Alexandria City VA Public Schools
Alexandria City Schools have had some difficult years. People generally do not move to Alexandria City, for the schools. With Covid, the struggles amplified. The system is in flux as the most recent Superintendent resigned this summer. How will the Interim Superintendent perform and will it be enough to right the ship? Let’s find out.
Alexandria City, VA Public Schools – Background Information
There are 18 schools in the City of Alexandria – a pre-kindergarten, 12 elementary schools, two middle schools, two K-8 and a high school with four campuses. The High School was just renamed, formerly T.C. Williams after the mid-20th Century Superintendent. Having the school named after a segregation fan wasn’t a good look for the City of Alexandria.
Fun Fact: The desegregation of Alexandria City Schools and the racial tensions were profiled on the screen in “Remember the Titans.”
Additional Fun Fact: I lived in Atlanta when they filmed this movie there and in the suburbs and my then-boyfriend was part of the crew. Ok Nobody cares.
Alexandria City, VA Public Schools – Academics
Honors classes are offered in grades 6-12, AP classes are offered in grades 9-12 and students can earn college credit through AP or Dual Enrollment programs. The Alexandria City High School offers STEM classes which is a school within the school. Foreign language classes available are French, Spanish, German, Latin and Chinese and all languages advance to AP level coursework.
Alexandria City Public Schools – Extracurriculars
The high school has a full lineup of athletics to include football, basketball, field hockey, competitive cheer, rugby, lacrosse, gymnastics, and more. Club offerings are extensive – Model UN and Future Business Leaders of America, to book clubs, arts, and Mongolian Throat Singing.
Alexandria City Public Schools – Administration
Alexandria City Public Schools is run by a Superintendent with a school board comprised of members representing different areas of the City. In June, 2022, the Superintendent resigned. In his position for 4 years, his level of popularity with parents was….not good. Parents felt they couldn’t offer polite constructive criticism or they would be cast off as an enemy.
There was a sexual assault that he, among other officials, never disclosed to parents. Their children were at Alexandria City High and they weren’t told that this happened.
He also criticized parents who formed “learning pods” during the pandemic, saying that their kids were getting ahead while others didn’t have the same access. Parents didn’t love being criticized for doing the best thing for their own kids. The Alexandria City schools were virtual for the entire 20-21 school year.
Regardless, he’s gone. But behind him is a school board, some of whom may have been in his “hide the bodies” camp.
The school board took a verbal lashing from parents for the decision to remove Security Officers from the school. Five months into the 21-22 school year, crime spiked – 41 assaults were reported, 18 students were arrested, 13 weapons recovered – including one gun, five knives, a stun gun, two fake firearms and pepper spray.
Without a collaborative culture where parent input is valued or at a minimum, even politely acknowledged, Alexandria City Schools have suffered. Parent involvement and support is what enables schools to thrive.
No Child Left Behind
The mission of Alexandria City Schools, direct from their website is, “to ensure that Every Student Succeeds.” In their most recent report for 2020 – 2021, the areas of weakness identified were Hispanic Male Graduation, Pre K – 2nd grade literacy, the Talented and Gifted program and Students with Disabilities & Emotionally Disabled Black Students.
In 2021, 91% of the senior student population graduated.
The years may change but the story in Alexandria has been unfortunately consistent. With an interim Superintendent in place, and a permanent placement expected, the City can hope that change will come. But since the powers that be have resisted that change, the jury is still out on whether this school system can rise to the standard expected by families in the DC Metro Area.