(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) The Arlington School Board approved new elementary school boundaries Thursday night, wrapping up an eight month community process.
The School Board unanimously adopted “Variation B” of Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy’s recommended boundaries (left). The new boundaries will help distribute students to a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus (see below) as well as to additions at Ashlawn and McKinley elementary schools.
The new schools and additions (there will also be a new choice elementary school near Kenmore Middle School and an addition to Arlington Traditional School) are being undertaken to provide an additional 1,875 seats of capacity by 2017 for Arlington burgeoning student population.
“Variation B” will shift elementary school boundaries and result in the reassignment of 900 students. The changes will take effect for the 2015-2016 school year.
- Reassign 67 students from McKinley to Ashlawn
- Reassign 56 students from Glebe to McKinley
- Reassign 164 students from Jamestown to the new school at Williamsburg
- Reassign 71 students from Taylor to Jamestown
- Reassign 347 students from Nottigham to the new school at Williamsburg
- Reassign 146 students from Tuckahoe to Nottingham
- Reassign 49 students from Taylor to the new school at Williamsburg
The School Board also approved the following grandfathering provisions:
- “Rising 5th graders and concurrently enrolled younger siblings (grades K-4 as of June 2015) may choose to remain at their current school for the 2015-16 school year only. Transportation will be provided for these students who remain at their school and who are eligible for bus transportation as of September 2015.”
- “Because the effective date of students moving to McKinley is September 2016, grandfathering for rising 5th graders and concurrently enrolled younger siblings (grades K-4 as of June 2016) will be in effect for the 2016-17 school year and will follow the procedures in paragraph a.”
- “A student currently attending Claremont or Key Immersion School, in grades K-4 as of June 2015, who resides in a planning unit being moved from one Immersion School group to another Immersion School group, may remain at his or her current Immersion School through 5th grade with transportation provided by APS.”
- “A student currently attending Arlington Science Focus in grades K-4 as of June 2015, who resides in a planning unit being moved to the New Elementary School #1, may remain at ASFS through 5th grade with transportation provided by APS.”
The School Board also directed Dr. Murphy “to recommend whether rising K-4 students residing in planning units reassigned to existing schools will be eligible to enroll in their newly assigned elementary school prior to School Year 2015 if seating space is available.”
On Saturday, the County Board will consider a use permit for a 26,160 square foot addition to Ashlawn Elementary School.
Construction on the addition is expected to begin this summer and wrap up by the summer of 2014. It will add 12 rooms, including 9 classrooms, at a cost of about $12 million, according to a project web page.
Meanwhile, at its Thursday meeting, the School Board unanimously approved a schematic design for the new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus.
The new school will cost just over $43 million, according to an APS press release, with construction slated to start in January 2014 and wrap up in time for the start of the school year in the summer of 2015.
Parents of Arlington youth soccer players and residents who live near Williamsburg Middle School have created dueling petitions — for and against a proposal to install lighting and new soccer fields at the school.
The field and lighting proposal was floated as an optional part of the Arlington Public Schools plan to build a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The design of the school was approved in February and construction is expected to begin next year.
The proposal involves the construction of two synthetic turf fields next to the school, with lighting installed for the field farthest from the surrounding neighborhood. Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia says the school system currently doesn’t have the money necessary for the synthetic fields and lighting — about $2 million — so supporters are hoping to convince Arlington County to pay for the project.
A group of neighbors, however, has created a Change.org petition calling for the County Board to nix the field lighting component.
“We, as registered voters in Arlington County, strongly oppose the installation of sport field lighting on any of the soccer fields on the Williamsburg Middle/Elementary school property,” the petition says. “The neighborhood surrounding Williamsburg will be heavily impacted by evening traffic, light intrusion, noise and parking impacts.”
So far, the neighbors’ petition has attracted 125 online signatures.
The Arlington Soccer Association, meanwhile, has created its own Change.org petition, which has gathered 1,085 signatures so far. The association says the fields, and the lighting, will help meet growing demand for youth soccer in Arlington.
“We, the undersigned, support placing a lighted synthetic rectangular athletic field on the grounds of Williamsburg Middle School,” the petition says. “The Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation estimates that a lighted synthetic field can sustain five times the overall use of an unlighted grass field.”
