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by ARLnow.com November 22, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Thanksgiving is a day away and Christmas music is beginning to be played in malls and on the radio.

While it’s not quite frosty enough for a white Thanksgiving, a winter wonderland may be on the minds of local residents after a disappointing season for snow lovers last year.

This year, D.C. forecasters are calling for a snowier season, with anywhere between 10-20 inches of snow expected to fall on Arlington and the District. About 15 inches of snow is the average.

What are you hoping for this year — a white Christmas and plenty of sledding opportunities, or another winter of not much shoveling and windshield scraping?

by Chris Teale November 17, 2017 at 10:00 pm 0

It’s the end of another busy week.

In news you might have missed, “Spaces” is now open in the former Artisphere in Rosslyn, while TechShop in Crystal City was forced to close as the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Joel McHale sat down for an interview ahead of his performance at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, while in that same neighborhood, advocates say Columbia Pike is getting a “big boost” three years on from the streetcar cancellation.

Mister Days in Clarendon celebrates its 40th anniversary, while the campaign managers from the recent Governor’s race reflected on the election on Monday night.

And from today, the new Dunkin’ Donuts is open in Clarendon. Celebrations continue tomorrow.

These were our most-read stories this week:

  1. UPDATE: Missing Woman Found in Arlington
  2. Sources: Crystal City a Likely Finalist for Amazon’s HQ2
  3. Morning Notes (October 13)
  4. Letter: New Middle School Boundaries Must Respect County’s Diversity
  5. Police Searching for Missing Woman

Feel free to discuss anything of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend!

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by ARLnow.com November 17, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

The following letter was written by Aurora Hills resident Ashli Douglas about the county’s Complete Streets Program and traffic congestion in her neighborhood that she said was exacerbated by changes to S. Eads Steet.

To the Editor:

Arlington has embarked on a transportation vision of providing a safe environment for all travel modes, also known as the Complete Streets Program.  Today I’m sharing a story of how this transportation vision for complete streets has played out in one Arlington County neighborhood, Aurora Hills.

As I reread the Arlington transportation presentation for our project on S. Eads St. from 2014, it occurred to me how benign and utopian the project seemed. That should have been the first clue.  Arlington was going to move more people without more traffic and they were going to protect our single-family neighborhood.  All good, what’s not to like?

And then came the medians, protected bike lanes, bike rental rack and central to all of this, the complete removal of two lanes of a four-lane street – S. Eads Street.  What could possibly go wrong?

So now we have the same (but probably more) number of cars on the same road with less lanes.  This is where the fairytale turns to a nightmare…enter aggressive driving and cut-through traffic.

I live on what Arlington refers to as a Minor Neighborhood Street, in which the distinctive feature of these streets is the nearly exclusive orientation to providing access to residences.  It also happens to be a one lane yield street!

One block away is S. Eads Street, an Arterial Street, by definition, the street primarily provides through travel rather that solely for access to adjacent properties.  According to Arlington’s street elements policies that are part of the county wide master transportation plan, streets should “…improve the efficiency of vehicular operation on arterial streets to minimize diversion of traffic onto neighborhood streets.”

So you see where this is going.  Since our arterial street has reduced capacity, the cars all cut-through our neighborhood street.  And just to be clear, we are not talking about a few cars.  We are talking over 1,300 commuters a day.

How do we know?  Since the county refused to share data or provide any form of relief to our neighborhood, we hired a certified traffic data collection firm to conduct traffic counts on November 1 and 2, a Wednesday and Thursday.  The counts were 1,347 and 1,369 respectively.

Our one lane section of S. Fern St. simply cannot handle this traffic.  According to Arlington County historical traffic counts, last performed in 2011 on our street, they measured 500 cars on a daily average. What a difference a “Complete Street” makes.  We now have approximately 600 cars who rip down the same street in a three-hour period  our school bus is dropping off children.

It is no longer safe for our children to play even near the street due to the cut-through traffic. We have experienced over 160 percent increase in vehicles, the majority with DC and MD tags that simply cut through our neighborhood to avoid the congestion morass on S. Eads Street.

