Post Content
The Dogs Of Del Ray mural (staff photo by James Cullum)

Here’s a roundup of all the events, live music, and entertainment happening around Alexandria this weekend; enjoy! 

Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow.

Friday, April 12

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Saturday, April 13

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Sunday, April 14

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

  • There are no events or public meetings scheduled.

Ryan Belmore is an award-winning news publisher, editor, and journalist. Born and raised in Rhode Island, he now resides in Alexandria with his wife and two rescue dogs. He was recently appointed to the City of Alexandria’s Board of Zoning Appeals and previously served on the City’s Commission For The Arts. Email listings and events to Ryan at [email protected]. Follow Ryan on Instagram at whatsupalexandria.

0 Comments

Good Wednesday morning, Alexandria!

🌧️ Today’s weather: Showers are likely mainly before 8am, with mostly cloudy skies and a high near 76. A southwest wind will blow at 5 to 7 mph, and there is a 60% chance of precipitation. New precipitation amounts will be less than a tenth of an inch. On Wednesday night, there is a slight chance of showers before 2am, with mostly cloudy skies and a low around 61. A southeast wind will blow at 3 to 5 mph, with a 20% chance of precipitation.

🚨 You need to know

The Alexandria City High School Titans Robotics team and their robot iBeam are heading to the FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas, this month (via YouTube)

For the third consecutive year, Alexandria City High School’s Titan Robotics team won the FIRST Impact Award on Saturday at the Chesapeake District Championships in Petersburg, Virginia. The win means that the team will now compete at the 2024 FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas, from April 17-20.

Titan Robotics’ robot, iBeam, got tenth place out of the 54 teams at the District event. The team is a nonprofit, student-led club at Alexandria City High School.

“But, robotics isn’t all about the robot, it is also about inspiration, teamwork, collaboration, and giving back to the community,” the team said in an email. “The Impact Award is given to teams that reflect the values and embody the mission of FIRST Robotics to transform the culture in ways that will inspire the highest levels of respect for science and technology while encouraging more youth to become leaders in these areas.”

📈 Tuesday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Apr 9, 2024.

  1. Jefferson-Houston Elementary School administrators put on leave after autistic 4-year-old walked away from school (2232 views)
  2. New seven-story residential development pitched for Landmark neighborhood (1476 views)
  3. Amazon Fresh in the Potomac Yard Shopping Center is still happening (1197 views)

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on today in Alexandria, from our event calendar.

2 Comment
ALX275 logo (image courtesy City of Alexandria)

The City of Alexandria will kick off its 275th Anniversary celebration on Saturday at noon at Waterfront Park. Festivities will include an official proclamation by Mayor Justin Wilson and performances by the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums and Community Little Big Band.  Visitors can also explore historical exhibits and attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the “Buried Ships of Robinson Landing” exhibit at Robinson Landing. 

At Windmill Hill Park at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Mayor Wilson and the City Council will dedicate the first of 275 trees to be planted across the city.

Here’s a roundup of all the events, live music, and entertainment happening around Alexandria this weekend; enjoy! 

Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow.

Friday, April 5

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Saturday, April 6

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Sunday, April 7

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

  • There are no events or public meetings scheduled.

Ryan Belmore is an award-winning news publisher, editor, and journalist. Born and raised in Rhode Island, he resides in Alexandria with his wife and two rescue dogs. He was recently appointed to the City of Alexandria’s Board of Zoning Appeals and previously served on the City’s Commission For The Arts. Follow Ryan on Instagram at whatsupalexandria.

0 Comments

Alexandria City High School English teacher Eva Irwin was at a loss for words when her name was called and the packed gymnasium erupted in applause.

This afternoon at a school assembly, Irwin was recognized as a top-tier teacher and surprised with the $25,000 Milken Educator Award.

It’s the first time that an Alexandria City Public Schools teacher has won the award, which has been presented to approximately 3,000 other educators over the past 37 years. There is also no formal nominating process or application that goes into selecting recipients.

