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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com May 2, 2011 at 9:38 am 2,481 28 Comments

Above: A look back at last year’s presentation of a steel beam from the World Trade Center at Arlington County Fire Station 5. Firefighters from Fire Station 5, in Pentagon City, were among the first to respond to the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

School Budget Approved — The Arlington County School Board has approved a new $475 million budget for FY 2012. The budget funds pay raises for teachers and staff, expands professional learning activities for teachers and eliminates ‘early release Wednesdays’ at four elementary schools. It also includes $1 million to study options for addressing the school system’s looming capacity crisis. [Arlington Public Schools]

Columbia Pike Farmers Market Returns — Sunday marked the start of the summer season for the Columbia Pike Farmers Market. [Pike Wire] (Disclosure: The organizer of the farmers market is an ARLnow.com advertiser)

Arlington Home to Fast-Growing Companies — Arlington is home to six of the 50 fastest-growing privately-held companies in Virginia. [Sun Gazette]

  • CW

    I’m interpreting “fastest-growing privately-held companies” to mean “widest-mouthed hogs closest to the DoD trough”.

  • yequalsy

    It’s certainly not a sign that your economy is diversifying when all 6 of the companies are DHS and DOD contractors.

  • Joe Hoya

    Any idea which elementary schools are doing away with early release?

  • dynaroo

    Well, these are only the fastest-growing large companies that are privately held, not all of them.

    But yeah, it’s no surprise that our economy relies on federal contracts.

  • Half Full

    I suppose criticism of beltway banditos is fair game, but it’s fascinating that a story about Arlington being home to six of the state’s fastest growing companies is seen as a sign of failure; in this case, a failure of the economy to diversify.

    Well, if you can wring that bit of criticism out of good news, you can wring some praise: Isn’t great that a progressive county run by Democrats is also a great place for private industry to grow and flourish!

    • PghBigDog

      Hoo-Ahh, Half-Full, Hoo-Ahh!

  • othersideoftheriver

    If you root through the full budget (http://www.apsva.us/15401081151845893/site/default.asp), there’s this:

    Funds totaling $16,000 are provided for furniture for the elimination of early release at four elementary schools. As the schools have not yet been identified, funds for this initiative are budgeted in the Department of Instruction. (801200-48814)

    If you search on “early release,” though, it looks like Hoffman-Boston and Abingdon lose it.

  • Burger

    What in the heck is “early release wednesday?”

    • dynaroo

      Exactly what it sounds like. Most schools in Arlington release kids early on Wednesday. It’s designed to make scheduling as inconvenient for parents as possible, while at the same time reducing educational time for students so that they achieve less.

      In Fairfax County, they do it on Monday.

      • Arlington, Northside

        Early Release provides teachers with prep time and time to meet with parents. Not too many parents are inconvenienced. Either the kids are already in the extended day program or mom is stay at home. Growing up in Fairfax County in the 70’s it was great, my dad took Monday afternoons off and took some of the neighborhood kids to a different museum, park, or the Capitol each week. Had a fun time exploring the Pentagon back when access was much freer, took in the Nation Arboretum, Arlington Cemetery and Lee Mansion, visited the DC fireboat, had lots of fun adventures. Learned as much or more during those times than we would have learned in the classroom.

        • dynaroo

          Speak for yourself.

          Moms probably don’t stay at home as much as they did when you were a kid. And extended day costs money.

          When I was growing up, we simply went to school a full day every day. We still had plenty of time to go to parks.

          Early release is a cost-saving measure, nothing more. I’m glad Arlington is phasing it out.

          • Arlington, Northside

            So what do the parents do when the kids get out at 3pm rather than 12 noon? Again the kids are either in extended day, which is not very much out of pocket, or mom(or in some cases dad or a grandparent) are already at home. Any parent who is so inconvenienced by a regularly scheduled or advanced scheduled early release needs to reassess their priorities. I mean, what the heck do they do in the summer when everyday is a full day early release?

            Do you whine about things just to see your words on the screen?

          • dynaroo

            It’s alot easier to arrange a schedule where they get out the same time each day, unless you use extended day.

            Some moms work because they have to in order to feed their families – how’s that for “priorities?”

            As for “whining” how about you state your case and don’t be an ass about it.

          • PhilL

            Bit early in the day to be calling someone an ass on the internet, don’t ya think?

          • Arlington, Northside

            If mom or dad can get out of work at 3pm every other day of the week, I am sure that they can arange a schedule that let’s them get home at noon on Wednesdays. It is not like the school is randomly dropping the early release bombshell. Folks get a years advance warning. Again, if they can’t handle an early release Wednesday, how do they handle summer break? This has worked for decades, why the fuss now? Not like moms in this area are suddenly going to work for the first time.

          • dynaroo

            The problem with early release is that it’s irregular. It’s one thing to arrange to get home at a certain time each day, it’s another to add another day of the week to get home even earlier.

            As for summer break, we put our kids in day camp, which runs even later each day than school – and has no early release either.

          • dynaroo

            A bit early to say someone’s whining on the internet, don’t ya think?

          • Arlington, Northside

            Well you have pretty much whined about every story I have read on here over the last week, so when the word fits…

          • dynaroo

            Ah, so you are continuing the ass thing.

            If you can’t handle people disagreeing with you, don’t post in the first place. You aren’t always right, and to say that anyone who dares to disagree with you is “whining” is pretty self-centered and immature. Enough.

          • Josh S

            I’m not entirely sure what you’re trying to say here, but I would think the numbers of kids who go home by themselves from elementary schools are very low. Extended day is very well attended and the crowd waiting to pick up the kid as school gets out is quite large. The crowd includes moms, grandparents, nannies, some older siblings, etc.

  • Burger

    Thanks. that’s what I thought. That is absurd. When did this start?

    • Arlington, Northside

      Long long time ago, late 60’s-early 70’s

    • Josh S

      Not absurd in the least, as Arlington, Northside points out. Early release (or minimum days as we called them when I was a kid) has been around at least since the 70s. It’s impossible for teachers to do everything that needs to be done during the school day. Secondary level teachers have periods off. Since elementary teachers have no periods off, there has to be built in time for them to lesson plan, grade, etc. It’s called doing the job. A loss of early release, if not compensated elsewhere in the schedule, would represent a hardship to the teachers doing their job.

  • PhilL

    We had Early Release when I was a kid, but it seemed to happen randomly. But those two words were iconic. Early Release filtered through a school like lightning. It was the same thing as walking into your classroom and seeing a movie projector already set up and a substitute teacher behind the desk.

    • Arlington, Northside

      For most of the Arlington County Public Schools it is still random. Only a few have it as a regular thing. In FFX it is a regular thing at almost all the schools.

      • PhilL

        Maybe it is somewhat scheduled, just not same day all the time. But it seemed pretty random to us, we would find out a week or so in advance, I guess. Of course back then we were not fourth graders with cell phones who could call up the school schedule on the internet at recess.

        • Arlington, Northside

          Pretty sure the schedule passed out at the beginning of the year has all of the half days listed for my kids’ school.

      • Josh S

        Yeah, hardly random. Early release days, for example, are already announced for NEXT year.
        Also, early release on Wednesdays is the norm for APS elementary schools. Only a few don’t have that.


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