As frustrated parents, neighbors and Arlington county citizens, we, individually as neighbors in an eight-block area, and collectively through our civic association have been engaged with the county for over a year to no avail.  We have requested that the county protect our neighborhood, and specifically, mitigate the cut-through traffic that originates on S. Eads Street and cuts through our neighborhood on S. Fern Street between 26th Street S. and 23rd Street S.

Our eight-block area has become a virtual highway of dangerous cut through traffic with constant stop sign running, speeding and hit and run accidents, and fearful and angry parents at Arlington county elementary school bus stops.

The S. Eads Complete Street project has been a complete disaster for the residents in our neighborhood and despite our continual pleas for help for nearly a year to protect our single family neighborhood; we have had no relief.

We will not give up our neighborhood and we demand the county remedy the problem they created.  And for anyone else that may be facing a complete street project – consider yourself forewarned.

Ashli Douglas has lived in Aurora Hills for 16 years and is the mom to two elementary school-aged children.

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes letters about issues of local interest. To submit your thoughts for consideration, please email [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

by Mark Kelly November 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

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.

This week ARLnow posted a letter to the editor on the ongoing school boundary discussions:

For full disclosure, our children have always attended South Arlington schools, and we currently have at least one child in elementary, middle, and high school. They ride a bus to elementary school and high school and are in the walk zone for middle school.

The author’s thesis seems to be that diversity in our schools should be given the highest priority. The author says it is “arguably best for the future of the entire school system, and in turn, the country.” Though nowhere does the author argue why other than calling it a “value” of the county.

I hope the underlying suggestion is not that if an Arlington school has more low income kids, by definition it offers an inferior educational experience? Lower incomes in a community could be a major factor in an area where a school district is relying on a limited tax base for funding, but it is certainly not for lack of financial resources here in Arlington.

If any school is not performing here, then there should be pressure on the school board, the superintendent, the principal, and the teachers to fix what’s going on at the school immediately.

The author does note that 55 percent of families with middle schoolers live in the walk zone. In the next paragraph, the author argues that this is a “small group,” a subset of Arlington that should not be allowed to use proximity to override diversity as a priority.

But it’s not a small group. It’s a majority of the families which is why the school board should give them a great deal of consideration when considering school boundaries. And many of them value their proximity to school, and it’s not a value limited to North Arlington.

School boundary decisions are never easy. Some families will be forced to move schools. There is no way to avoid it. But after reading this letter, it is still unclear why forcing more kids to move in the name of diversity would be best for our kids, Arlington’s school system, or “the country.”

While the School Board sorts through the landmines of the boundary issue, on November 28 the County Board will consider whether to award a $60 million contract for a new aquatics center.

The price tag is still high considering they could add an expanded pool facility onto the next high school or middle school building at a fraction of the cost. Maybe they could even set aside closeout funds the next two years to pay for it rather than borrow more money.

by Progressive Voice November 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

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

By Rip Sullivan

Amid the wreckage of the 2016 Presidential election, I was inundated by folks — reliable activists and, more importantly, lots of new faces – wanting to push back against the policies and, importantly, the style of politics Donald Trump was peddling.

They wanted to do something — immediately. As House Democratic Caucus Campaign Chair, I stressed the importance of the upcoming November 7 election. In response, people exclaimed that they wanted to do something that weekend.

That desire to “do something,” birthed an historic wave election.

I have been asked repeatedly since last Tuesday whether we really expected to win this many seats. My answer is that we knew we could, so we developed a strategy to ensure that, if a wave developed, Democrats and our supporters would be positioned to capitalize in races across the Commonwealth.

And did we ever capitalize.

As with every election, we knew turnout would be the difference. Would that desire to do something translate into votes from folks we really needed to get to the polls? Would people tune in to these important House of Delegates races, or wait until next year’s Congressional elections, or even 2020, to make their opposition to the Trump agenda heard?

The answer? Not only were Virginians paying attention, they were ready to vote in record numbers. Democratic House candidates ran issues-oriented, substantive campaigns and installed unprecedented get-out-the-vote operations to make sure their voters turned out. About 47 percent of Virginia’s eligible voting population went to the polls, the highest percentage turnout in a gubernatorial year in two decades.

