Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
She and her neighbor were discussing how working mothers could have a more active role in their children’s education when they got the idea for Appleseed Lane.
Appleseed Lane is a monthly, subscription-based company that sends parents a kit for a project that encourages STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — education in children between 4 and 8 years old.
“We want our kids to be exposed to learning in a way that’s dynamic and organic,” Marbley told ARLnow.com from the Starbucks in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. “The kids can get their hands dirty. Science has to be hands-on for kids to have that ownership and engagement.”
Marbley and her neighbor got to work quickly on what those kits would look like, how they would change from month-to-month and every other detail creating a service from scratch entails. Marbley decided last summer to leave her teaching job and devote herself to Appleseed Lane full-time, and the company launched its first box in October 2013.
The kits have a different theme every month and include projects with simple, colorful instructions. The theme for June is Sports Science; it is a collaboration with Shawn Marion, an NBA player for the Dallas Maverick and, Marbley said “an old friend.”
Each kit includes every material needed, with the exception of household items like scissors, and include lesson plans led by Professor Caterpillar; lesson plans aligned with National Science Education Standards, Marbley said.
“The boxes are research-based and aligned with what schools are doing,” Marbley said. “We got teachers and education experts to weigh in on the design and lesson and we have a ton of kids test it.”
Subscriptions cost $23.95 for one month, $21.95 per month over six months or $19.95 per month over a year, with shipping included. Each kit is roughly the size of a shoebox.
“My 5-year-old son is one of my official testers,” Marbley said. “He enjoys it because it’s also uninterrupted time with me. It’s an ongoing education and it’s also about relationships. The parents do each project with their child and they can engaged and not on their phones while they’re doing it.”
Since launching in October, Marbley said Appleseed Lane has grown 500 percent and is now firmly profitable. The company is bootstrapped outside of friends and family money, and it is shipping nationally.
Appleseed Lane will soon offer parents the ability to purchase a series of lesson plans at once, as opposed to simply receiving one per month, to make it possible to use as homeschooling material. The company is focused on growing nationally and building partnerships, and not yet on offering a wider variety of services like older education or kits focused outside of STEM.
“We want to focus on kids who can develop a love for STEM early on,” Marbley said. “We want kids to get excited about STEM as soon as possible when they’re naturally curious.” (more…)
Bike to Work Day Tomorrow — More than 12,000 bicyclists around the Washington region are expected to participate in Bike to Work Day tomorrow (Friday). Arlington will host four Bike to Work Day pit stops – in Rosslyn (6:30 to 9:00 a.m.), Ballston (6:30 to 9:00 a.m.), Crystal City (7:00 to 9:00 a.m.) and East Falls Church (4:00 to 7:00 p.m.). The annual event is free but attendees are encouraged to register.
Rosslyn Metro Project 85 Percent Complete – The new Rosslyn Metro entrance is over 85 percent complete, Arlington County announced this morning. The $32.6 million project will add a new entrance to the Rosslyn Metro station, featuring three high-speed elevators and an emergency staircase, but no escalators. With the elevator shaft and the emergency stairwell complete, the next step is installing the high-speed elevators.
Tiny Apartments: Solution to Rising Rents? — The average monthly rent for an apartment in Arlington was $1,999 in 2012, a 13 percent jump from one year prior. A recent forum sponsored by the Arlington-based Alliance for Housing Solutions suggested that one solution to rising rents could be smaller apartments. Specifically, the forum focused on sub-400 square foot apartments known as “micro-units.” [Sun Gazette]
Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour on Saturday — The 13th annual Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour will be held on Saturday from noon to 5:00 p.m. The line-up this year includes seven new and renovated homes and two gardens. Tickets for the event, which raises money for the Tuckahoe Elementary Discovery Schoolyard, are $20-25. [Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour]
GU May Rent Rosslyn Apartments for Students — Georgetown University is considering renting units in the brand new Slate apartment building in Rosslyn in order to house graduate students. The Slate building, developed by JBG and located on the 1500 block of Clarendon Blvd, has 203 apartment units. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will speak at a “school bus celebration” at Arlington’s Tuckahoe Elementary School next week.
The event, on Feb. 12, is being organized by the American School Bus Council for its Love the Bus campaign. The campaign is intended to “raise awareness and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport children to and from school.”
The American School Bus Council is supported in part by school bus manufacturers.
Tuckahoe students will hear speeches from LaHood and local officials about “being respectful to their bus drivers and appreciating the safety, environmental, and congestion mitigation benefits of the yellow school bus.”
