ACPS Weapons Abatement System Survey

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is continuing to enhance its safety and security measures in all schools. As a next step, we are engaging our students, families, and school community so we can hear stakeholders’ views on the installation of weapons screening equipment within our schools as an additional measure.

At the beginning of the year, we added several measures to address safety and security in our schools. Our team has continued throughout this year to explore additional preventive measures and has proposed the use of weapons screening equipment. This equipment uses engineering and artificial intelligence to scan individuals (as they walk through the equipment) for the purpose of finding concealed items, some of which may be weapons threats. The look of the equipment is similar to the screeners used in stores or in libraries.

We encourage you to complete this quick survey so we can hear your thoughts regarding this proposed initiative. Thank you for being our partner in making our schools safe and secure. The survey can be accessed here.

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Project Red Rover Robotics Program

Our friends at the Alexandria Mentoring Partnership asked that we share an amazing opportunity offered through the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. Geared toward middle schoolers and up, this FREE program will allow students to dive into exploring robotics, engineering, and coding through a Mars mission. Register here to learn how to build program and automate a Vex IQ robot to survey an area with your peers and Virginia Tech undergraduate and graduate students. The event will be held on March 6-8 (@AlexRenew, Limerick Street, Alexandria) and March 9 (@Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson Street, Alexandria) from 3:30pm-5:30pm. Transportation will be provided to the location.

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GWMS Chorus Boosters Fundraiser 3/7

Please show your support for the GWMS Chorus Boosters through their fundraising event at Chipotle Potomac Yards this Tuesday, March 7 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. You can show the attached flyer (English and Spanish) or use code LE62CDD on your online order.


Spanish Cuisine Dishes Requested for Ms. James

Does your child attend Spanish with Ms. James? Two of her classes are working on a project about Spanish Cuisine by region. Part of their presentation includes a recipe and food samples. For this project, Ms. James will invite people outside the classroom since students are required to present to an audience.

Even though the students will bring a dish, Ms. James is requesting parents to also bring and share Spanish dishes like tapas, brochette, Spanish omelette, or churros to share with the audience. The activity will be held in the library on March 16 from 10:40 am to 12 noon. The link to sign up is here:

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PTAC Summer Camp Directory

The PTAC Summer Camp Directory is here! The Directory will be updated throughout the spring as camps finalize their plans. The most recent version will always be shared on the PTAC website here:


Titan Lacrosse Mulch Sale 3/18

Saturday, March 18, 2023
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Baptist Church (2932 King Street)

40 lb. bags just $6.00 each
Delivery for any size order $30.00
3 cubic feet of premium, organic, shredded hardwood mulch

DELIVERY on Saturday, March 18. Fill out the delivery instructions when you order. Alexandria City delivery only.

FREE LOADING at the parking lot of First Baptist Church 2932 King Street on Saturday, March 18 between 8 a.m. & 4 p.m.  Donations suggested to support girls/boys lacrosse.

Order online or make a donation at by Friday, March 10th or pick up on day of sale (until it’s gone!)

To pay by check or with any questions or comments:


A Message from our PTA President

Did you miss our PTA meeting last week? No problem! You can view the livestream at the GWMS PTA Facebook site. Ms. Bendinelli, assistant director of school counseling at Minnie Howard, presented great information for our rising 9th grade families. Mr. Hayes from Alexandria City’s Complete Streets Program talked about the safe routes to school audit for GWMS. Ms. Vinson provided her Principal’s update and our School Board representative, Mr. Willie Bailey, gave insight into the ACPS Budget. And our PTA Officers talked about all the great things the PTA is doing to support our students and staff.