As I write this, Democrats have swept all three statewide seats and picked up a minimum of 15 House seats. The House majority is still in play.

What is still undecided?

Three House of Delegates races — the 28th, 40th, and 94th Districts — are still up in the air. The reasons vary. Voters who cast provisional ballots because, for example, they forgot to bring their driver’s license to the polls, could by November 13 submit acceptable photo ID to their local registration office.

In the 28th District, controversy swirls due to a Registrar’s refusal to count 55 absentee ballots delivered to the registrar’s office by Wednesday, November 8 and Democrats have filed a federal lawsuit to force the Registrar to count these votes.

There are allegations that in “split precincts” in the 28th District, 600+ voters were given the wrong ballots, potentially costing Democrat Joshua Cole, currently trailing Republican Bob Thomas by 82 votes, enough votes to win the election. It is likely all three races will proceed to a recount.

Regardless of whether Democrats reach 51 votes in the House of Delegates, a few things are clear.

First, it is a new day in Richmond. Our 34-member House Democratic Caucus has grown by at least 15 members. No matter what our eventual number is, we will have new influence. New clout. The Republicans ignore us at their peril.

Second, from Medicaid expansion to women’s reproductive rights to environmental issues and more, the General Assembly will finally more closely reflect the values and priorities of the whole of Virginia.

Third, we must continue to focus on ways to increase voter participation. While 47 percent turnout this year is encouraging, according to the Virginia State Board of Election’s statistics for the last 40 years it is still well short of the astonishing 66.5 percent turnout in 1989’s gubernatorial elections and the high-water mark of 83.7 percent in 1992’s Presidential election.

We can reach these numbers again by making it easier to vote in Virginia.

One way is to recognize that more and more Virginians want to and are voting early absentee, and then encourage and better enable that method through legislation and voter education.

The way Virginia’s voting process is currently structured, unless a voter meets a narrow set of criteria that permits him or her to vote early absentee, he or she must have the time and resources to vote during a 13-hour window on a Tuesday.

I have repeatedly introduced legislation in the House of Delegates — and will again in the upcoming session — to provide for no-excuse early absentee voting. Early voting clearly helps broaden participation in our democracy, making it more representative. 47 percent turnout this year is fantastic, but we can do better. It’s time to help more Virginians’ voices be heard.

As for whether we’ll have the 51 votes to make sure that happens, stay tuned…

Rip Sullivan is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Virginia’s 48th District, which encompasses parts of Arlington and McLean. He practices law in Arlington with Bean, Kinney & Korman, PC.

by Peter Rousselot November 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Peter’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.

At its November 18 meeting, the County Board is scheduled to vote on new policies relating to parking requirements for certain new residential construction projects in Metro corridors.

The proposed policies include the following features (among others):

  • Lower parking minimums closer to Metro station entrances than for areas farther from those entrances
  • Allowances for developers to substitute bike parking, carsharing, or investments in Capital Bikeshare for fewer parking spaces
  • Lower dedicated visitor parking minimums

When this column was submitted, the County Manager’s Report and Recommendation on this agenda item 47 had not yet been posted on the website.

Discussion

In last month’s ARLnow.com story about these proposed new policies, one of the most up-voted comments (25 up-votes) was:

The staff proposes “Minimum parking requirements for market-rate units ranging from 0.2 to 0.6 spaces per unit depending on distance from the nearest Metro station entrance (ranging from 1/8 to 3/4 of a mile).” But if you look at the staff’s own study (page 8), parking demand ranges from 0.6 to 1.2 spaces per unit depending on distance from the nearest Metro station entrance (ranging from 1/8 to 3/4 of a mile).

In another comment, Chris Slatt, chair of the Transportation Commission, countered:

  • If you never let anyone try a parking ratio below 1.0, then you never get data on what occupancy rate you end up with below 1.0.
  • It’s a minimum. Nobody [is] forcing anyone to build 0.3 spaces per unit.
  • If the alternatives are properly managed…then people with cars will self-select to the buildings that provide more parking.

