The professional atmosphere at Fort Hunt Elementary School in Alexandria was recently described as "toxic" by teachers and parents, according to a recent story by The Washington Post.
About 40 percent of the school's instructional staff left Fort Hunt ES over the summer vacation for new jobs, but Principal Barbara Leibbrandt and Assistant Superintendent Deborah Tyler said in a letter to faculty and family that they are still committed to the school.
“We have a great school,” Leibbrandt wrote in the letter. “Yes, we do have challenges, but together we will address them.”
Previously, teachers told The Washington Post that the environment at the Alexandria school was also negatively affecting students. One parent who asked to remain anonymous said the divisiveness among staff is a huge issue at the school.
FCPS data shows that the turnover rate at Fort Hunt ES after the 2010-11 school year was 22 percent. The turnover rate increased to 24 percent in 2011-12 and increased even more to 40 percent after this past school year when 22 staff members left.
“Turnover occurs every year at every school,” said John Torre with FCPS in a statement. “We cannot discuss specific personnel matters at Fort Hunt, but teachers and other instructional personnel leave for a variety of reasons.”
In the letter distributed at the beginning of the school year, Tyler explained that she supports the school and its students.
“Each child at Fort Hunt Elementary School deserves our unwavering collective effort as the adults who will serve as examples to set a limitless course for their future,” Tyler wrote. “I urge you to continue communicating with me as we work together to support this school.”