Schools May 23-30

Schools May 23-30

Send announcements to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, by e-mail to Deadline is Friday at noon for the following week’s paper. Photos are encouraged. Call Rebecca Halik at 703-917-6407 with questions.

Community Lodgings’ educational parent support groups provide parents the tools to participate in their children’s education. This spring parenting workshops are being held at Community Lodgings’ Fifer Family Learning Center in conjunction with the George Mason Elementary PTA. The bilingual program taught parents how to help their child in reading and completing homework. In addition to parent education, Community Lodgings has adult ESL and Computer Literacy courses. Thirty-five of those participants will be graduating at Beverly Hills Baptist Church on Friday, May 25 at 7 p.m. Come to the celebration and learn more about the mission of Community Lodgings. 703-549-4407.

Alexandria City Public School (ACPS) teachers and three Alexandria private school teachers will be honored on Tuesday, May 17, at the Excellence in Education Awards dinner.

Anne Mackiewicz Panek captures her Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School kindergartners’ attention and engages them in such creative activities as donning "newspaper person" hats to deliver weekly self-written newsletters to other classrooms or stringing cereal "beads" for 100th-day-of-school necklaces. The teacher and her 19 "friends" enjoy learning together, often employing the silent "golf clap" or cheerleaders’ pompoms to applaud each others’ efforts and successes. Panek’s enthusiasm and expertise are shared with her students’ parents by means of daily assignment sheets, conferences and home visits. One student describes her as "the bestest teacher in the whole wide world. She always makes us happy and not sad."

As a fourth-grade teacher at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, Sandra F. Quick Reeves employs a wide array of approaches to reach and engage every student. Her techniques include buddy systems, weekly academic contracts, differentiation folders, group challenges, laptop computer activities and a "Feast of Knowledge" open house for parents and administrators. Outside the classroom, Reeves teaches an after-school remedial math class, is a consistent participant in evening events at the school and has conducted several parent workshops. Assistant Principal PreeAnn Johnson says that "she possesses that genuine God-given gift to inspire others to more than they ever imagined they could" accomplish.

Three Alexandria private-school teachers also will be honored at the event. Viviana Rodriguez Davila, a Spanish teacher at Episcopal High School, developed and has frequently led the school’s annual 10-day trip to Mexico and five-week summer program in Spain, providing immersion experiences for her students. Katherine Heyder, an energetic first-grade teacher at Alexandria Country Day School, engages her class with creative lesson plans and a variety of instructional techniques, and is always eager to share ideas with her fellow teachers. Elena "Nina" Patterson Tyree led the transformation of the St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes Upper School science curriculum into one in which all ninth graders take physics.

The 2007 Alexandria History Awards were presented by Senator Patsy Ticer at a meeting of the Alexandria Historical Society. The 2007 Alexandria High School History Awards will be presented to William Shafroth of T.C. Williams High School , Theresa Green of Bishop Ireton High School , Julia Ciavarella of St. Stephen's and St. Agnes High School, and Matthew Hurley of Episcopal High School. A reception will follow the awards ceremony and a lecture by Patrick Welsh. Mr. Welsh has been a teacher at T.C. Williams High School since 1970. Visit or 703-838-4994.

Throughout the month of July, StagePlay is offering a smorgasbord of Shakespearian fun. Week-long, afternoon-only camps will be available beginning July 2 for students in grades K-4 and a two-week all-day camp is available for students in grades 3-7 from July 23-Aug. 3. All camps include theatre games, scene study, improvisation exercises and creative costume designs. The camps take place at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in Alexandria. Call 703-619-5206 or e-mail

Jennifer Elizabeth Kaufman of Alexandria, a graduate student at Longwood University, was just rewarded with three awards while volunteering at the Crisis Line of Central Virginia and the Sexual Assault Response Program. The first award, The President's Volunteer Service Award and the Volunteer of the Year award for her volunteering at SARP.

The Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley recently honored Lafayette senior and Marquis Scholar Jonathan Farrar of Alexandria with a Someone Special Volunteer Award. Farrar, who is pursuing a B.S. physics and A.B. with a major in mathematics, was recognized for his work as a mentor at the Firth Youth Center in Phillipsburg, N.J., an organization that serves local youth with after-school and drop-in recreational programming, including homework help, music, computers, and games. He is the Firth Youth Center team leader for students volunteering through Lafayette’s Landis Community Outreach Center.