Some Rosslyn-Ballston corridor civic associations sided with the skeptics. The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association opposed (letter, 11/13/17) any new mandatory minimum standards, arguing for lower limits only on a case-by-case basis.

The Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association suggested (letter, 11/07/17) that the Board amend the staff’s proposal by setting all minimum parking ratios to be at least 0.5 spaces/unit.

There may be a case within all (or portions) of either or both Metro corridors (Rosslyn-Ballston and Crystal City) for reduced mandatory minimum residential parking requirements. But, it is unclear on the current record whether lower uniform minimums make sense for all projects, or what offsets (e.g. bike share or mass transit investments) should be adopted in any specific case.

If the County Board decides to enact lower specific numerical mandatory minimums within either or both Metro corridors, residents close to new developments may suffer from an incremental increase in street parkers near their homes (thus denying them proximate parking).

Such residents should be shielded in an appropriate way, for example by stricter non-permit parking limits. These might allow non-permit visitors to park only for four hours duration, after which tickets would be issued.

Finally, the County Board should explicitly state that any decisions it might make regarding the two Metro corridors do not set any precedent for other locations, such as the Lee Highway corridor, that lack comparable proximity to Metro and have completely different traffic patterns.

Conclusion

The county should enact any new mandatory minimums on an experimental basis, with the presumption of approval only on a case-by-case basis for individual projects.

The county should not enact any policies that would drive existing home owners out of vehicles by making it difficult for them to park near their homes.

by ARLnow.com November 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

The following letter was written by local resident Miranda Turner about the process of changing middle school boundaries in Arlington Public Schools.

To the Editor:

The current middle school boundary changes underway in Arlington represent a concerning turn away from demographic diversity as a consideration in boundary decisions.

During last year’s high school redistricting, Arlington Public Schools’ message was that a minor redrawing of lines wasn’t the time to address demographics, but that time was coming. Only a year later, APS seems to have thrown in the towel on the subject, in the face of “housing patterns in the county” that make it “not as easy” to address economically segregated schools (as stated by APS Staff at the October 25 meeting at Yorktown).

Each of the staff’s successive proposals has retreated from the opportunity to address concentrated low-income populations within the South Arlington middle schools. Under the current Staff recommendation, the low-income population in each South Arlington school, on average, exceeds the sum of the low-income percentages across all North Arlington schools together, and Williamsburg’s population of low-income students is 1 percent.

The staff’s explanation for its recommendation is that proximity – the option to walk up to 1.5 miles to school — is a priority for families. But only 55 percent of Arlington middle schoolers are in the walk zone, suggesting proximity is a priority for, at most, about half the county. Half the county attends South Arlington schools, yet that is apparently not enough for the staff to address the persistent economic segregation in those schools.

It is a given that each of the six APS considerations involve trade-offs. However, prioritizing proximity for the subset of families who live close to schools elevates the preferences of that small group over what is arguably best for the future of the entire school system and, in turn, the county.

Undoubtedly, the County Board has its own role to play in addressing housing patterns. This does not excuse the School Board from doing its part. Demographic diversity is not about “somebody else’s kids,” the staff’s chosen deflection at the October 25 meeting.  It is about all our kids and the values our county chooses to promote.

Sincerely,

Miranda Turner

Arlington

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes letters about issues of local interest. To submit your thoughts for consideration, please email [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

by Chris Teale November 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm 0

It’s the end of another week, a shorter one for some due to the observation of the Veterans’ Day holiday today.

Tuesday’s election weighed on plenty of people’s minds this week, as you can see from this week’s most-read stories:

  1. UPDATED: Democrats Celebrate Clean Sweep of Local, Statewide Elections
  2. Heavy Turnout, Short Lines Reported At Arlington Polling Stations
  3. Large Power Outage Reported in Ballston Area
  4. Woman Charged With Peeing on Cop’s Foot
  5. Democratic Gains in Va. House Give Arlington Officials Hope

And these received the most comments:

  1. Democratic Gains in Va. House Give Arlington Officials Hope
  2. UPDATED: Democrats Celebrate Clean Sweep of Local, Statewide Elections
  3. Morning Notes (November 7)
  4. Meanwhile in D.C. (November 9)
  5. Charles McCullough: Why You Should Vote For Me

Feel free to discuss anything of local interest in the comments below. Have a good Veterans Day, and a good weekend!

by Mark Kelly November 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

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.