“As you can tell, I’m shaking,” Irwin told the audience of students, teachers and administrators. “This is the last thing I ever expected.”

An English teacher with more than 100 11th-grade students, Irwin said that she tries to get her students to feel ownership with their assignments.

“I don’t have any children on my own, so they really are like my kids,” Irwin later told reporters. “I really try with my students to have a lot of collaboration. My teaching style is very student-centered, so I really try to get them to feel like they have ownership over their learning offered a lot of choice and how they can you know, complete assignments based on their best learning modalities.”

Philanthropist Lowell Milken started the awards in 1987 to recognize early-to-mid-career teachers.

“You cannot apply for our award,” Milken told the audience in the ACHS gymnasium. “We find you.”

The event was also attended by Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons, Alexandria School Board Chair Michelle Rief and ACPS Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt.

Milken told Irwin that the funds will help her unleash her potential.

“As we unleash that additional potential, we are expecting even greater things of the future,” he said.

Irwin said that the money will pay for her $23,500 master’s degree in educational and instructional leadership from Virginia Tech.

When asked about how the recipients of the award are chosen, Milken said that the foundation works with state boards of education, and that names surface through other sources to the Milken Family Foundation.

“I’d love to tell you, but it’s a secret,” Milken told ALXnow. “I think that what we can identify with this group of nearly 3,000 is that they’re all strong instructional leaders. They’re also powerful mentors for other teachers and they’re invested in their communities.”

3 Comments

The final touches are being made to Alexandria City High School’s expansion of its Minnie Howard Campus.

The five-story, $174 million high school project is on-budget and on-track for “substantial completion this spring,” according to an Alexandria City Public School staff report that will be presented to the School Board on Thursday.

“Construction of the new Minnie Howard building has been ongoing since the spring of 2022 and is on track to be substantially completed this spring for occupancy in August 2024,” staff wrote.

The 1,600-student school, which nearly doubled in its capacity, will feature an aquatics facility and expanded career and technical education (CTE) lab spaces for “potential new offerings in game design/development, robotics, emergency medical sciences, cyber security, (and) firefighting,” according to ACPS.

Staff also reported that construction the gymnasium and auxiliary gym are complete, that furniture is being moved in and that interior finishing touches are being made.

Next steps for the project include inspection by the Health Department and getting a final occupancy permit.

Construction update on Alexandria City High School’s Minnie Howard Campus, March 2024 (via ACPS)
4 Comments
Students get on school buses at Alexandria City High School’s Minnie Howard Campus prompted an evacuation and early dismissal, Dec. 10, 2021. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria School Board approved its fiscal year 2025 $384.4 million combined funds budget on Thursday night and it is asking City Council for $21 million more than the previous budget. If it goes forward, Mayor Justin Wilson says that the request could mean a reduction in city services.

School Board Members tacked on more than $10 million in additions to Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt’s proposed budget, a move that prompted Board Members Meagan Alderton and Chris Harris to vote in opposition to it.

Alderton said that the budget is difficult for the Board to defend.

“For our add/delete session, the board essentially doubled the superintendent’s proposed increase, shifting our ask to an 8.1% city appropriation,” she said at the Board meeting. “City appropriations for the operating budget are not one-time asks when you’re asking for an additional appropriation in any fiscal year. You’re also asking for a promise that this level of funding can be sustained every fiscal year thereafter. So, an additional $10 million dollar promise is one thing, but the additional $21 million promise changes the game entirely.”

City Manager Jim Parajon’s draft FY 2025 budget will be unveiled next Tuesday.

Wilson said that he has not yet reviewed the ACPS budget, but said that the city must be clear about the details of this year’s budget process.

