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It's Elementary

Alexandria's 13 elementary schools prepare for the first day of school.

Elementary schools are back in session on Aug. 5, except for the city's two "modified calendar" schools which started last month. Parents should remember that school start times will be earlier this year, with most schools starting at 8 a.m. Douglas MacArthur Elementary School will start a little later, with classes beginning at 8:10 a.m.

Mount Vernon Community School

Built in 1923, Mount Vernon has 448 students. Because the school has a modified calendar, its classes started on July 31. Principal Lilia “Lulu” Lopez said that she is already preparing for a wide variety of intersession classes for the first two weeks of October: sailing, scrapbooking, architecture, French, drama, ballet, journalism, yearbook and karate.

“We also have new swings on the playground,” Lopez said. “And we’re very excited about the new landscaping along Mount Vernon Avenue.”

Next month, Mount Vernon Community parents will be launching a number of new after-school clubs for Spanish, drama and art. In the next few years, the school is scheduled to receive a $496,012 sprinkler system, a $304,371 upgrade to its air-conditioner system and a $225,460 fire-alarm system.

Fast facts

address: 2601 Commonwealth Avenue

telephone: 703-706-4460

grades: Kindergarten to 5th grade

hours: 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Demographics

Hispanic : 55 percent

African American: 25 percent

White: 18 percent

Asian Pacific: 2 percent

2005 test scores

English: 68 percent

Math: 75 percent

Science: 78 percent

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Tucker Elementary School

Built in 2000, Tucker has 590 students. Because the school has a modified calendar, its classes started on July 24. Principal Patrick McClintock-Comeaux said that students are excited about the new playground equipment, and parents are thrilled with the new rubberized surface on one of the school’s two playgrounds.

“We can use it more often because it dries better, and it doesn’t have the dips and peaks that mulch has,” McClintock-Comeaux said. “It’s such an upgrade from what we had before.”

He said that neighbors in Cameron Station have also been enjoying the new playground. In the next few years, the school is scheduled to receive a $120,700 rubberization of the other playground and a $224,504 air-conditioner upgrade.

Fast facts

address: 435 Ferdinand Day Drive

telephone: 703-933-6300

grades: Kindergarten to 5th grade

hours: 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Demographics

African American: 49 percent

Hispanic : 24 percent

White: 16 percent

Asian Pacific: 11 percent

2005 test scores

English: 85 percent

Math: 92 percent

Science: 89 percent

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Patrick Henry Elementary School

Built in 1953, Patrick Henry has 403 students. Principal Coleen Mann said that the school is in the process of creating new educational programs for parents.

“We want to help them learn about the curriculum and how to help their children with their homework,” Mann said. “We’re always looking for ways to help parents.”

Mann said that the school also has a new marquee sign that will help administrators communicate with the neighborhood. In the next few years, the school is scheduled to receive a $1,134,000 classroom addition, a $113,600 playground resurfacing and a $110,000 classroom cabinetry renovation.

Fast facts

address: 4643 Taney Avenue

telephone: 703-461-4170

grades: Kindergarten to 5th grade

hours: 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Demographics

African American: 57 percent

Hispanic: 27 percent

White: 10 percent

Asian-Pacific: 7 percent

2005 test scores

English: 73 percent

Math: 72 percent

Science: 73 percent

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Maury Elementary School

Built in 1929, Maury has 158 students. Principal Lucretia Jackson said that the school will be emphasizing literacy this year, with all students reading “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo and all teachers reading “Results Now” by Mike Schmoker. Jackson said she is excited about the upcoming year.

“Maury is the place where dreams come true,” Jackson said. “We’re catching the energy and releasing the potential of Maury.”

Jackson also said that several interns from Regent University will be working with the students this year as part of a work-study program. In 2010, Maury is scheduled to receive a $113,600 playground resurfacing.

Fast facts

address: 600 Russell Road

telephone: 703-706-4440

grades: Kindergarten through 5th grade

hours: 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Demographics

African American: 62 percent

White: 25 percent

Hispanic: 13 percent

Asian Pacific: 1 percent

2005 test scores

English: 62 percent

Math: 70 percent

Science: 64 percent

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Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy

Built in 1958, Lyles-Crouch has 286 students. Principal Patricia Zissios said that the school is expanding its after-school offerings with several new options: a Little Theater of Alexandria drama troupe, art classes sponsored by the Torpedo Factory, four levels of Spanish language class, a Daily Apple Nutrition Club and sign-language classes.

“In response to parent concerns that the regular kid is overlooked, one new initiative at Lyles-Crouch is aimed at reaching all children through individualized learning plans, not just those in an identified special education programs,” Zissios said. “Teachers will develop learning plans for each of their students that includes reading and math instructional levels, interventions, learning strategies and assessment."

