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Abby Raphael Elected New School Board Chair

by Ethan Rothstein | July 9, 2013 at 10:45 am | 801 views | No Comments

School board member Abby RaphaelThe Arlington County School Board unanimously elected Abby Raphael as its new Board chair at its meeting Monday.

Raphael will serve for a one-year term, through June 2014. She replaces Emma Violand-Sánchez as chair, who remains on the board as a member. Raphael previously served as chair in the 2011-2012 school year.

James Lander was unanimously elected to serve as vice chair, replacing last year’s vice chair Sally Baird. Lander, elected to the Board in 2009, has not previously held a leadership position.

Usually, the previous vice chair ascends to the head position on the board, but Baird withdrew her name from consideration, per the Sun Gazette.

Raphael, a former Arlington Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney who started serving on the Board in 2008, said from the dais that the chair was “not something I sought or anticipated,” but vowed to tackle the board’s challenges in the upcoming year, including capacity issues and updating the schools’ capital improvement program.

“The Board will maintain its focus on student achievement and eliminating achievement gaps with an emphasis on retaining and developing our high quality teachers, recruiting more high quality staff, and reviewing various academic programs,” she said. “We also are aware that the fiscal climate continues to be a challenging one so we will focus on setting clear priorities for our Fiscal Year 2015 budget, continuing our evaluation of what is most effective and efficient in providing excellence in education for each student.”

Lander is the only member of the School Board up for election this November, and he narrowly won an endorsement battle in the Democratic endorsement caucus in May. A veteran of the Gulf War, Lander said from the dais that his focus “will be on results. Results matter.”

APS to Sell Wilson School to Developer

by ARLnow.com | June 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm | 4,376 views | No Comments

Wilson School (photo courtesy Preservation Arlington)

The Arlington School Board has announced its intention to sell the Wilson School property, at 1601 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, to a developer.

By a unanimous vote Tuesday, the School Board instructed Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy to sign a non-binding letter of intent to sell the aging building to developer Penzance.

The School Board said the property could not sufficiently accommodate a new elementary school, and thus it would best serve the school system to sell the property and use the proceeds to fund its ongoing school building projects. Those projects are intended to help APS keep up with rising enrollment, expected to surge to nearly 30,000 students by 2021.

The potential sale price has not been disclosed, but Penzance bought a nearby office building, 1555 Wilson Blvd, for $67 million in 2011.

Penzance plans to use both properties for a large-scale mixed-use development. The development plan also calls for Penzance to acquire Arlington’s Fire Station #10 and the 39-unit Queens Court Apartments, owned by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing.

Today (Wednesday), Arlington County announced that it is beginning a formal planning process for the redevelopment. Dubbed the Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study, the process will include the formation of a County Board-appointed working group, outreach to local community groups, a charrette, and numerous other public meetings.

As detailed in a press release, the county seeks to use the redevelopment as an opportunity to create 1.5 acres of new open park space, to build a new fire station that better meets the fire department’s needs, and to add more committed affordable housing units, among other objectives.

The goal of the study is to develop a Conceptual Plan and related policy recommendations that will guide future development and achieve the following County goals that have been identified for the study area:

  • County park, recreation and open space that is at least 60,000 square feet in size;
  • New fire station;
  • Affordable housing;
  • Energy efficiency / sustainability; and
  • Mix of uses and compatible heights and densities.

“This is a rare opportunity to meet community goals in a dense part of the County with little available land,” said Donnellan. “I am excited about the prospects of the possibilities of future public/private development and look forward to working with the community over the next year.”

The working group is expected to be appointed in July and to deliver a conceptual plan to the County Board in early 2014. The County Board is expected to vote on the plan in the second quarter of 2014, paving the way for any future development on the site.

(more…)

New Boundaries Approved as County Board Considers Ashlawn Addition

by ARLnow.com | May 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm | 1,789 views | No Comments

"Variation B" newly-approved Arlington elementary school boundaries(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.”

Ashlawn Elementary School addition site planOn 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.

County staff is recommending approval of the use permit, as well as a use permit for temporary construction parking at the adjacent Dominion Hills pool.

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.

Approved schematic design of the new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus Approved schematic design of the new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus

Peter’s Take: Democracy Wins in Democratic School Board Endorsement

by Peter Rousselot | May 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm | 586 views | No Comments

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter RousselotThe Arlington Democrats School Board endorsement election produced many winners. The clearest winner was the strong affirmation of the benefits of challenges to incumbents by other Democrats.

As I wrote in my May 2 column, we need to encourage more Democrats to challenge our incumbents for the Democratic endorsement or nomination.

As ARLnow reported, James Lander, the incumbent Arlington School Board member running for re-election, won the Democratic endorsement — but only by 47 votes. He received 51 percent of the votes cast. As with any incumbent seeking re-election, both Lander’s record, and the record of the public body on which he serves, were issues discussed during the campaign — publicly or privately.

Without this secret ballot vote, neither Lander nor the School Board would have had the benefit of this Democratic voter feedback. Based on this important new information, they now can choose to make changes in what they have been doing.

Barbara Kanninen, a first-time candidate, deserves credit for challenging Lander. She almost won the endorsement, receiving 49 percent of the votes cast. Obviously, Kanninen raised issues that resonated with a very large minority of Democratic caucus voters. Several Arlington incumbents previously have lost elections by a wider percentage margin than she did.

Like Lander and the School Board, Kanninen now has the benefit of the voters’ verdict, together with the opportunity to draw valuable lessons from it. She clearly can run again and win — if she decides that is what she wants to do. (Disclosure: I publicly endorsed Kannninen.)

The Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) also deserves praise for the way in which ACDC organized, promoted, and conducted this endorsement caucus. Because of the provisions of Virginia law, political parties that want to endorse candidates for School Board do not have the option to endorse those candidates in primaries conducted by boards of elections at all regular polling places. (Contrary to frequent claims that “school board races are supposed to be non-partisan,” partisan endorsements are authorized in Virginia school board elections.)

Political parties do have the option of making such endorsements by a vote only of their managing committees. By choosing the endorsement caucus option instead, ACDC selected the option that offers the opportunity for the widest possible participation by Arlington Democrats. (Disclosure: I played a small role in administering a portion of the second day of the caucus.)

Increased numbers of challenges to incumbents by other Democrats will lead to more democracy and better public policy in Arlington.

Peter Rousselot is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

Lander Wins Democratic School Board Endorsement

by ARLnow.com | May 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm | 1,338 views | No Comments

School Board candidates Barbara Kanninen and James Lander(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.”

School Board Approves $523 Million Budget

by ARLnow.com | May 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm | 574 views | No Comments

Parents pack an Arlington County School Board meeting on block scheduling at middle schoolsThe Arlington School Board approved a new $523 million budget for Fiscal Year 2014 on Thursday.

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.

File photo

Kanninen, Lander Debate Ahead of School Board Caucus

by ARLnow.com | May 2, 2013 at 11:45 am | 1,056 views | No Comments

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.

(more…)

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | May 1, 2013 at 8:55 am | 788 views | No Comments

Buildings in Clarendon and the Clarendon Metro station

School Board Candidate Skips S. Arlington — Arlington School Board challenger Barbara Kanninen has held all of her published campaign events in north Arlington, skipping south Arlington entirely, says political blogger Ben Tribbett. Although she’s a challenger, Kanninen is thought by some to be the favorite in the race, thanks to high expected voter turnout in north Arlington. Kanninen will face incumbent James Lander in a debate at tonight’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting. The Democratic School Board caucus will be held May 9 and 11. [Not Larry Sabato]

John Paul Stevens to Speak at Cmte. of 100 — Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will be the featured speaker at the May 8 Arlington Committee of 100 meeting. Stevens is an Arlington resident. [Sun Gazette]

AMEN Becomes ‘Arlington Thrive’ — Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs (AMEN) has been rebranded as “Arlington Thrive.” The nonprofit still provides “same-day, emergency financial assistance to County residents who experience sudden financial crisis such as temporary unemployment or illness,” with priority given to families. [Arlington Thrive]

Annual Marymount Fashion Show — Marymount University will hold its annual fashion show this weekend. “Portfolio in Motion 2013″ will showcase the work of Marymount fashion design students. It’s being held on campus in the Rose Bente Lee Center at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. [Facebook]

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 23, 2013 at 8:35 am | 727 views | No Comments

Tulips by the Netherlands Carillon (photo by Wolfkann)

Bomb Squad to Receive Protective Vest Donation – The Arlington County Fire Department’s bomb squad will receive a donation of two tactical protective vests next Tuesday. The vests will protect bomb squad personnel in explosive-related situations. Worth nearly $20,000, the vests are being donated by Firehouse Subs.

Lander Defends His Record — School Board member James Lander, who’s running for re-election and facing a challenge for the Democratic endorsement, is defending his record when it comes to school redistricting, student transportation and his support of Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. Lander says he “will continue to press for ways to improve student achievement and address the needs of a growing school population without breaking the bank.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Garners Third AAA Rating — Ratings agency Fitch has reaffirmed its AAA rating for Arlington’s debt. All three bond rating agencies have now given Arlington their top ratings for the year. [Arlington County]

‘Two Wheel Tuesday’ Event Tonight — The county’s BikeArlington program is holding its fourth “Two Wheel Tuesday” educational event of the year. Tonight’s event is “Savvy Cycling Tips,” which lets interested riders “learn the best tips on safe biking so you can ride in traffic comfortably.” The event will be held from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Westover Library (1644 North McKinley Road). [BikeArlington]

Photo by Wolfkann

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 11, 2013 at 8:55 am | 1,283 views | No Comments

A man jogging through a park on a spring day

Arlington Outpaced in Home Sale Prices – Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax County and D.C. have all outpaced Arlington when it comes to growth in home sale prices. Prices in Arlington increased only 1.1 percent year over year in March, and year-to-date prices are down 1 percent, according to data from RealEstate Business Intelligence. The median home sale price in Arlington hit $515,000 in March. [Washington Post]

O’Connell Defeats Stone Bridge — The highly-ranked Bishop O’Connell softball team defeated their closest competitors in Virginia, Stone Bridge, by a score of 3-0 last night. The Knights improved to 10-0, and remain ranked No. 2 in the region. The team will face No. 9 McLean and No. 1 Northern (ranked second in the country; DJO is ranked third) later this month. [Washington Post]

Kanninen Wants More Responsiveness — Barbara Kanninen says she’s running for Arlington School Board because she wants the board to be more responsive to the concerns of parents. “There’s a lot of parent dissatisfaction,” she said in an interview with the Sun Gazette. Of her opponent, incumbent James Lander, she said “it truly isn’t about him, specifically.” [Sun Gazette]

Remembering WEAM — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark takes a trip down Memory Lane and remembers the Arlington-based AM radio station WEAM. The station used to play pop  and rock hits from a studio located “above Minor Hill, off Williamsburg Blvd.” [Falls Church News-Press]

School Board to Present Budget to County Board

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm | 681 views | No Comments

Parents pack an Arlington County School Board meeting on block scheduling at middle schools(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.

Arlington Public Schools logoMurphy’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.

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | March 22, 2013 at 8:45 am | 660 views | 12 Comments

Part of the Artisphere building at sunset (photo by wolfkann)

Election Officials Seek Funding for Scanners — County election officials hope the County Board approves funding for bar code scanners that could speed up voter check-in at the polls. The scanners would read the codes on voters’ drivers’ licenses and voting cards, which would more quickly bring up residents’ information. A final County Board decision might not happen until the end of the fiscal year. [Sun Gazette]

Local Woman to Appear on Jeopardy! — Arlington resident Mary Jo Shoop will compete tonight on America’s popular quiz show, Jeopardy! During her time taping the show, Shoop was able to meet and get photos with host Alex Trebek. The episode will air tonight (Friday) at 7:30 p.m. on ABC 7 (WJLA).

APS Requests $0.005 Tax Rate Increase(Updated at 10:00 a.m.) — Thursday night’s School Board meeting began with the announcement that the schools have asked the county for a one-half of one cent increase in the tax rate, which adds up to about $3 million. The funds would cover shortfalls in the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget of $520 million. APS Board Chair Emma Violand-Sanchez said the spring 2013 enrollment figures were higher than expected, prompting the need for more county money. [Arlington Mercury]

School Board Appoints Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations — John Chadwick was named the new Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations at last night’s (March 21) School Board meeting. He has served as the interim assistant superintendent since Feb. 1, and has served as the APS Director of Design and Construction since 2011. “John is a calm and reassuring leader as he has worked to collaborate with staff and the community on initiatives such as our recently-adopted ten-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). He has also been an adept manager for all of our recent capital improvement projects, including the construction at Yorktown and Wakefield and the planning of a new elementary school to be built on the Williamsburg site and the addition at Ashlawn,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy. “John’s leadership over the past two years for our ‘More Seats for More Students’ deliberations, as well as his support for the work of our new Multimodal Transportation Committee and our many other collaborative efforts with the Arlington County Government have been a tremendous asset to APS.”

