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by ARLnow.com — September 4, 2015 at 11:40 am 0

2015 SAT Graph (via Arlington Public Schools)Across the country, SAT scored dipped in 2015, with the average SAT score 7 points lower than a year ago. Arlington Public Schools, however, has bucked that trend in a big way.

APS reported Thursday that its average SAT score in 2015 rose 27 points, to 1,680. The average score on the ACT, another standardized test, also rose.

“I am extremely proud of these results and appreciate the team effort and close collaboration by everyone to support our students,” Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy said in a press release. “In recent years, we have focused on academic planning through our Aspire2Excellence efforts, and it is clear that our students are stretching themselves in their academic choices as they move toward future college and career pursuits.”

Over the past five years, APS SAT scores have increased 18 points in reading, 16 points in writing and 18 points in math.

2015 ACT Graph (via Arlington Public Schools)The average APS SAT test score of 1,680 well exceeded the Virginia average of 1,533 and the U.S. average of 1,490. Results for black, hispanic and white students “exceed the peers in Virginia by large margins,” APS noted.

The results stand in contrast to another major local school system, Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. The average SAT score for Montgomery County students dropped 21 points in 2015, Bethesda Magazine reported.

“I applaud and recognize the commitment of our teachers and school leaders,” Murphy said of Arlington’s test results. “I appreciate the critical support that is provided by our families to ensure that all students excel and realize their full potential.”

by ARLnow.com — September 4, 2015 at 10:35 am 625 0

End of summer sunset (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Ballston Restaurant Makes Habit of Breaking Plates — Order the suckling pig at SER restaurant (1110 N. Glebe Road) in Ballston and the chef will chop it at the table with the blunt edge of a plate. After the chopping is done, the chef will smash the plate, as part of a Spanish tradition. [Washington Post]

Dem Dinner May Be Renamed — The Arlington County Democratic Committee is considering renaming its annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, given that the event is currently named after two slaveholding presidents. [InsideNova]

Oakridge Pedal Desks Get National Attention — The pedal desks at Oakridge Elementary are getting some attention from a national cycling magazine, which write that the desk is “is a novel idea because it allows a child to fidget without creating a distraction.” [Bicycling]

School Bus Cameras to Start Issuing TicketsStop sign cameras on Arlington school buses will start issuing $250 tickets on Tuesday, the first day of school. The cameras were installed earlier this year and started issuing warnings this summer to those who drive past school buses while the stop sign is deployed. [ARLnow]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

Just Listed in Arlington

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 4, 2015 at 9:30 am 461 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Word on the street among active realtors is that the market has already picked up steam a week earlier than normal.

There has been a mini-surge of showings this week. Usually the fall market picks up right AFTER Labor Day weekend, not BEFORE. The mortgage banking industry this week also reported an 11% increase in the number of mortgage applications.

This could all bode well for a robust fall real estate market as buyers try to lock in contracts before mortgage interest rates start to climb.

In Arlington this week, 59 new listings came on the market while buyers ratified 50 contracts. Inventory remains relatively low. The 30-yr fixed rate mortgage held steady just under 4%.

Listing of the week:  The opulent double penthouse at 1530 Key Blvd (the Atrium Condominium) in Rosslyn listed at $2,695,000.

You can access all active listings in Arlington on the Cathell Team website.

by ARLnow.com — September 4, 2015 at 9:10 am 1,873 0

Metro logo on an Orange Line stationMetrorail riders should expect residual delays on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines after someone fell on the track at the Ballston Metro station.

Metro is describing the incident as a “medical emergency.” A Twitter user said a woman walked off the platform and onto the tracks.

“Lady just walked smooth off the platform onto the tracks at Ballston station right in front of me,” said @Durrrius.

Fire department radio traffic indicates that the patient has been removed from the tracks and is now being treated by medics.

Metro says that trains are again moving through the station, with residual delays in both directions.

by Heather Mongilio — September 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm 967 0

Brixx Woodfire Pizza

Clarendon’s newest pizza joint plans to open its doors in six weeks.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, located at 1119 N. Hudson Street next to Nam Viet restaurant, hopes to start serving pizza and beer mid-October, barring any construction delays, according to Tim Miner, the director of marketing for the company.

The North Carolina-based chain hopes to start training staff in the second week of October, Miner said, with the new restaurant opening a week later.

In addition to regular and gluten-free pizza, Brixx serves sandwiches, pasta, beer, wine and cocktails, according to its website.

Brixx does not plan to have any grand opening specials, but will start “business as usual” on the opening day, he said. The restaurant will have wine specials on Sundays and Thursdays and craft beer specials on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Miner could not elaborate on the deals because of Virginia law, he said.

