A Washington-Lee High School teacher will embark on a 12-day-long National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study that will enhance her science curriculum.
Earth science teacher Joan Le will accompany NOAA scientists in conducting “an on-going population survey of deep-water coral habitat in the Atlantic Ocean.” according to the agency. As one of NOAA’s “Teacher at Sea” cruises, the trip will give Le an opportunity to observe, research and interact with professional scientists.
“I want to bring real data back into the classrooms and find opportunities for citizen science [for the students],” Le said. “I’m hoping that through this process I can find ways for the students to actually contribute.”
For the first time in her four years at Washington-Lee, Le will teach an environmental studies course in addition to her earth sciences course in the fall. Le said she plans to create projects for both classes with the data she gathers on the trip.
Le said her teaching method is to try and make science a hands-on experience, like a science fair.
“My grades in science weren’t really that good,” the James Madison University alumna said. “I had great teachers, but something about science in the classroom doesn’t always translate how exciting science can actually be. It’s not always easy because there are lots of things to cover.”
Along with writing a blog to chronicle the trip, Le will submit an original lesson plan to NOAA that incorporates what she learned. Her plan will be available online for any science teacher to use in a classroom, Le said.
“You can kind of look through what other teachers have done, and it’s great because it’s better than [having] matching worksheets,” said Le, who used a similar NOAA lesson plan in her first year of teaching.
NOAA has sponsored Teacher at Sea trips every year for the past 24 years. Out of 200 teachers who applied, Le was one of 25 chosen for research cruises. Le and the NOAA scientists will travel on the ship Henry B. Bigelow, and will set sail Aug. 5 from Newport, R.I.
Studying coral is a significant way to understand past climates, Le said. Although she is excited for the cruise, Le said she is unsure exactly what the trip will entail.
“In the manual, one of the important traits they list is flexibility,” Le said. “So I’m ready for anything.”
Photo Courtesy Joan Le
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) The Arlington School Board adopted its 2015-2014 Capital Improvement Plan last night, and it includes a controversial plan for a new elementary school adjacent to Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road).
The School Board will ask the Arlington County Board to approve $106 million bond referendum this November to fund several elementary school capacity projects and an addition to Washington-Lee High School.
More than $50 million of the proposed bond is slated to build either a new elementary school on the Thomas Jefferson grounds, the School Board’s “preferred plan,” or to construct additions to two South Arlington elementary schools. According to Arlington Public Schools staff, the new school would add 725 seats by September 2018, while the two additions would add 500 seats for the same price in the same timeline.
Separately, the bond request also includes additions to McKinley and Abingdon Elementary Schools.
The new school next to Thomas Jefferson has drawn the ire of some residents. The Sun Gazette reported “angry community members” spoke at length at Monday’s School Board meeting, and a group called the Friends of Thomas Jefferson Park sent out a press release this morning declaring they were “outraged” with the School Board’s decision.
“The School Board voted to take land purchased for parks and pave it for parking lots and new buildings. This was not what voters wanted when they approved park bond issues,” Jim Presswood, a leader of the Friends group, said in the release. “All versions of the Arlington School Board proposal reduce green space, children’s playgrounds, and fitness options for the public. This reduces outdoor options at the moment our growing country needs them most. Many citizens spoke in opposition to the TJ Park proposal at the meeting and dozens more provided visible support.”
The School Board resolved in its CIP to decide which plan to move forward with by January 2015. If the Board decides on the Thomas Jefferson site, it will decide whether to make it a neighborhood school or a choice program by April 31, 2015.
“This doesn’t make a final decision,” School Board Chair Abby Raphael said last night. “It sets in motion a process.”
A month before the School Board decides the fate of Thomas Jefferson Park, it will decide where to put a planned, 1,300-seat secondary school. There is no site currently identified in the bond motion, but APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said a new school at the Wilson School site in western Rosslyn and moving the H-B Woodlawn program are still on the table.
The School Board resolved to make a decision on where the seats will be placed no later than Dec. 31, 2014. It has requested $4 million for planning and design of the new school in the CIP.
Major projects approved for inclusion in the Capital Improvement Plan last night were:
- A $5 million, 300-seat expansion at Washington-Lee High School, to be completed by September 2016. All funds to come from the 2014 bond referendum.
- A $20 million, 241-seat expansion at McKinley Elementary School to be completed by September 2016. The School Board is requesting $7.47 million in 2014 bond funds, and the rest will be funded by a $12 million 2012 bond resolution and $633,500 in other construction funds.
- A $28.75 million, 136-seat expansion at Abingdon Elementary School, to be completed by September 2017. All funds to come from the 2014 bond referendum.
