by Heather Mongilio — September 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm 323 0

On-time graduation rates (via Arlington Public Schools)The on-time graduation rate for Arlington Public Schools has continued to rise, topping Virginia’s average by more than 2 percent.

The class of 2015 had a 92.8 percent graduation rate, 0.8 percent higher than the previous year. The on-time graduation rate has increased 8.1 percent over the past six years, according to APS.

The rate is 2.3 percent higher than the state average of 90.5 percent, APS said.

“The increases in the on-time graduation rate and the proportions of graduates earning advanced diplomas is notable given the more strenuous requirements for earning a diploma in Virginia,” APS said in a press release.

Students receiving diplomas this year had to complete an economic and personal finance course, the first time Virginia had this requirement.

“The students who graduated in May and June began high school just as the commonwealth was introducing challenging, new assessments in mathematics, English and science,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Staples said in a statement.

Rates of students graduating with advanced degrees (via Arlington Public Schools)

Of the students who graduated this year, 68.5 percent of them graduated with an advanced or International Baccalaureate diploma, 17 percent higher than the state average of 51.5 percent. The average number of students graduating with advanced or IB diplomas has also increased 7.3 percent over the past six years, from 61.2 percent in 2009.

“While I am pleased that our graduation rates have continued to rise, I am especially excited to see that more and more of our students also have challenged themselves to earn advanced or IB diplomas. This expands the options for their academic and personal pursuits after graduation,” said APS Superintendent Patrick Murphy.

While graduation and advanced diploma rates have increased, the number of students dropping out of school increased, as well. The rate jumped up from 3.8 percent in 2014 to 4.2 percent in 2015.

Although the rate increased, the dropout rate has decreased since 2009, when the rate was 11.9 percent. The rate is under the Virginia average of 5.2 percent.

by Heather Mongilio — September 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm 720 0

Patrick Henry Elementary School has been recognized as a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School, the only public elementary school in Northern Virginia to receive the honor this year.

Arlington Public School officials announced its Blue Ribbon status today in front of the student body, teachers, parents and members of the Arlington School Board. Children and faculty wore blue ribbons to mark the occasion.

“We are very proud of you [the students], of the teachers, of the staff members,” said School Board Chair Emma Violand-Sánchez. “And I wanted to tell the teachers and the staff that you are making a different in the children’s lives.”

Patrick Henry joins 334 other schools receiving Blue Ribbon status in 2015, including 11 schools — six public, five private — in Virginia.

“I am so excited that our students, staff, and families are being recognized for their hard work and dedication to academic excellence,” said Andrea Frye, who has been the principal of Patrick Henry for two years. “Our Patrick Henry team and students are living the school motto of doing their personal best all year and I am so proud that they are being honored for those efforts by being selected as a National Blue Ribbon school.”

The school received the Blue Ribbon in the category of high performance, Frye said. To be chosen as a Blue Ribbon school for high performance, Patrick Henry had to be in Virginia’s top 15 percent of elementary schools, based on test scores.

“One thing we know about Patrick Henry is they have consistently high academic performance, and that tells me one thing. You are working very hard, and that is excellent quality I want you to build on. This school is consistent, teachers and staff, thank you for that,” said Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy.

Frye said she thinks the school was chosen as a Blue Ribbon school because of its teachers, who work together to help students develop as individuals, instead of focusing solely on academically.

“I think the adult-child relationship that happens at Patrick Henry is unique,” Frye said.

Teachers at the school are kind and make learning fun, said a group of fourth graders, with one adding that they never give out homework that is too long.

“All the teachers are nice, but at the same time, the teachers want us to learn,” said fourth-grader Colby Ames.

The school will display two banners to mark the achievement — the official Blue Ribbon banner from Department of Education and one that celebrates everyone who helped make the school Blue Ribbon worthy, Frye said. Children and teachers will be putting their names on cut-out blue handprints that will hang around the second banner, she added.

