53°Mostly Cloudy

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2015 at 9:15 am 961 0

Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally at the Pentagon (Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin)

Memorial Day Closures — Arlington County government offices, courts, schools, and community centers will be closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. Arlington’s public indoor pools will be open, trash and recycling will be collected and ART buses will operate on a holiday schedule. [Arlington County]

Flags In at Arlington National Cemetery — More than 1,000 soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as the Old Guard, placed small American flags in front some 275,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. The annual ceremony, known as “Flags In,” has been taking place before Memorial Day for more than 60 years. [U.S. Army]

Arlington Man Convicted of Sexual Abuse — Arlington resident Gary Hankins, a 45-year-old former licensed clinical social worker, has been convicted of sexually abusing a 17-year-old patient. The boy’s parents first contacted authorities after they discovered sexually suggestive texts from Hankins on his phone. [NBC Washington]

Candidates Bash Board’s Reevesland Vote — The Democratic candidates for County Board are criticizing the County Board’s vote this week to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse. At a debate lacking one candidate — School Board Chair James Lander, who had a School Board meeting — candidates took turns bashing the decision, calling it “shameful,” “bad business” and “beneath Arlington.” [InsideNova, Washington Post]

APS to Discuss Swanson, Williamsburg Plans — Next month Arlington Public Schools will hold public forums to discuss “interim options” for addressing capacity issues at Swanson and Williamsburg Middle Schools. “These interim solution options include the use of both on-site or off-site locations to house some portion of the school populations, the possibility of some interior redesign, the use of relocatables as part of the solution, and changes in scheduling,” APS said in a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2015 at 9:00 am 2,274 0

Rainbow over D.C. on 5/18/15 as seen from Rosslyn

Taste of Arlington Winners — The judges at Sunday’s Taste of Arlington event in Ballston selected four winners among the dozens of restaurants that participated. Il Forno won for Best Appetizers, Liberty Tavern won for Best Fast Casual, Water and Wall won for Best Fine Dining and Northside Social won for Best Dessert.

Real Estate Prices Rise — Real estate prices in Arlington continue to rise. The median home sale in Arlington between January and April was $545,000. That’s up 9 percent year-over-year. [InsideNova]

Clarendon Real Estate Was a Bargain in 1900 — Clarendon is full of nice restaurants, luxury condos and million dollar homes now, but in 1900 it was an emerging suburban community with vacant land for sale. How much were plots of land going for? Between $90 and $140. [Ghosts of DC]

Presidential Candidate in Arlington TodayMark Everson, a former IRS commissioner and a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, will speak and greet supporters at a $100-a-head reception in Courthouse today. The event is being held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Courthaus Social, 2300 Clarendon Blvd. [Mark Everson for President]

APS Educator Named Top Hispanic Teacher — Arlington Traditional School art teacher Veronica Perez has received the Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award. [InsideNova]

by Ethan Rothstein — May 15, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,498 0

Walk and Bike to School Day 2012 at Oakridge Elementary SchoolFor the last month of school, the Arlington County Police Department will devote more resources and officers toward preventing crime in county middle school and high schools.

School Resource Officers will conduct “saturation patrols” and educate students about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. Until school lets out June 18, ACPD plans to put more officers at malls, parks and community centers around Arlington. Police will also have a heightened presence at school and community events.

“This initiative encourages positive interaction between officers and the students of Arlington County,” School Resource Officer Supervisor Lt. Ron Files said in a press release. “Our goal is to provide a safe environment in the school communities by using crime prevention strategies and utilizing enforcement measures.”

The initiative coincides with the department’s efforts to curb underage drinking and drinking and driving during prom season.

File photo

by Ethan Rothstein — May 13, 2015 at 2:15 pm 2,991 0

Players in the Arlington Girls Softball Association (photo via AGSA)(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) The president of the Arlington Girls Softball Association says a lack of field space and a newly enforced school policy against signs has him very concerned for the future of the youth league.

The AGSA has been in operation for more than 30 years, President Steve Severn said, and currently serves about 500 girls, 92 percent of whom are Arlington residents. Those girls make up 38 local teams and six all-star and travel teams, who play games on just five fields in the county: Greenbrier Park next to Yorktown High School, Barcroft Park, Wakefield High School, Quincy Park and Arlington Traditional Elementary School.