- A $153.4 million, 1,300-seat expansion at the Arlington Career Center for a secondary school, to be scheduled in three phases, completing for the start of the school years in 2020, 2021 and 2022. No bond funding was requested for 2014.
- $70.11 million for minor construction/major renovation funding. $10.31 million to be requested in the 2014 bond referendum.
Photo (bottom) via APS
Police Locate Autistic Man With Lojack — The Arlington County Police Department’s Lojack-powered Project Lifesaver has helped locate another missing man. A 29-year-old autistic man who wandered away from his group home was located by police Wednesday morning, less than an hour after he was reported missing. [Arlington County]
APS Receives Award — Arlington Public Schools has received “the prestigious Medallion of Excellence Award presented by the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Awards for Virginia and the District of Columbia (SPQA).” APS is the ninth Virginia school division to be recognized since the award was established in 1983. [Arlington Public Schools]
W-L Advances to State Tourney — Washington-Lee High School’s boys soccer team defeated West Potomac 4-2 Tuesday night to advance to the 6A North Region title game and to the Virginia High School League state tournament. [InsideNova]
Library Digitizing Local Newspapers — Arlington Public Library is digitizing its microfilm archive of the Northern Virginia Sun newspaper, originally named the Arlington Sun. The new digital archives will be text searchable, “a boon for researchers, history buffs and anyone searching for specific moments in Arlington’s 20th century story.” The archives cover 1935 to 1978. [Arlington Public Library]
County Bureau Runs ‘Like a Startup’ – Arlington County Commuter Services, which is charged with getting more Arlington residents and workers to bike, walk or take transit rather than drive, “looks and operates more like a start-up tech company than a government agency.” [Mobility Lab]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
(Updated at 1:00 p.m.) The spring sports season is over for all but the elite teams, like Washington-Lee boys soccer and Yorktown boys lacrosse, which are still hoping to raise more banners in their gyms.
The Generals’ boys soccer team is in the midst of one of its best seasons ever, sporting an undefeated 16-0 record with three ties. It took home the Liberty Conference 6 championship last week and continues its march to the state tournament at home against Stonewall Jackson tomorrow night.
Washington-Lee girls soccer (10-3) also took home the Conference 6 title, defeating Yorktown before losing in the opening round of Region 6A North action, 4-2, to Centreville last night. The Patriots soccer squads both lost just three times this season, and their years wrapped up in similarly heartbreaking fashion: both squads lost in double-overtime last night in the opening round of the regional tournament, the boys to Centreville and the girls to Robinson Secondary School.
Wakefield’s boys soccer team is still playing after turning around what could have been a disappointing season. The Warriors were the runner-ups in the Conference 13 tournament after losing six straight games before the tournament began. They play Leesburg’s Tuscarora in Region 5A North action tomorrow night to try to keep their improbable postseason alive.
Yorktown’s boys lacrosse team, after losing to state powerhouse Langley in the conference champion, secured a huge win last night in the opening round of the regional tournament, blowing by Oakton 12-5. They’ll face South County at a neutral field, Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, tonight at 7:00 p.m. The Patriots girls lacrosse team — also a Conference 6 runner-up — saw its season come to an end last night at the hands of Robinson, 22-12.
Washington-Lee baseball, despite going just 11-11 in the regular season, managed to make a deep run in its conference tournament and qualify for regional play. Arlington’s only remaining baseball team in action will hope to keep its season alive at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow in Chantilly.
Wakefield’s softball team is also still alive after a 10-9 season and a 15-1 loss to eventual conference champion Marshall in the Conference 13 semifinals. Their season continues on the road in regional tournament play tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. against Massaponax.
After the jump, the records and results for Wakefield, W-L and Yorktown’s major varsity team sports. (more…)
According to the county’s Department of Environmental Services, APS was issued its first stormwater permit by the state last month, after more stringent stormwater regulations were passed by the Virginia General Assembly in July 2013. The permit disallows all charity car washes on school property.
Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Wakefield High Schools notified their teams and clubs this week that they were no longer allowed to conduct such fundraisers.
“There is an important underlying reason why most types of car washing are not allowed under state and federal stormwater regulations,” said DES spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. “The chlorinated water, detergents, petroleum products, and other pollutants that get washed into the storm drain system are carried into our local streams, the Potomac River and ultimately, to the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, there are educational and environmental benefits that come with finding new and environmentally friendly ways to raise money for extracurricular activities.”
However, some coaches are concerned that, particularly for the more expensive sports, the ban could have negative repercussions for the athletes.
