T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., is the crown jewel of the city's public school system, a state-of-the-art facility that cost taxpayers $100 million, but school administrators said that's not helping about a quarter of the student body.
Officials announced today that they will accept the "unfortunate" label from Virginia's Department of Education as being "a persistently lowest-achieving school." The unflattering designation is seen by officials as a trade off for more federal funds.
"We got a little wake up call here. We’re still pretty good, but what's pretty good?" said T.C. Williams principal William Clendaniel. "You don’t want a high school that’s pretty good, you want a great high school."
T.C.Williams' inferior designation could come with a handsome payoff. School officials said roughly $500,000 in federal monies could come to the school to help close the achievement gap.
"We look at it as an opportunity a way of saying we can do better," said Superintendent Morton Sherman. "There's one of every four of our kids who can't pass an 11th grade math test."
The designation of "lowest achieving school" also provides the superintendent with four options. One option would allow Sherman to fire half of the T.C. Williams faculty. But the superintendent said the additional funds will help the school to add comprehensive instructional programs and extended learning time.