A note from our Hospitality Chair, Greta Gordon: Thank you, GW parents and families for contributing to our Teachers Conferences dinner on Thursday! We had lots and lots of grateful teachers, and lots and lots of smiles and thank you’s! Thanks to Café Pizzaiolo for handling the bulk of the dinner, and to parents for contributing fruit, salad, bread, pasta dishes, desserts, and seltzers. Thank you to the parents who helped set-up, serve/oversee and clean-up. Team effort for the win! Thank you, GW teachers and staff for all you do every day! Shout out to the following Honor Roll of Volunteers parents:

  • Teri Gennarelli
  • Robert Knotts
  • Emily Garrahan
  • Melanie Peterson
  • Lara Payne
  • The McCommons Family
  • Jill Koly
  • April Bryant
  • Kathryn Holloman
  • Cori Woods
  • Matt Mulder
  • Bernadetter Fernandez
  • Elizabth Salgado
  • Meredith Sawyer
  • Cindy Ferrier
  • Sarah Mehaffey
  • Sandy Heenan
  • June Shih
  • Amy Ernst
  • Jennifer Lay
  • Ashley Lombardi
  • Brooke Lombardi

This week is Bus Drivers Appreciation week and we’d love to help handing out treats to our bus drivers on Friday, February 24th. If you can help from 7:15 am to 8:30 am, please let Joy know at [email protected].

Finally, last week our VP of Fundraising informed our community that our Honor Roll of Donors Campaign had not reached its goal this year and asked the community to consider a donation. We received $1,170 in donations! Huge thank you to our new additions to our Honor Roll of Donors:

  • Pamela Townsend
  • Mary Lutz
  • Anna Dvorchik
  • Andrew Corso
  • Alexander St Clair
  • Meghan Knott
  • Tara Kilfoyle
  • Jill Koly
  • Heather Stouffer
  • Greta Gordon
  • Lara Griffy

We want to keep funding teacher grants, social events, PBIS, and teacher appreciation. The first 50 people who donate $100 or more through Honor Roll of Donors are eligible to win $2,500 in landscaping from Del Ray Landscapes; so far, we only have 37 eligible donations. Please donate $100 or more and get us to 50!

Joy Pochatila
GWMS PTA President 2022-2023


Equity for All Survey

Taking the Equity for all Climate Survey survey assists ACPS in attaining an equitable learning environment in keeping with the goals set in the 2025 Strategic Plan. Please take the survey today!


Interested in Serving on PTAC?

Alexandria’s Council of PTAs (PTAC) is looking for new leaders to serve next school year. If you are interested, please reach out to past president, Maureen McNulty.


ACPS School Board Advisory Committees

The ACPS School Board is looking for new people to sit on their Board Advisory Committees. There are a variety of committees that need invested community members to fulfill their goals. The current committees include: Budget Advisory Committee, Athletic Hall of Fame Advisory Committee, Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee, School Health Advisory Board, Special Education Advisory Committee, and the Talented and Gifted Advisory Committee.

The process to join is easy:

  1. Choose a topic that strikes a chord with you.
  2. Attend a meeting of the committee in which you are interested and meet the committee chair and its members.
  3. Submit an application online if you find a committee that is a good fit.

Alexandria Mentoring Partnership (AMP)

The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership (AMP) is looking for new mentors. Do you know someone who would make a good mentor? No prior experience is required, and AMP provides extensive training on how to be an effective mentor. If you are interested in mentoring a child for at least one hour a week, submit a Mentor Interest Form, or contact the AMP Coordinator David Ulloa at 703.403.4218 or by email at [email protected]


Alexandria PTA Read-Aloud Event on 3/2

The Alexandria PTA is having a read aloud event Thursday, March 2nd.  Record yourself reading a book before 3/1 and send it in to PTAC ( They will submit all of our stories to Virginia PTA.  Books read in different languages would be GREAT too!


From the Alexandria PTA Council

Thank you to those who shared their concerns about the ACPS Fiscal Year 2024 Combined Funds Budget with us. Attached please find PTAC’s letter to the School Board addressing many of those concerns, including recruitment and retention of high-quality staff, improving school safety, and providing robust mental health services to students. The City Council also received a copy.

We encourage our GWMS community to offer your feedback to the School Board and City Council: School Board here and the City Council here.


