The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Principal Shares Updates and Answers Parent Questions in First Chat of 2022

Principal+Shares+Updates+and+Answers+Parent+Questions+in+First+Chat+of+2022

Ethan Gotsch

Editor

In the first Principal’s Chat of 2022, Alexandria City High School Principal Peter Balas covered a wide range of topics, including the schedule for choosing next year’s classes, the recognition of the ACHS counselors by the American School Counselor Association, and the dates for prom and graduation for the Class of 2022.

Balas explained that guidance counselors will be meeting with current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in the coming weeks to choose their class schedules for next year. He mentioned that ACHS is considering offering American Sign Language (ASL) as a class in the coming year. While nothing has been finalized, faculty is looking at the resources needed to start the program. He also announced that a new German teacher has been hired to fill the vacant position. 

In response to a question about the status of Student Resource Officers (SROs), Mr. Balas said there are currently SROs in the school and they will be there for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year. 

“Obviously, I imagine there is going to be discussion on what’s next … I don’t know what happens after this academic year,” Mr. Balas said.

Balas announced that the prom date is May 7 and confirmed that the graduation date is June 4. 

With changes to mask mandates, questions arose concerning COVID-19 prevention in ACHS. Principal Balas assured parents that the vast majority of students still wear a mask on school premises; however, this Principal’s Chat took place before Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed Senate Bill 739, which allows parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates. One parent asked about the criteria determining whether the school had to go into virtual learning. According to Balas, the school monitors absences every day, so the school goes to virtual learning when there are too many absences to teach in-person. While staff absences were initially high after winter break, they have gone down back to normal rates.

According to Balas, Shutterfly announced that it had been affected by a data breach, which impacts Lifetouch, the vendor used for ACHS school yearbook photos. No additional information was available at the time.

With regard to the recent recognition of the school’s counselors, Mr. Balas said that ACHS is the largest school to receive the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) certification, an important achievement for the ACHS guidance counselors. The school had been collecting data for several years in order to be considered for recognition.

“To get certified by them as a recognized program is kind of the gold standard of school counseling,” Balas said. 

Photo by Ethan Gotsch

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Principal Shares Updates and Answers Parent Questions in First Chat of 2022