Physical Distancing Updates & Staff Q&A Sessions Next Week

- News and Announcements

This Week’s Headlines:

Dear ACPS Staff,

We made history last week by finalizing the new names for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School. This almost yearlong process brought the student voice to the forefront and concluded last week with the Board’s decision to adopt the names of Alexandria City High School and Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School. These names honor the diverse, inclusive and anti-racist community that ACPS is striving to become. Our students were vital to the renaming process, and I am excited to see what creative and innovative ideas our students bring to the logo contest for the new name for the high school.

I appreciate the purpose and enthusiasm everyone brought to discussions about our history and potential school names. We will always be the Titans, and we are now Titans with a renewed energy as we continue our work to empower all students to thrive in a diverse and ever-changing world.

As we look toward the remaining two months of school, we are finalizing our plan to reconfigure our classrooms to accommodate the CDC’s three-foot physical distancing guidelines and that will allow us to bring as many students as possible back in a phased prioritization model. We already had plans to transition more hybrid students in on April 20 and April 27 using our hybrid prioritization matrix. With our work to reconfigure our classrooms to three feet of physical distance between students, we will have all classrooms reconfigured and our strategy to accommodate lunch by April 26 which will allow us to transition more students after April 27. Read more about the planning and implementation process below.

Also this week, we were excited to welcome Dr. James Lane, Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction, and Dr. Aurelia Ortiz, director of school quality, for a wonderful visit at John Adams Elementary School and the Early Childhood Center. This was a great way to recognize the Week of the Young Child from April 10-16, an annual event sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children that focuses on early learning initiatives, young children, their teachers and families. ACPS provides outstanding early childhood initiatives and partnerships that are the foundation for every child to benefit from a healthy, safe, and inspirational place to grow, create and learn. ACPS pre-K enrollment for the next school year opens on April 21, and kindergarten enrollment opens on May 5, 2021. 

I invite you to join us this coming week for virtual community sessions to update staff on hybrid learning and planning currently underway for summer 2021 learning and the 2021-22 school year. Please check the information below for dates, times and Zoom links.

The news from our schools about recent student accomplishments continues to grow as we head toward the end of the school year. I congratulate the Titan Girls Varsity Volleyball Team and the middle school Odyssey of the Mind Team for their most recent accomplishments. It is clear that our students are making the best of their opportunities to discover, learn and compete. 

Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.

Reminder: No School for Students on Monday, April 19: Teacher Work Day

There will be no school for students on Monday, April 19. It is a Teacher Work Day. No asynchronous work is required for students. 

Join ACPS Board Members and Leaders at a Community Session to Answer Questions about Hybrid Learning and Planning for Summer and Fall

We know you have questions and we are providing a virtual space to hear from ACPS Superintendent Dr. Hutchings, a school principal and two School Board members on topics that are timely and important to the ACPS community. There will be sessions for families, staff and students. 

Dr. Hutchings will provide updates on hybrid learning and planning currently underway for summer learning and the 2021-22 school year. Following the brief update, staff are invited to submit questions via the Zoom Q&A and the panel will answer as many questions as possible. 

Staff Sessions:

Physical Distancing: ACPS will follow CDC Guidance for 3 Feet 

As ACPS brings additional students into hybrid learning starting on April 20, staff has also been reviewing and planning for the updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reduce physical distancing between students in classrooms from six feet to three feet, based on specific criteria. Schools are continuing to contact families to assess interest in having their students in hybrid learning, using a hybrid prioritization matrix. 

Staff has been analyzing the implications related to the three-foot distancing guidelines between students to implement in every school. ACPS seeks an efficient and effective transition that will ensure minimal disruption for our students and the instructional program. Given our careful planning and health mitigation measures to date, ACPS has minimized the spread in our schools over the last month and kept students and staff safe and healthy, a trend we want to continue as the new distancing guidelines are implemented.

A preliminary analysis and the current plan to safely bring additional students into hybrid learning was presented at the April 8 School Board meeting (PDF). We will reconfigure our classrooms to three feet of physical distance between students and implement a new lunch model by April 26 which will allow us to transition more students after April 27.

This week, the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) held virtual town halls to answer questions from ACPS families. See the AHD presentation (PDF) and watch a recording of the event.

ACPS Heralds a New Era, Working with Students and Community to Replace School Names From a Racist Past

The Alexandria City School Board voted on April 8, 2021, to replace the names of two schools that were intrinsically linked to Alexandria’s racist past, selecting Alexandria City High School and Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School to replace T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School. The nine School Board members were unanimous in adopting these names, following a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. and a robust student and community engagement process which launched in 2020. Learn more about the historic vote and new names through The Identity Project. The new names will take effect on July 1, 2021.

Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School

Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School is named after Alexandria native Naomi Lewis Brooks (April 14, 1934 – May 21, 2020), a member of the Quander and Lewis families of Alexandria. Mrs. Brooks’ roots are woven into the educational, spiritual and social fabric of Alexandria’s rich history. Learn more about Mrs. Brooks

Alexandria City High School

Since the early 1900s, ACPS has had a variation of high schools with 11 different names. The current high school officially became T.C. Williams High School in 1962, named after the former ACPS superintendent, who was a staunch segregationist. From the early stages of The Identity Project, the name Alexandria High School rose to the top during the community submission process. The recommendation was amended to Alexandria City High School by the School Board before the vote. Learn more about the new school name

Logo Design Contest for Alexandria City High School

All ACPS currently enrolled students are invited to participate in a logo design contest to represent the new high school name Alexandria City High School. The deadline to submit an entry is April 30, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. 

See the complete competition guidelines and rules. Logo entries must be uploaded through the Logo Design Submission Form

Featured above are the previous logos used for T.C. Williams. More information about designs for Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School will be shared in the coming weeks. 

Standards of Learning (SOL) and Remote Student Progress Testing for Students in Grades 3-12

Families with students in grades three to nine and grade 11 in the virtual learning model need to complete the Standards of Learning Testing (SOL) Form by April 26, 2021. This form is important to let ACPS know that student(s) will take the SOL tests this spring. Students in grades 3-9 and grade 11 who attend school in the hybrid model will be tested while they are at school and, therefore, do not need to complete this form. Please find additional information on the ACPS website.

Facilities Improvements — Stay Informed

School Board Votes for Minnie Howard Design Concept

At its April 8 meeting, the School Board voted unanimously to select the Pinwheel Concept with the bus loop located along Braddock Road as the site plan and concept design for the new Minnie Howard facility. The design team will use this site plan and concept selection to guide future design work. View the full presentation to the School Board (PDF) and the Concept Booklet (PDF). If you have questions or comments on The High School Project, please email

Tree Removal begins at Douglas MacArthur

Per the approved plan, construction workers began removing trees from the Douglas MacArthur site during this week of April 12-16. ACPS and construction manager SKANSKA are currently exploring ways to salvage and repurpose the wood. If you have questions about this process, please email

School Board Votes for Full Parking Garage at Douglas MacArthur

At its April 8 meeting, the School Board voted for the second guaranteed maximum price contract to include a full parking garage (approximately 80 spaces) in the Douglas MacArthur facility design. If you have questions about this project, please email

Titan Varsity Volleyball Takes Repeat District Title

Congratulations to the T.C. Williams’ Varsity Volleyball Team as they completed a historic undefeated regular season by beating West Potomac for the Gunston District Volleyball Championship. This is the first time in Titan history that the volleyball team has been back-to-back district champions! 

The team will be entering the Regional Championship next week and then onto State! Please wish our Titans Good Luck!

Middle School Odyssey Team Makes State Finals 

Congratulations to the middle school Odyssey of the Mind team made up of students from George Washington Middle School and Francis C. Hammond Middle School, who made it to the state finals in the Superhero Socks: A Cliffhanger Beginning Div. II category of this year’s Virginia State Tournament. Learn more about Virginia Odyssey of the Mind program. 

Virginia’s Superintendent of Instruction and Director of School Quality Visit ACPS

On Tuesday, April 14, ACPS welcomed Dr. James F. Lane, Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction, and Dr. Aurelia Ortiz, director of school quality. They joined School Board Chair Meagan L. Alderton, Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. and other ACPS leadership for a visit to John Adams Elementary School and the Early Childhood Center. 

The group had the opportunity to talk with Principals Ginja Canton and Heidi Haggerty Wagner, and tour classrooms to observe teachers and students in hybrid learning in grades preK-5. 

Celebrate National School Library Month With ACPS Librarians

National School Library Month is a time to celebrate the joy of reading and bring awareness to the school librarian’s vitally important role in student achievement and student success. Each day, 21 highly- qualified ACPS librarians, with their library clerks’ support, connect students to various enriching library services and resources. On a typical day in the library, our librarians are busy providing students with valuable research and digital citizenship instruction, encouraging the effective use of digital learning tools, and promoting literacy and reading for pleasure. Our libraries circulate over 10,000 books a month! 

Emily Godfrey, librarian at John Adams Elementary School, says, “Information is power. People who can access, evaluate and synthesize information are the people who can make informed decisions about their lives. Librarians teach these skills and provide access to unbiased resources for free, which helps all citizens in a democracy.” 

Read more about how ACPS librarians are guiding students, assisting teachers and providing excellent resources School Library Month in April.