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Online Back-to-School Guide: Helping ACPS Families Get Ready for the 2023-24 School Year

Online Back-to-School Guide: Helping ACPS Families Get Ready for the 2023-24 School Year

For easy access to all the information Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) families need for a strong start to the 2023-24 school year, visit our online Back-to-School Guide. Highlights from this vital resource are included below, along with opportunities to connect with ACPS.

Back to School Events and Open Houses

Schools are holding events and open houses for incoming students. Please check your school website for more information. Some of these include:

  • John Adams Elementary School: Students and families are invited 12-2 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 12, 2023.
  • Francis C. Hammond Middle School: Students and families are invited 3-5 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 15, 2023.
  • Alexandria City High School – King Street Campus: Rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, as well as students in the International Academy are invited at 6:30 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 16, 2023.
  • Alexandria City High School – Satellite Campus: Students enrolled in Satellite Campus are invited at 6:30 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 16, 2023.
  • Alexandria City High School – Chance for Change Campus: Students enrolled in Chance for Change Campus are invited at 6:30 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 16, 2023.
  • Alexandria City High School – Minnie Howard Campus: Rising 9th grade students are invited at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 17, 2023.
  • Cora Kelly Elementary School: Students and families are invited 12-2 p.m. on Fri., Aug.  18, 2023.
  • James K. Polk Elementary School: On Fri., Aug. 18, 2023, kindergarten, second and fourth grade students and families are invited 1-1:30 p.m. First, third and fifth grade students are invited 1:30-2 p.m.
  • John Adams Elementary School: Students and families are invited on Friday., Aug. 18, 2023, per the following schedule:
    • 8-9 a.m. —  Kindergarten.
    • 12:30-1:15 p.m. — First grade.
    • 1:25-2:10 p.m. — Second and third grades.
    • 2:15-3 p.m. — Fourth and fifth grades.
  • Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy: Students and families are invited 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Fri., Aug.  18, 2023.
  • Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School: Students and families are invited 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Fri., Aug.  18, 2023. 

ACPS Express

Families can check out ACPS Express for the latest information on what is happening in the school division. This weekly newsletter is distributed to all ACPS families every Friday during the school year, and has articles featuring ACPS partners, programs, messages from the superintendent and student and staff achievements, as well as “news you can use,” reminders and important updates.

Back-to-School Forms

Please visit our dedicated webpage with Back-to-School forms that can be accessed through ParentSquare for English and Spanish speaking families. If you need assistance setting up your Parent PowerSchool account, please complete the Parent Access Form. Families who speak Dari, Amharic or Arabic can download the forms as PDFs. Completing this important task helps ensure our schools have the information needed for every student. We ask families to please confirm emergency contacts, update children’s health information and relay any opt-out preferences, among other items of importance in these packets. Please complete and submit all Back-to-School forms by Sept. 30, 2023.

School Meals Application

Families who may qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals (FARM) and whose children do not attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school are asked to complete a FARM application online in English, Spanish, Amharic or Arabic. Families who speak Dari can fill out the form in the Back-to-School packet. The information provided will be used to determine students’ eligibility for free or reduced price school meals. Completing the FARM application also serves as a crucial tool in determining eligibility for various educational programs and services beyond meals.

Personal Identification Number for School Nutrition Services

The Office of School Nutrition Services (SNS) is ready to serve our students! It is vitally important for SNS to have the most up-to-date information about student allergen and dietary restrictions to help keep all students safe. The best way to ensure that this information is readily available to school nutrition staff is by requiring all students to use their assigned personal identification number (PIN) during meal service operations for the upcoming school year.

SNS sent letters with PIN information to Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School families the week of July 24, 2023. Families at all other schools in the division will receive PIN information the week of Aug. 14, 2023. SNS Director Dr. Eric Coleman recommends that families have their children memorize and practice using their PIN to make the meal service go smoothly and to ensure that safe meals are being served to each student. A student’s PIN remains the same throughout all their years at ACPS. SNS thanks families for their partnership in this effort and urges you to contact its office with any questions. SNS can be reached at

Immunizations Requirements

Immunizations against common childhood illnesses help keep students healthy and ready to learn. ACPS Director of School Health Services Dr. Robin Wallin reminds families that now is the time to ensure that children have all of the required immunizations for school. In addition to the immunizations required for school entry, seventh graders need a Tdap and Meningococcal (MenACWY) vaccine as well as the HPV vaccine 2-dose series. Twelfth graders need to provide their school with documentation of a Meningococcal booster vaccine after age 16. More information about Virginia’s mandated vaccines can be found online.

