James K. Polk Elementary School

James K. Polk Elementary School

Grades K - 5
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 2:35 p.m.

5000 Polk Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 22304
Phone: 703-461-4180
Fax: 703-751-8614
Voicemail: 703-461-6568
Map + Directions

PreeAnn Johnson

Web Page:


James K. Polk Elementary School was built in 1965. It is located on the west side of the city and is situated on a 13 acre campus. Renovations in 1994 included a new library, office, music room, wired classrooms and a secured main entrance. In February of 2010, Polk celebrated the grand opening of its new gymnasium. Its design included a modular approach where large sections of pre-fabricated walls were dropped in by crane, allowing the gym's walls to be erected within a three day span as opposed to 12 months if built from the ground up. It contains sun tunnels providing natural light to illuminate the space, LED lighting, and sound absorption panels. The gym's exterior showcases a native Virginia plant design, tying another natural element to the construction design. During the summer of 2011, Polk added four new classrooms using the same modular approach that was used for the gym.


Enrollment (as of 9/2015): 743 students

  • African American: 41%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian: 6%
  • Hispanic: 28%
  • White: 20%
  • Unspecified: 5%

School Faculty

Number of Licensed Staff: 61
With post-graduate degrees: 56%

Greenovation Highlights

  • Eco-Air Fresh Air System: Ecology Focus - Geological systems, climate and temperature change
  • Gymnasium Construction and Vegetated Roof: Ecology Focus - Native and drought resistant plant species
  • Sun shades, Sun Tunnels, and LED light fixtures: Focus - Natural lighting, energy savings
  • Solar Hot Water/Photovoltaic Systems: Focus- Solar energy
  • Geothermal Well/Greenovation Lab: Ecology Focus- Soil composition, temperature, and contamination
  • Classroom HVAC systems and indoor environmental quality: Focus - Indoor air quality vs. outdoor air quality
  • Recycling: Focus - Waste vs. reuse
  • Composting: Focus - Biodegradable products
  • Landscape: Focus - Impact of runoff on the natural environment

Greenovation Lab

At Polk, the traditional mechanical/boiler room has been transformed into a student accessible "Greenovation" Learning Lab where students are able to see how the geo-thermal and solar hot water systems reduce energy consumption. Pipes and systems are labeled so that students can track the pipes as the systems interact. Focus - Mechanics of sustainable features and energy savings.

Also, an access window to the eco-air pipes was designed into the school's corridor. Monitors display the temperature of the outside (fresh) air entering the system and the temperature of the pre-heated or pre-cooled air leaving the system. The students learn firsthand that by narrowing the gap between outdoor temperatures and comfortable indoor temperatures, this system significantly reduces the amount of additional energy required to heat or cool the building.

Academic Curriculum

James K. Polk's academic program includes these core subject areas: reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. The school also offers instruction in four Encore areas: Library, Physical Education, Art and Music. Additional instructional opportunities include:

  • after school support for students in Reading and Math
  • instrumental music lessons beginning in fourth grade
  • support to students with English as a Second Language
  • support for students who require specialized instruction in an inclusive environment as well as students who may require more direct services
  • instruction in family life education at levels appropriate to age
  • technology integration across all content areas including our encore classes
  • science enrichment provided weekly by a qualified itinerate science teacher
  • access to the Internet in every classroom
  • Student Planners for students in grades 2-5


James K. Polk has become one of the most state-of-the-art schools in the district. There are five mobile netbook carts that grade levels use for technology integration. In addition, Polk has two iPad carts, each containing 24 iPad 2's. These carts were purchased with reading and math intervention in mind; thus, they are used to target below grade level learners.

17 classrooms at Polk have SMART boards, many of which have 2011 model equipment including short-throw Hitachi projectors and advanced Samsung document cameras. Additionally, all teachers are provided a laptop for instructional use.

Each classroom has access to at least three desktops or classroom specific netbooks. Kindergarten has 12 PCs dedicated to the Breakthrough to Literacy Program.

Both students and staff can access wireless internet throughout the building. Dedicated local servers allow students to save their work in a digital portfolio that remains with them throughout their years at Polk.

Awards and Honors

  • National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) (recognized internationally as the pinnacle of proficiency in technology integration): Erin Joy
  • 2011 Green Schools Award, GMU/NoVA Outside Green Schools Expo
  • Fully accredited
  • 2010 & 2011 Winner of Marine Corp Marathon Fun Run Healthy Kids Award
  • 2010 & 2011 Virginia Department of Education Competence to Excellence Awards
  • 2006 Washington Post Grant in Education; 2009 Washington Architectural Foundation Grant and 2010 Smithsonian American Art Museum: Ashley Shelton, Art Teacher
  • Board Certified Teachers: Ms. Sodaro-Jensen, Mrs. Peaches, and Mrs. Ochs
  • Winner of the Alexandria Education Partnership Award for Excellence in Teaching: Ms. Peaches

Meal Program

Alexandria students may receive free or reduced priced meals if their family income meets eligibility requirements. For more information on our meal programs, visit the Food and Nutrition Services section of our Web site.

Special Academic Programs

  • Inclusion Program
  • Reading Teacher Support
  • Talented and Gifted Program
  • Title I Reading

Before- and After-school Programs

  • Campagna Center Day Care

Other School Programs

  • Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS)
  • Character Education
  • JKP TV program
  • Polk Singers
  • Polk Step Team
  • PTA Reflections Program
  • School Safety Patrol Program
  • Student Council Association
  • Girls on the Run
  • Boys to young men 5th grade Mentoring Program

Community Programs

  • Canned Food Drive
  • Extended Day Care
  • Inova Alexandria Hospital
  • Polk Parent Resource Center
  • Technology Support

Business and Community Partners

  • Back Pack Food Drive
  • Campagna Extended Day Care
  • George Mason University Student Research Cohort
  • Alexandria Free Methodist Church (directly across from the school)

Special Events

  • African American History Celebration
  • Back to School Night
  • Book Fairs
  • Field Day
  • Heritage Night
  • Annual Partcipation in Alexandria's Earth Day
  • Kindergarten Open House
  • Orientation for New Parents
  • PTA School Picnics, Parent Orientations, Events and Activities
  • PTA sponsored Afterschool Academic and Enrichment Programs
  • PTA sponsored schoolwide assemeblies
  • Reading is Fundamental (RIF)
  • Schoolwide Reading Days
  • Reading celebrations including a reading rally to kick off the summer reading program, "Read for the Record," a worldwide reading event, and "Read Across America" in commemoration of Dr. Seuss's birthday.

James K. Polk Elementary School is fully accredited and meets Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). To learn more, review the Virginia School Report Card (PDF) on the Virginia Department of Education Web site or review recent Test Scores.