T.C. Williams Basketball Camp will offer boys and girls ages 7 through 15, who have completed grades one through nine, an opportunity to learn fundamental skills through intensive individual instruction combined with fun and creative drills. Sessions will take place daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 12- 15 and daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 18- 22 and June 25- 29 at George Washington Middle School, 1005 Mount Vernon Ave. $125/session or $300/all sessions. Payment for each session is due no later than May 25. The cost for late registrations and walk-ins is $150 per session. Each camp also will offer before- and after- care for an additional $25 per session. Each camper should bring a book to read during a 45-minute daily reading time. Campers may bring their own lunches or purchase items such as pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and chips at the concession stand. Download the camp brochure and registration form at

Ursula Rocha, psychologist at Francis Hammond Middle School, was honored with a prestigious CARE (Commonwealth Academy Recognition for Educators) award. Rocha, fluent in English, Spanish and American Sign Language, works with students who speak English as a second language and/or have cognitive delays, autism, or hearing impairments. She also mentors girls who are new to the United States, helping them to adapt to a new culture. Rocha is a key member of the Reading Intervention Task Force and is an advocate for individual students while also supporting teachers by collaborating, consulting, and advising them in and out of the classroom. Her contributions to the community include volunteering at a domestic abuse shelter to facilitate groups for children and adolescents who have been exposed to domestic violence. She also developed a Web page in English and Spanish to help parents' understanding of the evaluation process for special education.

Sixty-seven students received awards during the Alexandria City Public Schools Department of Career and Technical Education annual Celebration of Achievement ceremony held on April 25 at Minnie Howard School. Students in sixth through 12th grades received recognition for excellence in their career and technical education classrooms.

Kate Moran, Alexandria City Public Schools secondary-level special education was honored with a CARE (Commonwealth Academy Recognition for Educators) award. This annual award recognizes outstanding educators who have made significant contributions to leaving no child behind in their local communities.

Moran, who was nominated to receive this award by U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, works with teachers, parents and students to ensure the success and implementation of special education programming for ACPS. She has dedicated her career to educating students with learning disabilities, mental challenges, and health impairments. In her own words, she tries to "meet the needs of students and families by making special education accessible to all types of learners." Moran's dedication to her special-needs students is unprecedented. Over the past six years she has made a lasting impression on her students by giving them the skills and support to lead a fuller, more rewarding life.

The Mayor of Alexandria, William D. Euille, presented certificates to the English class graduates of New Neighbors Education Center at a ceremony on Saturday, May 5, in the auditorium of historic Christ Church in Alexandria.

Samuel Tucker Elementary School has been named a Title I Distinguished School by the Virginia Department of Education for meeting federal benchmarks in reading and math under the No Child Left Behind Act, maintaining full accreditation for two consecutive years, and having mean test scores in both English and math at the sixtieth percentile or higher.

Four teachers at Alexandria Country Day School have been recognized:

* Kathy Heyder (1st grade) has received the Excellence in Education Award from the Alexandria Education Partnership. Kathy is a teacher who engages her class with creative lesson plans and a variety of instructional techniques. She is continually expanding her knowledge and is currently pursuing an advanced degree.

* Sara Stein and Bodo Heiliger (4th grade) were accepted into the Klingenstein Summer Institute.

* Tim Laramy (6th grade) has been accepted into the masters program in curriculum and instruction with a focus on the humanities K-12 at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Tim has been with ACDS for the past five years, most recently as head of the Social Studies department.

Bishop Ireton Junior and Honors Spanish IV student, Valerie Roth, is one of four national winners of the Ruta-Quetzal BBVA 2007 competition, sponsored by the Embassy of Spain. The Ruta-Quetzal takes selected Spanish-speaking students from around the world on a six-week educational adventure in Latin America and Spain. Each student received a scholarship to cover all costs of the six-week program; this year’s scholarship is valued at $14,000.

Four elementary principals have been selected to fill upcoming vacancies at Samuel Tucker Elementary School, George Mason Elementary School, Mount Vernon Community School and William Ramsay Elementary School.

* Samuel Tucker Elementary School: Loretta Scott is the current assistant principal at Tucker. She was instrumental in the implementation of the first modified school calendar program in Alexandria and is experienced in using student test data to assist teachers with instruction.

* George Mason Elementary School: Dawn Feltman, current assistant principal at Mount Vernon Community School, and served as acting principal for several months during Dr. Lulu Lopez’s absence. Ms. Feltman has demonstrated her abilities as an acting principal, summer school principal, PEP (Performance Evaluation Program) specialist, staff development provider, evaluator and teacher.

* Mount Vernon Community School: Scott Coleman has been a school administrator in Fulton County, Ga., and most recently served as principal of White Center Heights Elementary School in Seattle, Wa. Over his 16-year tenure in public education, Mr. Coleman has been a high school Spanish teacher, summer school principal, and elementary principal in two different Title I schools.

* William Ramsay Elementary School: Catherine Thomas has been a principal since 1999 with a proven track record of success. During the first year of Ms. Thomas’s leadership as principal of Berkeley Elementary School in Spotsylvania, third-grade reading scores increased 27 percent and fifth-grade math scores increased 30 percent.