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Construction Will Greet Students

Middle Schools Cope with Dust and Noise

August 22, 2002

Alexandria has only two middle schools, as the student population for the public school system is just over 11,000 students. Both schools have undergone or are undergoing major renovations at this time, and students will be going back to school amid the dust and noise. Construction at Francis C. Hammond Middle School is winding down, while the G. W. renovations are just beginning.

George Washington Middle School

1005 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301; 703-706-4500.

There are 1,048 students enrolled in the school.

Of the 113 teachers, 57 percent have postgraduate degrees.

The academic curriculum includes mathematics, English, social studies and science. The school also offers art, band, choir, computer applications, drama/speech, foreign languages (French, German, Latin and Spanish), life management, orchestra, physical education, reading, special-education programs, talented-and-gifted programs, and technology/synergistic. The school also offers accelerated math, accelerated reading, honors programs, math counts and National Junior Honor Society.

Robert Yeager is the school’s principal. “Although our construction is in full swing, student learning will not be adversely effected,” Yeager said.

“Half of the cafeteria has been completely renovated; we have new windows throughout the building; there are glass blocks at both of the entrances; and the new bus lane and parking lot will be completed before school starts. We have a door at the north end of the annex so that kids won’t have to walk all the way around, and during school, the kids will be able to use the paved bus lane to walk to the gym.”

Construction will continue throughout the year, with the addition that includes the library, media center and administration being completed first. “Most of the noise will be away from the classrooms and will not disrupt the students,” Yeager said. “There are fences around the construction sites to protect everyone from danger, and we will have hall monitors outside during class changes.”

There are 15 to 20 new teachers, with nearly all vacancies filled. “We are not introducing any new programs this year because, why change something that works?” Yeager asked. “Our preliminary test scores indicate that we will be fully accredited, and this is just the beginning of great things for this school.”

Francis C. Hammond Middle School

4646 Seminary Road Alexandria, VA 22304; 703-461-4100.

There are 1,230 students enrolled at the school.

Sixty-eight percent of the 132 teachers have postgraduate degrees.

Academic programs include art, communications technology, computer applications, English as a Second Language, exploring work and family roles, foreign languages (French, German, Latin and Spanish), physical education, family life education, reading, Spanish immersion, special-education, and talented-and-gifted programs. Special academic programs include accelerated math programs, alternative education, and honors programs.

Kris Clark is the principal. When she accepted the governor’s award for outstanding improvement, she spoke of her pride in the school. “We have made remarkable progress during a construction project that has meant that every classroom teacher will begin the year in a totally new room,” she said.

“By the beginning of the school year, we anticipate that most of the construction will be completed. We are thrilled with our new music facilities, our new cafeteria, our new auxiliary gymnasium and, of course, our new sixth-grade house.”

Like George Washington, preliminary test scores indicate that Hammond will also be fully accredited.

NOTE: Five of Alexandria’s schools are currently accredited. They are Charles Barrett Elementary School, George Mason Elementary School, Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Samuel Tucker Elementary School and the Minnie Howard Ninth Grade Center.

In addition to the two middle schools that have been highlighted above, preliminary data indicate that John Adams Elementary School, William Ramsay Elementary School, Patrick Henry Elementary School and James Polk Elementary School are also accredited. These data are not official. Official results will be available sometime in August or September.