To the Editors:
I write to endorse the candidacy for re-election of Helen Morris for School Board District A. Helen is an exceptionally capable and committed School Board member who has aggressively addressed the achievement-gap and school-capacity issues that are of central importance to every ACPS family. Helen has also been at the forefront of the essential effort to dramatically improve the Jefferson-Houston elementary school—historically the least academically strong school in the ACPS system.
Helen’s work on School Board is characterized by a remarkable level of personal involvement. Helen sends her child to Jefferson-Houston, and Helen plays an active role in the school’s reorganization, in the planned new school building, and in communications with parents, teachers, and the ACPS central administration.
ACPS is, now, facing an overcrowding problem. When other Alexandrians who have wrung hands about ACPS were just beginning to learn about the school system’s needs, Helen drew the community’s attention to the fundamental issue of school capacity. It is only due to Helen’s conspicuous efforts that other elected officials have started to respond.
Helen recognizes that ACPS’s student body is a diverse collection of city kids. Suburban demographic models and assumptions that presume identical grade-by-grade educational and language development don’t work, and exhibit no validity, in Alexandria. Helen has devoted significant attention to student achievement among all of the social, language, developmental and geographic cohorts of our city.
Most of ACPS’s current School Board members will be leaving the school board not long after election day. Helen is one of a handful of members willing to continue the difficult work of managing the system’s continuing improvement. Helen’s work to date has by nearly all measures been exceptionally successful, and ACPS’s stakeholders know that our kids and our schools have a faithful and attentive champion in Helen. She merits the votes of District A’s electors.
Mark C. Williams