Alexandria To Demolish Its Lowest-Performing School | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Alexandria To Demolish Its Lowest-Performing School

Play associated audio

School leaders in Alexandria are moving forward with a plan to demolish the city's lowest-performing school.

Test scores have plummeted at Jefferson-Houston in the past decade, which was originally constructed as an elementary school. Parents have increasingly pulled their children out of the school, prompting administrators to add middle school classes to the building. 

State leaders are now forcing oversight from outside of the district in yet another attempt to turn the school around.

"Most parents move out rather than go to the school simply because of the academic performance," says Leslie Zupan, president of the Old Town West Civic Association.

So school officials are trying something drastic: demolishing the school and constructing a new, $45-million facility. When Jefferson-Houston opened in 1970, open classrooms were trendy in education circles. So the school is organized in a series of pods — classrooms without walls that radiate out from a centralized library. 

School Board member Blanche Maness says the school has outlived its usefulness.

"Over 40 years ago, the current Jefferson school was built with questionable design — very few windows, low ceilings and strange looking classrooms," Maness says. 

For the new school, they're building to a capacity of twice the number of students who currently attend the school. That's because projections are expected to go up in this area. 

Bill Campbell lives in the neighborhood, and was recently elected to the School Board.

"This district currently has over 600 children zoned, and then that doesn't even include the projections," Campbell says. "The city as well as the schools all project plusses in the attendance in this zone." 

The new school is set to open in August 2014.

NPR

'This Fight Begins In The Heart': Reading James Baldwin As Ferguson Seethes

Protests in Ferguson, Mo., continue in response to the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by police on Aug. 9. The incident reminds author Laila Lalami of James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son.
NPR

Specialty Food And Agriculture Startups Are Ripening In Greece

Sotiris Lymperopoulos left a good job in Athens to collect wild sea greens for upscale restaurants. Food startups like his may be able to generate thousands of new jobs in post-crisis Greece.
NPR

With Ferguson, Obama Forced To Confront Race Yet Again

President Obama's carefully avoided taking sides following the shooting of Missouri teen Michael Brown, disappointing some African-American observers.
NPR

Ex-Microsoft CEO Ballmer Steps Down From Company's Board

Steve Ballmer, 58, on Tuesday resigned from the software giant's board because of other time consuming commitments including his new ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.