Students who do not have the required immunizations by the first day of school (Aug. 21, 2023) will not be able to start school on time. Please bring updated immunization records to your school nurse.  

If your student still needs vaccines, immunizations are available through your pediatrician, pharmacies and the local health department. If you cannot get an appointment with a pediatrician or pharmacy, the Alexandria Health Department is booking August appointments now. Call 703-746-4888 or visit

More information about school immunization requirements is available from the Virginia Department of Health.

Student Code of Conduct

All families are advised to review the ACPS Student Code of Conduct and encourage their students to engage in behaviors that promote learning while keeping our school environments safe. Helping students build the social, emotional and academic skills needed to succeed is an important part of the learning process in our school community.

Family Liaisons Help Bridge School and Home

Family liaisons develop relationships within the school division. Fostering trust between families and our schools, ACPS family liaisons work to provide families with needed information and support to ensure student academic and social emotional success in school and beyond. ACPS has nine school-based liaisons and four divisionwide bilingual liaisons:

  • Adriana Olguin Alcala, Divisionwide
  • Ana Bonilla, Alexandria City High School
  • Ashley Peralta, John Adams Elementary School
  • Daritza Perla, Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology
  • Diana Carvajal, Francis. C. Hammond Middle School
  • Karina Ramos, Divisionwide
  • Marines Lares, George Washington Middle School
  • Myra Matthews, James K. Polk Elementary School
  • Rosa Landeros, Mount Vernon Community School
  • Salma Ashmawi, Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School
  • Stephanie Santizo-Bonilla, William Ramsay Elementary School
  • Tesfaye Amberber, Divisionwide

Communicate With ACPS

There are many ways that families can communicate with the school division:

  • ParentSquare is the primary communication platform used across ACPS by administrators, principals and teachers to connect with families. Download the free, user-friendly app to receive all communications from the division, schools, classrooms and activity groups in one centralized place, keep track of school and district events, direct message your child’s teachers or staff in your preferred language, sign-up for parent-teacher conferences and more.
  • Ask ACPS helps families who have questions about division-wide issues. Sharing questions, comments or concerns through puts you in touch with our community outreach team for assistance. We ask that you refrain from including confidential information and contact school administrators for school-specific issues.
  • The ACPS Family Information Lines connect families who need assistance from the school division, with staff being added soon to provide support in Arabic and Dari. Call Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.:
    • For Spanish/English, call 703-619-8055
    • For Amharic/English, call 703-927-6866
  • You can access live interpreters who speak Spanish, Amharic, Arabic, Farsi and Pashto while on the phone with your student’s school. Dial the ACPS toll-free number 1-833-611-1667 and enter the school’s assigned language code.

Alexandria PTA Council

Alexandria PTA Council (PTAC) is the advocacy voice for all ACPS students and families and serves as a great network for exchanging ideas and staying involved in our school community. Get connected to your PTA to get information, build community and support students and teachers at your school. For more information, visit Alexandria Council of PTAs.

Specialized Newsletters Within ACPS

Our school division has specialized newsletters available for stakeholders who are looking for specific information. Some examples you can sign up for include:

  • Anne R. Lipnick Special Education Parent Resource Center (PRC): The PRC serves the diverse families of children with disabilities in the City of Alexandria, providing families with the information they need to advocate for their child’s education.
  • The Capital Improvement Program (CIP): The monthly CIP newsletter keeps the community informed about current ACPS capital planning projects.
  • The Locker Room: Get the latest news on Alexandria City High School sports. This weekly newsletter provides updated schedules, highlights and other general announcements from our program.
  • School Gardens Newsletter: Sign up to receive quarterly updates about the school gardens across our division.
  • 2023-24