“This could have a large impact on fundraising by sports teams/boosters/school clubs in need of dollars to support the school programs,” one Washington-Lee coach, who preferred to remain anonymous, told ARLnow.com. “I am not sure how many teams are affected by this new rule. I know that my team will be, since every little bit helps deal with the expense of our sport as we try to support the kids.”
A few years ago, the ban may have had a greater impact. But Wakefield Activities Director Noel Deskins said none of the schools teams or clubs have held car wash fundraisers there for years. Instead, they opt for bake sales, pizza sales and other money-raising endeavors.
“I think it’ll be a little easier here adjusting to the new policy,” she said.
The new regulations passed by the state last year prohibit smaller public entities, like APS, from conducting car washes, according to DES Watershed Programs Manager Jason Papacosma. All car washes that aren’t for personal use require a specific permit or written determination from the state, even charity car washes held on private property.
“Working with APS, we plan to continue educate entities looking to hold such events about the rules and environmental impacts,” Papacosma said, “and work to suggest alternatives that can raise funds and also protect the environment and comply with the environmental protection rules we are both required to follow.”
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
The fire broke out near the attendance office, according to Arlington Public Schools spokeswoman Linda Erdos. It was quickly extinguished, but not before the school’s sprinklers caused some flooding in the hallway.
Students and school personnel were evacuated for about 15-20 chilly minutes. They reentered the school when the fire department gave the all-clear.
“Everyone is okay and the students and staff did a great job responding to the alarm in the way that we have practiced,” Washington-Lee principal Gregg Robertson said in an email to parents. “The APS facilities team are here to help with the clean up. We are thankful for the support of our county agencies.”
Photo courtesy @RobertoClaure
The incident was reported at 7:25 a.m. on Friday. According to Arlington County police, an 18-year-old woman said she saw a man pleasuring himself next to a fence on the 1100 block of N. Stafford Street, which is about two blocks away from the Ballston Metro station and one block away from Washington-Lee High School.
“The suspect is described as a white male, 20-30 years of age, and approximately 6’0”,” according to the ACPD crime report. “At the time of the incident he was wearing a blue skull cap, a dark blue jacket, and red plaid pajama pants.”
(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Saturday night at the Conference 6 swim championships at Yorktown High School, two Arlington high school swimmers proved what their coaches and teammates already knew: they can swim with anyone in the state.
Yorktown’s Suzanne Dolan captured titles in the girls’ 50- and 100-yard freestyle races and swam the anchor for two relay teams that qualified for the state championships. Washington-Lee’s Jay Delancey won the boys’ 200-yard freestyle, came in 3rd in the 100-yard butterfly and anchored the Generals’ first-place 400-yard relay team that surprised almost everyone in the pool with its win.
Dolan led the Yorktown girls to a third-place finish in the first-ever Conference 6 championships with 323 team points, behind Langley High School (402.5) and McLean High School (377). Washington-Lee’s girls finished in fifth place with 225 points.
The meet was the first time the Arlington schools faced regional powers like Langley and James Madison High Schools in a conference — previously called the Liberty District — championship meet.
Delancey led the Generals’ boys to third place (293 points), behind Madison (428) and narrowly behind Langley (308). Yorktown’s boys finished in fourth place with 247 points.
“Moving into the new conference was eye-opening for the kids,” said Yorktown head swimming coach Claire DiCesare, “but we did really well.”
Generals head coach Kristina Dorville, an animated presence at poolside, was amiably jawing with the head coach of the Madison swim team before the 400-yard relay. When the Generals had a lead by the time Delancey — who’s deciding whether to swim for West Point or the U.S. Naval Academy — dove in the pool for the final leg, Dorville turned to Madison’s coach with a grin and said, “Oh, we’re not gonna win this?”
“Before the race, I said ‘just watch,’” Dorville said after the meet. “I have unending confidence in [Delancey]. I’d have to drag him out of the pool before he’d let us lose that race.”
Each school will send relay teams to state. The Yorktown girls 200-yard freestyle relay finished second in the closest race of the night. The winners, Langley, finished with a time of 1:41.06; Yorktown and McLean finished in 1:41.07. Dolan anchored that team and the 200-yard medley relay that finished third, both qualifying for states.
Dolan has been recovering all year from a wrist injury, and said she wasn’t swimming as fast as she believes she’s capable of.
However, she said, “I was still expecting to win the 50 free, but the 100 is a little harder.” She said the home atmosphere and the cheers of her teammates after the relays made it a special meet. “It’s really exhilarating. It feels really good helping my team do well.”
Next week, both schools will compete in the 6A North Region championships before they send sizable contingents to Richmond Feb. 21 and 22 for the state championships.