The pizza joint also features buy one, get one pizza and appetizers after 11 p.m.

The Clarendon location will be Brixx’s third Virginia restaurant — there is another location in Charlottesville and Woodbridge. The chain came to Clarendon because of its exciting neighborhood, Miner said.

“It’s a thriving community, and we feel the folks that live in the area are a perfect fit,” he said.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm 620 0

Rental Report header

Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Moving to the Metro area requires a lot of decisions. One of the bigger ones is whether or not to bring a car. The area has plenty of transportation options including Metro, buses, taxis and of course biking and walking. If you do decide to bring a car, where do you plan to keep it? Here are some details for parking in the Arlington area.

On-site Parking

If possible, the easiest option is to use your apartment or condo on-site parking. During your apartment search, be sure to ask about the parking fee. Some buildings only allow one space per unit, so be sure to find out if the building meets your requirements before entering in to a lease.

If your building doesn’t offer parking, or if you are living in a house or townhouse without off street parking, there are a few more options.

Permit Street Parking

In some areas of Arlington, residents are eligible to apply for permit parking. To find out if this is an option, go to the Arlington County website and enter your address, and it will tell you if you are eligible to apply for a permit. Your car needs to be registered in Virginia, with a few exceptions for military and students. The fee is $20 per year, and you will also get a FlexPass to use for guests. The permit process can take some time, so you can get a temporary permit while awaiting approval so you can still park in your local zone. Keep in mind, just because you are eligible to apply, it doesn’t mean you automatically receive a permit, as there is a limited amount per zone. Zones have certain time restrictions, and parking in a permit zone during restricted hours risks ticketing and towing.

Parking Garage

If you aren’t eligible for permit parking, monthly parking garages are another option. The website ParkMe can help you find area garages that offer monthly parking. Monthly parking garages are likely the most expensive option. Keep in mind, this may only be a temporary need while waiting for a space in your building or a permit in your neighborhood to become available.

Short Term Parking

In permit areas, residents can either use a FlexPass for their guests or request a short term parking permit with allows parking in zoned areas for three consecutive days.

Of course there’s also parking garages and metered parking available all over Arlington. Some garages are free on the weekends while others are not, so be sure to check before entering.

Check out the Arlington County website for more information on long and short term parking. Be sure to ask your employer and property manager for more information on parking at work and at home.

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to [email protected].

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Peter Rousselot — September 3, 2015 at 3:00 pm 671 0

peter_rousselot_2014-12-27_for_facebookPeter’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.

It’s time for Virginia legislators to do their very best to re-examine carefully and calmly what further legislative steps Virginia should take to reduce the number of people who are killed or injured by mentally unstable shooters.

Andy Parker, the father of Alison Parker, one of the two Roanoke, Virginia TV reporters who were killed while conducting an on-air broadcast last week, put the issue this way:

I’m not going to rest until I see something happen. We’ve got to have our legislators and congressmen step up to the plate and stop being cowards about this…describing himself as a supporter of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. How many Alisons is this going to happen to before we stop it?

We owe it to Andy Parker and other Virginia family members who have been seared by similar tragedies to take another look at this issue.

Arlington Del. Patrick Hope launched an online petition to assess support for his proposal to take another look. Hope’s petition received more than 20,000 signatures in the first 24 hours. As Hope explains:

Many people feel powerless in these situations because of the political climate that holds us back from real change. I’m asking my colleagues to put people first to get this done once and for all. I know we can’t end all acts of gun violence, but that doesn’t need to stop us from advancing common sense solutions like background checks that can help keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

Hope is aware that if there is any chance of legislative success, large numbers of Virginia Republican legislators must support any bill. No such bi-partisan support will emerge if Democrats and Republicans spend their time accusing each other of “callous disregard of a tragedy” or trying to “capitalize on a tragedy.” Also, no progress will be made if politicians refuse even to discuss issues relating to tightening Virginia’s current background check system by arguing that “no system could have prevented this particular shooting.”

Instead, our legislators should approach with open minds a stem-to-stern re-examination of every aspect of the ways in which Virginia collects mental health data to be entered into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system. There should be some quiet, behind-the-scenes discussions among legislators from both parties to explore potential areas of agreement.

There are many local and national resources available. For example, The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police supports strengthening background checks.

Conclusion

Hope deserves praise for his leadership on this. If you have suggestions for him, you can send them to [email protected].

by Larry Roberts — September 3, 2015 at 2:30 pm 0

Larry Roberts

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organization or ARLnow.com.

Over the past two weeks, many Arlington families have taken their daughters and sons to college for the start of the fall semester. As the home to university campuses and education centers affiliated with colleges and universities, Arlington also welcomed many students arriving for the new school year.

