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Alexandria City School Board Votes on New Future for Middle Schools

Comprehensive Plan Focuses on Renewed Commitment to Student Services and Achievement

Alexandria, Va. — Last night, the Alexandria City School Board unanimously endorsed the administration's recommendation to launch a comprehensive effort to grow student achievement at our middle schools. The recommendation focuses on six core areas in our middle schools: discipline, English Language Learning/Special Education, advanced coursework, school climate, school structure and student services.

"The community, staff and School Board took a thoughtful approach that led to this decision and we are excited about concentrating on these areas that directly impact our middle school students," said School Board Chair Karen Graf. "It is imperative that we have a plan in place to effectively impact student achievement and develop those critical relationships between teachers and students."

In May 2013, the School Board raised questions regarding the current middle school structures in Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) and the impact on student achievement. The School Board charged the administration to solicit public input on the middle school program. Input was gathered through the Middle Schools for Tomorrow Workgroup, which met June through November of 2013 and provided to the School Board recommendations regarding middle school structures.

In January 2014, the public was given an opportunity to provide feedback on 12 recommendations from the Middle Schools for Tomorrow Workgroup and ACPS leaders, including ACPS Middle School Principals and the Executive Leadership Team. The recommendations were presented to campus PTAs, staff and the Talented and Gifted Advisory Council (TAGAC). The feedback received from various stakeholders centered on school structure, advanced coursework and discipline.

As part of the comprehensive plan, George Washington (GW) Middle School would be formed from the current GW 1 and 2 middle schools and Francis C. Hammond Middle School would be formed from the current Hammond 1, 2 and 3 middle schools. The Board voted unanimously to revise the middle school structure to one school per campus. The administration recommended consolidating the structure for the 2014-15 school year to enhance the academic achievement of its middle school students.

A new administrative structure will be introduced at the two consolidated middle schools to maximize administrators' time to focus on student achievement, while increasing opportunities for personalization. Under the new structure, each school will have:

  • One principal
  • Three academic principals
  • One dean of students
  • One director of school counseling
  • Two counselors per grade level
  • One resource teacher for Talented and Gifted (TAG)
  • Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program
  • Targeted professional development
  • A restructured, definitive middle school counseling program

"The new structure will provide leadership with a single vision, streamlined management, improved organization and consistent expectations for all students and staff members," said Interim Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley. "We believe this new structure will provide the best overall middle school experience for our students and enhance academic achievement for all students."

The administration has established the following 2014 timeline for the implementation of the approved recommendations:

Feb. 6 - Board reviews recommendations and feedback from stakeholders

Feb. 20 - Board votes on middle school recommendations

March - Administration organizes a transition team to determine staffing and communication needs

April - Hold community meetings focused on the new school(s); determine facility usage

To view the full proposal for the restructure of the middle school program, visit http://www.acps.k12.va.us/middle-schools/. For further information, please contact the Office of Communications and Public Relations at 703-824-6635.