This Week’s Headlines:
- Employee Intent to Return Survey for the 2021-22 School Year
- Watch the School Board Vote on Final School Names
- New ACPS COVID-19 Dashboard
- Physical Distancing Guidelines in Our Schools
- Join ACPS Board Members and Leaders at a Community Session to Answer Questions about Hybrid Learning and Planning for Summer and Fall
- Alexandria Health Department COVID-19 Town Halls, April 13-14
- Spring 2021 SOL Assessment Plan
- Enhanced Staff Expectations for Phased Reentry Hybrid Instructional Plan 5.0
- Two ACPS Leaders Honored
Dear ACPS Staff,
Let me first welcome you all back from what I trust has been a happy and healthy Spring Break. I hope everyone is feeling refreshed and ready for a busy week.
This is a big week in ACPS history. Tomorrow night, the Alexandria City School Board will vote on the new names for both T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School. This marks the start of a new era for our school division as the work to ensure equity for all students and staff continues, and we foster a learning environment that is respectful and reflective of who we are and where our future lies. I want to thank all of you who took the time to be a part of this important process.
Also this week, we are celebrating some key administrators in our school division! Please join me in thanking our wonderful assistant principals for their contributions to our schools and all they do for students, families and staff, as we recognize National Assistant Principals Week.
In addition, I want to address the new CDC guidelines on physical distancing in schools which state that the necessary space between students in classrooms can be reduced from six feet to three feet with effective air circulation and mask use. At this time, we are using six feet of physical distance and are continuing to work to determine how the revised guidelines impact ACPS and what this means for adding more students to our hybrid classrooms. See below for details about new FAQs on physical distancing, a new ACPS COVID-19 dashboard, and two Alexandria Health Department community town halls, held in partnership with ACPS, on April 13 and 14.
Stay safe, healthy and engaged.
Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
All employees are asked to inform Human Resources if they intend to retire or otherwise depart ACPS at the end of the school year, June 30, 2021.
The Intent to Return survey was sent to staff via email on April 6, and is provided below.
The purpose of this survey is to gain a better understanding of potential vacancies based on employee responses. The responses are shared with school principals upon receipt for future staffing needs. It is important to note that a position does not become vacant until a formal resignation has been received and a termination letter has been provided to the HR department.
For those employees who may have discussed their employment status with the principal or administrator, HR requests that each and every employee reply to the survey.
If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alexandria City School Board will vote on the new names for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School tomorrow, at the Thursday, April 8 School Board meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. The Board meeting can be viewed live online and on ACPS-TV local cable channel 71.
This historic vote follows a comprehensive process to engage students, staff, alumni and the community, called The Identity Project.
Cost estimates to implement the name change at T.C. Williams total about $325,000 and the cost estimates for Matthew Maury are just over $5,000. The schools will officially be recognized by the new names beginning July 1, 2021.
We want to assure you that the health of all staff, students and our families is a top priority for ACPS. The new ACPS COVID-19 Dashboard provides case data starting March 1, 2021 and will be updated every Monday afternoon by 4 p.m.
For information and questions regarding COVID-19 in Alexandria City, including locations for free COVID-19 testing, please visit the Alexandria Health Department COVID-19 website. An interactive chart with details of the seven-day moving average number of COVID-19 cases, and the daily and cumulative case and fatality counts in Alexandria can be viewed on the City of Alexandria website. The CDC K-12 School Metrics can be found on the Virginia Department of Health website.
The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least three feet in the classroom setting. ACPS has worked closely with the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) to implement health mitigation measures in our schools, including signage and procedures to help protect all staff and students. Physical distancing is one of the mitigation strategies.
At this time, ACPS is maintaining six feet of physical distancing through the remainder of the school year based on public health guidance and operational considerations. Learn more in our FAQs.
More information will be shared with families as we continue reviewing the new guidelines and preparing for three feet of physical distancing for summer 2021 and fall 2021.
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.
ACPS is excited to partner with the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) to offer two town hall opportunities on Tuesday, April 13, from noon to 1 p.m. and Wednesday, April 14, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. AHD will be sharing information about what to expect when they get a report about a positive COVID-19 case from ACPS. They will also discuss updated CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidance to schools and provide advice about where people can get vaccinated.
AHD COVID-19 Town Halls:
Interested participants are asked to submit questions in advance of the town hall. Submit your questions online.
ACPS is preparing to administer the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in May-June 2021. The SOL data monitoring student progress will be combined with other ACPS assessments to inform planning for summer learning and the 2021-22 school year. Students in the hybrid model will complete the assessments in school and their families will receive the same communication about these as they have in previous years.
This year, the state is allowing students taking grades 3-8 SOLs who are in the 100% virtual learning model to choose between coming into school to take the SOL assessments in person or arranging to take the new Virginia Remote Student Progress tests at home. The Virginia Remote Student Progress tests are not an SOL, but are designed to measure students current academic progress in SOL courses grades 3-8. Communication will go out to all virtual families about their options for testing this spring, and they will be asked to complete a survey April 12-26 to notify ACPS about their selection for their students’ assessments and their need for transportation.
Dates for SOL Testing
Specific testing dates will be communicated by each school leading up to the Non-Writing SOL administration.
- 3rd Grade-12th Grade: May 18-June 18, 2021
The Virginia SOL assessments provide schools, parents and students with valuable information about a student’s content area knowledge as measured by that assessment. While the VDOE is waiving the state accountability requirements for districts due to the pandemic, the assessment information is valuable as one of the potential measures for determining placement and extra educational services needed. ACPS values the full range of competencies, academic growth and social/emotional growth displayed by students daily and throughout the school year.
Please familiarize yourself with the newly released Enhanced Staff Expectations for Phased Reentry Hybrid Instructional Plan 5.0. These instructional expectations are intended to guide staff with engaging students in synchronous and asynchronous learning during the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year.
Teachers are provided five hours of individual and collaborative planning time every Monday, with the additional two hours of the contract day dedicated to school-based meetings as designated by the principal. As we have shifted to hybrid learning, the usual and customary responsibilities of a classroom teacher will resume across the following areas: instruction, collaboration, communication, and professional learning.
Teachers will continue to communicate regularly (verbal and written) with parents to include office hours, ACPS email and phone calls to provide support, feedback and ongoing contact. Staying connected to students is critically important in the transition to in-person learning.
Congratulations to ACPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. and Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School Principal Rene Paschal. They have been selected as recipients of two leadership awards issued by the Virginia Association of Elementary Principals (VAESP). They will be honored at the 2021 VAESP Annual Conference in June.
Dr. Hutchings was chosen as the 2021 recipient of the Pathfinder Award for his leadership in ACPS and national work on racial equity. “The Pathfinder Award provides recognition to those persons in Virginia who are members or non-members of VAESP who have provided educational leadership or significant contributions to VAESP in educational reform in elementary and middle school education and/or who have, by their deeds, enhanced the quality of elementary and middle school education. Only one award is given each year.”
Rene Paschal was selected as one of VAESP’s The School Bell Award recipients. Paschal is being recognized for his work with the modified calendar and supporting the needs of his diverse community of learners. “The School Bell Award is presented to school-based administrators, who are members of VAESP, and have made significant contributions to their schools, school systems, state association, national association, and/or other educational organization. The recipient is selected based on the nominee’s specific contributions and career summary including any awards/honors, articles published, civic and/or political activities, organizations, and association participation.”