Send announcements to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, by e-mail to, by fax to 703-917-0991 or by mail to 1604 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Deadline is Friday at noon for the following week’s paper. Photos are encouraged. Call Rebecca Halik at 703-917-6407 with questions.

Kindergarten Readiness for Preschool Parents – a presentation and question/answer session will be presented on Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Queen of Apostles Catholic School library. All parents of preschoolers are invited to attend. For more information call 703-354-0714 or visit

The Westminster-George Mason Tutoring Program needs tutors and substitute tutors to work one-on-one with elementary school children who need extra help. Tutoring takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school from 2:35-3:35 p.m. in the library at George Mason Elementary School. Tutors are asked to make a commitment of one hour per week from October through May, excepting school holidays and snow days. Substitute tutors are also needed to be available once or twice a month to fill in for weekly tutors. Contact Kathy Hart at 703-706-4470 or to learn more.

Latino Youth For Excellence (LYFE), an after-school club at Minnie Howard School, is sponsoring a soccer game between Minnie Howard staff and LYFE students at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, on the field beside the school, 3801 W. Braddock Road, Alexandria. The event will encourage school spirit and offer an opportunity for students to see teachers in a different role. In lieu of charging an admission fee, LYFE asks each spectator to bring a canned good to benefit the Carpenter’s Shelter for Alexandria’s homeless. A concession stand will raise funds to help with the costs of future LYFE activities. For more information about the club or its soccer game, contact the school at 703-824-6750.

The Fort Hunt Preschool has entered into a five-year lease with the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, its home for the past 45 years. The Fort Hunt Preschool will continue to provide a quality, cooperative, non-denominational education for 2, 3, and 4-year-old children. For information about the Fort Hunt Preschool, call 703-768-7584 or go to For information about the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, call 703-765-5950 or go to

Second Saturday Clean-up. Students and family of West Potomac High School meet in the senior parking lot on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 9 a.m. to do outside work to improve the appearance of the school campus. Bring gloves, and whatever tools you have. Need weed whackers, pruning/lopping tools, hoes, shovels, wheel barrows, brooms, rakes, and anything else you would like to use to get grass and weeds out of cracks, and clean up the gutters, haul mulch to the parking islands, prune dead branches, etc. For additional information, call Tom Swinson at 799-1583.

More than 100 parents, teachers, business owners, neighbors and other community members gathered Wednesday night, Nov. 1, to talk about issues and share ideas at a lively and informative town meeting about Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics. Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) and the Alexandria City School Board held the event to gather feedback about the public’s priorities for the elementary school at 1501 Cameron St. Following tours of the building, participants gathered in the multipurpose room, where ACPS administrators facilitated small-group discussions at round tables. Topics included academic achievement, arts integration, school climate, special education and facilities. The event also included a skit by first graders, who dressed as different pets and described the care animals require; and fifth graders, who sang the school song and another musical number. For more information about Jefferson-Houston events and volunteer opportunities, contact the school at 703-706-4400 or visit the ACPS Web site at

Parents are encouraged to complete a survey that will assist Alexandria City Public Schools in improving transportation services to students. The online survey should take less than 10 minutes. The survey, which can be accessed at, will close Friday, Nov. 17, at midnight. Fliers with details about the survey will be sent to all ACPS parents, in English and Spanish, along with alternative instructions for people who prefer to take the survey by phone. For more information, contact the ACPS Department of Monitoring and Evaluation at 703-824-6638.

A new Online Career Center, school-based community college career coach and community college outreach counselor are helping Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students plan for life after high school. An Online Career Center created for ACPS students includes sections related to career exploration, researching occupations and colleges, job search skills, employment Web sites and more. The site also features a section for employers, parents and community members who are looking for opportunities to become involved with the schools. The Online Career Center can be found at: For more information about Career Center-related opportunities at T.C. Williams, contact the school at 703-824-6800.

Gabrielle Foster, a sixth grader at George Washington Middle School, will represent Alexandria City Public Schools at "Jamestown Live! Experience the Journey that Changed the World," a one-hour educational Web cast set for 1-2 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the fort at historic Jamestown Settlement. Foster will join other middle-school students from Virginia school divisions to help convey fun and interactive ways students can learn about Jamestown as the country commemorates the colony’s 400th birthday in 2007. Classes and schools may register at to join the free Web cast. The site also includes a teacher resource guide. For additional information, contact Betsy Barton, specialist for history and social science, at or 804-225-3454.

The Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Special Education Parent Resource Center is presenting three upcoming events featuring topics of interest to parents of special education students. To register for any of these events, call Anne Lipnick at 703-706-4552 or email

* St. Elmo's Group, a gathering of parents of children with special needs, will meet from 8-10 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13, at St. Elmo's Coffee Pub, 2300 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Special Education Teacher Jennifer Beza will give a presentation on "How to Talk So Teachers Will Listen."

* Learn to Use Boardmaker, a computer program for creating visual strategies for use in home and school, at a workshop on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Road, Alexandria. Interested teachers and parents can choose between two sessions, scheduled for 4-6 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Early registration is recommended, as space is limited by the number of computers available. Free babysitting is available. The workshop is pre-approved for ACPS opt-out credit and recertification points.

* A support group for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Special Education Parent Resource Center at Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics, 1501 Cameron St., Alexandria. Enter through door No. 4 on Cameron Street. Autism Resource Specialists Deborah Hammer and Sarah DiGioia will present ÒA Sense of Calm,Ó focusing on increasing the understanding of autism spectrum sensory issues and learning calming strategies to use at home. Light refreshments and free babysitting (available by advance RSVP) will be provided.

The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) raised a record $105,000 in pledges at its 12th Annual Fall Telethon, held Oct. 29 at T.C. Williams High School. A highlight of this year’s event was an anonymous supporter’s offer of a dollar-for-dollar matching pledge for general donations up to $5,000. The phones lit up with calls to meet that challenge, resulting in a $10,000 increase on the Total Board. The Alumni Challenge, chaired by Mike Porterfield, T.C. Williams Class of 1985, took a commanding lead in the challenge competition and collected $29,000 in pledges to support General Fund scholarships. The Power Women Challenge, chaired by SFA Board member Lynn Hampton and T.C. Williams alumna Joan Renner, was a strong second with more than $20,000 in pledges. The SFA’s mission is to ensure that academically qualified T.C. Williams seniors have the resources to attend college or vocational or technical school after they graduate. Over the past 20 years, the fund has awarded more than $4 million to 2,500 graduates and provided financial aid advising to thousands of students and their families. For more information about the fund, or the telethon, call Director Susan Yowell at 703-824-6730 or visit the Fund’s website