Alexandria’s Jefferson Houston Elementary School Posts Dramatic Increases to Meet Federal and State Standards
Alexandria’s Jefferson Houston Elementary School will receive full state accreditation this fall thanks to dramatic increases in state and federal test scores. The percentage of students passing the English test moved up from 62% to 77% and the percentage of students passing the math test jumped from 59% to 77%. Test scores also insure that the school will meet federal standards under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Jefferson Houston - an integral part of the historic Parker-Gray neighborhood – has struggled since a controversial redistricting in 1999 that shifted many West End students to Tucker Elementary in Cameron Station. Inconsistent leadership was a key issue with five principals rotating through in a six-year period. Kimberly Graves was hired in 2006 and within weeks teachers and parents alike understood that meeting standards was a minimum expectation.
A modest Graves has credited community involvement, parental support, a determined staff and students who were willing to go the extra mile. English scores were helped by Saturday workshops and math scores benefited from after-school clubs.
One program in particular – the “power hour” – was key to raising reading scores. Students at Jefferson-Houston were arranged in small groups of five or six who had similar instructional needs for one-on-one reading time for an hour, every day. It was a group effort with teachers, reading specialists, and talented-and-gifted teachers all helping out.
As for the future, Graves noted that “Building a reputation is going to take time, but I’m patient. Jefferson-Houston is going to become one of the top performing schools in this city.”
Congratulations to Principal Graves and the parents, teachers and students for an enormous effort!
If you would like to know more about the Parker-Gray neighborhood, call me at 703.927.4554 and let’s talk.