August 2023 Student and Staff Recognitions
It was a fulfilling summer break for Alexandria City Public Schools students and staff. We begin the 2023-24 school year with recognitions of students taking part in summer camps as well as staff members sharpening their skills and receiving awards for a job well done.
The Sounds of Music at ACPS Summer Camp Program
“It’s a full-circle music experience for students in the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) band and orchestra programs,” Director Veronica Jackson said of the ACPS summer music camp. First started in 2015, the program has evolved to include beginning musicians to the high school music students who serve as a peer helpers. This summer, 137 students participated in nine ensembles for students in grades 4-8. Fifteen ACHS band and orchestra members, many belonging to the Tri-M Music Honors Society, served as mentors, providing invaluable assistance to the music teachers and the participants. The camp is free to ACPS students, making it a model for area school districts. In addition, the program’s teachers are all ACPS music educators who are knowledgeable about the needs of our students and our music program as a whole.
This year, the students also enjoyed performances by professional ensembles, including The U.S. Army String Quartet and a group called Sound Impact. Students who participated in the program performed in the Summer Music Camp 2023 Finale. Check out The Patch’s feature story of the camp from the summer.
ACPS Middle School Students Participate in Virginia Tech Drone Camp
A Virginia Tech summer drone camp provided Alexandria City Public Schools middle school students access to new and exciting drone technology. Approximately 40 students participated in the week-long session in July. They learned about drone safety, how to build a drone, the science of flight and careers in the industry. At the end of the program, students and families visited Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, where students tested their drones at Drone Park. Participants received a certificate of completion at the end of the session.
Ferdinand T. Day Received Excellence in Architecture Award
The Alexandria Beautification Commission named Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School (Ferdinand T. Day) among its 2023 Excellence in Architecture Award winners. Ferdinand T. Day, located at 1700 North Beauregard Street, was recognized “for an exceptionally creative and sustainable conversion of an old office building into a school adorned with color, art and vegetation.”
The commission noted that the 2023 Alexandria Beautification Award recipients have implemented aesthetic improvements through novel or creative architectural design practices and embraced a commitment to the art of architecture and sustainable design applications. It also stated that their efforts make Alexandria a more creative and dynamic community.
ACPS Teachers Engage in Computer Science Professional Learning
Twenty-one Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) teachers engaged in computer science professional learning over the summer break with the focus on implementing computer science for all students in grades K-8. The program was made possible by Virginia Tech, Amazon, CodeVA and the school division.
“ACPS is partnering with the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus to support the integration of computer science standards with thoughtful use of technology in our classrooms,” ACPS STEM Coordinator and Elementary Math Instructional Specialist Julia Neufer said.
This program was designed to:
- Improve educators' understanding of technology in teaching computational thinking.
- Develop educators' technology awareness and its multiple educational applications.
- Create a sustained community of practice to coach and partner with teachers implementing equity-focused, integrated STEM and computing units.
Educators also engaged in professional learning focused on culturally responsive teaching in computer science with a trainer from Kapor Center. The integration of computer science across the curriculum prepares students with critical skills, knowledge and competencies needed in the digital society.
This professional learning session was developed in collaboration with Dr. Pamela Gilchrist, director of K-12 programs at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, and was funded by a generous grant provided to Dr. Gilchrist by Amazon.
School & Community Relations Department Awarded 15 National NSPRA Awards
The Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Department of School and Community Relations (SCR) received 15 national awards for its outstanding work in school communications and community engagement at the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) summit held in July.
SCR Chief Julia Burgos and several members of the team accepted the awards at the NSPRA summer conference, which featured professional learning sessions on topics such as emergency communications, internal communications and staff recruitment. “This is an incredible achievement for our team, which is being recognized for hard work, strategy and dedication in sharing the great stories from our schools and strengthening our division’s communications and engagement with students, staff and families,” Burgos said.
The SCR team received three NSPRA 2023 Golden Achievement Awards, which highlight outstanding, strategic work in all aspects of school public relations, communication, marketing and engagement. The team also was presented with 12 NSPRA 2023 Publications and Digital Media Awards, a category that recognizes outstanding education publications, e-newsletters, digital media programs, radio/TV/video programs, social media, infographics, blogs and websites.
- Student and Staff Recognitions