The 2017 election is in the books. Well, it’s almost in the books. One race in the Virginia House of Delegates is separated by just 13 votes.

If that lead holds, Republicans would have a 51 to 49 majority in the House of Delegates. If not, it will be a 50 to 50 split. This falls into, “if you don’t think your vote counts in an election, think again,” category.

While the overall size of the win for Democrats across Virginia was bigger than most predicted, polls had shown this was the likely outcome since the statewide candidates won their nomination in June. Time will tell all the reasons Democrats turned out in such big numbers on Tuesday. But the bottom line is, the party which turns out more of its voters wins. In 2017, the Democrats had the winning strategy.

It was disappointing to hear State Senator Barbara Favola call Republicans “evil” at the end of the campaign. It was equally disappointing to hear those in attendance laugh and applaud in approval of the comment. This should go without saying, but just because someone believes strongly in an opposing political philosophy does not make them evil. Hopefully that was a comment made in the heat of the moment that Senator Favola now regrets.

Now that the ominous campaign ads are done airing and the rhetorical flourishes are set aside, Virginians can focus on the issues that impact our future.

We cannot rely on the federal government to prop up our economy forever. What will politicians in Richmond do to stop Virginia’s slide in the national business rankings? Will they make the regulatory environment easier to navigate? Will they provide any tax code reforms to make us more competitive with states like North Carolina who are reforming their codes?

What more can they do to improve our transportation infrastructure here in Northern Virginia? Will Virginia and Arlington demand that Metro reform its ways?

Also here in Arlington, will our County Board and School Board offer new ideas, reforms or even increased accountability? Will they ever stop the annual cycle designed to raise taxes and spend more, regardless of needs or even the bounds of our annual budget? Will our economic development plans move beyond offering taxpayer-funded incentives and into creating a business-friendly environment?

As we weigh back into the public policy debates, we will be reminded this weekend of Veterans Day where we honor those who served our great nation. These women and men defended us, so that we can have free elections as well as the freedom to say and write things to try and shape public opinion on important issues. To those who served, thank you.

by Larry Roberts November 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

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

By Larry Roberts

Democratic sweeps in Arlington are not a given, but often occur. In some instances, Arlington is in tune with the rest of the Commonwealth, though usually a much deeper shade of blue. In other years. Arlington is out of step with electoral results in the Commonwealth as a whole.

This year, the County’s voters were largely in step with voters in the Commonwealth as a whole – particularly urban and suburban areas – in an extraordinary night for Democratic candidates.

Governor-Elect Ralph Northam’s nine point victory exceeded most expectations. He received over 300,000 more votes than Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2013. Lt. Governor-Elect Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring also achieved victory margins exceeding most expectations.

The tectonic shift in the Commonwealth was in House of Delegates elections. Going into the election, House Republicans held a 66-34 edge over House Democrats. Most observers expected that the Democrats would pick up five to eight seats. No one imagined Democrats picking 15 seats, with two more still in play. It is now conceivable, though unlikely, that Democrats will gain control of the House of Delegates or a 50-50 tie leading to a power sharing arrangement.

Assuming the House ends up at 51-49 for the Republicans and the Senate — not up for election in 2017 and has a 21-19 Republican advantage, what will this mean for Arlington? What does the Democratic statewide office sweep – giving Democrats 10 straight statewide victories — mean?

We can expect the policies of the Northam Administration will track closely the McAuliffe Administration across the broad spectrum of issues – including economic development, education, transportation, Constitutional rights, and promoting equality and inclusion as core values. Governor-Elect Northam has announced that native Alexandrian Clark Mercer will serve as his Chief of Staff, which will assure that Northern Virginia, and its inner suburbs, will have a seat at the governing table.

We can expect that Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring will also provide continuity in the Lt. Governor’s and Attorney General’s offices.

Personalities and priorities do differ, however. Governor-Elect Northam has largely aligned himself with issue positions supported by most Arlington voters. At the same time, he grew up on the Eastern Shore and has lived most of his life in Hampton Roads with its own unique issues and challenges that sometimes, but not always, track those of Northern Virginia.

