Arlington’s School Board says it will soon announce plans to “seek a superintendent who is an exceptional leader and educator.”
School Board Chair Reid Goldstein issued a statement this morning following last week’s surprise announcement that Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy was retiring. In the statement, Goldstein thanks Murphy “for his commitment to student success in Arlington over the past decade” and says plans to find his replacement are in the works.
Murphy, while retiring from APS, will continue to work: starting Sept. 1 he will be the new superintendent of Berkeley County Schools in West Virginia. Berkeley’s school system has an enrollment just under 20,000 students, compared to the more than 28,000 students enrolled in Arlington schools, according to the websites of both.
Goldstein’s full statement is below.
All of us on the School Board thank Dr. Murphy for his years of service in public education in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and for his commitment to student success in Arlington over the past decade. We wish him much good fortune in his retirement from APS and in his future endeavors.
The School Board is now moving forward and will soon announce plans to execute a search for a new superintendent and to fill other key vacancies in the school system. We are grateful that Dr. Murphy will continue in his role over the summer as we conduct this process. Arlington is an outstanding community, and we will seek a superintendent who is an exceptional leader and educator who will continue to advance our work for Arlington’s learners.
We view this as an opportunity to partner with staff, families and members of the community to select new leadership that will further strengthen APS. The School Board is committed to working with the community on a thoughtful and effective process to find a leader who will continue to inspire excellence, elevate our work and propel us forward as a school system.
We are a top school system in the Commonwealth of Virginia because of the quality of our instructional programs, teachers and staff. They are at the core of our success. We are ready to move forward on current initiatives, including new schools and programs opening in the fall, with new leadership and the talents and support of APS staff. With the recently adopted 2018-24 Strategic Plan as our guide, we are committed to maintaining our momentum during this transition to deliver on our tradition of excellence.
We will share more details on transition plans with the community as they become available.
The Arlington County Board needs a little more time to see how it likes e-scooters and e-bikes.
At a County Board meeting yesterday (Tuesday), the Board voted to extend the e-scooter and e-bike pilot project through Dec. 31. to allow for continued public comment and additional time for analysis.
More than 300,000 trips have been taken on e-scooters and e-bikes since the pilot launched last October, according to a press release, with 21 reported injuries during scooter-related incidents. A total of 307,243 miles have been traveled through April, with the average trip length at little over 1 mile.
The extension will allow county staff to collect data for warmer months, showing year-round usage numbers.
Meanwhile, the County Board is weighing how to regulate the devices, after legislation signed by Gov. Ralph Northam in March authorized local governments to do so. The legislation also authorizes scooter use on sidewalks unless otherwise prohibited, though riding on the sidewalk is currently prohibited under the terms of Arlington’s pilot program.
“Great transportation options are an important feature of life in Arlington County,” County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said in the press release. “On a day-to-day basis, we are learning a lot about what’s working and what isn’t working with dockless scooters and bikes. Before this Board considers how to permanently regulate these devices in Arlington, we need a complete analysis from staff of information from operators, staff experience, adopted plans and policies, and feedback from our community.”
Seven companies have participated in the pilot program, each paying an $8,000 fee per mode of transit to assist with the cost of program administration. Scooters are capped at 10 miles-per-hour while e-bikes are capped at 20 miles-per-hour.
According to the press release, most trips have been in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Route 1 corridors, though some ambitious riders have taken the scooters out to Columbia Pike and other sites outside of the main transit corridors.
The county has received over 600 emails about the pilot so far, with complaints centering on use of the scooters on sidewalks, scooter parking that blocks pedestrian or vehicle traffic, erratic behavior and riders under 18-years old. Feedback can be submitted via email to [email protected] or by filling out an online form.
“Through June 30, the County is conducting a formal public feedback process for the demonstration project,” the press release notes. “Those who live, work and visit in Arlington are invited to complete the online feedback form to help the County gauge interest, issues and concerns around dockless e-bikes and e-scooters. All feedback is welcome, even if you have never used shared mobility devices in Arlington.”
In October, the analysis of the pilot and a recommendation is scheduled to be presented to the County Board. Ordinance changes are scheduled for November, with potential adoption in December.
As ARLnow.com previously reported in 2015, the Arlington School Board unanimously amended its non-discrimination policy to add gender identity as a protected category.
The current version of that APS policy (J-2) is here.
Overwhelming health and scientific evidence support APS’ policy
The current SB policy is strongly supported by conclusions reached by prominent national health, scientific and educational organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, National Education Association, and National School Boards Association.
APS experience since 2015 underscores need for prompt adoption of implementation plan
Since the SB adopted its policy, there has been widespread confusion about how to implement it. Very inconsistent decisions about implementing the policy have been reached from one school to another.
The need for prompt adoption of an implementation plan is illustrated by the following actual situations APS students have faced:
- a transgender student who was not comfortable using either the boys’ or girls’ locker room to change for P.E. was required to go down to the gym on the first floor to retrieve gym clothes from a P.E. teacher’s office, go up a flight of stairs to change in a private bathroom, then go back down the stairs in P.E. uniform to the gym for class… and then repeat this process in reverse after class
- a teacher insisted that a student wear a skirt for band concerts, despite the student’s desire to wear the pants uniform (the student’s gender expression is masculine, she never wears skirts); the student ended up quitting band because the teacher would not relent
- a non-binary student was left standing in the middle of the gym after the gym teacher divided up the students into boys’ and girls’ lines… and then had to instruct the teacher on what being non-binary means
- a student had arranged with the administrators and PE teachers that he could use the PE teachers’ bathroom for changing. Halfway through the school year, one of the PE teachers (not the student’s) no longer liked the arrangement, and the child lost that option
- students have been harassed by both staff members and other students while using the bathroom; some students have had staff and other students try to block them from entering a bathroom
- students have avoided using the bathroom at school, due to both fear of harassment and inconvenience; students have avoided drinking water so that they can make it through the day without needing the bathroom
- students have not been allowed to change their gender or name on school forms and records, even after getting a court ordered name change or new birth certificate
- a transgender student was diagnosed with PTSD because of bullying and abuse from peers
These examples illustrate why it is vital for APS staff to adopt a formal policy implementation procedure (PIP). This is a K-12 issue. The PIP will lead to more consistency throughout schools, more understanding on the part of staff and parents, and more training for staff on best practices in supporting transgender and non-binary students.
Summary of draft PIP
The draft PIP that APS staff is proposing to adopt is discussed in the ARLnow story and posted here. It is supported by the overwhelming health and scientific evidence cited above.
Key topics covered by the draft PIP include definitions of “gender identity” and “transgender;” bathrooms and locker rooms; co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and athletic team student participation; dress code; extended instructional field trips or athletic events; names, pronouns, and classroom records; and privacy and educational records.
If this draft PIP had been in effect and properly implemented over the last four years, the traumatic incidents APS students experienced could have been avoided.
For the past 20 years, the Educational Theatre Company (ETC) has maintained a mission to facilitate transformation through the arts by offering year-round programming to ages 3 to 103.
ETC’s longest running summer camp is the Shakespeare Summer Classic Camp, where students from ages eight to eighteen jump into one of Shakespeare’s plays for a three week intensive — developing language, performance and directing skills. Summer Classic is structured to create a performing ensemble of all the campers as well as give the teen campers an opportunity to direct in addition to acting.
Each teen works with a fellow teen camper to stage and direct a full scene of the play using the younger campers as actors. The teens gain valuable leadership skills by playing the part of actor and director. Inclusion of the younger campers challenges teen and youth to work together to achieve an end goal where each camper’s contributions are essential.
The driver of a car ran off the side of N. Glebe Road, struck a tree, and then allegedly tried to drive off when police arrived.
The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. on the 3400 block of N. Glebe Road, near the Country Club Hills neighborhood. It’s unclear how the single-vehicle crash happened, nor is it clear whether the driver was heading northbound or southbound at the time of the crash, but it damaged a tree and bushes in the front yard of a home along Glebe Road.
The vehicle suffered front-end damage on the driver’s side, but the driver allegedly started to drive off when police arrived, according to scanner traffic. Muddy tire tracks could be seen in the roadway.
The driver stopped a short distance away and was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for unspecified injuries.
Police could be seen examining an open plastic bottle near the vehicle shortly after the ambulance departed the scene.
Daylong, family-friendly celebration features music, dance, storytelling, art, technology, and more. Seeking to change the conversation about refugees, the Festival showcases refugee performers, speakers, and entrepreneurs. Includes: World Marketplace * technology tent * youth activities * Unity Parade with giant avatar figures * international food trucks * live-chat with refugees in other countries * shadow puppet theater * dance lessons * soccer clinic * Take Action tent.
Arlington’s newest pet of the week is orange foster kitty Leon whose best friend is a stuffed lion named Leo.
Here’s what Leon’s owner Jolie said the feline had to say about his life as a foster so far:
So here’s my story: See, I was living out in Winchester and my mom decided to bolt. Me and my sisters were like, ummm, hello, we’re only five weeks old. BUT, luckily, these really nice people from the Animal League of Arlington picked us up, gave us this fantastic meal and comfy bed to sleep in. Quite the B&B for a night! Then they found us a cool place to live temporarily… or at least that was their plan. But you see, I am very charismatic and with my charm, wit and good looks, “the lady” of the house gave into MY plan. I’m now officially hers and her two humans. They love me more than I ever thought I could be loved. Not only that, “the lady” found another cool house for my sisters so I can visit! How neat is that?
So back to me and Leo… as you can see I’m in training for when the next foster group comes through my new house. I will be ready to take charge and teach the new kittens all the things kitties need to know. I want to help them like Leo has helped me. “The lady” said you should always pay it forward. So I will make sure I foster my new kittens really well. With Leo’s help, of course.
Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!
Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.
Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.
Chosen among “the essential summer outings” in the DMV for 2019 by The Washington Post, the 50th Anniversary Season of Lubber Run Amphitheater’s Free Summer Concerts is underway!
Since the construction of the first permanent stage in 1969, generations of Arlingtonians have enjoyed free summer cultural events at the sylvan venue nestled two blocks off Route 50, ranging from Arlington Children’s Theater to bands like Eddie from Ohio and superstar Ritchie Havens.
More than a thousand music lovers turned out for 2019’s opening weekend concerts featuring two-time GRAMMY Award nominated singer-songwriter Raul Midon, followed on Saturday by acclaimed singer-songwriter Justin Jones.
As part of their nod to the venue, which Arlington Arts programs and manages, The Washington Post noted that “while the schedule includes the usual rotating cast of performers, there are also some standouts such as… local bossa nova powerhouse Verroneau.”
The venue also benefits from the strong support of the surrounding community, and especially the Lubber Run Amphitheater Foundation. Other upcoming highlights range from area salsa stalwarts Sin Miedo and Arlington Philharmonic’s pet-friendly ‘Pops in the Park’, to an evening of cabaret performances by some of your favorite voices from Tony Award winning Signature Theatre!
Concerts continue through September 15, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with 11 a.m. family-oriented programming on Sunday mornings (run-times vary). So bring a picnic, some friends and enjoy the arts at Lubber Run Amphitheater, located at 200 North Columbus Street, Arlington, Virginia 22203 (North Columbus Street and 2nd Street North).
While there is a small parking lot, there is abundant free street parking in the surrounding Arlington Forrest neighborhood.
For directions on how to get to Lubber Run Amphitheater and leave the car at home, check out the video below by Arlington’s Car Free Diet, a program of Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS), a bureau of the Department of Environmental Services!
Here’s a sampling of upcoming programs into July. For a full-schedule, visit www.arlingtonarts.org.
Friday, June 21 — Full Power Blues Band
Saturday, June 22 — Sin Miedo
Sunday, June 23 — Grandsons Jr
Friday, June 28 — Arlington Philharmonic: Pops in the Park (pet friendly)
Saturday, June 29 — Signature Theatre: Cabaret Under the Stars
Sunday, June 30 — Encore Stage & Studio: A Sidewalk Stoll (family performance)
Friday, July 5 — U.S. Army Blues
Saturday, July 6 — The Fuss
Sunday, July 7 — Reptiles Alive (family performance)
Friday, July 12 — Vox Pop
Saturday, July 13 — King Soul
Sunday, July 14 — Rocnocerous (family performance)
Got a pesky boxwood that needs a bit of trimming or row of cabbages overdue for planting? Maybe it’s time to visit Arlington Public Library’s tool lending program “The Shed.”
“The Shed houses 157 garden tools and generates close to 700 checkouts each growing season,” APL spokesman Henrik Sundqvist told ARLnow. “We have made strides each year to reach more residents as we continue our outreach efforts in the community.”
The Central, Glencarlyn, and Westover branch libraries also care for flower gardens and organic vegetable gardens, with some of the vegetables being donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s food bank system.
The lending program allows library patrons to check out a variety of tools from the Central Library branch at 1015 N. Quincy Street. All patrons need to do to check out the tools for free is sign a waiver, have a library card, and show proof the patron is 18 or older.
“The idea for a garden tool lending program came as a natural evolution in the library’s continuing efforts to support the county on issues of community sustainability and particularly urban gardening,” Sundqvist said of the 2014 founding of The Shed.
“Library staff participated in the county’s Urban Agriculture Task Force and suggested a garden tool lending collection as one way of encouraging and facilitating urban gardening and healthy living,” he said.
Today, The Shed is open three days a week: on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m., Fridays from 3-5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Sundqvist said hedge shears, tree pruners, and pruning saws are the garden tools patrons check out most frequently from The Shed.
The tool library is part of APL’s non-book collections, which also includes equipment for testing energy efficiency in your home. APL also opened a free makerspace in April where patrons can access a range of tools for woodworking, sewing, coding, and 3D printing projects.
This unusual collection is part of a bigger movement nationwide building “Libraries of Things” that serve communities by allowing patrons to borrow everything from neck ties to GoPros to musical instruments.
An Arlington waiter’s short film about life in the local restaurant industry is one of the contenders in a new diversity-focused film competition.
Isa Seyran’s Another Day is Over is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video as part of the All Voices Film Festival — an Amazon Prime short-film competition focusing on U.S. filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds. The grand prize for the competition is $25,000.
The film looks at the lives of a handful of people connected by late shifts at a local restaurant. It focuses on their private conflicts and family interactions outside of the restaurant, like a young Salvadoran busboy who spurns his native language and culture.
“It is about the hard working mostly undocumented immigrants living in fear in the age of Trump,” Seyran said in an email to ARLnow.
Seyran said the story is hyper-local and celebrates the diversity of Arlington and Washington, D.C.
“I have been working in and around Washington’s restaurants for coming close to two decades now,” Seyran said. “We just wanted to tell a simple, honest and humble story about the people who work long days and long hours. Our film is a love letter to the restaurant industry.”
The film is streaming online until Monday, June 24.
“This film, for me, is simply an attempt to understand the times that we are going through and the society that we live in,” said Seyran.
Photo courtesy George Kolotov