This year, delayed construction at Wakefield has taken away that field, and Wakefield’s softball teams have taken the AGSA’s field at Barcroft Park. At the same time, the field at Arlington Traditional School is becoming increasingly problematic after Principal Holly Hawthorne banned sponsorship signs, a move the Arlington School Board supports.

“Having so few fields available creates havoc,” Severn told ARLnow.com today, after he sent an email to AGSA’s parents informing them of the issues the league faces. “High schools have the first choice to have fields, and that’s the way it should be… But there aren’t enough fields to go around. Youth sports are screaming for outside field space.”

Severn said the Wakefield field opened for one day this spring, but Arlington Public Schools closed it after it determined the fences were too short to protect the surrounding neighborhood. APS facilities staff said it will reopen in June, but high school teams historically have asked to be the first team to use a new field. Hence, Severn said, he doubts AGSA will be able to use that field until spring 2016.

While field space is a serious issue for every league, sport and age group in Arlington, the sign ban is one that could jeopardize AGSA’s future.

“If sponsors cannot see their banners or recognition for the money they contribute to our organization, they’re not going to contribute,” Severn said. “These are by and large community businesses. Their kids play on the team. That is going to hurt us. We depend on sponsorship money, we do not take in enough money from registration. I don’t know what the end result is going to be. Our sponsorship base is going to dry up eventually.”

Arlington Girls Softball Association's fields at Arlington Traditional SchoolSevern said the league has been hanging banners recognizing sponsors for decades. This year, they tried to hang small, individual signs for each sponsor, which Severn said Hawthorne put a stop to. He asked the School Board to step in, and they did — to affirm Hawthorne’s decision.

“Ms. Hawthorne contacted APS senior staff to review APS policies on the display of sponsor banners, and we agreed that display of such banners on school property is not permissible,” School Board Chair James Lander said in an email to Severn. “The School Board wishes the AGSA success with the remainder of their season and we appreciate the patience the teams have shown.”

Hawthorne did not respond to an interview request this morning. When asked for comment, APS forwarded to ARLnow.com Lander’s message to Severn.

Severn said he’s met with APS Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operation John Chadwick, which “opened up a line of communication, but didn’t resolve anything.” The School Board’s ruling could mean no more banners at Wakefield when the new field opens, either. Severn told parents that an anticipated decline in sponsorship revenue could mean a significant increase in league fees.

“I’m not trying to fan any flames here, but I’m upset because the decisions are made in a vacuum,” he said. “When we got the note back from James Lander, it’s the end of the story. There is no other avenue for us. We have no real recourse there. That’s just the disturbing part.”

Photo, top, via AGSA. Photo, bottom, via Google Maps.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 4, 2015 at 4:45 pm 3,561 0

Yorktown High School classroom trailersWith schools bursting at the seams and student growth outpacing new construction, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy is proposing to place 71 new relocatable classrooms around Arlington elementary and middle schools over the next five years.

Murphy’s plan, which he presented to the School Board last week, calls for 27 new relocatables for elementary schools in South Arlington by fall 2020. By fall 2019, Murphy plans for middle schools around the county to add 44 new trailers.

In five years, that would bring the total number of trailers for middle schools and South Arlington elementary schools to 120.

Relocatables are just one part of APS’ response to the Arlington County Board’s denial of a plan to build a new elementary school at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Other ways to mitigate school overcrowding that could be implemented are: converting computer labs to classrooms; making internal modifications like the ones just approved at Washington-Lee High School; and moving programs to facilities with more space.

Where Arlington Public Schools is planning to put relocatable classrooms in the 2019-2020 school yearWhen asked how many seats the average relocatable classroom provides, APS Community Liaison Meg Tuccillo responded “It varies by school depending on the program using the classroom, needs of the school and class size guidelines,” and provided no specifics.

The county has offered four facilities — Drew Community Center, Carver Community Center, the Fenwick Building and Madison Community Center — that schools have the option to use temporarily while waiting for new schools to be approved and built.

In Murphy’s plan, none of those facilities are used, but Tuccillo said “we are considering use of county sites offered for interim solutions.” She did not offer more specifics on which facilities APS is considering, how they might be used or when.

The total cost for the new trailers outlined in Murphy’s plan is $7.92 million — $5 million for the new middle school trailers, and $2.92 million for South Arlington’s.

“While waiting for new permanent construction, relocatables offer less disruption for families and for school programs, avoids need for disruptive, temporary boundary moves, offers possiblity of flexible configuration of grades together with specials (art, music, etc in same configuration),” Tuccillo said in an email.

Where Arlington Public Schools is planning to put relocatable classrooms in the 2018-2019 school yearWhile the relocatables are interim solutions, APS and the School Board are also laying the groundwork for permanent relief of school overcrowding. The County Board and School Board must approve a new South Arlington elementary school by December, Murphy said, for it to be ready for the 2019-2020 school year.

If the two sides cannot reach a decision by then, South Arlington will have to wait at least two years longer than initially promised for a new school. Staff is continuing its community outreach process and gathering more information to recommend a site for the new school, but no specific alternatives to the preferred Thomas Jefferson site have been identified.

by ARLnow.com — April 27, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,932 0

Fluffy white clouds above the Air Force Memorial (Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk)

Candidates: APS Needs Better Community Engagement — Arlington Public Schools should be doing a better job of community engagement, both Democratic candidates for School Board said at a debate Friday night. Sharon Dorsey said that APS tends to listen to the “squeaky wheel” while those who don’t have the time, energy or connections to press their case are often largely ignored. Both Dorsey and Reid Goldstein both pointed to the rollout of iPads and MacBooks in schools as an example of an APS decision-making process they would have approached differently. [InsideNova]

Britt McHenry Returns to ESPN — D.C.-based sports reporter Britt McHenry is back at work at ESPN following the release of a video that showed her berating an Advanced Towing employee in Arlington. McHenry issued an apology and was suspended for a week. [New York Post]

More on I-66 Plans — Arlington officials have “softened” their stance on widening I-66, says Virginia’s transportation secretary, but County Board Chair Mary Hynes insists that the county will only consider widening as a last resort — and only after evaluating the impact of changes to I-66 ten years from now. [Washington Post]

County, APS Consolidate After-School Programs — Starting this fall, Arlington Public Schools will take over the previously county-run Charles Drew and Carver after-school programs. “The consolidation is expected to save $123,000 the first year and $160,000 annually after that,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]

Arlington Man Sentenced for Child Porn — Arlington resident Patrick Friedel, 29, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for the production and possession of child pornography. Friedel pleaded guilty in January, admitting to meeting five underage girls via social networking apps and coercing them to send him sexually explicit images. Prosecutors say Friedel also picked up one of girls and videotaped himself engaging in sadistic and masochistic sexual activity with her.

Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk

by Ethan Rothstein — April 24, 2015 at 3:45 pm 2,202 0

Washington-Lee High School (photo via Google Maps)Washington-Lee High School will expand by 300 seats by the start of the next school year.

The Arlington School Board approved the design and construction schedule of the school’s capacity expansion at its meeting last night, paving the way for the $5 million project to begin work this summer.

The exterior of the building will, for the most part, remain unchanged. Much of the work will go to re-outfitting classrooms to expand their capacity, adding lockers, shifting around offices and ensuring each room is being used to accommodate the greatest capacity possible. When completed, the school’s capacity will grow to 2,200 from its current 1,900-seat capacity.

“I think it’s a great use of our resources, and I know we’re looking forward to doing the same thing at the high schools as well as the other secondary schools, and to the extent possible, all of the schools in Arlington so we could maximize every space,” School Board member Nancy Van Doren said. “And I know there are a lot of people very excited about this design and this renovation.”

So far, there is no timeline in the Capital Improvements Plan for the capacity measures to begin at the other high schools.

The modification will add a science lab on the second floor of the building, install room dividers to create more flexible space, add teacher workrooms and expand lunchtime capacity in the school’s concourse and courtyard.

In addition to the measures to increase capacity, the school’s technological capability is getting a boost. The project aims to strengthen the school’s WiFi signal, install charging stations for devices, and install electronic pads outside rooms that will display each room’s schedule.

Arlington Public Schools will put the project out to bid at the beginning of May. June 22, when the school year ends, is when construction is expected to start. While the interior of the schools is getting its multimillion facelift, the artificial turf on the outside will be getting one of its own.

Photo via Google Maps

by Ethan Rothstein — April 20, 2015 at 11:30 am 1,451 0

Wilson School (photo courtesy Preservation Arlington)The 105-year-old Wilson School building isn’t historic enough to be preserved, the Arlington County Board decided on Saturday.

Instead, Arlington Public Schools has been directed to incorporate pieces of the old building into the new, 775-seat school that will replace it and house the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. The vote was the final hurdle before APS can move forward designing the $80.2 million project, including demolition of the Wilson School.

“We appreciate that there is community passion around preserving sites that help tell Arlington’s story,” Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a press release. “That is why we have directed the Manager to collaborate with APS to honor the history of Wilson School in a meaningful way even as we move forward to build a new school designed to address the challenge posed by our rapidly growing student population.”

The Arlington School Board and Planning Commission each recommended denying the historic district status, while the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board voted unanimously in favor of the status. If the County Board had sided with the HALRB, the new school’s construction would have had to go through more regulatory processes. APS Assistant Superintendent John Chadwick said the costs would likely exceed the $80.2 million budget, but he added no formal study of the costs had been done.

“We do feel keeping [the school would cost] a great deal more than has been quoted in the community,” Chadwick told the Board on Saturday. “The interior of the building does not comply with current codes. Therefore we would have to replace staircases. It does not have any level directly accessible from grade, which is clearly an issue with persons with disabilities.”

The building has been significantly renovated from its initial form, but the HALRB ruled it still meets at least six of the 11 criteria for historic district status; a building needs to meet just two to qualify for approval.

Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board Chair Joan LawrenceHALRB chairman Joan Lawrence noted the Wilson School has an architectural style “that is an important visual reminder of the time period” when it was built, and “provides a sense of place and connection with our past in the most urban area of Arlington, other than Crystal City, where there are no remaining connections to the past.”

More than a dozen speakers spoke before the Board, most in favor of preservation. Many of those speakers were among the 161 who signed a petition to preserve the building. In giving her presentation, Lawrence acknowledged it was likely falling on deaf ears.

“Preserving significant reminders of the county’s history was important to the County Board at one time,” Lawrence said. “I wish I could say with confidence that it has the same importance today. Too many times, I feel like the Lorax speaking not for the trees but for historic buildings.”

Photo, top, courtesy Preservation Arlington

by ARLnow.com — April 20, 2015 at 9:20 am 2,782 0

Car wash (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Record No. of Arlington Runners in Boston — An “all-time record” of 116 Arlington runners are registered to participate in the 2015 Boston Marathon today. [InsideNova]

Vehicle Overturns in Ashton Heights — A vehicle “pinballed off two parked cars” and overturned near the intersection of 6th Street and N. Lincoln Street in Ashton Heights Sunday morning. [Twitter]

H-B No. 1 in Challenge Index — Three Arlington high schools have made the top 10 of the Washington Post’s 2015 Challenge Index of local public high schools. The H-B Woodlawn secondary program ranked No. 1, Yorktown ranked No. 6 and Washington-Lee ranked No. 10. [Washington Post]

Complaints Against Towing Co., Questions About Video — While ESPN reporter Britt McHenry serves out her suspension for berating an Advanced Towing employee in Arlington, there’s some push back against the towing company and the video it produced of McHenry’s mean-spirited remarks. NBC 4 notes that there have been 155 complaints to police against Advanced from 2012 to 2014. Us Weekly, meanwhile, gossips that “a source close to the situation” says the video was edited “to make it look like Britt has gone on a one-way tirade as opposed to being in a two-way verbal spat with someone.” [NBC Washington, Us Weekly]

Net Migration Negative for Arlington in 2014 — More people moved out of Arlington than moved in last year, according to new census estimates. Arlington’s net migration in 2014 was -1,520, compared to +2,004 in 2013. That follows a broader trend of slowing growth in the D.C. region, which is still growing thanks mostly to births. [Washington Post]

County Board to Pay School Delays Costs — The Arlington County Board, which in January put the brakes on a plan to build a new elementary school in South Arlington, pledged last week to “take the financial hit” for the project’s delay, which is expected to cost up to $2.1 million. The County Board rejected the plan to build a new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School after residents raised concerns about traffic and the school’s impact on a nearby park. [InsideNova]

‘Enhanced Risk’ of Severe Weather Today — The National Weather Service says there’s an enhanced risk of severe weather in the D.C. area this afternoon, including a 1-in-3 chance of damaging wind gusts and hail. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Ethan Rothstein — April 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm 2,425 0

School Board member Barbara KanninenDespite some public backlash against the rollout of Arlington Public Schools’ initiative to equip each student with an iPad or Macbook device by 2017, the Arlington School Board is pushing ahead.

School Board member Barbara Kanninen, serving the first year of her term, proposed pausing what’s called the “1:1 Initiative” during the School Board’s budget deliberations last week. Her motion failed, 2-3, with Vice Chair Emma Violand-Sanchez voting in favor.

The initiative has already provided second- and sixth-graders with iPads and freshmen with MacBook Airs. Next year, devices will again be provided to students in those grades.

“We have conducted a very large pilot project this year in terms of this initiative,” Kanninen said, estimating about 3,000 devices are now in the hands of students. “That is a very large and potentially very informative data set. I made this motion because I believe it is now time to evaluate how it’s working and ask some basic questions. Is it helping students learn? Is it helping teachers teach?”

The Board and Superintendent Patrick Murphy had extensive discussions the week leading up to their meeting about the initiative, and the majority, including Murphy, agreed that an evaluation can be completed while pushing forward with handing out devices.

“I have moved from thinking we needed to pause to believing we can do that evaluation and do that assessment at the same time as we continue forward,” Board member Nancy Van Doren said. “Many people have called me about the problems we’ve been having … When I suggest pausing the program, I was surprised people said ‘don’t pause, just do it better.'”

Many of the complaints around the devices have focused on teachers not being adequately trained to use the devices, preventing an optimal environment for the students. Murphy said many teachers have “emerged as leaders” in using the devices while other teachers are more hesitant.

“I will say, with any new initiative, there have been a variety of issues with the rollout,” Murphy told the School Board. “We need to continue to strengthen our training models. I think we’ll continue to focus on professional development, working with families so they understand and working with safety, so students aren’t spending an excessive amount of time in front of these devices.”

The 1:1 Initiative is budget neutral because it is funded by diverting money away from APS’ annual technology replacement funds. While Murphy and the School Board majority acknowledged hiccups with the rollout, Kanninen pushed for a more detailed look at what went wrong.

“One of the main reasons a pause would be necessary is we also need to ask, “are we implementing this model the right way?'” she said. “There are other models and ways we could be rolling this out. By taking a pause here, we then can work on developing curricula, designing professional development programs, developing our principles for use, clarifying our budget implications.”

School Board member Abby Raphael said many of the concerns expressed in the community have been alleviated by a more thorough explanation of the program.

“It’s all about personalizing learning, it’s not about the devices,” she said. “I agree that we can continue to roll this out and evaluate what we’re doing, because I really do think this is a very valuable tool in eliminating the achievement gap.”

by Ethan Rothstein — April 13, 2015 at 10:35 am 1,534 0

The Arlington School Board at its Feb. 5, 2015 meeting(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) The Arlington School Board has approved a proposed $555.9 million budget for the 2015-2016 school year, requesting $6.18 million more than County Manager Barbara Donnellan proposed in her budget.

The School Board’s approved cuts of $7.4 million from Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s budget, unveiled in February. Some of those savings have come from updated revenue figures, but others have come from slashing Murphy’s budget, including cuts to the Arlington Public Schools central office staff.

Other savings came from moving money around, funding replacement buses and new technology with one-time funds from last year’s closeout budget as opposed to ongoing funding.

“We have now shrunk by $6.2 million, and that’s been a lot of hard work,” School Board member Abby Raphael said at the decisive meeting  last week. “Everyone was asked to really scrub their budgets and make changes, so we’re making some hard cuts and some hard choices … I think it is very reasonable, very responsible.”

