The program, which has the goal of giving each 2nd-12th grade student a tablet or laptop for school use by 2017, was rolled out last year with little fanfare. There were no APS press releases or public announcements, and ARLnow.com only found out about some of the details thanks to tips from parents who were seeking more information on the schools system’s plans.
While some criticized the lack of transparency and the idea of school-issued computers for students, there is little denying that the move comes at a time when the younger generation is increasingly “digital native” — 72 percent of children age 8 and under, and 38 percent of children under 2, have used a mobile device for a media-related activity, according to one study cited by APS.
Today’s students are accustomed to reading, watching, writing, discovering and communicating on phones, tablets and computers. To supporters, it seems natural to transition from the age of pencils, paper and textbooks in schools to one increasingly reliant on computing devices. Additionally, supporters say providing each student with a device, much like schools currently provide textbooks, will ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t get left behind.
APS has now set up a Digital Learning web page and recently started producing a “#digitalAPS” video series, in part to make its case for technology in the classrooms. This week, ARLnow.com asked APS about where the digital learning initiative stands now and what future plans are for adding more laptops and tablets.
Arlington Public Schools is currently leasing 3,800 Apple iPad Airs for one grade level per elementary school (mostly 2nd-4th grade) and for middle schools (mostly 6th grade), according to school spokeswoman Jennifer Harris. Another 1,700 Apple MacBook Airs were leased for 9th graders. The annual leasing cost: approximately $400,000, or less than $73 per device, which comes out of APS’ $2.1 million technology replacement fund.
(APS expects to have about 20,000 2nd-12th grade students enrolled this fall.)
Individual schools are able to decide whether to allow students to take the devices home or leave them in school, according to Harris. As for what sort of instruction is taking place with the devices, Harris said that there are a “wide variety of examples where technology supports instruction,” and referred us to the three videos in the #digitalAPS series.
“We are using technology purposefully, not just for the sake of using technology,” Harris said. “Our focus is integrating it as an important strategy to support the teaching and learning process.”
More laptops and tablets — iPads for elementary and middle school, MacBooks for high school — are expected to be rolled out on an annual basis until all levels from 2nd to 12th grade have their own device. APS has previously set the goal of each eligible student having a device by 2017.
Harris did not specifically address a question about whether someday students will be reading digital-only textbooks from their devices, saving the school system money on physical books. She did, however, quote the following passage from this APS document.
The words of John Dewey best frame our challenge: “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” Arlington Public Schools is committed to providing all of our students with the learning benefits of a personalized education that will lead them to successful and accomplished tomorrows.
Police say a homeowner on the 700 block of N. Lincoln Street awoke around 2:00 a.m. Saturday, went downstairs to let his dog outside and discovered a man he did not known passed out on his dining room floor, covered in vomit.
The homeowner attempted, unsuccessfully, to wake the man up. He then called police.
“The subject was highly intoxicated and confused,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “He was unable to stand on his own.”
The man was transported to Virginia Hospital Center, then arrested upon being released. Matthew Needles, 22, was charged with unlawful entry and felony destruction of property — for allegedly destroying a rug worth more than $1,000.
Police say Needles admitted that he had been drinking at Mister Days the night before. He didn’t know how he got into the house, Sternbeck said.
Police say they caught a man they suspect of breaking into dozens of cars in Rosslyn “red-handed” over the weekend.
The arrest happened around 1:40 a.m. Saturday, on the 1100 block of Wilson Blvd.
Arlington County police officers were conducting a plainclothes detail in Rosslyn, in response to the break-ins, when they spotted a man who looked like a “person of interest” seen in earlier security camera images.
The man, 54-year-old Antoine Kennedy, was “caught red-handed attempting to break into a vehicle with a screwdriver,” according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Kennedy, who is homeless and was known to stay in the Rosslyn area, is suspected of “at least 50 vehicle break-ins in the month of February,” Sternbeck said. Police are continuing to investigate whether Kennedy might have been responsible for even more break-ins.
Kennedy has been charged with habitual petit larceny, possession of burglarious tools and felony destruction of property. He was held without bond.