Yorktown Defeats W-L in Basketball — Yorktown’s boys basketball squad defeated Washington-Lee on Friday by a score of 60-52. During the game Washington-Lee senior Jonah Sens scored his 1,000th career point. [Sun Gazette]
Court Orders Yelp Critics Identified — A Virginia Appeals Court last week ruled in favor of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning in a case against the online reviews site Yelp. Under the ruling, Yelp must reveal the identities of seven negative reviewers that Hadeed believes are not actual customers. Hadeed was represented by Raighne Delaney, an attorney with the Arlington law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman. [Washington Times]
Exhibit-Goers Might Wonder ‘Y’ – An exhibit at Artisphere by artist Alicia Eggert features “a rock sit[ting] on the keyboard of a Macbook Air laptop, typing the letter ‘Y’ into infinity.” The exhibit runs through Feb. 2. [Ode Street Tribune]
Infamy for Arlington Nonprofit’s Former Logo — A former logo of the Arlington Pediatric Center, a local nonprofit healthcare provider in South Arlington, has been named one of the “15 Worst Corporate Logo Fails” by a popular online publication. [Business Insider]
Photo courtesy Becky Barnes
Malvar died in a skateboarding accident in June. Police say the 18-year-old was hanging on to the driver’s side window frame of his friend’s pickup truck when he lost his balance and fell, hitting his head on the pavement. Malvar succumbed to his injuries a few hours later. Students held a candlelight vigil in his memory.
The driver was later charged with reckless driving and pleaded guilty earlier this fall. At a juvenile court sentencing yesterday afternoon, a judge sentenced the teen to serve a weekend in juvenile detention. He was also placed on probation; ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and attend a victim awareness program; and had his drivers license revoked for 6 months and a $500 fine imposed.
The Yorktown High School football team’s season isn’t over yet. Despite losing in the regular season finale to Washington-Lee, the Patriots bounced back Friday night with a playoff win over Fairfax, 12-7.
Washington-Lee, coming off its first district championship in decades, was Conference 6A North’s fourth seed out of 16, but lost to 13th-seeded Stonewall Jackson at home, 42-34.
Yorktown was without star running back/defensive back M.J. Stewart against Fairfax after the North Carolina-bound senior re-injured his ankle late against the Generals. Fullback Da-Jhaun Short filled in admirably, however, rushing 28 times for 164 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots started the scoring in the second half when linebacker Sean Coleman intercepted Fairfax quarterback Nick Scott and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. Short scored the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter after a 12-play drive consisting exclusively of runs by Short.
The Generals couldn’t generate the same defensive intensity against Stonewall Jackson as they did when they shut out the Patriots a week prior. The Raiders scored 35 of their points in the second half after the Generals went into halftime with a 17-7 lead.
Generals quarterback Sam Appel, playing in what turned out to be his final game for Washington-Lee, completed 26 of 50 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns. His top two wide receivers, seniors Trevor McManus and Noah Harrington, finished with 128 and 115 yards, respectively.
The game ended the Generals’ best season in 38 years — the last time they won a district title — but this year’s senior class will have a banner on the gymnasium wall to commemorate their accomplishments.
After their historic clash last Friday, the Washington-Lee and Yorktown High School football teams will each host a first-round playoff game this Friday night.
Washington-Lee (8-2, 7-0), the fourth seed in the Class 6A North region, will host 13th-seeded Stonewall Jackson (6-4) out of Manassas at 7:30 p.m. The Generals will be hosting a playoff game for the first time in several decades. Quarterback Sam Appel and running back/defensive back Daquay Harris will try to keep the Generals’ dream season alive.
Also at 7:30 p.m., Yorktown (8-2, 6-1), the region’s No. 7 seed, will host Fairfax (7-3), the 10th seed. The Patriots need to emotionally recover from their devastating loss to Washington-Lee if they want to return to the regional finals. At the top of their priorities list will be getting running back/defensive back M.J. Stewart and quarterback Will Roebuck healthy. Both were limping heavily at the end of Friday’s game with apparent ankle injuries. Fairfax will be tough to beat without the team’s offensive leaders.
If Washington-Lee advances, it will take on the winner of Battlefield and Langley, also at home. If Yorktown gets by Fairfax, the Patriots will either play host to Chantilly — whom they beat Oct. 25 — or go on the road against undefeated Lake Braddock.
For the first time in 38 years, the National District football title will go to Washington-Lee High School.
The Generals stormed into Yorktown Friday night and shut out the Patriots, 10-0, handing the Patriots their first district loss in four years and clinching the Generals’ first undefeated district season in almost four decades.
Washington-Lee quarterback Sam Appel scored on a quarterback sneak with 11:44 left in the game, after the Generals got a 20-yard field goal in the third quarter, and the Generals’ stout defense did the rest.