“We are sensitive to the concerns of the local community,” the petition continues. “We believe that a lighted field at WMS should be limited to youth sports programming and have a curfew of 9:30 p.m.”
The fight is similar to the acrimonious battle over lighting proposed for the Bishop O’Connell High School baseball and football fields. After nearly 75 speakers weighed in on the O’Connell lighting proposal at a County Board meeting in 2011, the Board rejected the plan,
Before any possible County Board consideration, the Arlington Soccer Association is hoping to convince neighbors that a lighted field will not result in the light pollution, noise and traffic that many fear. The group wrote the following letter (after the jump) as a response to concerns expressed on the email listserv of a local civic association.
Third graders from Glebe Elementary School in Arlington welcomed a special guest today: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
Students at the school had written letters to the Vermont senator “about conservation and what the students are doing here at Glebe to help in conservation efforts,” according to school principal Jamie Borg. Leahy, the grandfather of a Glebe student, “decided to respond to their letters in person.”
Leahy personally delivered letters to each third grade student, then engaged them in a conversation about the branches of government — a topic they had been studying.
“Senator Leahy was able to talk to the students about it in depth and explain his role in government,” Borg said.
“The children were very impressed!” said Borg.
Leahy’s wife, Marcelle, joined him for the classroom visit this morning. Leahy, 73, was re-elected in 2010 to a seventh term in the U.S. Senate.
(Updated at 9:15 p.m.) Incumbent School Board member James Lander has narrowly defeated challenger Barbara Kanninen in the Democratic endorsement caucus, which was held on May 9 and 11.
Lander won the Democratic endorsement by a caucus vote of 1,144 to 1,097. He will now run for reelection on Nov. 5. So far, no other candidates have announced for the race.
Via Facebook, Kanninen thanked her supporters.
“Congratulations to my opponent James Lander on winning a hard fought, positive election,” she wrote. “Thank you so much to all of my volunteers and supporters for your help, ideas and kind words of support. I hope you all stay active in our schools, community, and the political process.”
In a statement, Lander said he was “humbled” by the outcome of the caucus.
“This campaign has been a tremendous opportunity to re-connect with Arlington voters,” he said. “I appreciate Barbara Kanninen’s spirited and well run campaign, and I thank her for her work to engage the voters of Arlington on the important issues facing our schools. I am humbled to have another opportunity to be the Democratic endorsee for the School Board, and I hope to continue my service to the students and families of Arlington.”
Mike Lieberman, chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, said the party will be “working hard” to fend off challengers to Lander, if there are any, in November.
“James Lander has been a strong voice for Arlington’s students in his four years on the board, and today’s vote is an affirmation of his record,” Lieberman said. “We are proud to again have James representing us as our Democratic endorsee in November, and we will be working hard to ensure he has four more years on the School Board. I also want to thank Barbara Kanninen for running a thoughtful and energetic campaign, and giving Arlington voters a choice of two superb leaders.”
Not to be confused with Walk and Bike to School Day in October, which has a similar name and a similar mission, Bike and Walk to School Day “encourages students to bike or walk to school while teaching them about the health and environmental benefits of biking and walking.”
“Bike and Walk to School Day also helps to raise community awareness about the importance of bicycle and pedestrian safety education, safe routes to schools, well-maintained walkways, and traffic calming in our neighborhoods and around our schools,” says Bike Arlington, on its website.
The event, held in conjunction with National Bike and Walk to School Day, is a partnership between Arlington Public Schools, Bike Arlington and Walk Arlington.
“APS encourages all families and staff to participate in this event,” said a school system press release. “This energizing event reminds parents and students alike of the simple joy of biking and walking to school while focusing attention on the importance of physical activity, air quality, safety, and bike-able, walkable communities.”
The event will be held in the morning. Students and parents will be greeted at their elementary, middle and high schools by county and school officials and staff. At the schools, giveaways will conducted and “healthy refreshments” will be distributed, according to Bike Arlington.
Update at 3:50 p.m. — “Based on weather forecasts, some schools have opted to postpone their celebrations until Friday, May 10,” according to APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.