Zissios also said that all at-risk students will be assigned a specific staff member who will act as a mentor. In 2011, Lyles-Crouch is scheduled to receive a $347,919 sprinkler system.

Fast facts

address: 530 South Saint Asaph St.

telephone: 703-706-4430

grades: Kindergarten to 5th grade

hours: 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Demographics

White: 52 percent

African American: 42 percent

Asian Pacific: 3 percent

Hispanic : 2 percent

2005 test scores

English: 88 percent

Math: 87 percent

Science: 83 percent

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Jefferson-Houston School

Built in 1970, Jefferson-Houston has 298 students. Principal Kimberley Graves said that the upcoming year will see many changes at the school, with community members encouraged to participate in open meetings and School Board members pledged to improve the school’s failing test scores. On Aug. 14, the school began an all-day preschool program for low-income parents.

“Hopefully, this is a pilot that will be used as a model for other schools in the city,” Graves said. “It really helps fill the gaps for kids who don’t otherwise have access to preschool.”

Graves also said that she has put together a “consultation team” of central office employees and curriculum specialists to provide additional support to teachers. In the next few years, Jefferson-Houston is scheduled to receive a $565,664 roof replacement, a $391,910 sprinkler system, a $175,109 fire-alarm system and a $113,600 playground resurfacing.

Fast facts

address: 1501 Cameron St.

telephone: 703-706-4400

grades: Kindergarten to 5th grade

hours: 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Demographics

African American: 78 percent

Hispanic: 12 percent

White: 9 percent

Asian Pacific: 1 percent

2005 test scores

English: 57 percent

Math: 48 percent

Science: 63 percent

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George Mason Elementary School

Built in 1939, Mason has 345 students. Principal Nancy Sparks said that the school will be emphasizing science in the coming year, with parents raising money to purchase new equipment and teachers training with science curriculum specialists.

“We’re also going to institute a new after-school science club,” Sparks said. “It’ll be a fun way to bring life to science after school.”

Sparks said she is also expecting the city to install a new retractable stage in the school’s auditorium that can be used for assemblies and performances. In the next few years, Mason is scheduled to receive a $120,000 parking-lot resurfacing, a $120,700 playground resurfacing and a $102,000 elevator replacement.

Fast facts

address: 2601 Cameron Mills Road

telephone: 703-706-4470

grades: Kindergarten to 5th grade

hours: 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Demographics

White: 54 percent

Hispanic: 26 percent

African American: 17 percent

Asian Pacific: 3 percent

2005 test scores

English: 80 percent

Math: 85 percent

Science: 62 percent

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Douglas MacArthur Elementary School

Built in 1942, MacArthur has 516 students. Principal Deborah Thompson said that she is excited about the school’s new outdoor classroom, where students can sit on kid-sized rocks and enjoy the outdoors. Thompson said that members of the parent-teacher association worked over the summer to create the new outdoor classroom.

“These are real rocks, not the pretend kind,” Thompson said. “We’ll also have a teaching garden, which is cultivated throughout the year.”

Thompson said that the garden boasts a wealth of educational plants: tobacco, soybeans, cotton, green beans, carrots and radishes — just to name a few. She also said that she was excited about the school’s new $350,000 air conditioner. In the next few years, the school is scheduled to receive a $791,000 classroom addition, a $359,784 roof replacement and a $210,600 window replacement.

Fast facts

address: 1101 Janneys Lane

telephone: 703-461-4190

grades: K to 5

hours: 8:10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Demographics

White: 50 percent

African American: 28 percent

Hispanic: 16 percent

Asian Pacific: 6 percent

2005 test scores

English: 82 percent

Math: 88 percent

Science: 82 percent

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Charles Barrett Elementary School

Built in 1949, Barrett has 233 students. Principal Annetta Lawson said that she was excited about the school’s new Math Buddies program, procured through a grant from Dominion Power secured by math specialist Roxy Chitlik.

“Hopefully, this will help our students who are struggling in math,” Lawson said. “We’re looking for volunteers to help tutor the students after school.”

Lawson also said she was excited about the school’s new playground equipment, which she is sure that students will enjoy as they return to school this year. In the next few years, the school is scheduled to receive a $745,500 classroom addition, a $134,900 playground resurfacing and a $50,000 metal roof refurbishment.

Fast facts

address: 1115 Martha Custis Drive

telephone: 703-824-6960

grades: K to 5

hours: 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Demographics

White: 53 percent

African American: 22 percent

Hispanic: 20 percent

Asian Pacific: 5 percent

2005 test scores

English: 80 percent

Math: 84 percent

Science: 82 percent

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Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology