When you look closely at the test scores of this school, you see great variance, so the "Great School" average should be taken with a grain of salt. You can dig in more on the VDOE website. The teachers are outstanding and the principals have built a great culture from top to bottom. Teachers really tailor to meet kids at their level. The dual language has improved and is stronger for my younger child than my older. We value them knowing a second language and also the development that happens in the brain by learning a language so young. It is truly amazing to see in action. Having talked to people whose kids are older and went to the school, I think the school is much stronger than 5-10 years ago and even in our tenure, I've seen great improvement. Many children in Del Ray now go to the school--vs. private or leaving--and most parents are really pleased. The PTA is very dedicated and the new playground is exciting. It's truly a great school!
The teachers and office personnel are exemplary, but we had unhappy experiences which we will articulate after our child has left this school. Our advice: if you must utilize the public school system, place your child in the Maury School, which is several blocks away, or in the Lyles-Crouch School, which is not too far away. If you can afford to leave the public school system, place your child in one of the private schools on nearby Russell Road.
To give you an example of what they're turning our school systems into, two years ago (prior to a uniform policy being implemented) they sent home a flier asking the children to wear red shirts the next day, to exhibit solidarity with "the workers of the world." The next day was May Day, International Communism Day. I kid you not. If this doesn't make the hair stand up on your neck, nothing will.
Mount Vernon Community School is in many ways the center of the vital and engaged neighborhood of Del Ray in Alexandria, VA. The community is extremely supportive of the school, both financially and in terms of their connection to the school. The teachers are dedicated and there is very low staff turnover. A recent survey of staff had extremely high ratings by teachers about how they are supported, by both the school administration and parents. MVCS has a very active PTA. The dual language program is a plus, exposing children to this innovative way of learning. There is still work to do to bridge the socio-economic and other divides that exist among the student population, but there is lots of good will in doing that and creating a cohesive school community.
I chose Mount Vernon Community School because it has a dual language program. My daughter speaks both English and Spanish and I feel it is important to reinforce her Spanish fluency. I drive 20+ minutes every day and that does not bother me at all--I feel we have to give our children the most tools for them to be successful. I am really happy to have found a school where I want my daughter to grow and learn and that school is MVCS! The communication with the parents is wonderful, the PTA is outstanding and the leadership of the school principal, teachers and staff is remarkable. We would be even better if we did not have some very negative parents who seem to object to just about everything--from policies to uniforms. Nevertheless we are really happy to be part of the community of Mount Vernon Community School.
We did our research and decided not to ditch Alexandria City once our daughter was school age and we're so glad/relieved/appreciative we didn't make a mad dash for the suburbs! She just finished her kindergarten year in the Spanish immersion program and we could not have dreamed up better teachers and not just for her, we found that the teachers really brought out the strengths in all of the students. This school really is a real-deal community school with the parents and administration harmoniously involved. Coming from a co-operative preschool, we understand how important community involvement is for our children. It takes a village!
This school is undergoing a lot of change, but has a very dedicated and enthusiastic staff. The principal is very engaged and has a clear vision of where he wants to go, while involving parents and the community in the decision-making.