As expected, the School Board’s adopted budget restored funding to teen parenting staffing, elementary reading teachers, high school gifted teachers and other programs that were slated for cuts under superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy’s proposed $520.4 million budget. Proposed cuts to the school system’s minor construction/major maintenance fund were partially restored.
The budget also funds more buses to allow the school system’s transportation department to keep up with rising school enrollment. (A total of 23,725 students are expected to be enrolled at Arlington Public Schools next school year, an increase of 1,108 students — or nearly 5 percent — from 2012-2013.)
The Board amended its proposed budget to allocate $1.5 million from a $7.66 million reserve in order to fund $1,000 bonuses for teachers and staff at the top of the pay or longevity scale. The $1,000 one-time payments will be made to those employees since they are not eligible for receive a salary step increase in FY 2014.
The $523 million adopted budget is 4.3 percent higher than last year’s $501 million budget.
The new Washington-Lee High School softball field will open for its first game on Monday.
The $1 million field, under construction since last summer, is located on the corner of Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street. It was built after parents of softball players threatened to file a Title IX complaint if the school system did not upgrade the no-frills field they were using at the time to include the same amenities of the boys baseball field.
The new softball field has “seating for 280 people, lighting, a press box and a removable fence so that the space can serve multiple uses,” according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia.
Building new schools may not be the only answer to overcrowding in Arlington Public Schools, School Board hopeful Barbara Kanninen said last night at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting.
Flexible scheduling, night classes in high school, and a school year that extends through the summer might ease crowding in middle and high schools without the expense and loss of open space associated building new facilities.
“We know right now that we have lots of kids coming… we’re building elementary schools right now but in five years they’re going to be heading to middle school and high school,” Kanninen said. “We need to think about where we’re going to educate them given that we might not have the money to build and we might not have the green space to build.”
Kanninen’s stance on building was one point of contrast between her and incumbent School Board member James Lander, who she’s trying to unseat. Kanninen and Lander debated at the ACDC meeting in advance of next week’s Democratic School Board endorsement caucus.
On school capacity, Lander emphasized the School Board’s existing construction plan and his “county-wide vision” — an apparent contrast to Kanninen’s north Arlington campaign focus.
“We’re growing by almost an elementary school per year,” he said. “We have a strategy in place, we’re building new facilities and we’re adding additions to existing facilities. We’re looking at and evaluating both middle school boundaries. This is something that takes experience and a county-wide vision.”
During the debate Kanninen spoke of her priorities: expanding STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — programs, individualized education and adult mentorships, and using analytics and her PhD in economics to help make “smarter, more efficient choices with taxpayer money.”
On many of those key campaign points, Lander echoed his own stances. He said students need STEM skills so they can grow up not to be workers, but “employers and entrepreneurs.” He touted a mentorship program he created for minority students. And he also emphasized the importance of a learning environment that adapts to the strengths of individual students.
“My approach to student achievement and student success is responsive education… and that mean meeting the needs of all groups,” he said. By way of an anecdote, he joked about how his sister was a bookworm while we was more likely to fall asleep while trying to read school books.
Both Kanninen and Lander said they support arts education and the use of school buildings by members of the community. Both also said that standardized tests have become too pervasive in schools and are detracting from the overall education of students.
Answering a question about bullying, Lander said APS has a “zero tolerance” policy toward bullies. Kanninen said adult support of “students’ social and emotional health” is paramount, and that students should always have an adult mentor to approach with issues like bullying.
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) On Tuesday, five “relocatable classroom” trailers were placed on a field next to Washington-Lee High School and the Arlington Public Schools administrative offices. The trailers are part of a continuing effort to keep up with rising enrollment at county schools — an effort that may lead to new high school boundary changes.
The new trailers at Washington-Lee will be grouped together to form four classrooms, plus common spaces like bathrooms. They’re located in front of the W-L swimming pool, a short distance away from existing trailer classrooms at a nearby parking lot.
APS spent some $2.2 million to buy 20 additional relocatable classrooms this past fiscal year. The new FY 2014 budget, which is up for School Board approval Thursday night, is expected to include $1.9 million for 24 new trailers.
The trailers are necessary to deal with a burgeoning school population. Washington-Lee, which was renovated in 2009, is projected to be at 109.1 percent capacity next school year, with 2,023 students enrolled.