Patrick Henry is located at 701 S. Highland Street, near Columbia Pike. The school is diverse from a socioeconomic standpoint, with about 37 percent of the student body receiving free or reduced-cost lunches.

by ARLnow.com — September 29, 2015 at 10:45 am 851 0

Cloudy view of the District from Arlington House (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Board Candidates Debate, Find AgreementUpdated at 12:30 p.m. — The four candidates for Arlington County Board participated in a candidates forum organized by the Arlington Forest Civic Association last night. The candidates found agreement on two notable issue: affordable housing shouldn’t be built on parkland — or, at least, certain parkland — and county property taxes shouldn’t be raised at this time. [Washington Post]

JPod Meeting on the Pike — The man behind a proposal to bring a monorail-like pod transportation system to Columbia Pike made his case to residents and to County Board Vice Chairman Walter Tejada at the Walter Reed Community Center last night. There are still several potential deal-breaking questions about the feasibility of the proposal. [InsideNova]

Teachers Training on Digital Devices — Arlington Public Schools continues to train teachers and educate parents about the use of digital devices like iPads and MacBooks in schools. APS is continuing its rollout of “personalized” devices, with the goal of each student having their own device. [Arlington Public Schools]

Exercise Helped Real-World Response at VHC — Arlington County says that an emergency response exercise at Virginia Hospital Center two years ago greatly helped the real-world response to a fire at the hospital last week. Evacuations of patients went smoothly and no one was hurt. [Arlington County]

GOP Presidential Candidate in Arlington TodayLong-shot Republican presidential candidate and former New York governor George Pataki will be speaking at George Mason University’s Arlington campus this afternoon. The speech on domestic and foreign policy is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at GMU’s Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive).

Another South Arlington School Site Identified — A county working group is continuing its effort to identify a preferred site for a new elementary school in South Arlington, to be built by 2019, but in the meantime the group has identified a potential future school site. The South Arlington Working Group says a school could be built by 2024 on parcels of land that currently include the Aurora Hills Community Center, Virginia Highlands Park and a portion of the RiverHouse apartment complex. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — September 25, 2015 at 3:30 pm 629 0

H-B Woodlawn (via Google Maps)

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Joan K. Lawrence, Chair of the Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Board.

The recently posted “Peter’s Take” commentary calling for the rejection of historic designation for the Stratford School is both premature and uninformed. Arlington does not create local historic districts lightly. There are many public hearings involving the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB), the Planning Commission and the County Board, as well as the School Board, when the property in question is a school. This process is still in progress.

The designation process was started by a request from Arlingtonians and included one of the four African-American students who made national headlines on February 2, 1959. On that day, in the face of the massive resistance movement in Virginia, four students, escorted by police, walked from Old Dominion Drive and entered Stratford through a door in the back of the building to begin the integration of Virginia’s public schools. This door and the adjacent central portion of the building remain part of Stratford and are clearly visible.  It is still possible today to experience the site and enter the building as those courageous students did over 56 years ago. Children and adults can actually put themselves into the picture of what happened that day because the façade of the school has not been altered.

Capacity can be added to the current Stratford building without covering over the central portion of the rear of the building. This has been demonstrated over and over at public meetings. We just need the will to maintain the visual link with our past.

Stratford’s significance in our history was recognized over a decade ago when it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. We owe this designation to these four brave students and to the current and future generations of students and citizens of Arlington.

Joan K. Lawrence
Chair, Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Board

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about local issues. To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to [email protected] Letters to the editor may be edited for content and brevity.

by ARLnow.com — September 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm 2,594 0

(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Yorktown High School students, faculty and staff were evacuated after the school received a bomb threat.

Shortly after noon, the school received a call from a “computerized-automated voice” that said “I have a bomb on me,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Students were evacuated to the school’s stadium while K-9 units from Arlington, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and the CIA searched the school.

The dogs did not find anything suspicious, but officers were posted by each of the school’s entrances as students re-entered Yorktown, Sternbeck said. Students and teachers were allowed back in around 1:35 p.m.

Arlington Public Schools sent the following notes to parents about the situation:

At approximately 12 p.m. today, Yorktown High School received an automated telephone bomb threat. As a precaution, all students and staff have been evacuated. Police have responded and are currently doing a search of the building. Everyone is safe and we will provide an update as soon as we have more information.

A short time ago, Arlington Police completed their search and have given the all clear. Students are now moving back into the building and classes are resuming. We appreciate everyone’s fast response and cooperation as well as the support of our Arlington County Police Department.

Yorktown High School was not the only Virginia school to receive a bomb threat. Approximately 10 minutes after Yorktown received the bomb threat, a school in Prince William county received the same phone call, Sternbeck said.

Arlington schools do not receive bomb threats very often, he said.

