In a recent study by the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families, only 24 percent of students said their parents were actively involved in helping them succeed in school.
With that in mind, APCYF has issued some advice for parents to help their kids “get off to a great start” as Arlington starts a new school year.
September is an exciting time for children, families and school staff. The Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families (APCYF) wants to remind everyone that it’s a great time to think about what families can do to get off to a positive start and help make this a successful, asset-building school year for your children. Assets are simply the positive experiences, relationships and values that help young people make smart choices and grow up ready to be responsible, healthy, successful community members. Learn more at http://www.search-institute.
Mary Ann Moran, Assets Liaison and founding member of APCYF, advises parents and caregivers that a good start to the year begins at home with the basics. All children and teens need good rest and a healthy breakfast. “Although you can’t make kids eat or sleep, you can create an environment and set boundaries that encourage getting enough sleep and healthy eating,” said Moran.
- A healthy breakfast is vital. If you have a picky eater, get creative and offer choices. Any healthy food is good for breakfast – even pizza or PB&J.
- On average, elementary school children need 10-11 hours of sleep. Teens need 8-9 hours. Setting a regular bed time helps.
- No one can sleep with a cell phone under their pillow. Consider collecting all electronic devices at bedtime. Kids can retrieve them in the morning.
- Try to plan time to avoid “scrambling-to-get-ready” syndrome – it’s a bad way to start anyone’s day.
According to a survey of 1,651 students in Arlington, only 24% of 8th to 10th graders report having parents involved in school. Get involved with your child’s education now and stay involved all the way through 12th grade. One way to participate is to have real conversations about school. “Do you have homework?’’ is not a conversation starter. Instead, parents might say:
- Who did you eat lunch with?
- Why did you choose that particular book for your report?
- Tell me about your new teacher. (Instead of “Is your teacher nice?”)
- Tell me about the kids in your class.
- When I went into __ grade, I remember feeling _______.
If your child doesn’t want to talk when they get home from school or you first come home from work, try again later, said Moran.
Remind yourself that it’s your child who goes back to school, so their successes and their failures are their own. It’s hard, but let them learn from both. Children learn about being responsible and planning ahead by practice. At some point, they probably will forget their homework, let projects go to the last minute and leave books they need at school. But if they never experience consequences, there’s no motivation to learn to be responsible. Treat mistakes as learning opportunities to let children know you believe in them and their ability to deal with what happens, advised Moran.
Finally, let kids be kids. In our rush-around, stressed-out world, adults can help children have time to be silly, play and daydream, Moran said. It’s essential for them and it does wonders for us. For more information, visit http://
Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil
Students Head Back to School — Today is the first day of school for nearly 23,000 Arlington Public School students. School start times vary in Arlington, from 7:50 a.m. for middle schools to 9:24 a.m. for the H-B Woodlawn Secondary program. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy has created a back-to-school video for students and parents. Arlington County, meanwhile, is urging drivers to be especially cautious on the roads this morning.
AAA Warns of ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning of “the mother of all gridlock” today, a day the organization has dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday.” With students heading back to school and workers back from summer vacations, AAA expects traffic congestion to spike 26 percent compared to mid-summer. Adding to the congestion in Arlington will be the 146 yellow APS school buses on the roads. [AAA Mid-Atlantic, Bethesda Now]
Special Election Today — Voters in Virginia’s 45th House of Delegates District will head to the polls today in the special election to replace Del. David Englin, who resigned following the admission that he had an extramarital affair. The three candidates in the race are Tim McGhee (R), Rob Krupicka (D) and Justin Malkin (L). Only five electoral precincts in Arlington are included in the 45th District: Aurora Hills, Fairlington, Abingdon, Oakridge, and Shirlington. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
Virginia’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday starts tomorrow (Friday).
From Aug. 3-5, certain school supplies, clothing and footwear will be exempt from Virginia’s 5 percent sales tax. The exemption only applies to school supplies priced $20 or less and clothing and shoes priced $100 or less.
A complete list of qualifying items is available on the Virginia Department of Taxation website.
From the scheduled 7:50 a.m. start at middle schools to the 9:24 a.m. start at the H-B Woodlawn secondary program, from kindergarten to 12th grade, students made their way to school this morning on foot, on the bus and via car.
No significant problems with the back-to-school effort were reported, at least not from a public safety perspective.
As the school year starts, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy released a ‘welcome back’ video for students and parents. Also, Murphy announced that Deirdra McLaughlin has been appointed Assistant Superintendent for Finance, replacing the retiring Mary Beth Chambers.
The monicker, which comes from AAA Mid-Atlantic, refers to the sudden, jolting return to heavy traffic that occurs when Washingtonians return from their summer vacations and head back to work — while students in Virginia, at the same time, head back to school.
Among other traffic jams, nearly the entire length of northbound I-395 was slow this morning, from the 14th Street Bridge through Alexandria.
How was your commute, either on the roads or on transit?
To help hammer home that message, police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be conducting “high visibility enforcement” around school zones next week.
Here’s the police press release:
The Arlington County Police Department, in conjunction with the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, will be out in force next week as the 2011-2012 school year begins. Officers and Deputy Sheriffs will be conducting high visibility traffic enforcement in and around the school zones throughout Arlington County starting on Tuesday, September 6, 2011. This will also coincide with the 3rd Annual Virginia Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Week to emphasis the need to share the road with vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.Drivers are reminded to:
- Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
- Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
- Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school. Remember, we all share the road.
- Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers.
- Have all occupants wear their seatbelts.Students, bicyclist, and pedestrians are reminded to:
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
- Look before you cross and follow the direction of the school crossing guards.
- Dismount from your bicycle and walk it in a crosswalk when crossing a street.
- Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths never along the side of a road.Arlington County will have variable message boards placed along the roadways reminding citizens of the start of school and to drive safely. With a little prevention, all drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians can arrive at their destinations in a timely and safe manner.
Arlington Sends Surprise $2.2 Million Bill to Falls Church — Arlington is billing the City of Falls Church an extra $2.2 million for its use of the Arlington County jail, the Falls Church News-Press reported late last night. Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields told the paper that Arlington sent the bill after discovering a “clerical error” that resulted in Falls Church being undercharged since 2008. [FCNP]
Lubber Run Renovation in Doubt — Arlington doesn’t have room in its current budget to pay for multi-million dollar renovations to the shuttered Lubber Run Amphitheater, County Manager Barbara Donnellan said at a recent public meeting. However, Donnellan said renovations could, theoretically, become a priority in future budget cycles. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Fighting to Start School in August — Arlington has been persistently applying for a state waiver to start the school year before Labor Day. Each year the county applies, however, it gets rejected. Now, school officials in Fairfax County and Alexandria are also considering applying for the right to start school before Labor Day. [Washington Examiner]
Reasonably-Priced Buffet Spots Profiled — TBD looks at seven of the most “notable” and/or “dirt-cheap” buffet options in Arlington. [TBD]
Thanks to generous donations, the 62 homeless youth served by Doorways for Women and Families were able to go back to school today with supply-filled backpacks.
The backpacks contained lunch bags, water bottles, pencils, crayons and even a gift card redeemable for donated clothing.
“The security of starting the school year well prepared will help these children to overcome some of the other uncertainties in their life right now,” Doorways services coordinator Kristen Barnes wrote on the organization’s blog.
Photo courtesy of Doorways.
Back to School — The nearly 21,000 students enrolled in Arlington Public Schools are returning to class today. Watch out for school buses on the roads this morning.
Arlington Parents Like Their Kid’s School, Teachers – On Friday, we reported that a survey conducted on behalf of Arlington Public Schools found that parents were very much opposed to redrawing school boundaries. Now comes more evidence that parents of APS students are happy with their kid’s current school. Asked to grade their child’s school, teachers, and quality of education, parents gave each a 4.4 out of 5 on average. More from the Sun Gazette.
Arlington-Based Rosetta Stone Disappoints Investors – Language education software maker Rosetta Stone, which has its corporate headquarters in Arlington, has struggled through executive departures and weak sales this year. The company hopes to turn that around with a new product, to be launched next week. More from Business Week.
Enthusiastic Review for ‘Chess’ – Signature Theater’s production of Chess, which was inspired by a much-hyped 1972 chess match between American Bobby Fischer and the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky, might not sound too exciting at first. But add a rock soundtrack, energetic performances and (of course) a love story, and Chess “sizzles,” according to theater critic Terry Ponick at washingtontimes.com. The Shirlington-based production runs through October 3.
New Bike Lane in Courthouse — Cyclists now have a safer way to get to Courthouse from North Rhodes Street (and vice-versa). The Ode Street Tribune reports that a bike lane has been added to 15th Street.
Relocatable classrooms – superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy prefers the term “learning cottages” — are here to stay in Arlington County. The school system, having determined that the portable units are ten times more cost-effective than physically building a new classroom, has started buying rather than leasing the “relocatables,” and has started buying them four at a time for a further cost savings.
This summer APS added four relocatables each to Glebe, Carlin Springs, and Barrett elementary schools. One relocatable was installed at Nottingham Elementary and H-B Woodlawn, according to APS spokesperson Frank Bellavia.
The school system also likes relocatables because of the flexibility they provide. They can be moved from school to school, can be put into reserve in case of a sudden influx of students, and can be removed if the student population enters a cyclical downturn, as it did in the 1990s.
Indeed, although student enrollment is projected to increase through 2020 (see chart below), school board member Sally Baird says the increase is as much a “generational spike” in certain areas of the county as it is a result of Arlington’s steadily growing population. That growth, she says, is only temporary.
In addition to the “relocatables” — APS is also implementing a number of strategies specifically intended to allow then to squeeze in more students without laying a single brick.
Class sizes have increased by one student across the board, with the exception of the fourth and fifth grade classes. At high schools, classrooms are being utilized six out of seven periods, up from five. And Washington-Lee High School is offering “zero period” classes before the start of school, a strategy that may spread to other high schools.
One thing that the school system is no longer considering is redrawing school boundaries. Although the idea was under consideration, it was panned by parents when polled for an APS survey.
Virginia’s back-to-school sales tax holiday is in effect this weekend.
Starting today, there will be no sales tax on:
- School supplies selling for $20 or less per item
- Clothes and shoes selling for $100 or less per item
The tax holiday will end after Sunday. Click here to see a list of qualifying and exempt items.