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- [email protected]
Soledad Pellegrini – [email protected]

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.


Spring Sports Tryouts for ACHS for GW 8th Graders

Current 8th grade students at GWMS are eligible to tryout for, and compete on, the ACHS teams.  The tryout dates for spring sports are Feb 21 to Feb 23, but the packet paperwork for tryouts is due January 31st.  Spring sports include baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, rowing, and rugby.  Please see this link for an overview:


Yearbook Orders

The GWMS Compass, our yearbook, consists of 80 pages of full color student portraits, staff portraits, learning activities, extra-curricular activities and photographs of our amazing school.
Pre-ordering the GWMS Compass:
Sign in:
Yearbook ID Code:
Complete the order form and pay online. Yearbooks will be delivered to the school and distributed to your student.


A Message from our PTA President

Our season of giving and gratitude continues for the GWMS PTA. Thank you to everyone who supported the Hard Times Café restaurant night last month. If you would like to show your gratitude this month, there are plenty of opportunities in the two weeks left before winter break. You can volunteer to help at the staff breakfast on December 9th or support the Hooray for Books! fundraiser on December 9th through 11th.  Rocket Fizz is also dedicating 10% of sales to the GWMS PTA on Monday, December 19th. The GWMS PTA kicked off our Honor Roll of Donors campaign last week, so don’t forget the GWMS PTA in your planned giving this year. Be one of the first donors for your chance to win a $2,500 credit for design and installation of a native- or storm water-based garden from Del Ray Landscapes.  The campaign ends December 17th.  See below for more details

Joy Pochatila
GWMS PTA President 2022-2023


Rocket Fizz Fundraiser

Need birthday and holiday gifts?  Visit Fairlington’s favorite middle school hot spot, Rocket Fizz, on December 19th and let them know you are shopping for the GWMS PTA and 10% of your sale will be donated to the PTA.


A Message from our PTA President

Welcome back from Thanksgiving Break! There is so much for which the GWMS PTA is grateful!  A big thanks to all the volunteers that donated their time to the PBIS store, the families who donated Halloween candy to our fabulous teachers and staff, to the folks who participated in our Glory Days fundraiser, and to Mom’s Organic Market, our newest business sponsor!

If you would like to show your gratitude this month, there are plenty of opportunities in the three short weeks left before winter break.  You can volunteer to help at the staff breakfast on December 9th or support the Hooray for Books! fundraiser on December 9th through 11th.  The GWMS PTA is also kicking off our Honor Roll of Donors campaign this week, so don’t forget the GWMS PTA in your planned giving this year.  Be one of the first donors for your chance to win a $2,500 credit for design and installation of a native- or stormwater-based garden from Del Ray Landscapes.  The campaign ends December 17th.  See below for more details

Joy Pochatila
GWMS PTA President 2022-2023


Giving Tuesday: Honor Roll of Donors Campaign

Dear Prexie Families and Friends:

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday and the GWMS PTA is kicking off the Honor Roll of Donors Campaign for the 2022-2023 School Year!  Our goal is to raise $12,000 between now and December 17th.

The PTA exists to support our children, faculty, and administrators – and every dollar you contribute assists in that effort. Your generous contributions allow the PTA to support GWMS teachers, staff, and families in important ways, including funding for teacher grants, teacher and staff appreciation events, end-of-year socials for all grades, and the family emergency fund.

Our first goal is to raise $4,000 for our teacher grant fund by Monday, December 5th. What do teacher grants fund? So far, the PTA has purchased Lego robotics equipment for Mr. Clemmons and Spanish edition literature (such as Julius Caesar, Fahrenheit 451, and Animal Farm) for Ms. Vitale’s 8th grade class. Teachers have used the grants to fund special experiences for their classes or to celebrate student achievement. Let’s make sure we continue to fund these great ideas!