Snow Chance Today — Arlington may get some snow, sleet and freezing rain this afternoon. The area is under a Winter Weather Advisory, although forecasters think areas north and west of Arlington are at more of a risk of wintry weather and slippery roads. [Weather.com]
Two Dems Running for School Board – The deadline for candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement for school board was last night and two candidates filed before the deadline: Reid Goldstein and Sharon Dorsey. The Arlington County Democratic Committee will hold its school board caucus on May 14 and 16.
Opower Losing Money, Hiring — Courthouse-based Opower, a publicly-traded energy software company, reported its latest financial results yesterday. For 2014, the company reported $128.4 million in revenue, a 45 percent increase over 2013. Its operating loss was $40.8 million. The company is continuing its hiring spree, adding employees locally and at its offices in London, San Francisco, Tokyo and Singapore. [DC Inno, Yahoo Finance]
Armed Bank Robbery in Falls Church — A Wells Fargo bank in Falls Church was robbed yesterday by two armed men known as the “Black Hat Bandits.” The men are suspected of robbing seven other banks around the D.C. area. Arlington County police assisted Falls Church police in looking for the suspects immediately after the robbery. [Falls Church News-Press]
Old Map of Arlington — An 18th century map of what is now Arlington County shows mills along Four Mile Run and the “Road To The Falls,” known now as Glebe Road. [Ghosts of DC]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The “tacos, tequila and beer” spot will be opening in the former Eventide space at 3165 Wilson Blvd. Scott Parker, one of five partners in the business, says Don Tito should officially open to the public on Sunday, March 15, with a “soft opening” starting perhaps as soon as Wednesday, March 11.
Interior work is still underway, but should be wrapping up before the soft opening. The establishment’s exterior sign is expected to arrive this coming Thursday.
Parker says Don Tito will be different than A-Town Bar and Grill, the popular but sometimes rowdy Ballston bar that’s owned by the same group.
“[Don Tito] will have more of a lounge feel to it,” Parker said. “It will be a good place to have a good time and drink but it won’t be as much of a party atmosphere.”
He added that Don Tito will have a bit more of an emphasis on food compared to A-Town.
Parker said retrofitting the former Eventide space went “as well as could be expected.” Patrons can expect a “cantina look” inside, with a lot of exposed brick, wood grain and two bars on the rooftop.
The roof will open when the weather allows, he said.
The former Blanca’s Restaurant at 2900 Columbia Pike may be getting a makeover in an attempt to attract a new restaurant tenant.
The aging, two-story structure sits on the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive, dwarfed by the adjacent Halstead apartment building. It has been vacant for years, despite the high-profile location across from the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse.
In recent years, the building has been toured a couple of times by potential tenants, including the owners of a popular north Arlington coffee shop and gathering spot, but the poor condition of the interior and other expensive challenges have been viewed as obstacles to opening in the space.
Now, we’re told, the siblings who own the building are planning to renovate in order to jump start the process of finding a tenant. Since December, Ramon and William Darcey have been applying for various building, electrical and other permits. So far, most of those permit applications have been rejected.
The permits detail ambitious plans to renovate the interior, expand the second floor, install an exterior staircase, set up a rooftop seating area near the rear of the building and remove landscaping in order to install ground-level outdoor seating. In September, the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board was briefed on the plans and offered design suggestions for keeping potentially historic elements of the Spanish Revival-style building in tact.
The building and property was assessed at $765,200 for 2015. Several “for lease” signs have already been placed outside the building and inside its windows.