There will be early signs of whether Governor Northam’s Administration will reflect the multiculturalism that is the reality of Northern Virginia and place as great an emphasis on transportation – particularly multimodal transportation -more important to Northern Virginia and Arlington than any other part of the Commonwealth.

Others will be changes Governor Northam makes to the budget introduced by Governor McAuliffe, any adjustments to the state education funding formula and levels, and signals Governor Northam sends about tax reform – which affects each region and even locality differently.

The biggest changes will likely occur in the General Assembly. On a procedural level, Democrats will gain seats on House Committees. On a policy level, Governor Northam will likely have less need to use his veto pen than Governor McAuliffe. And House Republicans will have difficult calculations on whether to make adjustments to their legislative agenda.

That will in large measure depend on whether they believe their slim majority is more likely to remain in place in 2019 through moderation and bipartisanship or, alternatively, by introducing and voting on legislation by party line votes because they believe they can regain seats in 2019 by hewing to a conservative line.

Arlington legislators, and Northern Virginia legislators in general, will certainly have substantially more say in activities in House Committees and on the House floor.

There is some hope that the House and Senate will reflect on the changing demographics and population shifts in Virginia and feel a need to keep their majorities by reconsidering the importance of such issues as Medicaid expansion, transit funding including support for Metro, and how inclusion and equality contribute to the health of Virginia’s economy. Such a shift would bring the Commonwealth more in line with the issue positions of most Arlington voters.

Finally, we now know that Republicans will not have sole control of the redistricting process in Virginia in 2021. This gives hope for nonpartisan redistricting reform efforts. In any event, redistricting will have to be bipartisan. That is likely to result in districts that will lead to Congressional and General Assembly membership more philosophically aligned with Arlington.

Lawrence Roberts recently served as Campaign Chair of the Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor campaign. In the past, he has served as Counselor to the Governor in Richmond and Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. He has been active in civic organizations in Arlington, Northern Virginia, and statewide. He is an attorney in private practice.

by Peter Rousselot November 9, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Peter’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.

At the November 2 School Board meeting, Arlington Public Schools staff “pumped the brakes” on an instructional focus for the Ed Center site.

Staff recommended to defer until the summer of 2018 after APS develops its new Strategic Plan.

Discussion

APS expects 500-600 high school students to enroll at the Ed Center site by September 2022.

Approximately twenty different instructional focus options already have been discussed for this site. Those twenty were narrowed to 10, and then again to the top four.

The top four (Slide 11) are:

  • STEAM High School*
  • Creative and Performing Arts High School*
  • Early College*
  • Expansion of Washington-Lee (W-L) to include additional International Baccalaureate (IB) seats**

* Stand-alone, new county-wide program requiring self-selecting demand and common spaces in the facility. Expected to limit the number of available seats to 500.

** Such an expansion of W-L can leverage already existing common spaces, thereby providing 600 available seats.

The first two options will require much more extensive internal building conversion changes than the second two.

The viability of the first three options depends critically on the willingness of students voluntarily to enroll in a new APS specialized program. Because of the capacity crunch, the School Board should select an option that will fully utilize all available seats as soon as the building is open to relieve anticipated high school overcrowding elsewhere.

STEAM High School

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student critical thinking (Slide 12).

Would this new program cannibalize Arlington Tech? Would the best site for a STEAM high school be at the Career Center?

Creative and Performing Arts High School

A Creative and Performing Arts High school specializes in teaching performing and visual arts, combined with academics, preparing students for a career in the arts or conservatory study as well as a pursuit of higher education (Slide 13).

How would implementing such a new program affect the performing and visual arts departments at the current comprehensive high schools?

Early College

Early College High School provides an opportunity for students to earn both a high school degree and a two-year associate’s degree (or up to two years of college credits) in four years (Slide 14).

Arlington Tech already offers students Early College Credit. Would there be sufficient demand to maintain full enrollment capacity at both programs?

Expansion of W-L to include additional IB seats

Increase the number of seats available for the International Baccalaureate full IB Diploma program (Slide 15). This program already is offered at W-L.