Del Ray Landscapes is offering a huge incentive for giving early – the first 50 donations of $100 or more will enter a drawing for a $2,500 credit for design and installation of a native- or stormwater-based garden! Every $100 donation gets you a chance to win.  So, if you donate $200, you’ll get two chances to win…$500 gets you five chances.

Please consider giving this Tuesday to the GWMS PTA so that we can continue to support MORE programs, opportunities, and the needs of our children, faculty, and administrators.

To recognize the generosity of our families and friends, donor names will be listed in the Honor Roll of Donors and posted on the GWMS PTA website and published each week in the Town Crier. Donors can opt out of this recognition if they choose.  ALL DONORS will be recognized in our Honor Roll of Donors, no matter the amount of the contribution.

All contributions are TAX-FREE and you can donate using this link:

We appreciate your support for our wonderful school!

Jenny Ware
GWMS VP Fundraising, 2022-2023


Hooray for Books! Book Fair Dec. 9-11

Need gift ideas? Hooray for Books! (1555 King St.) has an extensive selection of books and employees who are happy to offer great suggestions. They will donate 20% of sales to the GW PTA. Come stock up for holiday and birthday gifts!


GWU Health Sciences Academy Webinar 12/7

Are you a rising 9th grader? Are you interested in a career in the health science field? If you answered yes, then attend an information session and learn more about the program pathways:

  • Biotechnology/Health Informatics
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Nursing
  • Sports Medicine
  • Surgical

The Governor’s Health Sciences Academy is an ACPS partnership with the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The information session will be held on Wednesday, December 7 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually; please use the following link to access the meeting. See attached flyer for more information.


Volunteers Needed for Staff Breakfast!

It’s time to show our appreciation and give thanks for our teachers and staff! Please consider participating in our December edition of the GWMS PTA teacher appreciation breakfast. Every month the PTA treats our hardworking teachers and staff to coffee, juice, and a light breakfast. Please sign up to contribute items and/or volunteer for this month’s breakfast on Friday, December 9th. You can deliver your items to the school library on Friday morning around 7:15 am.


Update on GW Security Vestibule

Joy Pochatila (GWMS PTA President) attended the school board public hearing on Monday, November 14th to advocate for the Board to fully fund and accelerate the timeline of the construction of the security vestibule at GWMS. The Board also held a work session with City Staff after the hearing to ask follow-up questions. The following are a few points we wanted to share with our membership:

  • The funding for construction of the security vestibule was added to the CIP FY24 budget, meaning the earliest construction would begin is July 2024.  Mr. Finnigan, Director of Education Facilities, confirmed that design of the vestibule has already begun.
  • Willie Bailey, Ashley Simpson Baird, and Kelly Carmichael Booz all asked City Staff to move the funding of construction of the vestibule into this FY/school year (FY23).  Dr. Hart, Chief of Facilities and Operations, acknowledged the request and asked the School Board to identify which projects would be defunded in order to add the new budget item to this year.
  • Dr. Simpson Baird asked Dr. Hart to find a temporary plan to increase safety and security at the entrance, specifically measures that can be taken now through when construction can happen.

The GWMS PTA Executive Committee, as well as Alexandria PTAC, will send follow-up letters to the School Board and City Staff, asking for a status for both the temporary solutions to increase security and the funding for the construction of the vestibule. The Executive Committee will also encourage City Staff to seek input from GWMS Staff.

If you would like to hear the comments from the work session, the link is below and you can forward to minute 21:52 for Willie Bailey’s comments, followed by Ashley Simpson Baird and Kelly Carmichael Booz.  Overall, the discussion lasts about 6 minutes.

The public hearing session link is below and GWMS PTA comments are at minute 8:55. There were also written comments from two parents that were also submitted and read at the end of the hearing:


Congratulations to the GWMS Teacher of the Year!