“The School Board’s recent budget decisions more than doubled the superintendent’s request for additional City appropriation, without any offsetting spending reductions in other areas of the budget,” Wilson said. “Funding that increase will require deep spending reductions to other critical services (public safety, human services, transportation or infrastructure), significant tax increases, or both. I look forward to dialogue with the School Board about the details of their request, and the options available for the two bodies as we begin our budget process next week.”

School Board Chair Michelle Rief said that the budget underscores the Board’s commitment to students and staff.

“This budget is a testament to our collective vision for growing a thriving educational community that supports staff and prepares our students for the future,” Rief said.

Wilson said that in the fall, City staff was projecting that Alexandria’s real estate tax base would increase 2.4%, which would have resulted in a $20 million budget shortfall if the School Board had approved what the Superintendent’s budget proposal included. But instead, the real estate tax base grew by 0.33%, the smallest rate of increase in 15 years.

“So, that gap of $20 million is in fact, much larger,” Wilson said.

Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt thanked the Board for their approval, and said that her proposed budget focuses on retention, with a full step increase and a 2% market rate adjustment for eligible staff. The school system is experiencing a staffing crisis, and the budget increases bus driver salaries to $24 an hour for new drivers and more than $47 per hour for senior drivers with more than a decade experience with the school system.

“I truly value the collaboration between the division and the Alexandria City School Board, and would like to thank them for their approval of the FY 2025 Combined Funds budget,” Kay-Wyatt said in a statement. “I also want to express my appreciation for our dedicated Financial Services team for continuing to work to find innovative solutions to the complex budget challenges the division faces. Together we will continue to advocate and work to produce a budget that best supports our students and staff until it is fully adopted in the spring.”

City Council Member John Taylor Chapman said that he wants to see how the Board has prioritized its allocations.

“Conversation is key for our school system, and getting good teachers,” Chapman said. “Past School Boards have been able to turn in a budget that is able to compete with getting good school teachers, balancing priorities and understanding the greater stake in the city’s financial picture. I would assume that is happening this year as well.”

Additions to the budget include:

  • $4.2 million for staffers who did not get step increases in fiscal year 2021 (sponsored by Member Abdel Elnoubi)
  • $307,000 for two deans of students at George Washington and Francis C. Hammond Middle Schools (sponsored by Tammy Ignacio)
  • $125,000 for a college and career counselor at ACHS (sponsored by Member Jacinta Greene)
  • $125,000 for a psychologist at ACHS Minnie Howard Campus (sponsored by Member Abdel Elnoubi)
  • $115,000 for an athletic trainer at ACHS (sponsored by Member Chris Harris)
  • $65,000 for a Dari/Pashto/English fluent-speaking family liaison (sponsored by Harris)
21 Comments
George Washington Middle School (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Twenty three Alexandria middle schoolers and eight Alexandria City High School students were arrested in the first two quarters of this school year, according to a report that the School Board will receive Thursday.

There were also 213 incidents requiring a police response, including five weapons-related incidents, 43 students needing EMS assistance, 56 fights/assaults and three reports of sexual assault.

Weapons seized include three stun guns/tasers, a pellet gun and a knife.

There were 17 students arrested in the first two quarters of the 2022-2023 school year (last year), and 41 arrested in the final two quarters, totaling 58 arrests and resulting in a 26% increase in students arrested over the previous school year.

Incidents, calls for service and arrests in Alexandria City Public Schools (via ACPS)

Of those arrested so far this year, 20 of them were Black students, making up 55%.

There were 95 incidents reported at the Alexandria City High School campuses, 70 incidents at the city’s two middle schools (Francis C Hammond and George Washington Middle Schools), 35 incidents at elementary schools and 13 incidents at K-8 schools.

There were also 118 police calls for service — 56 at the high school campuses, 46 at the middle schools, four at K-8 schools and 12 at elementary schools.