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

Superintendent to Present Boundary Change Recommendation

by Katie Pyzyk | March 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm | 1,398 views | 25 Comments

APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy's proposed boundary changesArlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy will present his boundary change recommendation at tonight’s School Board meeting.

The recommended changes are detailed in a memo that also lists two alternative plans. The intent is to ease school overcrowding and to assign students to a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The shuffle will affect students at seven elementary schools in North Arlington — Ashlawn, Glebe, Jamestown, McKinley, Nottingham, Taylor and Tuckahoe.

The major changes will involve moving around 900 students in the following ways:

  • 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

“We went through a process of community meetings starting this past fall. There was lots of input and lots of options,” said APS Transition Facilities Planning Consultant Meg Tuccillo. “The superintendent examined the input he received, and the need to address capacity, and determined that this recommendation met that need.”

The plan also includes recommendations for grandfathering that would also need to be approved by the School Board. The ideas especially apply to fifth graders so they don’t have to move for their final year of elementary school. Siblings of fifth graders also would not have to move immediately. The grandfathering recommendations are as follows:

  • Rising fifth 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 continue for current bus riders for that year.
  • A student attending either 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 their current Immersion School through fifth grade with transportation provided by APS.
  • A student 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 fifth grade with transportation provided by APS.

APS reports that its staff has participated in more than 40 community meetings since the beginning of the boundary changing process. Two additional public meetings will take place in April, and the School Board is scheduled to give a final vote on May 16. If approved at that time, the changes will go into effect for the 2015-2016 school year. An exception would be made for students reassigned to McKinley. Those students would be delayed a year and instead would switch schools in time for the 2016-2017 school year, when McKinley’s expansion is expected to be completed.

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | March 21, 2013 at 9:10 am | 712 views | 8 Comments

Green lights in Clarendon

911 Outage Report Released — A report regarding Northern Virginia’s 911 outage following last summer’s derecho storm calls on Verizon to provide an audit of its entire 911 infrastructure. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Board of Directors approved the report, which found that the outage was caused by the loss of commercial power and the subsequent failure of one of the two backup generators in each of Verizon’s Arlington and Fairfax central offices. Improper maintenance and incident response also reportedly contributed to the outage. [MWCOG]

Arlington Third Healthiest County in Virginia — A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin researchers indicates that Arlington is the third healthiest county in the state. Coming in first is Fairfax County, followed by Loudoun County. The study examined data from nearly every county in the nation. Overall, Northern Virginia counties fared better than those in the southern parts of the state. [WTOP]

Key Elementary School Educator Chosen as Teacher of the Year — The 2013 Arlington Public Schools Teacher of the Year is a fourth grade educator at Key Elementary School. Erica Russell has been teaching at the school since 2006. She will be honored by the School Board on May 15, and is the county’s nominee for the 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year Competition. [Sun Gazette]

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | February 28, 2013 at 9:35 am | 2,295 views | 64 Comments

1812 N. Moore Street skyscraper under construction in Rosslyn

Suspicious Package Shuts Down Va. Square Metro — A suspicious package shut down the Virginia Square Metro station yesterday for part of the evening rush hour. The package was determined to be non-hazardous, according to police.

Traffic Calming Coming to Two Streets — Two Arlington streets — S. Hudson Street between Arlington Blvd and 2nd Street, and 7th Road S. between Carlin Springs Road and Greenbrier Street — will be receiving traffic calming measures. The measures include a narrowing of an intersection, a radar speed display, bike lane markings and additional signage, but no speed bumps. [Sun Gazette]

Sequester Could Be Costly for County – The federal budget sequester, set to take effect tomorrow, could cost Arlington County government between $2 and $3 million in direct federal aid. [Sun Gazette]

Support Website for Arlingtonian Accused of Murder — A support website has been set up for Chris Deedy, an Arlington resident and State Department security agent who is accused of second degree murder in the 2011 shooting of a man in McDonald’s restaurant in Hawaii. Deedy’s lawyer says his client was protecting others when he fatally shot the 23-year-old Hawaiian. “Law enforcement officers shouldn’t be treated like murderers when they protect the public,” says the website. [DeedySupport.com]

Interview with Kanninen — The Democratic website Blue Virginia interviewed Barbara Kanninen, who’s running for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board against incumbent James Lander. Asked why she’s running, Kanninen said: “If we don’t have competition, we don’t have anyone even trying to prove that they’re going to be a good School Board member.” [Blue Virginia]

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