The Arlington County Board will vote on its budget next week, and in the process it could either approve the School Board’s budget,  or force APS to make further cuts. If the School Board is not granted the $6.2 million, the next cuts to make would be step increases for staff, eliminating early release from the four elementary schools who still have it. APS could also increase class size by one, which would cut 55 jobs.

If the County Board approves the Board’s adopted budget, all early release programs at Arlington elementary schools would be a thing of the past, paving the way for broader implementation of the Foreign Language in Elementary Schools program.

The adopted budget would mean a cost-per-pupil of $18,558, APS’ lowest since FY 2012 and third-lowest since FY 2008. The Board and staff managed to reduce the cost from Murphy’s budget by $131, while adding new positions along the way.

“We’ve worked well together and stuck to our common values, which is what’s important,” School Board member Barbara Kanninen said. “The changes we’ve made, every one has been careful and deliberate with thought to the taxpayers dollars. When we made a new addition, it’s because we need it.”

Some of Murphy’s proposed cuts the School Board elected to restore, including the World Languages distance learning courses, and its six associated positions. The Board also added three facilities and operations positions to help with the ever-continuing school construction.

The Board also made community outreach a priority, adding a full-time family and community engagement coordinator and allocating $67,000 for “communications support” for the Board.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 13, 2015 at 9:30 am 2,376 0

Metro train at DCA with cherry blossoms in the foreground (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

DCA’s Growth Hurting Dulles — Arlington’s Reagan National Airport is growing fast — it set a new record for passengers on March 27, with 39,073. Congress has widened DCA’s flight perimeter three times and more and more airlines are scheduling flights. In the meantime, Dulles is more expensive to fly out of and won’t have a Metro line until 2018 at the earliest. Reagan now has more daily passengers than Dulles, and Dulles’ consumer base is shrinking. [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Teacher Selected For Cuba Trip — Yorktown social studies teacher Tom Lenihan is raising funds to participate in Tulane University’s Cuban Culture & Society Teacher Institute. To ensure his place in Havana, Lenihan, also an adjunct professor at Marymount University, must raise $3,000. Lenihan says he will bring back knowledge and experience to share with fellow educators and his World Affairs class. He has set up a GoFundMe page to raise the money. The program is from June 20-July 4.

D.C. Area to Grow By 1.6 Million People? — The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments projects the D.C. area, including the outer suburbs, will grow from 5.05 people in 2010 to 6.62 million people in 2040. The core area, made up of D.C., Arlington and Alexandria, is projected to have a growth rate north of 40 percent. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Ethan Rothstein — April 2, 2015 at 11:00 am 14,651 0

Brandi Moore with her 13 college acceptance letters

Brandi Moore is far from your typical high school student.

Most days, she goes to bed at midnight or later to study or finish. Some days, she wakes up at 5:00 a.m. to get in a few extra hours of studying before attending classes at Washington-Lee High School. In the evenings or on weekends, you can find her performing in one of a handful of theater groups — at school or otherwise — or volunteering to clean up streams and mark sewer grates.

High-achieving students, especially in Arlington, are hardly news. But what makes Brandi stand out, her father George tells ARLnow.com, is her own self-possessed drive.

“I never had to push her to read or anything,” he said. “I used to have to tell her to stop reading and go to bed. I’ve never even had to look at her grades online. She just naturally absorbs stuff and wants to learn.”

Brandi’s hard work has paid off. This week, she received acceptance letters from all five Ivy League universities she applied to: Cornell, Brown, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia and Harvard. Those letters came after she had already been accepted at eight other schools, making her 13-for-13 in college applications.

A month before her flood of Ivy League acceptance letters, Brandi said she received “likely” letters from four of the schools, something she said the Ivy League universities only send to a few hundred students.

“They helped the process a lot. I knew my fate would be decided, because I was already pretty sure I was getting in,” she said.

Before she got those “likely” letters, it was a different story. Her first letter and package was from Brown University in Providence, R.I., which had been her dream school since she was 8 years old.

“When we got a pretty sizeable package from Brown, we didn’t know what it was,” she said, referring to the piece of mail that came. After she opened it, “I lost it. I was really excited.”