A Message from our VP of Fundraising

GW Community, despite multiple fundraising events in the fall, our fundraising numbers are 25% lower than last year at this time.  We have raised 45% of our Honor Roll of Donors goal. If numbers don’t increase, the PTA will have to start amending the budget and decrease funding important programs. We all want teacher grants, social events, PBIS, and teacher appreciation to continue. The first 50 people who donate $100 or more through Honor Roll of Donors are eligible to win $2,500 in landscaping from Del Ray Landscapes; so far, we only have 31 eligible donations. Please donate $100 or more and get us to 50!

Jenny Ware
GWMS VP Fundraising 2022-2023


A Message from our PTA President

This past week we honored our incredible GWMS School Counseling Team and delivered treats from Great Harvest Bread as a thank you for their hard work throughout the year.  They spent most of last week hosting rising 6th graders and their families, as well as helping our current students transition into the next year.  If you have any questions, Mr. Forbes and his team is always available to assist.

The PTA Hospitality Committee, headed by Greta Gordon, is hosting dinner for our teachers and staff THIS THURSDAY, February 16th, during parent teacher conferences.  We have over 160 teachers and staff, so this event is a BIG undertaking and we need A LOT of help. Have a great pasta dish or salad recipe?  Have an hour to spare to thank our teachers?  Please see Greta’s note below on how you can help.

The 8th Grade Social Committee has started planning. Debbie Altenburg is the chair, and if you would like to help plan the 8th grade end-of-year events, please contact her: [email protected].  The TENTATIVE dates for the 8th grade events are:
June 9th – Field Trip / King’s Dominion
June 12th – Field Day
June 13th – Dance
June 14th – Graduation

The PTA also hosts end-of-year socials for the 6th and 7th grades. If you’d like to help with the planning of those events, please contact the chairs below:
6th Grade Social/Events
Terra Liddell – [email protected]
7th Grade Social/Events
Ashley Lombardi-
Soledad Pellegrini –

Don’t miss our February GWMS PTA meeting on February 14th!  We have two speakers, including Ms. Bendinelli, lead school counselor at the Minnie Howard campus of ACHS, who will join us to answer questions and offer guidance to our rising 9th grade families. Also, Mr. Hayes, Complete Streets Coordinator from the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, will share the results of the Safe Routes to School Walk Audits, specific to GWMS.  The meeting will be live-streamed on our Facebook page and you can also connect via Zoom. Please see the meeting agenda here and the meeting minutes for the December meeting here.

From Bryan Hayes: The City of Alexandria is conducting Walk Audits at select schools in 2023 as part of its Safe Routes to School Program. These Walk Audits will identify infrastructure improvements that can make it safer for students and families to walk and bike to school. City staff will present on the Walk Audits and encourage parents, students, and members of the school community to participate by sharing their thoughts on an online form.

Joy Pochatila
GWMS PTA President 2022-2023


Staff Dinner Volunteers Needed – Feb. 16

GWMS PTA will be providing dinner to teachers on Thursday, February 16th from 5:00 to 5:40pm. Please review the available slots and sign up! Café Pizzaiolo will be providing most of the meal, and we hope to supplement with parent/family donations. Questions? Please contact Greta Gordon. Thank you for helping out!


A Message from our PTA President

The GWMS PTA started last week by celebrating VA Principal Appreciation Week with a shout out to Ms. Jeanette Vinson. We are so grateful she took the lead last month and will continue to guide our students, teachers, staff, and families. THANK YOU, MS. VINSON!

The PTA would also like to provide everyone with an important update regarding the construction of a security vestibule at GWMS. We want to thank ALL of our parents, community members, PTAC, and School Board members for your continued advocacy to move the construction date for the vestibule from FY24 into current FY. We have terrific news from Dr. Alicia Hart, Chief of Facilities and Operations, Alexandria City Public Schools: “The design for the vestibule is ongoing and should be completed (to include construction documents) in the coming weeks. From that point, construction can commence.  Anticipated completion for the vestibule is spring 2023, as most of this work would need to occur during off-hours or long breaks to reduce impact to the instructional day.”  As always, the PTA will continue to monitor progress and provide any updates to our community. And again, thank you to everyone who helped move the ball forward!