Parade Now Scheduled for March 10 — The Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade has a new make-up date. After being postponed due to snow last month, the parade was originally rescheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. However, “the Arlington County Special Events Committee determined that ACPD resources would be over-stretched were the parade to be held on that date,” according to a press release. “A poll of the Parade Participants led to the decision to reschedule for March 10.” [Clarendon Alliance]
Urban Chicken Issue May Be Clucked — Those who want to raise chickens in their backyards in Arlington are losing their last ally on the County Board. It was Chris Zimmerman, who left the Board early last year, and Walter Tejada, who’s retiring at the end of this year, who were the primary supporters of urban hen raising in Arlington. As for those seeking the two available County Board seats this year, per County Board member John Vihstadt: “Any attempt to introduce poultry into the 2015 campaign would quickly lay an egg.” [InsideNova]
Christian Dorsey Officially Announces Candidacy — Christian Dorsey has officially announced his candidacy for County Board. In doing so, he also announced endorsements from Del. Patrick Hope, Schools Board member Abby Raphael and Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy. “We must become an engine of innovation to provide maximum value for the resources our taxpayers provide,” Dorsey said in his announcement. “Many of our taxpayers are facing stagnating wages… We must attract investment so that our growth is sustainable and includes opportunities for all.” [Christian Dorsey]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
(Updated at 9:10 a.m.) Arlington Public Schools announced just before 5:00 a.m. Monday that classes are canceled today.
While students have a day off, school office will open at noon.
All APS Schools will be closed and offices will open at Noon. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics.
The federal government meanwhile, is operating under a two-hour delay. From the Office of Personnel Management:
Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area are OPEN under 2 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would be expected to arrive.
Earlier this morning, an Arlington Alert warned of hazardous travel conditions.
Icy conditions and patchy dense fog expected this morning. Ice will persist on untreated surfaces as air temps remain around freezing. Patchy dense fog will combine with residual ice and may result in slick spots. Visibilities may drop to a quarter mile or less at times. Please use extra caution if traveling. Sidewalks may be quite icy and require particular caution.
Some residents said that while roads were okay this morning, sidewalks were particularly slippery.
@ARLnowDOTcom Roads in Pentagon City fine. Sidewalks are ALL sheets of ice. Have to walk in street to get anywhere
— Sara Caitlyn (@Sarandipity885) March 2, 2015
Parents may not being loving the school closure, but some Arlington little leaguers will apparently be living it up today.
— Arlington LL (@ArlingtonLL) March 2, 2015
Update at 11:15 a.m. — The previous Winter Weather Advisory has been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning.
Forecasters warn that sleet and freezing rain will continue through the day. Slippery conditions are already being reported around Arlington. If you absolutely must drive or walk outside today, do so carefully.
… WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 AM EST MONDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR FREEZING RAIN… WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 AM EST MONDAY. THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* LOCATIONS… WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA… CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND.
* HAZARD TYPES… SNOW… SLEET… AND FREEZING RAIN.
* ACCUMULATIONS… A COATING TO AN INCH OF SNOW AND SLEET. 1 TO 2 INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET NEAR THE MASON-DIXON LINE. ICE ACCUMULATION AROUND ONE QUARTER INCH.
* TIMING… SNOW AND SLEET WILL CHANGE TO FREEZING RAIN BETWEEN 11 AM AND 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON. THE HEAVIEST ICE ACCRETION FROM FROM FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING. PRECIPITATION WILL END THIS EVENING.
* IMPACTS… ROADS WILL BE SNOW AND ICE COVERED THROUGH TONIGHT. TRAVELLING WILL BE DANGEROUS.
* WINDS… SOUTH AROUND 5 TO 10 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… RISING THROUGH THE 20S THIS AFTERNOON. TEMPERATURES WILL RISE INTO THE LOWER 30S THIS EVENING… AND REMAIN NEARLY STEADY OVERNIGHT.
A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING.THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Arlington and the surrounding D.C. area.
Forecasters say snow, sleet and freezing rain could make travel hazardous from Sunday morning to early Monday morning.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM SUNDAY TO 3 AM EST MONDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… SLEET… AND FREEZING RAIN… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM SUNDAY TO 3 AM EST MONDAY.
* LOCATIONS… WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND.
* HAZARD TYPES… SNOW… SLEET… AND FREEZING RAIN.
* ACCUMULATIONS… A COATING TO 1 INCH OF SNOW AND SLEET ACROSS WASHINGTON DC AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND. 1 TO 3 INCHES IN THE NORTHERN AND WESTERN SUBURBS OF WASHINGTON DC. ICE ACCUMULATION AROUND ONE TENTH OF AN INCH.
