Greetings and happy May! It has been a while since my last update on the School Board's work. I had good intentions of sending a newsletter every quarter and I still do, but work, family, life, and School Board duties got in the way. In fairness, this last winter I sent three-years worth of holiday cards - having created cards in 2020 and 2021, but never getting around to sending them. Spoiler alert, I’m not perfect. Nevertheless, I remain committed to ensuring the best for our community, students, staff, and families. To this end, I continue to work diligently every day to achieve this goal.
This newsletter will primarily focus on staggered terms with an article I co-authored with my colleague, Dr. Ashley Simpson-Baird. Ashley and I have been working collaboratively on staggered terms as part of our policy sub-committee. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of staggered terms and dispel any misconceptions. Brace yourselves for a civics lesson in state and local government. As a former civic educator and civic education advocate, I geek out on this stuff.
Topics in this newsletter:
Teacher Appreciation Week
Upcoming Public Hearings
Other Updates: School Visits, Alexandria Remembrance Pilgrimage, CBS News Teacher Story
By: Kelly Carmichael Booz and Dr. Ashley Simpson-Baird
Every Spring and Fall Americans collectively grumble when daylight savings upends our schedules, disrupts our sleep, and makes it hard on parents with young kids who like routine—as if their lives weren’t hard enough! Like clockwork, there are renewed calls to end the
antiquated, agrarian practice before we all eventually adjust to the new times only to renew the same conversation six short months later.
Such is the conversation around staggered School Board terms in Alexandria. Every three years, we elect a new, nine-member School Board. Most of the time (i.e., 7 of the last 10 School Board terms since we started electing Board members in 1994), the Board turned over the majority of its members. Like clockwork, the conversation resurfaces to consider a change to the School Board election process in order to avoid more large turnovers in the future. Read the full article.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt on being named our permanent Superintendent for Alexandria City Public Schools. I am so grateful for Dr. Kay-Wyatt serving as our Interim Superintendent and now as our permanent Superintendent. Our national search process yielded 35 qualified applicants, and we were pleased to have five outstanding finalists. Ultimately, Dr. Kay-Wyatt's extensive background as a teacher, school administrator, human resources expert, and division-wide leader set her apart from the rest. Read more on the search process.
Teacher Appreciation Week
To all our educators: I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you during Teacher Appreciation Week and beyond. Your unwavering commitment to our students and community is truly remarkable, and I am constantly in awe of the magic you bring to the classroom each day. As we all know, being a teacher can be an exhausting profession, and it's disheartening to see frequent national attacks on public education. Please know that I am here to support you in any way I can, and I am open to suggestions on how we can provide even more assistance. Once again, thank you for all that you do, and let's continue to celebrate and appreciate our educators every week.
Upcoming Public Hearings
Public Hearings at the May 18, 2023 School Board Meeting:
Public Hearing on Revision to the ACPS/APD Memorandum of Understanding. Sign up to speak at the public hearing on the MOU. Information about the ACPS/APD MOU. The deadline to register to speak is May 17, 2023 at noon.
Public Hearing on the FY 2024 Combined Funds and FY 2024 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budgets. Sign up to speak at the public hearing on the budgets. The deadline to register to speak is May 17, 2023 at noon.
Public Hearing at the June 1, 2023 School Board Meeting:
Public Hearing on the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Funds. Sign up to speak at the public hearing on the use of ESSER III funds. Information about ESSER III Funds. The deadline to register to speak is May 31, 2023 at noon.
Finally, I’ll end with the fun stuff that continues to fill my energy bucket and reminds me why I love education and how honored I am to serve as a School Board member:
In March, I had the opportunity to visit Douglas MacArthur Elementary School for the second Career Day. I had a blast having third-fifth graders debate school policy and serving as school board members.
Alexandria Remembrance Pilgrimage
Last fall, I had the chance to join members of our community and ACHS students and staff for a trip to Montgomery and Selma, Alabama to honor the lives of Joseph McCoy and Benjamin Thomas, two young Black men lynched in Alexandria in the late 1800s. The Alexandria Remembrance pilgrimage, which is part of the Equal Justice Initiative, was powerful and it put into perspective the work that we do every day to teach honest history and seek equity. Be sure to watch the ACHS student documentary "They Are All Honored Here" to learn more about the powerful trip. Additionally, here is a short video from the first day.
CBS Mornings featured our 91-year-old ACHS math teacher, Mr. Lou Kokonis. He has no intent on retiring. I just happened to bump into Mr. Kokonis when he was picking up dinner when he shared with me, "at my age, I no longer cook."
Thank you Mr. Kokonis for continuing to inspire students and for choosing teaching over cooking!
Let me know your thoughts on any of the above topics or other topics. Send me an email.
My best, Kelly