While new elementary schools and elementary school additions are on the way to relieve crowding, no such plans are in place at the high school level — only a vague commitment in the school system’s capital improvement plan to start adding permanent middle and high school capacity 5 years from now. In the meantime, that may portend high school boundary changes, since Arlington’s other high schools have some capacity to spare.
Yorktown High School, also recently renovated, was projected (as of Nov. 2012) to be at 97.5 percent capacity next school year, with 1,815 students. And the new Wakefield High School, expected to open in time for the new school year with space for more than 1,900 students, will only be at about 75 percent capacity with 1,460 students.
(The H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, a “choice” school without boundaries, is projected at 99.7 percent capacity with 389 high school students.)
Shifting students from Washington-Lee to Wakefield, should it come to pass, promises to be a contentious process, thanks in part to the big difference in regional school rankings (W-L ranked #10 and Wakefield ranked #62 according to the Washington Post “Challenge Index.) For now, however, APS says there’s no firm plan to change high school boundaries.
“The School Board has said that all boundaries need to be looked at in the coming years because projections continue to change,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia. “However there is no timetable as of yet.”
Shifting boundaries will not be a panacea, however. By the 2018-2019 school year, Wakefield is projected to be at 100 percent capacity, while Yorktown is projected to be at 122.4 percent of capacity and Washington-Lee at 137.9 percent capacity.
Between 2008 and 2012, the number of autistic children enrolled in Arlington Public Schools’ special education program increased by more than 50 percent — a trend that matches a national increase in autism diagnoses.
There were 276 autistic special education students in 2008. By 2012, enrollment had increased to 421, a 52.5 percent jump.
“While it seems alarming, it actually reflects the growth we are seeing in autism nationally,” APS spokeswoman Linda Erdos said of the increase. According to a government study that was released last month, the number of school age children with autism has risen 72 percent since 2007, and now stands at about 1 in 50 children ages 6 to 17.
APS “has an excellent history of services for students with autism,” Erdos said. While APS tries to integrate autistic students with the general student body, the school system does have special classes for autistic students who need extra educational support. APS is working to continue to find ways to better serve autistic students, we’re told.
On Tuesday, April 30, APS and the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee (ASEAC) will be hosting a “Family Information Night” that will “present new initiatives and assessment tools that are designed to improve teaching for students with autism and others who learn differently.”
The event is taking place at the Arlington Education Center (1426 N. Quincy Street) between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Among those expected to speak at the event are Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), Del. Patrick Hope (D), APS Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Dr. Brenda Wilks and Steven Celmer, from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Center for Excellence.
Moran, who visited to Barcroft Elementary for World Autism Awareness Day last month, is expected to update families on his AUTISM Educators Act, which seeks to create a five-year pilot program that would help to train general education teachers who work with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The bill was referred to Education and the Workforce Committee in the House of Representatives earlier this month.
The new Arlington Public Schools proposed budget includes less money for minor construction and major maintenance, after the Arlington County Board approved a smaller tax increase than was sought by the School Board.
The School Board had asked for an additional 0.5 cent tax increase dedicated to school funding, in addition to the County Manager’s proposed 3.2 cent tax increase. In the end, the County Board approved a 3.5 cent increase, only 0.3 cents more than the manager’s proposal — and that increase will be split by the county and the school system.
With an earlier version of its proposed budget now facing a shortfall of $1.4 million, the School Board cut about $600,000 from the minor construction/major maintenance fund, and another $600,000 from the school system’s reserve fund. Even with the cuts, however, the maintenance and construction fund and the reserve fund are both set to receive more than $7 million apiece in the budget.
Last week Arlington Public School parents were informed in a letter that all currently enrolled students who were eligible for bus service this year will remain eligible in the upcoming 2013-14 school year.
In order to maintain bus service while the school system adds nearly 1,000 additional students, APS is expected to add 10 new full-time positions to its transportation services department. The transportation budget will increase by about $1.75 million in Fiscal Year 2014, compared to FY 2013. All told, the FY 2014 proposed budget for transportation is $16.1 million.
The transportation budget boost comes after hundreds of parents protested changes to the busing policy at the beginning of this school year. The changes — intended to allow the school system to stop adding buses and drivers to its fleet — backfired when impacted parents complained bitterly about their children no longer being allowed to ride the bus to and from school.
The Arlington School Board is holding a public budget work session tonight (April 23) starting at 6:00 p.m. The School Board is expected to approve a final budget at its meeting on May 2.
(Updated at 8:30 p.m.) The H-B Woodlawn middle school production of Shakespeare’s Henry VI brought down the house and brought in the fire department over the weekend.
The play, directed by fine arts teacher Tom Mallan, was wrapping up on Friday night when a pivotal scene led to an more eventful finale than anticipated.
“The performance was a huge success, though it ended with the burning of Joan of Arc and the accidental triggering of fire alarms by multiple fog machines,” said a parent of a cast member, who didn’t want her named used, presumably so as to not embarrass her son or daughter.
The alarms went off during the curtain call immediately following the burning scene, we’re told. Firefighters responded to make sure the school was not, in fact, on fire.
“We hope people won’t get upset about fire trucks getting called out,” said the parent. “It was all accidental! Thank you to the Arlington County firefighters for coming to the rescue of France and the production!”
(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) Students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School (STM) are taking part in what has been dubbed “Mission Possible.” It’s a rare opportunity build a satellite and launch it into orbit.
According to an article published this week by Satnews.com, students will get assistance from a NASA Mission Manager in building a CubeSat, which is a miniature satellite used for space research. The satellite will collect data to be used for school research in math and science.
STM computer teacher Melissa Pore is helping to manage the project. She said yesterday was the official kick off and construction should begin in about two weeks.
“The really unique part about it is making the projects tie in to what’s already expected in the classroom, and giving that real world simulation for the kids,” Pore said. “Every student will have a part and will touch a piece of the hardware, whether they’re screwing in a bolt or putting together an onboard camera, they will all have a part.”
One of the things the satellite is expected to do is to take wide angle photos of small asteroids, of Earth and of St. Thomas More Cathedral School.
More than 60 high schools and universities participate in the CubeSat program, but STM would be the country’s first Pre-K through 8th grade elementary school to participate. The goal is to launch the CubeSat in late 2014.
STM received a donation of $10,000 to assist with the satellite launch from ATK Space Systems. The school has also received equipment such as solar panels and cameras from space industry donors. Anyone interested in donating additional resources or time to the project should contact Melissa Pore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CubeSat photo via Wikipedia
(Updated at 8:35 p.m.) The Arlington School Board will present its proposed budget to the Arlington County Board tonight. The joint meeting comes as the School Board has requested an additional $3.1 million in tax funding from the County Board.
The School Board’s proposed budget calls for $524.5 million in expenditures, roughly $4 million more than Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy’s proposed budget. The board’s budget keeps most elements of Murphy’s budget in tact — including merit-based pay raises for teachers, no increase in class sizes and funding to buy more school buses — but scales back some proposed cuts.
Cuts to teen parenting staffing, elementary reading teachers, high school gifted teachers, Standards of Learning teachers and minor construction/major maintenance have been reduced collectively by $2.3 million. The budget also adds a $600,000 reserve, and $1.1 million to account for an increase in projected school enrollment.
Murphy’s budget expected enrollment to increase from 22,613 students this school year to 23,586 students for the 2013-2014 school year. The latest spring projection puts 23,725 students in Arlington classrooms for the next school year.
All told, the increase in enrollment will require $11.1 million for additional staffing, materials, furniture and relocatable classrooms, according to the School Board’s budget presentation, set to be delivered tonight. The new trailer classrooms alone will cost $2 million.
The School Board is asking the County Board for a dedicated 0.5 cent real estate tax increase to help pay for the reduction in cuts and the added enrollment. The tax hike would be expected to bring in an additional $3.1 million. The rest of the $4 million is expected to come from one-time funding and additional state funding.
Arlington Public Schools are expected to face additional budget pressures in the next several years, as enrollment continues to grow and as new schools and school additions are built. An addition to Ashlawn Elementary is expected to be complete in time for the 2014-2105 school year, while a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus is expected to be complete in time for 2015-2016.
Those new additions and schools will come with additional administrative and operational costs. This comes at a time of weakness for property values in Arlington — the main driver of revenue for the county and the school system. During a meeting with reporters in February, Dr. Murphy said future budgets “could be challenging.”
