January Student and Staff Recognitions
We are excited to highlight some of the many activities and accomplishments achieved every day in Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). Here are some of them from the past month.
ACHS Senior Awarded Posse Scholarship
Congratulations to Alexandria City High School (ACHS) senior Usman Mohammed who has been chosen by The Posse Foundation (Posse) for a full-tuition scholarship, matched with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Posse identifies, recruits and trains individuals with extraordinary leadership potential, matching them with their partner colleges and universities.
Mohammed plans to major in computer science and credits hard work in challenging classes and extracurricular activities throughout high school for his accomplishments. He believes his experience at ACHS helped prepare him for Posse's Dynamic Assessment Process (DAP) used to identify young leaders with great potential as they assess a student’s ability to lead and to be creative. “Being able to express your true self in a room filled with like-minded people is great,” Mohammed said.
ACHS College Advisor, College & Career Specialist Melissa Harrington says Mohammed participates in the George Mason University Early Identification Program, mentoring younger students. “He provides weekly tutoring and serves as a role model for younger participants.” As a junior, he also participated in the Science Olympiad and during the past two years, he played volleyball for the ACHS club team. In his community, Mohammed is active as a youth leader in his mosque.
“Usman is thoughtful, hard-working and humble. He is someone who deserves recognition for his dedication to his academics. His teachers and peers also admire Usman for his faith,” said Sarah Kiyak, the ACHS English teacher who nominated Mohammed for the scholarship.
An awards ceremony was held this month at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C., to officially recognize the accomplishments of the newest class of 60 Posse D.C. merit scholarship recipients.
Patrick Henry Teacher Receives “Extra Yard for Teachers” Grant
Going that “extra yard” for her students, Fourth Grade Teacher Felicia Paschal-Gilmore at Patrick Henry K-8 School became one of 10 teachers in the Mid-Atlantic region to be awarded the Extra Yard for Teachers Grant. This award, presented by the Military Bowl Foundation and the College Football Playoff Foundation, recognizes teachers who have gone above and beyond to help their students. The grant recipients were invited to attend the Dec. 28, 2022, Military Bowl at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, and were recognized on the field during the game.
“We know the important role that teachers play in the development of our youth and the Military Bowl is excited to partner with the College Football Playoff Foundation and its Extra Yard for Teachers program to recognize some of the incredible men and women who shape the minds of the next generation,” Military Bowl Foundation President and Executive Director Steve Beck said.
Paschal-Gilmore says her students were extremely excited that she, as their teacher, was chosen for such an honor and they gave her a standing ovation. She says the $1,000 grant will help support her students' academic growth, funding some upcoming class projects and additional manipulatives for their math center. Paschal-Gilmore says it is an honor to be part of a school division that believes in empowering students to become self-sufficient problem solvers.
“I have such a passion for molding and educating young minds,” Paschal-Gilmore added. “My reward is witnessing when they can make meaningful, scholarly connections with the information that was taught to them.”
ACPS Director Achieves VERA Distinguished Paper Award
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Director of Education and Business Applications Dr. Marya Runkle is this year’s recipient of the Virginia Educational Research Association (VERA) Distinguished Paper Award. Dr. Runkle will present her dissertation, Case Study of the Factors Contributing to Graduation from a Secondary Dropout Prevention Program, at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in Chicago this April.
“The papers under consideration this year for the VERA Distinguished Paper Award were competitive,” noted Co-Chairs of the VERA Research and Awards Committee Drs. Marcus L. Johnson and Natalie Ferand in a letter to Dr. Runkle. “The selection of your paper speaks volumes of the high regard the committee held for your work concerning the investigation of a secondary dropout prevention program.”
ACPS Budget Team Earns Meritorious Budget Award
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) has once again been recognized for excellence in financial reporting. The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) recognized the school division's excellence in budget presentation by awarding ACPS the Meritorious Budget Award for fiscal year 2022-23.
ASBO International’s Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) program provides school districts with tools and resources to develop a high-quality, easy-to-understand budget to share division goals and objectives internally and with the community. “By participating in the programs, districts demonstrate their commitment to upholding nationally recognized budget presentation standards,” ASBO International Executive Director David J. Lewis explains. Program participation enhances school business officials’ skills in developing, analyzing and presenting a school system budget.
In the ACPS Express December 2022 recognitions column, we reported that ACPS was awarded the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021.
Jefferson-Houston Hosts Family Science Night
Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School (Jefferson-Houston) took part in its first Family Science Night with the Children’s Science Center before Winter Break. The evening program integrates science learning and family bonding with school community participation.
“Students and families were able to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts through interactive, engaging hands-on exhibits and activities,” Jefferson-Houston Academic Principal Tiffany Young explained. “The activities were also aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning.”
More than 150 Jefferson-Houston students and their families participated in and enjoyed the activities. Students from Alexandria City High School's Key Club as well as Jefferson-Houston parents, teachers and community members volunteered throughout the fun-filled evening. Celebrating its ninth year, Family Science Night remains the most popular and requested community outreach program.
ACHS Jazz Band Recognized at Districts
Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students shined at the District Jazz band auditions this month. Every student from ACHS who auditioned, including two ninth graders, was either selected to participate or was first alternate. Out of 23 performers in the All-Star Jazz Band, the majority are from ACHS and include: Silas Adkins-Hooke, James Ambrose, Julian Ambrose, Zachary Baker-Heil, Henry Bingman, Duncan McCall, Eva Mulrooney, Finn McNabb, Nathaniel Niblock, Violet Planey, Delvin Reed, Daniel Salmons, Elijah Speckart, Tyler Stone, Zacharia Stover, Lukas Williams and Lucas Zahlan.
A concert by the All-Star Jazz Band is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Jan. 28, 2023, at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes Upper School (1000 St. Stephen’s Road) in Alexandria. The ACHS Winter Jazz Concert featuring all of the students listed above is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2023, at the ACHS – King Street Campus Auditorium (3330 King Street).
- Alexandria City High School
- Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School
- Patrick Henry K-8 School
- Student and Staff Recognitions