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Alexandria Has a New Principal at Jefferson Houston

Interim Superintendent Announces New Jefferson-Houston School Principal

Alexandria, Va. — Interim Superintendent Lois F. Berlin has appointed M.Scott Berkowitz, a former instructional coach at George Washington Middle School and current resident principal in DC Public Schools, as principal of Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 School.

As a Mary Jane Patterson Fellow, Berkowitz currently co-leads C.W. Harris Elementary School in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) where 100 percent of students qualify for free and reduced price meals. The Mary Jane Patterson Fellowship, named after the first African-American principal in DCPS, is a leadership pipeline dedicated to developing dynamic instructional leaders.

Berkowitz served as a middle school math and science teacher and as an instructional coach with Alexandria City Public Schools from 2004 to 2013, including one year at Jefferson-Houston. His work with ACPS contributed to significant gains in student proficiency in math at Jefferson-Houston and George Washington Middle School during his tenure.

Over the past five years, Berkowitz has served as the assistant principal at Hybla Valley Elementary School in Fairfax County Public Schools, vice principal of instruction at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy on Capitol Hill, assistant principal of Hardy Middle School at DCPS and summer school principal at Walker-Jones Education Campus for DCPS before joining the fellowship program in 2017.

“It’s really a testament to ACPS that we have talented educators, such as Mr. Berkowitz, who choose to return to ACPS in leadership roles. Mr. Berkowitz, with his broad range of experience working in highly diverse school communities, and his prior work with ACPS at the middle school level, and at Jefferson-Houston in particular, is an ideal choice to steer the school’s growth and evolution to the next level,” said Interim Superintendent Lois F. Berlin.

Berkowitz has a solid foundation in classroom instruction and a range of educational leadership experience in diverse educational environments. His accomplishments include double-digit percentage improvements in science, math and writing SOLs for the fifth-grade team at Hybla Valley and significant improvements in targeted areas of academic achievement. His focus on team and leadership development, through the coaching and empowerment of teaching staff, has resulted in academic gains in each of his roles.

Over the last four years Jefferson-Houston has made marked progress toward achieving full accreditation, particularly under new accreditation standards that measure growth as well as overall achievement. Reading levels at the school have increased by one and a half years or more each year, and student success on state reading tests has increased by 19 points. Math scores on state assessments have increased by 20 points, science scores by 31 points and history scores by 22 points. The student population has increased by 64 percent and the school has been transformed into a community school with passionate advocates and partners.

“I am looking forward to continuing the positive academic trends at Jefferson-Houston and am excited to build on the foundation that has been laid over the past four years,” said Berkowitz.

Jefferson-Houston School is Alexandria’s first Pre-K to 8th grade school. Jefferson-Houston is an International Baccalaureate® (IB) school. It is authorized for both the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP). The IB focuses on developing the whole child so that s/he gains the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills needed to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

Berkowitz will start in the role on July 1.


Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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