While teachers for the new Williamsburg elementary will be largely pulled from overcapacity schools, administrative and materials costs for the school are slated to be included in next year’s budget process.
“If all things stay the same, we’re very concerned for FY 2015,” Murphy said.
The joint School Board/County Board work session will take place at 7:00 p.m. tonight (April 9) in rooms 101/103/105 of the Syphax/Sequoia building at 2110 Washington Blvd. The public is encouraged to attend.
Residents will get a chance to weigh in on the School Board’s budget at a public hearing on Thursday, April 18.
Bishop O’Connell High School will no longer have a president. In a shake-up of the Catholic school’s administrative structure, principal Joseph E. Vorbach III has been named “Head of School” for Bishop O’Connell, also known by the acronym DJO.
DJO President Katy Prebble announced in February that she will resign at the end of the school year. Following discussions with diocese officials, current and former DJO board members, parents and faculty, the Arlington Diocese’s Office of Catholic Schools decided to reconfigure Bishop O’Connell’s administrative structure and appoint Vorbach to the newly-created position of “Head of School.”
“I look forward to working in my new position with our Board of Governors, faculty, parents, and students,” Vorbach said in a statement. “Bishop O’Connell High School is a Christ-centered community blessed with exceptionally dedicated administrators, faculty, and staff, and I am excited to lead this outstanding institution into the future.”
Vorbach was a commanding officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and a 1983 graduate of Bishop O’Connell. He holds a doctorate in political science from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. His father is Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph E. Vorbach.
Bishop O’Connell issued the following press release about Vorbach’s appointment.
Bishop Paul S. Loverde has named Joseph E. Vorbach, PhD, as Head of School for Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School in Arlington. In the newly created position, Vorbach takes on unified leadership of O’Connell after serving as Principal alongside the school’s last two Presidents. He will assume the role upon President Kathleen Ryan Prebble’s departure at the completion of the 2012-13 school term.
“For 55 years, Bishop O’Connell High School has been a faith-filled community of learning, rooted in the Church and a determined tradition of service and excellence,” said Bishop Loverde, spiritual leader of the Diocese of Arlington’s 450,000 Catholics. “I am very pleased to announce Joe Vorbach as the new Head of School. In this new position of leadership, I know Joe will continue O’Connell’s record of excellence, building on the good work begun by Katy Prebble.”
After Prebble announced her planned departure in February, the Arlington Diocese’s Office of Catholic Schools under the leadership of Superintendent Sr. Bernadette McManigal, BVM, conducted a robust discussion with diocesan officials, current and former members of Bishop O’Connell’s Board of Governors, faculty, staff, and parents regarding the future leadership of the school. These discussions led to the selection of Vorbach as Head of School and informed the decision to reconfigure the school’s administrative structure.
“Today’s announcement represents a strong vote of confidence in Joe Vorbach’s service to the school in successive administrations and his leadership in ensuring a first-rate Catholic education for the young men and women of Bishop O’Connell,” said Sr. McManigal. “His commitment to excellence in academics grounded in the Catholic faith is well known to the O’Connell community and provides great assurance for the school’s future health and achievement. Joe keenly understands the school’s mission and challenges; he is well-positioned to build on its successes and to achieve the school’s development and enrollment goals.”
“It has been my honor to be connected to the Bishop O’Connell community since 1979, as a student, as a parent and as an administrator. I am grateful to Bishop Loverde and the Diocese of Arlington for this important mission of service,” said Vorbach. “I look forward to working in my new position with our Board of Governors, faculty, parents, and students. Bishop O’Connell High School is a Christ-centered community blessed with exceptionally dedicated administrators, faculty, and staff, and I am excited to lead this outstanding institution into the future.”
Vorbach has many years of experience as an educator and administrator, including positions as a professor and department chair at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), and, for the past five years, as Bishop O’Connell’s Principal. He holds a doctorate in political science from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He also taught and served as Homeland Security Chair at the National Defense University. Prior to beginning graduate studies at Tufts in 1993, Vorbach served aboard two ships in the USCG, including as commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Point Stuart. Dr. Vorbach earned his B.S. in Government at the USCGA in 1987 and is a 1983 graduate of Bishop O’Connell.