Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale met teachers and greeted students Tuesday morning during the first day of school at .
Dale said Bryant and the county’s other alternative high schools play a crucial role in helping educate all students, including those who don’t fit well in traditional schools.
“Our quest is to make sure that every one of our kids graduates from high school, but it’s not the same path for everybody,” Dale told Patch. “And we have to recognize that and find alternative paths for kids who have a variety of circumstances, whether it’s misbehavior, or they need smaller classes, individualized attention.
“Whatever their individual circumstances are, our quest is to try to provide that kind of system for them for them to be able to graduate. So that’s why this is so critical.”
Principal Larry Jones was all smiles during Dale’s visit.
“I feel special," he said, "because he took the time, and out of 200-some schools, he chose Bryant Alternative High School to come to, which I think is very important because our students really have some challenges, and we try to motivate them and encourage them to come to school, and to see the division superintendent, I think that’s a good thing on the first day."
The school currently has about 320 students, but an open enrollment policy means new students arrive every two weeks. The classrooms Dale visited Tuesday included a program for pregnant teens, a class for English-language learners, gym class and an English classroom.
Also touring Bryant Tuesday was Fairfax County School Board member Dan Storck, who represents the Mount Vernon District.
“[The visit] shows that Dr. Dale understands that education isn’t just about what we do at our regular high schools and middle schools and elementary schools, but it’s about what we need to do to meet all kids’ needs for an education,” Storck said. “And every child has different needs. And the superintendent coming here really recognizes, highlights the fact that each child needs to be in a setting and a surrounding, and an environment, that helps them reach their full potential.
“For many of our kids, Bryant High School is the place for them, exactly the right place for them.”