The event comes with a bit of irony — Arlington Public Schools ran into controversy at the beginning of the school year when administrators announced that hundreds of students were no longer eligible to ride the bus to school.
The press release about the Love the Bus event, after the jump.
Tuckahoe is one of the most overcrowded schools in a county school system plagued by a capacity crisis. Tuckahoe, designed to accommodate only 545 students, was projected to be at 130 percent capacity in 2012, with some 678 students. Enrollment is expected to balloon to nearly 150 percent capacity in 2017.
To temporarily help address the overcrowding, Arlington Public Schools is planning to add four new relocatable classrooms at Tuckahoe before the beginning of the next school year. That’s addition to the six mobile classrooms already in use at Tuckahoe.
Some parents are upset, however, about where the school system plans to place the trailers. The classrooms will be placed on a blacktop play area that students currently use during recess. With the blacktop no longer available, students will instead be led to a nearby county-owned tennis court during outdoor recreation time.
In a letter to parents, APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy says the blacktop was chosen after carefully considering five other locations on APS or county-owned property.
“APS staff believe that this option is the best because it retains the most site amenities for all stakeholders and because we believe this will be an option acceptable to the Tuckahoe community,” Murphy wrote.
Not all parents agree with Dr. Murphy. One group of concerned parents sent a mass email criticizing the decision:
GOP Will Likely Control Va. Senate — Despite the clean sweep by Arlington Democrats, it looks like Republicans will pick up the two Virginia Senate seats they needed to wrest control of the state Senate from Democrats. “If the results hold, Republicans will have complete control of state government for only the second time since the Civil War,” the Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, Republicans will now have a two-thirds majority in the House of Delegates after picking up six seats there. Gov. Bob McDonnell said the GOP-controlled General Assembly will be more likely to push a “pro-life, pro-family, pro-marriage” agenda.
Hawaiians Protest Bail of Arlington Resident — Dozens of demonstrators marched through Honolulu last night to protest the release of State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy, an Arlington resident, on $250,000 bail. Deedy, 27, is charged with second-degree murder after shooting a man in the chest during a late-night argument inside a McDonald’s in Waikiki. [Associated Press]
Closures Planned for Tuckahoe 5K — The third annual Tuckahoe 5K run will be held on Saturday morning. Rolling street closures are planned in the East Falls Church neighborhood between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. For interested runners, limited race day registration will be available at Tuckahoe Elementary School. [Tuckahoe 5K].
Cookie Within a Cookie in Clarendon — What do you get when you place an Oreo cookie within a chocolate chip cookie? You get an ‘Oreo in a Blanket,’ which is being offered by Bakeshop in Clarendon (1025 N. Fillmore Street). [Clarendon Culture]
Tuckahoe staffers produced and starred in a music video set to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” as an “end of the year gift” to students.
The video is intended to be “something to make [students] smile and uplift them before they go off for the summer,” in the words of one teacher.
The students, fifth-grader Keishu Watanabe and his sister, second-grader Saho (both seen in the video, below), moved from Arlington to Tokyo with their parents just weeks before the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Northern Japan earlier this year. With a personal connection to the disaster, “graduating” fifth-grade students and parents at Tuckahoe decided to raise money to help the victims.
Tomorrow, starting at 7:00 p.m., the school will host an “Anime Movie Night” featuring a screening of Ponyo, the Japanese adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The family-friend film has been dubbed into English, thanks to the voices of Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon and Betty White.
The screening is free and open to the public, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Donations, raffle proceeds and bake sale revenue will go to the ‘Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Fund.’ Kids are encouraged to wear pajamas and a yukata (robe), grab some glow necklaces and munch on arare (Japanese rice crackers).
Even though they’re halfway around the world, students at Keishu and Saho’s new school are so excited about the fundraiser that they banded together to make Tuckahoe a Senbazuru, a large hanging of 1,000 hand-made paper cranes. The gift — a symbol of peace and friendship — was sent to the school, where officials are now deciding on a prominent place to display it, according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia.
National Geographic is bringing a gigantic map of North America to Tuckahoe Elementary, part of an effort to get students more engaged with geography studies.
The map, measuring 26 feet by 35 feet and weighing in at 102 lbs., is one of the world’s largest maps of the continent. It will be on display from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10.
Students will be able to walk on the map, play interactive games and explore various geographic features.
“This is a unique and interactive opportunity to introduce and reinforce the geographic features of our great country with hands-on and feet-on instruction,” Tuckahoe principal Cynthia Brown said in a statement.
Screen capture via YouTube