It’s academic advising time!  Open houses and advisory sessions are scheduled! Please take note of the information for rising 9th graders and rising 6th graders as students will be working with GWMS, Minnie Howard, and current elementary school counselors to offer guidance on course selection.  Additionally, Ms. Bendinelli, lead school counselor at the Minnie Howard campus of ACHS, will join us to answer questions and offer guidance to our rising 9th grade families at our next PTA meeting on Tuesday, February 14th at 7 pm.  Mark your calendars!

Joy Pochatila
GWMS PTA President 2022-2023


Rising ACPS 9th Grade Students

Please join us on Monday, February 6, 2023, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Alexandria City High School, King Street campus for our Academic Orientation & Curriculum Night.  This annual event serves as the kick-off for the academic advising and the course selection process for the upcoming school year. Throughout the evening, students and their families can roam through our Course Fair to learn more about the many courses we have available at ACHS.  Teachers and students will be on hand to showcase their talents and answer your questions. The Elective Fair is held in the cafeteria and opens at 5:30 p.m.

Titans Rising: Welcome Class of 2027 (Rising 9th Grade Students)

We know the transition to high school is both exciting and scary, so our evening will begin with a presentation geared just for rising ninth grade students and their families. The Minnie Howard Campus counselors will guide you through high school graduation requirements, course offerings and sequencing.

In addition to having the opportunity to learn about specific programs and elective course offerings.  Students and families can also attend presentations to learn more about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy, the Governor’s Health Sciences Academy at Alexandria City High School and more!

See Flyers and Letters for more information:

  1. English and Spanish PDF Flyers
  2. Spanish Letter
  3. Amharic Letter & Amharic Flyer
  4. Arabic Letter & Arabic Flyer
  5. Dari Letter & Dari Flyer

Rising 6th Grade Students

Mark your calendars! Academic advisement season is right around the corner! This is a time where we introduce rising 6th grade students and caregivers to our wonderful school! Students new to G.W. or current private school students and caregivers may also attend any of our events. We are offering three Open Houses specifically for parents/caregivers with the first Open House being held on February 7, 2023 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. The remaining Open Houses will take place, February 28 and March 21, 2023. Parents should plan to attend one of the Open Houses.

The Electives Fair will take place on Wednesday, February 8 at 5:30 p.m. This Fair will provide families an opportunity to learn more about our wide variety of elective course options. Families will have a chance to meet elective teachers, learn about course expectations and curriculum, see student demonstrations and ask questions! This event is open to students and parents/caregivers.

Current 5th grade students will also be visiting G.W. February 22-24, 2023. Students will learn about course offerings, school structure/bell schedule, sports/clubs, and get to tour the school from currently enrolled G.W. students!

Students will meet with their current school counselor from February 6- March 31, 2023 to select their courses for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. This is a time of self-reflection. It is a time to imagine the possibilities of the future by exploring interests and skills; it is a time for career exploration. The courses students take in middle and high school will have a life-long impact; therefore, ask questions and seek support. Throughout the academic advisement season and beyond, we are here to support our future G.W. Prexies!

Please do not hesitate to contact your school counselor should you have questions.


Support the GWMS Band Boosters

The Band Boosters program is looking for your support and it couldn’t be any easier or more delicious!

Our upcoming fundraiser is with Fresh Baguette in Alexandria at 1101 King St on the corner with N. Henry St.  It will run for an entire week from Monday, January 30 through Sunday, February 5. If you have not yet tried their wide assortment of wonderful offerings, you are in for a treat! They offer delicious breads, delectable French pastries and desserts, quiches, sandwiches, and salads. In addition to picking up breads, croissants, and cro’gels (cross between a bagel and croissant) for your family and friends, consider:

  • meeting a friend or colleague for breakfast or lunch (location offers some indoor and outdoor seating; or
  • ordering pastries or breakfast/lunch catering for a business/work meeting; or
  • ordering a cake for a birthday or other special occasion.

There are many ways to fill your week with delicious foods from Fresh Baguette and support our Band.  We will receive 15% of all sales in-person, online, or by app.  Mention the GWMS Band Boosters when ordering in person, or online, enter “GWBB” for the coupon code at checkout.