Arlington’s public schools have demonstrated over the years that they provide excellent preparation for success at colleges and universities in Virginia and across the country.

Yet success in the classroom is not the only important component of a successful college education. We have seen ever stronger evidence of the prevalence of unwanted sexual advances on college campuses. We are gaining greater knowledge of the impact of binge drinking. And we are making advances in identifying and working with students suffering from depression.

Fortunately, very few parents will ever experience losing a loved one on a college campus.

However, in one of the darkest days in the history of our Commonwealth, 32 families lost loved ones at the hands of a mentally disturbed gunman. More than two dozen others were wounded or seriously injured that day in April 2007 in Blacksburg. Many of the victims and survivors were from Northern Virginia.

The loss felt by the victim’s families and the impact on the survivors was profound.

Despite their losses, however, the families were determined to make a positive and lasting tribute to the 32 who were killed — through programs designed to help colleges and universities be safer and more secure.

As Counselor to the Governor, I worked closely with many of the families in developing a comprehensive settlement of their potential claims against Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Part of that settlement was the establishment of a VTV Family Outreach Foundation.

In that effort, I came to admire the families for their desire to honor their loved ones through insuring that survivors received the health care they needed to recover from their injuries, through applying lessons learned in how to work effectively with grieving families, and by joining together to uncover all of the dimensions of campus security.

Over the past several years, the VTV Family Foundation has laid the groundwork for a new integrated approach to improving campus safety.

In August, the 32 National Campus Safety Initiative was unveiled in a moving launch event at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. We heard from a family member of a student victim, a student who survived three bullet wounds, law enforcement personnel, national leaders in school safety, and deans of students at participating universities that include George Mason and the University of Florida.

The Initiative creates a forum where national experts can develop best practices and resources with the guidance of survivors and victims’ families.

To improve campus security in a positive, proactive way, the 32 NCSI also provides a free, confidential, self-paced program of that provides colleges and universities with a new resource to better assess themselves in areas such as alcohol and drug use, campus public safety, emergency management, hazing, mental health, missing students, physical security, sexual violence, and threat assessment.

The determination of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation to prevent another tragedy of the magnitude of the one that took place in April 2007 is a testament to the human spirit and the determination of good women and men to selflessly help students and their parents feel a greater sense of security.

The Foundation will need additional private and public support to expand its mission. I encourage parents of college students and Arlingtonians generally to learn more at www.vtvfamilyfoundation.org or www.32NCSI.org.

Larry Roberts is an attorney in private practice. A resident of Arlington for over 30 years, he also spent four years in Richmond as Counselor to Governor Tim Kaine. As Counselor, he was tasked with leading the Commonwealth’s ongoing response to the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

by Mark Kelly — September 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm 572 0

Mark Kelly

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Election season kicks off in Arlington on Tuesday, Sept. 8, when the Arlington Civic Federation hosts its annual candidate forum. The forum traditionally allows CivFed delegates to ask questions of the four County Board candidates. If you are a delegate, here are some questions Arlingtonians might want to have answered.

None of you have held elected office before here in Arlington, what specific, singular professional accomplishment makes you the most qualified to serve on the County Board?

What three actions would you take to make it easier to start and run a business in Arlington?

Would you support a bond that asks voters for any more money to construct the currently mothballed aquatics center?

Speaking of bonding authority, would you support a County Board policy of not bundling any projects whose total cost would be $25 million or more with other projects in a proposed bond? In other words, would you commit to putting projects like the aquatics center or trolley up for a stand alone vote?

What is your position toward the current revenue sharing agreement with Arlington Public Schools? And if you are not satisfied with it, what would you do differently?

Currently the County Board either spends, or places, into flush reserve accounts, all excess tax revenue. Would you vote to return all excess revenue to the voters in the form of tax relief during the annual closeout process?

If you gained a seat on the WMATA Board, what are the first three specific actions you would advocate for getting Metro back on the right track?

Do you believe that any County Board housing policy can overcome market forces at work in Arlington without dramatically increasing spending of taxpayer dollars?

Would you vote to end the process of narrowing streets like Wilson Boulevard where it causes excessive congestion?

What is your position on predatory towing practices?

Will you vote to require the next County Manager to live in Arlington?

Will you pledge not to waste board meeting time by offering or supporting any resolutions that purport to tell the federal government or NFL sports teams how they should act or vote?

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 2, 2015 at 1:45 pm 0

September is National Preparedness Month. Are you ready for an emergency or natural disaster? Virginia Hospital Center tells the skills and tools you need to be ready for anything.

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