Character Education continues to be the cornerstone of LCTA and has had a positive impact on the school climate as well as the academic performance of the students. It is woven into the culture of the school and is incorporated into lessons, assemblies, morning announcements, parent events and community service opportunities. It is the foundation for the myriad of activities that promotes families and community engagement. These activities include Peer Buddies Mentoring (special education students), Purple Resilience (military families support), volunteer tutoring for at-risk students, Family Academy Nights (Math, Science, Language Arts), International Night (43 countries represented), and staff/parent informational presentations (Dealing with Anxiety, Nuts & Bolts, Navigating Special Education).
Communication is paramount. Some examples of what LCTA uses are a weekly electronic communique distributed to all families (Lions’ Tales), Twitter, FACEBOOK, Class Dojo, and a school web page as well as individual classroom websites. Staff has individual email accounts and classroom phones with voicemail for parents to contact them at 24/7. Additionally, the LCTA PTA sends out a weekly email (Eroars), distributes weekly informational flyers, and maintains its own web page. There are biweekly PTA/School activities/presentations, monthly assemblies, and daily tutoring opportunities. LCTA partners with local churches (Alfred Street Baptist Church, Roberts Memorial Chapel), community agencies (Department of Recreation, Campagna Center, Community Lodgings, Department of Social Services), associations (Optimists Club, Departmental Progressive Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Association for Talent Development), and non-profits (Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, King Street Cats, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Foundation) to enrich and expand student opportunities within the City of Alexandria.
Because of the PTA/School partnership, the PTA received a “promising practices” award from the Character Education Partnership in 2017 for its “ROARing in the Community” service projects (Meals on Wheels, Smile Train, Maddie’s Miracle Network, and First Responders Recognition). The PTA has also been recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2016 with its Outstanding Communication Award and by ACPS in 2017 as its Volunteer Organization of the Year Award.
Community building continues with monthly Family Nights like Movie/Pizza Night, Ice Cream Socials, Playground Playdates, and schoolwide activities (International Night, Health & Wellness Harvest Festival, and STEM Day). The students host an annual Talent Show/Animal Benefit Concert to raise money for homeless animals in Alexandria. They also work with 4-H, Watershed Warriors, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to become better environmental stewards for their city.