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Votes

Letter: Sherman’s Efforts Appreciated

— As former and current PTA presidents in Alexandria, we would like to recognize and thank Dr. Morton Sherman for his five years of dedicated service to our school system. Throughout his tenure, Dr. Sherman was a passionate and tireless advocate for our children. On a personal level, he maintained an admirable open door policy for us and was always willing to listen to our concerns, show up at our meetings and respond to our emails, sometimes at 3 a.m.

None of us agreed with every one of his decisions, and many of us have had lively conversations with him. But we are grateful for his many positive contributions and hope that his most successful reforms will be maintained under the new leadership.

In the face of a rapidly expanding student population, Dr. Sherman was staunchly committed to maintaining small class sizes, and he managed to do this while reducing the per pupil expenditure. During his tenure and following his hiring of principal Suzanne Maxey, T.C. Williams High School showed impressive progress: increased graduation rates; higher participation rates and higher exam scores in AP classes; implementation of programs such as AVID, which is targeted toward first generation college-bound students; and creation of the Satellite Campus.

Dr. Sherman’s commitment to improving academic achievement throughout the student population, including African-American, Hispanic and special education students, was steadfast. His establishment of the “schools within a school” model for the middle schools, as well as greatly expanding the number of middle school and high school counselors, reassured parents that our kids would not get lost among the crowd.

Finally, creation of the K-12 curriculum and the introduction of a STEM Academy within Minnie Howard will help equip our students with the critical-thinking skills essential for future success.

Despite the progress that has been made over the past five years, our school division faces many challenges. Throughout the city, some students are not yet meeting grade level objectives and we need to continue building on the progress at Jefferson-Houston toward reattaining accreditation. As we embark upon a new school year and a superintendent search, Alexandria’s PTA leaders remain committed to working with the school board, ACPS staff and the community on our shared mission of making sure that every student achieves his or her full potential.

Kay Arndorfer, Patty Chamberlain, Beth Coast, Daria Dillard, Kelly Dresen, Shanelle Gayden, Ramee Gentry, Mary Giordano, Marianne Hetzer, Keith Jabati, Lisa Jacobs, Mia Jones, Laurie Kahl, Susan Keightley, Linda Kelly, PJ Lepp, Judy Lyons, Nicole Maaia, Cindy Martinez, Karen McManis, Laura Miles, Ann O’Hanlon, Priscilla Plishker, Marie Randall, Caitlin Rockwell, Jennifer Roda, Beth Simmons, Becky Sullivan, Carey Sullivan, Annie Vroom, Jerica Webber, Rosie Wiedemer and Melynda Wilcox