Plan to split art, music, PE teachers between Alexandria City schools sparks controversy

Criticism is emerging from parents, faculty, staff, and teachers at Alexandria City Public Schools following the district's decision to proceed with a plan to reassign specialized teachers, including those in art, physical education and music.

An email notification was sent out just 48 hours prior to the announcement made at Thursday's board meeting.

The reassignment plan specifically affects ‘Encore’ teachers, potentially leading to art, PE, and music teachers teaching at multiple schools. This decision reportedly comes just days before teachers are expected to sign their contracts, leaving them with limited time to make what could be a life-altering decision.

Parents have voiced their discontent with this new plan, stating that it disrupts the educational environment, could have significant consequences, and may jeopardize after-school clubs. ALX Now initially reported that parents described the plan to split specialist teachers as an "unmitigated disaster."

During the board meeting, teachers shared their experiences of being stretched thin under the new plan. Additionally, it was noted that there was no opportunity for public discussion before implementing these changes.

In response to the criticism, the school district provided the following statement:

"The changes were made due to current enrollment numbers for this school year and the projected school enrollment numbers for next year. Some Encore teachers across the division are not currently teaching full assignments in their area of certification, while others are. In order to ensure equal access to Encore instruction for all schools, some, but not all, Encore staff will be shared with another school."

This development has sparked controversy within the Alexandria City Public Schools community, with concerns being raised about the process and potential consequences of the reassignment plan.

"I come to you tonight with feelings of disgust, disappointment and shame for this school district," said Laura Torchia, a music teacher at Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School.

The school district says teachers who have to travel between schools will be financially reimbursed.