Back To School: Are The Kids All Right?

(Photos courtesy of Agenda ALX)

Alexandria, VA – Agenda Alexandria will open its 2022-2023 with a program discussing safety in Alexandria schools on Monday, September 26, at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial at 7 pm.

“Back to School: Are The Kids Alright?” will provide a historical and current view of ACPS procedures, practices, and programs that address the range of matters related to school safety, discipline, and student wellness. Panelists will be able to give clarity to the following issues relating to ACPS safety matters:

– disciplinary options used in classrooms and by school principals,

– bullying

– programs for special needs students

– The Chance for Change Academy

– mental health intervention

– overview of the ACPS and Alexandria Police Department (APD) MOU

– overview of the SLEP

– current status of police and security guards in schools

– new ACPS school entry checkpoint measures

– restrictions on students leaving campus during school hours

– current law about reporting certain crimes to APD.

To register for this vital program, go to

This program will take place at our September 26 meeting at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. The main program starts at 7:00 pm. We will also live-stream the program through our social networks in collaboration with the Alexandria City High School Broadcast Club and The Zebra newspaper.

Agenda: Alexandria is a registered 501(c)(3) non-partisan organization that encourages informed debate and discussion on various local issues without taking a position. We host in-person and digital programs on topics of interest to the residents of the City of Alexandria.

The Back to School Panel

Herb Berg

Herb Berg


Since earning his Ph.D. in Education at Washington State University, Herb Berg has focused his distinguished career on educating our youth, kindergarten through high school, across three states, several countries, and over nearly five decades. His many years of working with communities, parents, schoolchildren, and local school boards allowed Dr. Berg to practice his knowledge and deep understanding of the needs of our students. Berg is a native of Seattle, WA. He moved to Alexandria in 1994, when he accepted the position of Superintendent of Alexandria City’s public schools. Berg’s career took interesting turns after his tenure with the ACPS. The U.S. State Department hired him to manage American schools worldwide through the Association for the Advancement of International Education. Back in the U.S., Berg continued his career in education with several positions in the South Carolina public schools. Seeing himself as a representative of the students, especially those who most need a voice to speak up for them, Berg kept the focus and goal of the educational system on learning.

René Islas

M. René Islas

René Islas is the CEO and Founder of Crescere Strategies LLC. He launched the company to support mission-driven organizations to achieve their goals, whether built to advance social change or generate profit. Islas leads a multi-dimensional services firm that leverages expertise built over two decades in the nonprofit, for profit, and government sectors. He served as Chief of Staff in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education and consulted with school systems both nationally and internationally to improve performance.

Islas focused recent attention on increasing school safety to improve the learning lives and well-being of his four children enrolled in ACPS and in the broader community.

Julie Crawford, Ed.D.

Julie Crawford

Dr. Julie Crawford currently serves as the Chief of Student Services and Equity for Alexandria City Public Schools. She is a lifelong educator who began her teaching career in the Syracuse, New York area prior to moving to Alexandria, Virginia. She has a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo, a master’s degree from Syracuse University and received her doctoral degree from the George Washington University. Dr. Crawford was a teacher, special education coordinator, school and central office administrator in Arlington Public Schools. She was the principal of the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center in ACPS and has been the Chief of Student Services and Equity for eight years.

Don Hayes

Don Hayes

Chief Don Hayes has over 40 years as a leader and public servant with the Alexandria Police Department and a deep commitment to Alexandria.

Hayes joined the Alexandria Police Department in 1981 and achieved the rank of sergeant in 1996, overseeing the community-oriented policing and internal investigations sections. In 1999, Hayes was promoted to lieutenant and led the special operations, information services, and public services divisions. He was promoted to captain in 2013 and served as patrol commander, in addition to heading the parking enforcement, traffic, special events, and community relations divisions. He was promoted to assistant chief in 2019 and has since used his diverse experience to oversee all parts of the Police Department.

An Alexandria resident for nearly 30 years, Hayes is an active member of an array of organizations serving the community through youth empowerment, diversion, and offender’s aid programs.

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