The Generals’ sideline erupted after Appel took a knee to end the game, and head coach Josh Shapiro was doused in Gatorade before his players lifted him onto their shoulders in jubilation.
“It’s overwhelming right now,” he said after the game. “We stood toe-to-toe with a giant.”
Yorktown star running back M.J. Stewart was hampered by an ankle injury in the second half, carrying the ball only a handful of times. He was trying to get himself loose on the sidelines after halftime, and he was used largely as a decoy for full drives.
Shapiro told his team in practice leading up to the game that they would need to be close to perfect to beat Yorktown, to whom they’ve lost each of the last 30 regular season meetings.
“Defensively, we were close to being perfect tonight,” Shapiro said.
The other aspects of the game were far from perfect for the Generals. They were stopped inches from the goal line in the second quarter, and Stewart, who also plays defensive back, intercepted an Appel pass in the end zone in the first quarter. The Generals also missed a field goal and shanked a punt, but the defense was good enough to cover all the mistakes.
Yorktown’s offense, which had scored more than 30 points in all but two games before Friday night, never found a rhythm. Stewart never broke a big run, and quarterback Will Roebuck’s passes sailed high for much of the night, including when he threw a costly interception to Dwayne Williams, setting up Appel’s touchdown run.
None of the players on Yorktown’s roster had ever experienced a season in which they didn’t hang a National District banner up in the gymnasium. Several players were emotional as they quickly left the field, while the Generals and their fans stayed for as long as they could to soak in the victory.
“We’re going to give this game its just due and celebrate this,” Shapiro said. The Generals and Patriots, both 8-2, begin regional playoffs this month. “When you carry something like this on your shoulders for 30 years, it weighs on you. So we’re going to enjoy this.”
That may seem like an exaggeration, but Washington-Lee (7-2, 6-0) hasn’t beaten reigning National District champion Yorktown (8-1, 6-0) in their last 30 regular season games. Yorktown has been the dominant football force in Arlington for decades, but this is the Generals’ best squad in years.
(Update at 2:30 p.m. — Washington-Lee students also released their own hype video.)
Led by quarterback Sam Appel and running back Daquay Harris, the Generals will be forced to keep pace with the best football player Arlington schools have seen in some time in Yorktown running back/defensive back M.J. Stewart. The Generals’ defense has allowed just 19.9 points per game this year, but it will have its hands full.
The game is Yorktown’s senior night, including the senior night for Stewart and his classmates. Yorktown has released a hype video featuring Stewart (below, directed by his classmate Jeremy Cannon) to get students and fans excited for the game. Stewart’s final regular season game as a Patriot figures to be special — he already has 1,387 rushing yards this year and he’s missed a few games with an ankle injury.
Parking is sure to be sparse, so those interested in driving to the game should arrive early. It costs $5 to attend without a season pass.
The Generals (7-2, 6-0) made short work of Wakefield, 56-21, in south Arlington Friday night. Washington-Lee quarterback Sam Appel had perhaps the best game of his career, throwing for 209 yards and five touchdowns. Receiver Trevor McManus was the main beneficiary with eight catches for 102 yards and three of those touchdowns. Running back Daquay Harris kept up his impressive season, and needed just 10 carries to rush for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Wakefield (2-7, 0-6) was led by running back Leon Young, who carried the ball 16 times for 94 yards, including busting free for a 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Wakefield’s long season will come to an end this week when they travel to face Mount Vernon on Friday.
Yorktown (8-1, 6-0) was at Mount Vernon Friday and the Patriots pulled out a 31-21 victory to extend their winning streak to seven games. Star running back M.J. Stewart returned from the ankle injury that sidelined him the previous week against Chantilly, rushing 11 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots scored 17 unanswered points in the first half, putting enough distance to hold off Mount Vernon (3-6, 2-4) the rest of the way.
This Friday night at 7:30 at Yorktown will be the regular season finale and a showdown between the Patriots and the Generals. Both teams are 6-0 in the National District, turning the finale into a winner-take-all matchup for the district title.
Bishop O’Connell ended its season on a high note Saturday afternoon, blowing out Bishop McNamara 61-36. The win brought the Knights’ season record to 5-5 and put them in fifth place in the WCAC. Unfortunately for the Knights, four teams make the Catholic league’s playoffs. Marquis Rowe was the star Saturday, scoring on a 98-yard kickoff return, a 36-yard run and two receiving touchdowns. Between quarterbacks Michael Galvan and Jason Ley, the Knights threw just one incomplete pass all game.
Photo via Bishop O’Connell