“We get them at malls more frequently than at schools,” Sternbeck said.

by Heather Mongilio — September 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm 1,478 0

Where Arlington Public Schools is planning to put relocatable classrooms in the 2018-2019 school yearMore trailers are coming to Swanson and Williamsburg Middle Schools.

According to a new report from Arlington Public Schools, the relocatable classrooms have been deemed the best solution to address overcapacity at the two North Arlington schools.

“In light of all of the opportunities and constraints associated with the options under consideration as well as the community feedback that has been received, APS Instruction and Facilities staff has determined that the use of on-site relocatable classrooms is the most effective, flexible, and least disruptive approach to address interim capacity needs at Swanson and Williamsburg middle schools through 2019,” APS said in the report.

APS plans to have 18 trailers in place at Williamsburg and 14 at Swanson, as an temporary solution to overcrowding until the middle school at the site of the former Stratford Junior High is built in 2019, APS said.

APS is using relocatable classrooms at Swanson and Williamsburg Middle Schools because the trailers allow the school to maintain grade-level communities. Grade-level communities allow schools to group classrooms by grade, which increases student interaction with peers and teachers, APS said.

Each trailer costs about $300,000. The new trailers can stand against 90 mile an hour wind and are equipped with bathrooms and water fountains.

“Relocatable classrooms offer the same technology and similar configuration as regular classrooms, and they provide access to water and bathrooms,” APS said. “The staffing and quality of instruction expected from APS schools remain at the same level for both relocatable and traditional classrooms.”

No student would have all their classes during the day in relocatable trailers, the report notes.

“If a grade-level community is located in relocatable classrooms, there are multiple opportunities for students to move to and from the main building throughout the day. For example, students transition to the field space or the gym for physical education, to another classroom for electives, and to the cafeteria for lunch,” APS said.

APS has formed “school-based facilities committees” at Swanson and Williamsburg to evaluate the effectiveness of the trailers while they are at the middle schools.

“These planning groups are actively collaborating with APS staff and school administrators to determine the most appropriate and effective use of the additional relocatable classrooms, given the unique physical and programmatic attributes of each school community,” APS said.

While Williamsburg and Swanson are not the only middle schools facing capacity issues, they are the two with the greatest need.

“All middle schools are projected to be at or over capacity by 2019 and as a result APS will need to address capacity issues at Kenmore, Thomas Jefferson and Gunston in the coming years,” APS said.

As of earlier this year, APS was planning to add six trailers at Kenmore, four at Thomas Jefferson and 13 at Gunston Middle Schools.

by ARLnow.com — September 14, 2015 at 11:30 am 2,398 0

Ashley Wagner speaks to students at Arlington Science Focus ElementaryArlington County’s student population has passed the 25,000 mark as Arlington Public Schools continues to move forward with projects to increase school capacity.

APS’ PreK-12 student enrollment was 25,307 at the beginning of the school year, up from 23,179 at the time last year, according to figures cited by Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy at a School Board meeting last week.

The official fall enrollment numbers, however, are not counted until Sept. 30. APS is projecting 25,678 students as of Sept. 30, up 4.7 percent from the 24,529 enrolled on Sept. 30, 2014.

APS had 2,636 teachers employed on the first day of school this year, up from 2,493 last year. APS said it hired 387 new teachers over the summer, to keep up with enrollment and teacher retirements.

Meanwhile, APS continues to utilize trailer classrooms to accommodate the additional students, while planning and building new schools and additions to existing schools. The new Discovery Elementary next to Williamsburg Middle School opened its doors to students for the first time last week.

Next Monday, the Arlington County Board is expected to vote on use permits that would allow a 30,000 square foot addition to Abingdon Elementary School, in Fairlington. The addition, which is expected to cost up to $29 million, would provide space for an additional 136 students, bringing enrollment capacity to 725 from 589.

Some Fairlington residents, however, have expressed opposition to the plan.

“The plan is extend the school toward a steep hill that is home to fox, deer [and] raccoons which means knocking down 125 trees (77 of which they say are dead — which is also home to the aforementioned),” one resident said in an email to ARLnow.com over the weekend.

