Board Matters: Celebrations, Walk Zones, the Future of the High School, and the Superintendent’s Evaluation

On Thursday night, the Board discussed The High School Project, changes to walk zones for high school students, restorative practices and also honored our ACPS 2019 Teacher, Support Staffer and Principal of the Year.

If you didn’t watch the meeting live, you can watch the April 25 Board meeting and all Board meetings online anytime from the comfort of your sofa, and take your time to view the presentations and memos.

Don’t forget that you can also watch all Board meetings live on ACPS-TV, local cable channel 71 and ACPS-TV online.

The High School Project

Work on the High School Project going forward will continue with two main focuses: Educational Programming and Capacity/Construction Requirements.

Read more in this week’s full ACPS Express post.

Update on Restorative Practices

Do you know how ACPS supports students who may need a little extra support in terms of their behavior? This week, the School Board received an update on Restorative Practices: a strategy ACPS has been implementing over the past five years to help create a positive cultural climate in our schools. Restorative practices is based on 80% proactive strategies, such as developing a sense of community, and 20% on responsive strategies, which work to repair harm and restore relationships.

Read more in this week’s full ACPS Express post.

Superintendent’s Evaluation Criteria Development Committee

One of the roles of the Alexandria City School Board is to evaluate the superintendent annually.

The current Superintendent’s Evaluation Instrument was last adopted by the School Board in June 2016 and the current Board has determined that it needs updating. To do this, they have appointed an ad-hoc committee consisting of Vice Chair Veronica Nolan, Board Member Meagan L. Alderton and Board Member Christopher A. Suarez.

Proposed Walk Zone Policy Changes for High School Students

ACPS is proposing to adjust the distance that high school students will need to walk to school next year.

Starting in September 2019, all high school students will have to walk a maximum of 1.5 miles no matter where they live, if the changes are approved by the Alexandria City School Board.

Currently, the distance is measured as a radius drawn around T.C. Williams King Street or Minnie Howard campuses. The changes will mean that the distance will now be measured as an actual walking distance to school using GIS data. Parents may review suggested walk paths using tools such as Google Maps.

The changes are designed to ensure equity among all students. Previously, some students had to walk further than an actual mile-and-a-half due to the way the walk zone was calculated.

If approved, the changes will mean that 506 more high school students will be eligible for school bus transportation. ACPS will need to add five new bus routes — four at T.C. Williams and one at Minnie Howard — to accommodate these new riders. Students whose route to school requires them to cross busy main roads or has other hazards will still be eligible for a bus.

The Board is expected to vote on the proposed changes in May.

Read more in this week’s full ACPS Express post.

ACPS Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year and Support Staffer of the Year

Every year we select an ACPS Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year. This year, for the first time, we are also recognizing a Support Staff Member of the Year. Each one of these people represent the best in ACPS. They have been singled out for their genuine commitment and dedication to their students. You can view photos from the reception on Facebook.

Rene Paschal, Principal of the Year: With 36 years in education as a teacher, counselor and assistant principal and now principal of Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, Paschal immediately dedicated his award to his students and staff, who he said should all share in the honor. That says a lot about him. He is known as a leader who is focused on growing others to their fullest potential in every position he has held.

April Rodgers, Teacher of the Year: Twelve years ago, Rodgers brought the concept of the circus to physical education classes in ACPS, teaching it at John Adams and James K. Polk elementary schools and now to the 450 students at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School. She purposefully integrates circus content to keep students active, socially and emotionally engaged, and to instill a sense of confidence in them. She was part of the team selected to pull together programming for the newest ACPS school last fall.

James Harrison, Support Staff Member of the Year: Harrison has become the first ever ACPS employee to receive the recognition of Support Staffer of the Year, which honors support staff members who exemplify excellence in their work. Harrison was honored for his dedication and commitment to students both inside and outside of school, and working daily with students with disabilities to provide them meaningful work experiences to gain workplace readiness skills. Through this work, he has helped students develop skills that will serve them throughout life — passing on his knowledge as well as helping students grow emotionally, physically and socially.

Watch the videos:

ACPS, Alexandria City High School, Awards, Board Matters, High School Project, Minnie Howard, Video