A note from Dr. Mazur: I’m overjoyed to announce the GWMS Teacher of the Year Nominee…None other than our dynamic Spanish Teacher, Educational Justice warrior, Ms. Ifeoluwa Osuntokun (Salako). Since, her arrival to our school, Ms. Osuntokun has made an impact that extends beyond Spanish Instruction. She is a deep thinker, an artist, a musician, a brilliant collaborator, and an ardent supporter of justice, equality, equity, and cultural knowledges that bridge and bind people together in the spirit of creating a more just place for all. I’m super proud of Ms. Osuntokun, and I know our community shares this sentiment. Ms. Osuntokun will be submitted to compete with teacher nominees from other ACPS schools for the ACPS Teacher of the Year award.


Congratulations to Reflections Contest Winners!

Congratulations to all 88 GW Middle School students who participated in the 2022 PTA Reflections Art Contest – every single entry is a winner! The artwork of four students received first place in their respective categories (Literature, Photography, Music, Visual Arts) and have been submitted to the city and will now be evaluated by a panel of judges selected by the city of Alexandria. Reflections is a national competition through which student artwork can advance through city and state levels to the national competition.

Students who received first place include:



Title of Artwork Category Place
Alan van der Sluis


Dear Mr. Hippocrates… Literature 1st Place
Zoe Foster


Musical Voice Photography 1st Place
Sadie Szamosfalvi


Hollie Pollan Music 1st Place
Yoonji Oh


Imperfections Visual arts 1st Place

We are so proud of all of our GWMS Student participants. Our students demonstrated their vibrant talents across a number of categories. While 4 participants move on to the next level of the competition, and for that we are proud and wish you nothing but the best, all of our students deserve praise and recognition for their excellence:

Genevieve Dalton
Sadie Szamosfalvi
Ava S Hudson

Amelia Ruth Parks
Addison Rahn

Visual Arts:
Abigail Shewchuk
Adam Mughloo
Adella Perkal – 7th place (tie)
Adrian Velasro Caustedo
Adur Iglesias
Aidan Heinsius
Alayja Amet
Aleisha Thaggash
Alina Rehman
Amelia Ruth Parks – 5th place
Andrea Cruz
Angie Alvasenga
Anna Knott
Annette Bawcombe – 6th place
Anthony Cubias
Antonia Montes de Oca
Aziz Alakkad
Blaine Page
Caries Diaz Hernandez
Celia Schultz
Claire Nusz
Dahae Meserole
Danny Ortiz
Darragh “Quill” Hopfensperger
Domenica Vargas
Elena Salgado
Elias Hampton
Elija Jachi Chukwuamin
Elmer Rameriz
Emma Lynch
Estella Hinton
Fiona Barnett
Francis Gress
Freya Montes de Oca
Georgiana McCracken Marquis
Grace Wensing
Hailey Kerr
Ingrid Schildknecht
Isabelle Lara – 4th place
Jacob Dvorchik
Jasmin Lopez
Jennnifer Lee Maldonado
Jillianne Mtunguja
Jonathan Abebe
Josephine Kline – 9th place
Josie Dickerson
Kamila Carranza
Madelynn Diaz Villatoro
Maeve Harris
Margaret Bryne
Margaret Sowen
Marlo Vogel
Matías Church Ovalle
Melanie Maultsby – 2nd place
Michael Newman
Naomi Ortiz
Nathania My-Love
Nicholas Suarez-Salinos
Noah Dvorchik
Olivia Grajales
Olivia Smallman
Phoebe Trabb
Reika Aida – 3rd place
Reyna Mendez
Sachin Pippin Mather
Scarlette Eliah
Sean McBride – 7th place (tie)
Sebastian Feitl
Sena Aweke
Siena Lester – 10th place
Sinead Baron
Sofia Reyes
Sophia Chavez
Sophia Coleman
Vaughn Anthony Gibbons
Yasmin Algalatani
Zoe Aiden Bergeland
Zoe Cohn

The PTA  and Dr. Mazur thank all the students! Continue to pursue your passions and broaden your interests. Please remember that  these experiences represent opportunities for you to grow and discover new talents and avenues of personal expression! We are proud of you all!!!