A community meeting on the plan is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. tonight, at the school.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — September 14, 2015 at 9:05 am 5,308 0

Runners lined up for the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run on Saturday (courtesy photo)

Suspicious Vehicle Investigation at Pentagon — An SUV hopped a curb and ran into a pole at the Pentagon’s south parking lot Sunday morning. All three occupants of the vehicle were reportedly sleeping when police arrived, but then tried to drive away. Arlington’s bomb squad helped to check out the vehicle, which was deemed suspicious due to loose wires seen hanging out of it. [MyFoxDC, ABC News]

Va. Advances Potential I-395 Express Lane Plan — Virginia transportation officials are getting closer to announcing a plan to extend the I-95 Express Lanes up through I-395. Arlington officials previously filed suit to block a similar state plan to convert the I-395 HOV lanes to High Occupancy Toll lanes. [WTOP]

APS Students Named National Merit Semifinalists — Ten Arlington Public Schools students have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. [Arlington Public Schools]

Arlington to Seek Route 1 Name Change — Arlington County plans to seek permission from the state to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, according to County Board Chair Mary Hynes. However, one local state lawmaker says it’s highly unlikely that the Republican-controlled state legislature would okay the removal of Confederate leaders from local road names. [Washington Post]

Woman Dies in GW Parkway Wreck — A woman died early Sunday morning in a single-vehicle crash on the GW Parkway. The crash happened after the woman drove off the southbound side of the parkway, between Route 123 and Spout Run, and struck a tree. [WJLA]

Candlelight Vigil for Wakefield Student — A candlelight vigil is planned tonight for Lucas Guajardo, the Wakefield High School student who died Friday. The vigil is being organized by students and is planned to take place at 7:30 p.m. on the George Mason Drive side of the school. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Guajardo’s family with funeral expenses. The junior, who was a running back on the Warriors’ football team, was found dead by his older brother Friday afternoon after an apparent suicide. [TwitterGoFundMe]

Suicide’s Lasting Impact on SurvivorsBryan Price, a former Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy, shot and killed himself on May 17. His wife found Bryan’s body and says his decision to end his own life has torn her family apart. “If he had any clue what this would put us through… I honestly don’t think he could have done it,” Tara Price told a local TV station. [WHSV]

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — September 9, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,488 0

Car storage in Ballston (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Why Car2Go Can’t Cross the Border — Car2Go car-sharing service is launching in Arlington on Sept. 19, but users won’t be able to drive from Arlington and park in D.C., or vice versa. The District, which also has Car2Go service, is worried about traffic congestion and a loss of parking spaces to Arlington Car2Go users. Arlington officials have also expressed concern about allowing D.C. users park on Arlington streets, but appear more receptive to opening the Car2Go border. [Washington Post]

Arlington Kid’s Letter Read on Tonight Show — As part of a “Kid Letters” segment last night, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon read a letter from Caroline, who said she lives in Arlington. Caroline had a joke for Jimmy: “Which planet is God’s favorite planet? Saturn, because he put a ring on it.” Caroline also confessed that she has a crush on Fallon. [NBC]

APS Menus Now Online — Arlington Public Schools has put its breakfast and lunch menus online. The menus allow students and parents to review detailed nutritional information and to add funds to a prepaid meal account. Today, at Washington-Lee High School, students will have the choice of a 440 calorie chicken sandwich, a 324 calorie stuffed shell and breadstick meal, or a 304 calorie autumn fruit salad. APS also has a food-focused Twitter account. [Arlington Public Schools, Nutrislice, Twitter]

Nonprofits Moving from D.C. to Crystal City — Property owner Vornado has scored another new lease in Crystal City: the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Thanks to lower office rental rates, and generous concessions, Vornado has been steadily winning nonprofit tenants and reducing its vacancy rate, which soared due to the loss of military agencies following the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan. [Washington Business Journal]

Dems Select Winning Chili — Del. Alfonso Lopez and his legislative assistant, Jason Stanford, were the big winners at Monday’s annual Arlington County Democratic Committee Labor Day Chili Cookoff. Stanford’s “Fighting 49th” chili featured ingredients from the Columbia Pike farmers market and a secret seasoning blend that was inspired by the staffer’s Louisiana roots. The chili cookoff was held this year at the Barcroft Community House, due to construction on the usual venue, the Lyon Park Community Center. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by ARLnow.com — September 8, 2015 at 10:00 am 918 0

Back to school 2013 (file photo)The Arlington County Police Department is conducting “high visibility traffic enforcement in and around school zones” starting today, the first day of school for local students.

The department’s 2015 back to school safety campaign includes both enforcement and outreach to drivers, students and parents.

