stations will be established at seven locations, at or close to ACPS meal distribution sites and locations where major summer construction will take place. Screening will take no more than three minutes to complete and will involve the use of a clinical forehead thermometer.

All those with a temperature of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower (per Alexandria Health Department guidelines) will be given a dated wristband and be cleared to work as long as they are in possession of appropriate personal protection equipment consisting of masks and gloves.

Should an individual record an elevated temperature, that person will be informed that they are unable to report to work at an ACPS site and will be advised to call his or her supervisor.

Find out more about this measure in this Board Brief.


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