* TIMING… SNOW WILL BEGIN BETWEEN 7 AM AND 10 AM SUNDAY MORNING. SNOW WILL CHANGE TO SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN BETWEEN NOON AND 3 PM SUNDAY AFTERNOON. PRECIPITATION WILL END AS FREEZING RAIN SUNDAY NIGHT.
* IMPACTS… ROADS WILL BE SNOW AND ICE COVERED SUNDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHT. TRAVELLING WILL BE DANGEROUS DURING THIS TIME. VISIBILITY WILL BE REDUCED BELOW ONE-MILE AT TIMES IN SNOW SUNDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON.
* WINDS… SOUTH AROUND 5 TO 10 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… RISING THROUGH THE 20S MORNING. TEMPERATURES WILL RISE INTO THE LOWER AND MIDDLE 30S SUNDAY AFTERNOON INTO SUNDAY NIGHT.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW… SLEET… OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Update at 4:50 p.m. – The fire has been extinguished, no one was hurt and roads are reopening.
A reported generator fire in Crystal City is producing a large amount of smoke.
Arlington County Police are shutting down roads in the area around the fire and the plume of smoke, on S. Clark Street between 26th and 27th Streets. Firefighters are on the scene and have brought the fire under control, according to scanner traffic
On today’s clear, sunny day, residents are reporting seeing the smoke from more than a mile away.
— Alex Fleischner (@a_fleisch) February 27, 2015
— Amanda Jean (@YourShaddow2) February 27, 2015
Police say the man ran off with the store’s cash register and, a short distance away, smashed it on the ground to open it. He then fled in a getaway vehicle with his pilfered cash.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ROBBERY, 150219028, 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 2 pm on February 19, a male subject entered the Dollar Up store and brandished a knife at an employee. The subject grabbed the cash register and fled the store on foot. A short distance later the suspect is seen slamming the register on the ground and taking an undisclosed amount of money before driving off in a getaway vehicle. The suspect is described as a black male in his fifties. He was wearing a dark colored winter coat and brown beanie.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Murphy Falls Short of Superintendent Award — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy may be one of the top superintendents in the country, according to the American Association of Schools Administrators, but at a conference in San Diego yesterday Murphy fell short of being named “Superintendent of the Year.” [InsideNova]
Aurora Highlands Profiled — The group Preservation Arlington has profiled the Aurora Highlands neighborhood and an owner of a circa-1942 house in the neighborhood, as part of its “I Love My Historic Neighborhood” feature. [Preservation Arlington]
Historic Photo of Courthouse — Courthouse looks very different than it does today in a black and white photo taken sometime in either the 1980s or 90s. [Ghosts of DC]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
According to an email forwarded to ARLnow.com, Marymount has agreed to support the idea of a Saturday morning farmers market at the university. The organizing committee is planning a community meeting to discuss the plan next month.
Organizers will have to go through a county permitting process and a number of other steps before they’re able to turn their vision into reality, however. No word yet on a potential launch date.
The following was sent to a number of residents earlier this week.
As you know, Lee Highway Alliance organized a North Arlington Farmers Market committee last spring, which included representatives from a number of neighborhoods and civic associations.
Through a lot of effort, we worked with a potential manager – Smart Markets of Reston – to identify a site for the Saturday morning market at Marymount. Last week the University agreed to support the idea, so now that we have a potential site, we would like you and your members/friends to meet with us to express either your questions, support or concerns.
We have organized a community meeting to discuss it on March 19, 7:30 pm, Marymount Library. Information on the many aspects of a farmers market will be presented, including information on producers (selection and local linkages), transportation (access, parking, impacts), trash, walkability/health, noise, marketing, insurance, County permitting process, scheduling, etc.
If you can not voice your concerns or support in person, please send me your questions or comments in advance, and we will research the answers to be sure that we can respond to you directly.
On behalf of our NoArl Farmers Market Committee, we hope to see you on March 19 at Marymount.