This is the only one of the four options that doesn’t rely 100 percent on students self-selecting a new specialized program. By leveraging common-area spaces in the main W-L building, the Ed Center space could be designed to accommodate 600 seats as opposed to only the 500 seats anticipated with the other three options.

Conclusion

The November 2 meeting concluded without persuasive answers to these questions:

  • Why the decision to wait until after the completion of the Strategic Plan wasn’t made in the summer of 2017
  • How much worthwhile building conversion planning can be done before the final instructional focus decision is made

The School Board should provide a more complete explanation why deferral is the best way to proceed.

by Chris Teale November 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm 0

The weekend is here.

These were our most-read stories this week:

  1. Feds Seek Forfeiture of Clarendon Home in Manafort Case
  2. Fast-Casual Restaurant The Simple Greek Coming to Colonial Village
  3. RIP DCist
  4. Arlington Readies for Halloween Trick-or-Treating
  5. Neighbors File Lawsuit After Board Approves Lee Highway Child Care Center

And these received the most comments:

  1. Local Republicans Criticize Favola’s ‘Evil’ Remark
  2. Morning Notes (November 1)
  3. Morning Notes (October 30)
  4. Neighbors File Lawsuit After Board Approves Lee Highway Child Care Center
  5. Morning Notes (November 2)

Feel free to discuss anything of local interest in the comments below. Have a great weekend!

by ARLnow.com November 3, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Election Day is coming up on Tuesday and quite a few Arlington voters have already “headed to the polls” via absentee voting.

This year’s ballot includes an Arlington County Board race, School Board race, Virginia House of Delegates races and statewide races for attorney general, lieutenant governor and governor.

The gubernatorial race has been particularly pitched this year, with gobs of money spent by and on behalf of Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam (above).

Many Arlington residents have likely noticed a barrage of direct mail and local TV ads. But how closely have you, personally, been following the race?

by ARLnow.com November 2, 2017 at 5:35 pm 0

While we prefer the nomenclature “local news website,” ARLnow launched at a time when “blogging” was still a thing. We were basically a blog.

The granddaddy of all big, D.C. area local news blogs was DCist and late today came the sad news that its billionaire owner has closed all of the DNAinfo and Gothamist websites, including DCist, following a vote to unionize the company’s New York City newsroom.

It was always a thrill to get a link from DCist. Early on it would bring a rush of traffic at a time when we were still trying to build our audience. Even in 2017, getting a DCist link was a sign that an article we published here in Arlington has resonated across the Potomac.

DCist was a consistently interesting and entertaining one-stop-shop for D.C.-centric local news, it had a loyal and often very funny commenting community, it jumpstarted the careers of some excellent journalists, and it was an important component of the slowly shrinking D.C. local news ecosystem.

RIP DCist, you will be missed.

by ARLnow.com November 2, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Throughout the media world, a trend is emerging: more and more news outlets are asking readers to subscribe.

For the New York Times, turning readers into paid subscribers has helped the company buck industry trends and grow its revenue in the face of steep print advertising declines and an environment in which Google and Facebook capture the lion’s share of new digital advertising.

Here in Arlington, we are fortunate to have a great base of advertisers. Thanks to our advertisers, the ARLnow you see today is sustainable and here to stay.

However, we often hear from readers who want more. More long-form stories, more profiles of local community members doing good works, more investigations into neighborhood issues, more accountability and public-service journalism, etc. We do some of that now, but this kind of reporting takes a lot of time to produce and we are stretched thin as it is.

To do more is not possible for us as an exclusively advertising-supported business. It could be possible, however, if just a percent or two of our current readers are willing to subscribe to read it.

Here’s the idea we’re currently batting around:

  • Invest in increased long-form, enterprise and public-service reporting, but make most of it exclusively for subscribers.
  • Offer subscriptions for $8/mo or $80/year.
  • Beyond more news, include other goodies for subscribers like: a new weekly “insider” email newsletter, access to a private Facebook group with ARLnow staff, a quarterly subscriber happy hour, etc.

So what do you think? Would you be willing to pay a small monthly fee for more news about Arlington?

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