WAMU 88.5 : News

Troubled Alexandria School To Get New Building, But Will It Make A Difference?

The old Jefferson-Houston School, at left, will be demolished in the next few weeks after the new school, at right, opens its doors.
Michael Pope/WAMU
The old Jefferson-Houston School, at left, will be demolished in the next few weeks after the new school, at right, opens its doors.

School leaders in Alexandria are preparing for a new school year and a new start for a long-troubled school.

The construction crew is hard at work building a new $45 million school facility for Jefferson Houston School, a facility that offers Kindergarden through eighth grade. Bea Porter has two grandchildren that attend the school, and she says hopes were high three years ago when the school got a new principal.

"When she first came in they brought in a CEO they brought in other staff, new principals, new vice-principals. They took away half the teachers, brought in new teachers. That hasn't made a difference," she says.

Now school leaders are looking for yet another new principal, the sixth new principal in the last twelve years. Test scores here have been so low for so long that the state was threatening to take over the school until a judge decided the effort was unconstitutional. Rosa Lyn lives across the street from the school, and says she probably will not send her daughter there.

"It is one of the failing schools in Virginia, and I just don't want to risk that. I think she needs to be in an environment in which other students believe in achievement," she says.

If it wasn't for several Head Start classrooms that were added after the site plan for the school was approved, the building would be half-empty when it opens this fall.


WATCH: Obama Reads 'Mean Tweets' — Including One From Trump

President Obama returned to ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday. He took 140-character admonishments for his dancing, his alleged condiment preferences and someone else's poor choice of conditioner.

Dental Detectives: What Fossil Teeth Reveal About Ancestral Human Diets

From the thickness of tooth enamel to the molecular signatures on a tooth left behind by foods eaten by a human, fossil teeth hold many clues to the diets of our ancestors.

Two Weeks Out: Democrats Have The Edge In The Fight For The Senate

States like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Missouri and North Carolina will be decisive, and they're all moving Democrats' way as Republicans are put further on the defensive by Donald Trump.

Many 'Worn Out' By Campaign, Survey Of Social Media Users Shows

A Pew Research Center survey says most Americans on social media are stressed out by online political interactions — and those feelings appear to be bipartisan.

Leave a Comment

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