In addition to the traffic enforcement by police and by by the new stop arm cameras on Arlington school buses, ACPD has placed electronic roadside message boards around the county “reminding citizens of the start of school and to drive safely,” according to a press release.

“The Arlington County Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety of all students and motorists,” said Police Chief Jay Farr, in an Arlington Public Schools-produced public service announcement video.

“We would like to remind everyone to be extra careful this year,” Farr continue. “Share the road with buses, pedestrians and bicyclists. Remember, buses are now equipped with stop arm cameras… it’s never okay to pass a school bus with the stop light out.”

ACPD has issued several back-to-school safety tips. For drivers:

  • “Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times”
  • “Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road”
  • “Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school”
  • “Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers”
  • “Have all vehicle occupants wear their seatbelts”

The police department’s safety tips for students and pedestrians:

  • “Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light”
  • “Look before you cross and follow the direction of school crossing guards”
  • “Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths, never along the side of a road”


by ARLnow.com — September 4, 2015 at 11:40 am 1,259 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 — August 31, 2015 at 9:15 am 5,157 0

Blue Angels over the Air Force Memorial on Sunday

W-L Student Dies — The Washington-Lee High School community is mourning the death of Juliana Clarkson, 14, who died on Friday after a battle with leukemia. Fellow W-L students and crew teammates have filled the N. Stafford Street bridge with chalk tributes to Clarkson. [Legacy, Vimeo, Team in Training]

Man Wins Lottery, Decks Out Rosslyn Condo — Brian McCarthy, 29, won $68.4 million in the Virginia Mega Millions lottery four years ago, and has spent part of his winnings turning his Rosslyn condo into the ultimate bachelor pad. Among the accoutrements are a custom LED chandelier in his 20-foot-tall living room, a 300 gallon fish tank that simulates ocean waves, a TV in his bathroom mirror and a private roof deck with a grill and a glare-free outdoor TV. [Washingtonian]

What’s Next for Arlington’s Millennials — As the oldest of the millennial generation start having kids and raising families, many may end up moving out of Arlington to locales with lower housing costs. Arlington, however, is studying the reasons why people move out and is contemplating new housing options to help others to stay. [Washington Post]

Finalists for Elementary School Site — A working group has narrowed down the list of potential sites to build a new elementary school in South Arlington to 11 options. Those options include existing school campuses, parks, community centers and two privately-owned sites. [InsideNova]

Bar Owner Makes Brief ‘Bachelor’ Appearance — Chris Bukowski, co-owner of the Bracket Room sports bar in Clarendon, made a brief and ignominious appearance on ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise” last night. Bukowski, who has appeared on four other seasons of The Bachelor and its spin-off shows, proceeded to get drunk after arriving in paradise, failed to find a suitable date, and then walked off the set, dejected. [People]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

by Heather Mongilio — August 24, 2015 at 11:35 am 3,194 0

One of the parking lots at Dominion Hills Area Recreation Association

(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) Ashlawn Elementary School is facing a lack of faculty parking after its parking contract with the Dominion Hills Area Recreation Association was not renewed this year.

The contract between Dominion Hills and Ashlawn allowed the school to lease parking spaces in the pool’s parking lot.

Without the renewed contract, Ashlawn Elementary School is facing a shortage of parking with 30 spots for 130 faculty members, according to a PTA statement from Ashlawn PTA President Carlin Schwartz. Currently, teachers are being told to park at the Powhatan Springs Park (6020 Wilson Blvd) and walk over to the school.

“As you can imagine, this will be burdensome to our staff,” Schwartz said.

The decision to not renew the contract was a “difficult” decision, according to a statement from the Board of Directors at Dominion Hills. Trash in the parking lot, delays in payment, increased traffic in the parking lot and “an inordinate amount of time spent by our Resident Manager attempting to enforce the terms of the agreement,” were among the Board’s reasons for not renewing the contract.

The pool also needed the parking lot spaces for the last four weeks of the pool season, which overlap with the beginning of the school year. The frequent use of the lot was also causing wear and tear damage, and the pool was using funds to resurface the lot instead of using them for maintenance of the pool, according to the statement.

“A large part of our decision came down to the fact that we are in the swim club business, not the parking lot business. As such, we need to focus our energies on safety issues, grounds maintenance and infrastructure related to that — a huge year-round task,” the Board of Directors said.

