Alexandria, Va. —The Alexandria City School Board voted to endorse a one high school model for Alexandria on Thursday evening – keeping T.C. Williams High School at the heart of Alexandria’s education system.
The Board voted 6-3 in favor of the Connected High School Network instead of constructing a second high school on the field at the T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard campus.
School Board Chair Cindy Anderson, Vice Chair Veronica Nolan, Ramee Gentry, Jacinta Greene, Margaret Lorber, and Christopher Suarez voted to keep the . School Board Members Michelle Rief, Meagan Alderton, and Heather Thornton were the three dissenting voices. They argued that Alexandria’s expanding population would eventually demand a second high school, and that now is the time to accept the commitment to build.
T.C. High School Will Remain the Heart
“This decision ensures all students across Alexandria will continue to have access to the wide variety of opportunities T.C. offers now and in the future,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. “We know with one high school, we will be able to ensure all students have access and are fully engaged in a high quality learning environment.”
T.C. Williams, named after a former superintendent of schools who served from the mid-1930s until the mid-1960s, opened in 1965. In 2007, a new state-of the-art, environmentally green school opened its doors at the present site.
The School Board opted to expand T.C. Williams with a major facility on the Minnie Howard campus as part of the Connected High School Network. The Connected High School Network will continue to encompass a satellite campus for online learning and Early College program in collaboration with Northern Virginia Community College.
Staff will also continue to explore options at Potomac Yard.
The vote follows more than a year of study and analysis of educational programming concepts, as well as real estate and site locations, by teams of experts, staff and teachers.
The one high school model allows ACPS to add to or contract learning space if fewer students come our way, as happened in the 1970s and 1980s, and again between 2000 to 2006. In addition, no new land on which to build could be identified within Alexandria.
New Minnie Howard Building
“The choice to expand the Minnie Howard Campus with a new building that can serve 1,600 students, provides much needed addition to our high school capacity while offering many possibilities for creative programming,” said School Board Chair Cindy Anderson.
In the coming weeks, an expanded Education Design Team will reconvene to take a deeper dive into programming for the new high school experience. An industry advisory board made up of local Industry leaders will join with the Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee, to provide input to the EDT that will enhance course work and the student experience.
Read more about The High School Project on the ACPS website.