Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is having a tough time finding a new logo.
At a School Board meeting earlier this month, the Board voted to direct Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt to redesign the logo yet again.
An initial set of logo redesigns were rejected back in 2022, but new recommendations came forward late last year.
The School Board rejected the recommendation, which evokes the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria, as too reflective of the past.
“What we have in front of us is not representative of a vibrant school system that should be focusing on student achievement and student success,” said School Board member Jacinta Greene. “You do not see that in that logo. I see the past. I see a building that the majority of students in our school system have never been in and don’t know what it is. It is not a logo that should be representative of our school system.”
But some on the Board said the logo debate was a distraction, possibly a deliberate one, from the work the School Board needed to be doing.
“I’m a little exhausted with what I want to call performative anti-racism,” said School Board member Meagan Alderton. “The energy that went into dissecting this logo and pulling it apart and picking it apart and all the pieces and what they mean… I just continue to wish that we would put that energy as a community into the true symbol of racism in Alexandria.”
Alderton said the true symbols of racism in Alexandria can be found in the ACPS equity dashboard, which highlights various areas of stratification in ACPS along lines like race and class.
“While I appreciate all these symbolic discussions, I would love for people to start walking into this Board room and get on our case and blast us on that equity dashboard,” Alderton said. “That is the real work on racism. We have all these other little things that become distractions. It is 100% a distraction to the work, and I believe, at this point, it is a tactic.”
Abdel-Rahman Elnoubi said he was struggling to find a reason to support going through another set of logos and he ultimately voted against the motion.
“I wonder how spending more airtime on this issue is going to help us with what we hope to achieve,” said Elnoubi. “Redesigning this logo: what will it help us achieve?”
Kay-Wyatt said the current logo is outdated and said, regardless of the School Board’s vote, her office’s priority is on maintaining educational standards for ACPS students.
“It is not a distraction for my team,” said Kay-Wyatt. “They are working day and night, around the clock for children. I promise you: children are our first priority.”
Greene argued that the logo, however small, is still a decision the School Board needs to get right.
“You do not vote for something that is not right to take this school system into the future,” Greene said. “The one we adopt and vote for will take us into the future for many years. We need to get it right. The one that we have is not right.”
The vote to send the logo back carried on a 5-3 motion.
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