Peter Chang Fast Casual Restaurant in Arlington — Chef Peter Chang, who has a large following in Northern Virginia, is in lease negotiations for the Oriental Gourmet space at 2503 N. Harrison Street. Chang hopes to open Peter Chang Wok, envisioned as a fast casual Chinese restaurant. Chang only plans to make “a few cosmetic changes” to Oriental Gourmet, which is still open, after taking over the lease. [Washington Post]
Cherrydale Plan Passes — Cherrydale has a new Neighborhood Conservation plan. The plan, approved by the County Board on Tuesday, calls for protecting trees, ensuring sidewalks are wide enough for strollers and those with disabilities, timely utility maintenance, more daycare opportunities and infrastructure for residents to age in place. [Arlington County]
Top County Staff Gets Raise — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday voted to give a 3.4 percent raise to the three county employees it’s permitted by law to hire directly: County Manager Barbara Donnellan, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac and Clerk to the County Board Hope Halleck. The annual salary for Donnellan — who’s in charge of the county government and its more than 3,800 employees — will increase to $269,742. [InsideNova]
Abundance of Busted Pipes – This week Arlington County firefighters have responded to a steady stream of calls for busted water pipes in buildings around the county. “Please make sure you know where your water shut off is in case it happens to you,” the fire department tweeted. [Twitter]
Abingdon Street House Fire — Firefighters extinguished a small fire in the basement of a home on the 100 block of N. Abingdon Street on Wednesday morning. One person had to flee the home, reportedly while only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but no injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Court Ruling May Cost Arlington Millions — A ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court on a tax dispute in Arlington County may cost Arlington and other Virginia localities millions of dollars in lost business license tax revenue. The court ruled that companies with offices in multiple states may deduct certain out-of-state earnings from their license tax. [Washington Post]
GW Baseball Blanks Georgetown — In a chilly game at Arlington’s Barcroft Park that we previewed Wednesday, the George Washington University baseball team defeated Georgetown in a 3-0 shutout. [GW Sports]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Arlington County medics, firefighters and the hazmat team are on the scene of a Clarendon apartment building for a potential case of Ebola.
The call came in just after 9:30 this morning, for a possible Ebola patient in the new Beacon at Clarendon apartment building at 1128 N. Irving Street. According to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, the department dispatches an Ebola response out of an abundance of caution when a sick person has a travel history and symptoms consistent with a case of the deadly virus.
“While it’s unlikely it’s Ebola, the fire department and the responding hospital are taking all appropriate precautions,” Marchegiani told ARLnow.com.
As of 10:30 a.m., the patient had been transported to Virginia Hospital Center. No definitive diagnosis has been made at this point. Building management declined to comment.
N. Irving Street is blocked between Washington Blvd and 13th Street, according to scanner traffic, but as of 10:30 fire department units were starting to clear the scene.
The last and only other reported instance of a suspected Ebola case in Arlington happened at the Pentagon on Oct. 17. In that case, the patient was found to have made false statements about her travel history — she did not have Ebola.
Update at 5:40 p.m. — In a press release, Arlington County says that the patient most likely does not have Ebola.
Arlington County Fire Department this morning transported a person with fever and a history of recent travel from an Ebola-affected area to the Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) for evaluation. The person had no known exposure to any Ebola cases, and medical findings are not consistent with a diagnosis of Ebola. The person was being monitored by Arlington County Public Health Department (ACPHD) officials under the statewide Virginia Department of Health Arriving Passenger Monitoring Program.
ACPHD will continue to monitor this person, as well as other travelers in the monitoring program, through their entire possible incubation period (21 days). People in the travel monitoring program will continue to be instructed to call 9-1-1 if they are medically unstable or if they do not have private transport. If EMS staff respond, they will wear appropriate personal protective equipment before transporting the person with symptoms.
Arlington County Public Health and Virginia Hospital Center are working together — in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health — and followed the recommended course of action for such cases. There is no cause for public concern.
Hospital staff and first responders are highly trained to take appropriate precautions for all high-risk patients, routinely drilling and preparing for just such situations. The health and well-being of the community are a primary concern for both the County and VHC, and we want to reassure everyone that the hospital environment is safe for all patients.
To learn more about the Ebola virus, visit the County website, where you can also get answers to frequently asked questions about Ebola. You can also call the Virginia Department of Health’s Ebola Call Center at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).