Arlington Public Schools and Ashlawn President Judy Apostolico-Buck asked Dominion Hills to reconsider, but the Board of Directors did not overturn its decision, according to the PTA statement.

“It is unfortunate that APS did not plan for sufficient parking for Ashlawn Elementary School. We strive to be good neighbors with Ashlawn, and have been, particularly through its construction period,” the Board of Directors said. “However, a renewal of the prior parking agreement is not in the best interests of DHARA.”

Schwartz and the PTA parents are encouraging Ashlawn families to call or email the school board with any concerns or questions. Suggestions for parking can be emailed to Schwartz or Apostolico-Buck.

“Ashlawn families, staff and neighbors have been incredibly patient, gracious and supportive through the many challenges that the construction process has created and it is greatly appreciated. I hope we can face this newest challenge with the same with mindset,” Schwartz said.

Ashlawn Elementary was not notified about trash issues in the parking lot, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said.

by Heather Mongilio — August 17, 2015 at 12:35 pm 3,324 0

The new Wilson School, future home of the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs, will be a multi-story building with fanning terraces and more shared spaces.

The idea behind the new building was to use space as effectively as possible, and the project team and architects behind the new school kept the needs of both programs in mind with the new design, said Sean Franklin, a designer with BIG, one of the architecture firms behind the project.

“What we really wanted to do was foster an environment of sharing between these programs,” Franklin said during a Aug. 13 School Board meeting, where the new design plans were unveiled.

The new Wilson School will have a main entrance on Wilson Blvd, with a separate entrance on 18th Street for Stratford program students to allow them to more easily access the building. The Stratford Program will have the majority of the space of the lowest level, while H-B Woodlawn will have classrooms on the first through fifth floors. There will be shared spaces throughout the building.

Stratford Program Principal Karen Gerry said that she is working with H-B Woodlawn Principal Casey Robinson to identify spaces in the Wilson School that they could share, including a new multipurpose room, a black box theatre, cafeteria and library.

“Casey and I believe this will allow for more collaboration between H-B and Stratford staff and H-B and Stratford students, and that’s a win-win for all of us,” she said.

The new school will also feature fanning terraces, which will allow for open spaces for both recreation and learning. The terraces will each be designed differently, depending on the classrooms on the same level, Franklin said.

“The idea is that they’ll each have their own identity tied to something that’s inside the classroom. So if the classroom has a theme, it’ll carry on to the terraces,” he said.

Connecting the terraces is a central staircase that will be wide enough to also use as a learning space and to supervise students in the tall building, she said.

“Day lighting” was also an important part of the new designs, Gerry said. The new classrooms, which will be larger than existing classrooms, will be designed to allow in more daylight, which “decreases sensory input to heighten
instructional output.”

The total cost for the new school will be about $100 million, about $20 million more than the original cost, according to the design plans. Additional costs came from parking needs, elevation factors and market prices.

The current design calls for 92 underground parking space, at a cost of $5.7 million.

Arlington Public Schools will be examining ways to reduce costs without compromising learning in the next steps of the design process, according to the plans.

by ARLnow.com — August 13, 2015 at 9:30 am 2,554 0

Backyard deer near Stroman's Branch (Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok)

Impede Apartments, Get a Self Storage Place — In an editorial, Falls Church’s newspaper of record is warning of “The Lesson of Cube Smart.” The lesson: when Arlington County put up roadblocks to the development of the proposed Shreve Apartments in East Falls Church, developer Mark Silverwood eventually lost patience and figured out that building a “by right” self-storage place would be easier and more lucrative. Separately, Silverwood also proposed an apartment building in Bluemont that was rejected by the community, canceling a proposed revamp of the neighborhood’s Safeway supermarket. [Falls Church News-Press]

More Orange Line Delays — There were morning rush hour delays once again on Metro’s Orange and Silver lines today. A train malfunction at the Virginia Square station prompted single tracking past the station and, once that was cleared, residual delays. [Twitter]

Arlington Man Wins $100,000 — Arlington resident Robert Thomas won $100,000 in a Virginia Lottery Cash 5 drawing last week. Thomas purchased the winning ticket at the Chanda Market at 5550 Columbia Pike. [WJLA]

APS SOL Score Rise — Arlington Public Schools is touting “impressive results” on its students’ 2015 Virginia Standards of Learning tests. Among those achieving significant test score gains were Limited English Proficient and minority students. [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok


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