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Priorities and Stance On the Issues

 

 

Facilities Maintenance / Overcrowding:

Steady growth in the ACPS student population has created a well-deserved hotbed topic about solutions for overcrowding and facilities maintenance, especially considering the city has only one high school that has a separate campus to house 9th graders.  ACPS is expected to grow 3-6% year-over-year at all grade levels, and while there are some interim solutions for space efficiencies, addressing long-lasting solutions to our building conditions and future capacity needs is a top priority for me.  I will work collaboratively with the School Board, ACPS Administrative Personnel, and City Council members on solutions and improvement budgets to support adding capacity, making necessary renovations, improving safety and security, updating facilities and common areas, and expanding transportation options.

 

Attracting and Retaining Great Teachers / Staff in ACPS:

The 2018 iteration of the TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Survey for ACPS showed that school leadership most affects teachers’ willingness to keep teaching in their schools.  As such, I plan to support our new Superintendent, Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings Jr., to create trusting, supportive environments that address teacher needs and concerns.  My priority is to make sure we pour as much into supporting their retention as they pour into our students.  This means working on increasing performance-based compensation models alongside full-step increases, improving options for professional development, supporting more frequent colleague collaborations, increasing support and training, bettering work conditions, fostering better communications between the School Board, and adding creative recruitment and retention tools.   

 

Equity of Opportunities:

I believe all of our students should receive the same high quality public school education I did.  Personal and social circumstances like special education needs, the amount of money your family has, the fact that English is your second language, or whether you live on the west or east end of Alexandria should not be obstacles to educational excellence.  With over 15,600 students who hail from more than 118 countries and speak 120 languages, our city takes pride in our rich diversity, but this pride must also translate into an understanding of the diverse set of needs of ACPS students.  Equal access to educational resources should be a foundational value of ACPS, and I will work to define what those opportunities should be and work to develop a framework for the concept of equity of educational opportunities within ACPS.

 

Strengthen Public-Private Partnerships:

ACPS already has great partnerships with existing private and community organizations that encourage a sense of community ownership of our schools.  These partnerships have provided us with opportunities like free DASH bus rides for our T.C. Williams Titans, dental and health services for the most underserved children, internships with local businesses, and connections with some of the best colleges/universities on the East coast.  Supporting the ACPS Office of School, Business and Community Partnerships to enhance these relationships is a top priority for me.  In order to address the diverse needs of our students and empower parents to actively engage in the full development of their children, we must inspire our community to get involved.  

 

Integrate Non-ACPS Community:

I represent the large majority of Alexandria residents who do not have school-aged children, but who still take pride in our community’s schools and are passionate about making sure our students have the resources and facilities to support their success.  Even though only 10-15% of adults in Alexandria have children that attend ACPS, every Alexandria resident should feel it is worthwhile to join discussions and participate in the decision-making for our schools.  As someone trained in strategic communication and community outreach, I will constantly emphasize to this target audience that when our schools are at their best, our community is at its best.  By changing perceptions that only those with children should care about our schools, we can increase school volunteers and partnerships, and garner dedicated advocates in the face of budgetary determinations and policy changes.

 

I look forward to your support, your vote, and having conversations with you about your priorities for the City of Alexandria, VA Public School District!  You can always reach me using our Contact page.

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