With schools being closed for the duration of the school year and Alexandria still in lockdown until the end of May, Alexandria City Public Schools highlighted the annual faculty awards in an online post celebrating the support staff, teacher, and principal of the year.
ACPS announced the winners on Monday, May 18.
- Andrew (William) Sharpe: 2020 Support Staffer of the Year
- Ashley Sandoval: 2020 Teacher of the Year
- PreeAnn Johnson: 2020 Principal of the Year
ACPS also released some fun facts about the ACPS award recipients.
Sharpe is not only a building engineer at T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus and an employee for 36 years, he is also a class of ’78 Titan who holds the school record for longest kickoff return for a 96-yarder set in 1978.
Sandoval, a physical education teacher at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, arranged for swimming lessons for every fourth grade student in her school.
Johnson, principal of James K. Polk Elementary School, has worked in Alexandria schools for 35 years and led the school to winning the Let’s Move Active Schools National Award.
The schools also recognized and celebrated National Merit Scholar Leah Nickelsburg. Nickelsburg, a senior at T.C., was awarded $2,500 by the academic organization that recognizes excellence in students across the U.S.
“While our school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have upended our traditional ending to a school year, we have been hard at work trying to plan the most meaningful and special ways to recognize you while also being responsible to ensure our duties to prevent the spread of any disease and ensure public safety and health,” said T.C. Principal Peter Balas.
The keynote address is scheduled to be given by world champion sprinter Noah Lyles, a 2016 T.C. graduate who is part of the US Olympic team that was originally scheduled to compete in Olympics in Tokyo, Japan this summer.
Faced with a $7.4 million reduction in funding from the city and $4 million lost from the state, Alexandria City Public Schools is faced with dire cuts that will keep staffing levels but leave teachers with reduced pay.
“We are facing a global pandemic, but that does not change our priorities,” Superintendent Gregory Hutchings said at a virtual meeting on Friday. “We are staying true to actual budget priorities that were approved by the board as we make these revisions.”
The largest cuts come from the $5.5 million elimination of the annual step increase, which City Manager Mark Jinks implied would be necessary in his budget presentation to the City Council.
Two of the other major cuts are a general reduction in non-personnel expenditures for $1.8 million and the elimination of new positions for $1.4 million.
The non-personnel expenditures represent a 5% cut across the board, with principals and chiefs assigned to make those cuts within their schools and departments.
Hutchings said that 29.8 fulltime employees were planned to be hired in the budget initially, which was reduced to 13.7 in the new budget.
“Our goal is to not have a reduction in force,” Hutchings said. “Right now, we’re not recommending having a reduction in force. That’s a huge benefit for us. Some school divisions are having those discussions right now.”
Hutchings warned, though, that this could change if the economic downturn continues.
“I don’t want to say we will never have a reduction in force,” Hutchings said. “Realistically, if this economy continues to have a downturn… that’s going to be a very tough decision that we may have to make in the next few months.”
The reductions in the budget will also have an impact on pay for teachers. While salaries aren’t planning to be cut or enhanced, Hutchings said increasing health premiums means employees will see a decrease in take-home pay.
For a teacher who has a master’s degree and United Healthcare — which Hutchings said is the majority of teachers in the school system — take-home pay will decrease by $213 over the next year.
“[We’re] making decisions in the best interest of staff members and students,” Hutchings said. “We are proposing something that is preventing people from losing their jobs due to COVID-19.”
The budget is planned to be discussed throughout May, with final adoption scheduled for Friday, June 5.
Top photo by Jay Westcott, graph via ACPS
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Former Alexandria Teacher Adopting Child in India When COVID-19 Struck — “The Mosiers flew to India in March to pick up their daughter. The country locked down before they could leave.” [New York Times]
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Family Beats Quarantine Blues With Themed Dinners — “The first week, their 11-year-old daughter chose to theme the meal after one of Netflix’s biggest social distancing-era hits: the documentary series, ‘Tiger King.’ The second week, their son chose a sports theme. The three kids wore their favorite jerseys, Organek dressed up as a soccer mom and her husband, who has gone all out for every family dinner, dressed up as a 1970s news anchor to interview his kids.” [Alex Times]
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Mayor, Sheriff Hand Out Diplomas to High School Seniors — “Yesterday, we announced three more deaths [from covid-19]. We have 26 deaths in the city. Every day, it’s another shoe falling. But this, this is something so positive.” (Washington Post)
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Burke & Herbert Bank Starts Borrowers Assistance Helpline — “You are not alone in any financial challenges you’re facing. If you cannot make your loan or mortgage payment, we need to know so that we can put a new plan in place to assist you.” [Facebook]
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Porch Party Planned for Thursday in Del Ray — “The Del Ray Business Association is proud to present the first-ever First Thursday: Porch Party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. In the spirit of Del Ray’s summer street festivals, the event features a wide range of activities that promote community while maintaining social distancing standards.” [Facebook]
Hard Times Café Founder Passes Away — “Sad news. @HardTimesFun founder Fred Parker passed away last night. He was a very special friend and an icon in #AlexandriaVA. Thank you Fred for so many memories. You will never be forgotten #RIP” [Twitter]
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Potomac Coffee Donates to Carpenter’s Shelter — “Thank you, Potomac Coffee, for your incredibly generous donation of 200lbs of VERY aromatic coffee! As one of the many local businesses hard hit by the pandemic, we appreciate your giving spirit during these tough times!” [Facebook]
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Today is a Teacher Work Day for ACPS — “REMINDER: Monday, April 27 is a Teacher Work Day. Enjoy your weekend!” [Facebook]
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T.C. Boys Advance in Tourney — “TC Varsity Vs Robinson regional quarterfinal take the win 49-47. Next round, Friday, 2/28 5:45 @ Fairfax HS.” [Twitter]
Donation to Support School Sensory Room — “Daniel MacDonald was just six-years old when he passed away in 2018, but thanks to a $10,000 donation from his family, he has left a legacy at Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School that will benefit other children.” [ACPS]
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