The Moores live in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, and Brandi has risen through the ranks of Arlington Public Schools, from Campbell Elementary School, to Kenmore Middle and now Washington-Lee. The 18-year-old senior has narrowed down her choices to Brown and the Ivy League school that gave her the biggest financial package: Harvard. The family will be traveling to Cambridge, Mass., tomorrow to visit the oldest university in the United States.

“Harvard is really, really pushing her,” George Moore said. He added that the whole process has been “so strange,” because, after all, what parent expects Ivy League schools to fight over any student? Reed College in Oregon paid for her to fly across the country to visit the campus. “I knew something was going on when they flew her out there and paid for everything. I thought ‘something special’s going on here.’ It just sort of comes one after another. It’s hard to keep up.”

Brandi said she hopes to make her decision in the next week. Next year, she hopes to start studying biology or something in the life sciences, while keeping up with theater, her passion. Brown appeals to her because the school doesn’t have a core curriculum; students can take whatever classes they want. On the other hand, Harvard is Harvard.

Either way, it’s clear she’s ready for bigger and better things.

“Our classes in high school, there are kids who love what’s going on in the classroom, there are kids who don’t love it as much,” she said. “I’m excited about being in the class where everyone loves learning. I’m just generally excited to see what my limits are and what I’m really going to end up doing. I really want to find myself.”

Photo courtesy George Moore

by ARLnow.com — March 30, 2015 at 9:00 am 1,686 0

First bloom of the season (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Wounded Marine’s Golf Clubs Stolen — Retired Marine Lt. Col. Justin Constantine had a couple of his beloved, custom-made golf clubs stolen from Arlington’s Army Navy Country Club after accidentally leaving them at the driving range. Constantine was shot in the face by a sniper in Iraq in 2006. So far, one of the clubs has been returned while two remain missing. [Marine Corps Times]

Video: iPads in Use at APS — Arlington Public Schools has posted a new “#digitalAPS” video that shows iPads in use in a middle school science class. [Arlington Public Schools]

APS Community Engagement Juggling Act — Arlington Public Schools is planning a community engagement blitz as it seeks to keep up with rapidly rising school enrollment by building new schools. This comes in the wake of the County Board putting the brakes on a plan, unpopular with some residents, to build new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. APS is trying to juggle getting community consensus with the need to build new capacity quickly. [InsideNova]

Dremo’s Owner Dreams Up ‘BeerDisneyLand’ — The owner of the late, lamented Dr. Dremo’s in Rosslyn is proposing to build a two-acre “BeerDisneyLand” on D.C.’s Anacostia River waterfront near Navy Yard. [Hill Now]

Flickr pool by Kevin Wolf

by Ethan Rothstein — March 27, 2015 at 3:05 pm 6,561 0

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) The proportion of Arlington households making at least $200,000 annually has tripled in the past decade.

As part of the county’s ongoing Community Facilities Study, staff from the county government and Arlington Public Schools presented data to a working group this week that will come as little surprise to anyone who follows the county’s demographic trends.

In 2000, less than 6 percent of Arlington households made $200,000 or more. The largest income group in the county was those making between $75,000 and $99,999 (about $100,000-$135,000 in 2013 dollars, according to the county).

In 2013, more than 18 percent of the county was earning $200,00 or more — which is more than any other income group. The second-biggest segment is the $75,000-$99,999 group, at less than 13 percent of the county’s population.

More relevant to the overflowing schools problem that continues to plague the county: the size of the average family has increased. Non-family households made up 53.9 percent of the county population in 2013, down slightly from 54.5 percent in 2000.

Four-person households saw the single-biggest growth over the same time period. In 2000, there were 6,715 four-person families in Arlington. In 2013, there were 8,263 — marking a 23.1 percent increase. These are the households that generate the most significant portion of APS students, according to the county.

To compound the growth in the sheer number of larger families in the county, more families than ever before are sending their kids to Arlington schools. In 2000, 82 percent of school-age children in Arlington attended public school in the county. That number climbed to 91 percent in 2010.

According to U.S. Census data, there were 145 more total school-age children in Arlington in 2000 than in 2010, but the APS population added 1,837 children anyway.

What the Community Facilities Study and the Arlington County Board do with this information is still to be seen. The group has been meeting for about two months, and will continue to meet this summer. The group is charged with determining the best way to use the county and school system’s buildings, property and open space to serve everyone.

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