Racial or national origin composition of arrests within ACPS (via ACPS)

Incidents in the first semester of this school year include:

  • 57 incidents characterized as “other” (including two students discussing weapons, four cases of disorderly conduct, two reports of public intoxication, one fraudulent 911 call)
  • 56 fights/assaults
  • 43 injuries that required medical assistance
  • Five confiscated weapons
  • Nine controlled substances
  • Nine threats (verbal/cyber/social media)
  • Six missing student reports
  • Four reports of suspicious activity
  • Three alarms pulled
  • Three reports of sexual misconduct
  • Six thefts
  • Seven reports of possessing prohibited materials
Semester comparisons of crime incidents in ACPS (via ACPS)
20 Comments
Alexandria City High School (staff photo by James Cullum)

A suspected, non-fatal student overdose occurred at Alexandria City High School this morning — the second in less than a week.

According to the scanner, the overdose was reported around 10 a.m. Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt said the suspected overdose occurred on the King Street campus.

According to a letter from Kay-Wyatt:

Dear ACPS Staff and Families,

I am writing to make you aware of a suspected school-connected, non-fatal student overdose that happened today at Alexandria City High School – King St. Campus.We want to ensure that all families and staff have access to resources and are aware of the supports that are available to students, families and staff.

In addition to our main webpage on substance abuse education and prevention, here are some additional helpful resources for youth: information on family and community resources in the City of Alexandria is also available online at the Alexandria City Public Schools website.

Another student suffered a non-fatal overdose inside the school on Tuesday, Jan. 30. The last suspected overdose at ACHS before that was on Dec. 15.

The Alexandria City High School marquee (staff photo by James Cullum)

An Alexandria City High School student suffered a suspected non-fatal overdose inside the school, Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt announced to parents this afternoon.

“I am writing to make you aware of a suspected school-connected, non-fatal student overdose that happened today at Alexandria City High School — King St. Campus,” Kay-Wyatt wrote.

The last suspected overdose at ACHS was on Dec. 15.

Kay-Wyatt directed families to the Alexandria City Public Schools substance abuse education and prevention page.

According to ACPS:

For any student who wants to share any thoughts or feelings they may have at this time, there are resources in place. At ACHS, students can aleays reach out to a counselor, administrator or any trusted adult in the school if they are in need of help. Our students can also reach out to CrisiText and Crisis Link at any time, 24/7, through the contacts below:

  • Text: CONNECT to 85511
  • Call CrisisLink: 703-527-4077

We encourage all students, staff and families to please share any concerns you may have about substance abuse within our schools using our anonymous reporting system that is accessible in multiple languages,. All tips are anonymous and are responded to in a timely manner.

Additionally, a fire alarm was pulled at ACHS at around 1:45 p.m., the school was evacuated and no fire or emergency was found, according to the Fire Department scanner.

Titan Robotics team receiving instructions for the 2024 FIRST Robotics Competition (photo via Titan Robotics/Facebook)

True to the legacy of the titan Prometheus, Alexandria City High School’s Titan Robotics team is celebrating ten years on the cutting edge of discovery and innovation.

Titan Robotics kicked off its tenth season earlier this month.

Titan Robotics is a student-led organization that started at ACHS in 2014. The group participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition and participates in various science and mathematics-focused outreach programs.

The team consists of around 40 ACHS students working, over eight weeks, to design, manufacture, build and program a robot. This year, the teams are working on creating a robot capable of moving foam rings across a field the width of a full-size basketball court and shooting them into goals before time runs out.

The competitions are as much about collaborating and strategizing as a team as testing the team’s scientific know-how.

According to a release from the team:

Teams plan and practice individually or collaboratively, and then at the tournaments, teams compete in random alliances with other teams for qualification matches. Each match sets three teams against three others. For qualification matches, teams often end up playing against their former alliance partners. As the tournament progresses, 30 teams form eight alliances to move from qualification matches to the elimination rounds.

Titan Robotics will take their creations to a district competition on March 2 and March 3 in Ashland, then in a second competition on March 23 and March 24 in Falls Church.

Photo via Titan Robotics/Facebook

7 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list