Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Police Searching for Missing Girl — “ACPD is seeking the public’s assistance locating 15 year old Javon… Described as a B/F, 5’7″, 195 lbs with long black and dark blue braids. She was wearing a tie-dye sweatshirt with ‘Myrtle Beach’ on the front, black joggers, crocs, and a white mask.” [Twitter]

MU Returning to ‘Fully In-Person’ in Fall — “Following multiple semesters of modified instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marymount University is pleased to announce its plans to reinstate a fully in-person academic delivery model starting in August for the upcoming fall semester, along with a return to a more ‘normal’ college experience for students in regards to resident life, athletics, campus activities and more.” [Press Release]

New Pike Restaurant Features Colorful Murals — “In late October, he did just that with the debut of Supreme Hot Pot in Arlington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. He enlisted a group of friends to decorate the walls with murals of soup, dragons, fish and a zaftig lucky cat. Even from the street, the art attracts diners with its red and gold tones.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Middle School Sports Could Be Cut — “First, high-school sports in Arlington were shut down for months because of the pandemic, and now there is a chance middle-school athletics in the county could be eliminated because of budget cuts. A proposal included in Superintendent Francisco Durán’s 2021-22 school budget calls for the elimination of teacher stipends for extracurricular activities and athletics at the middle-school level.” [Sun Gazette]

Project Takes Local Couple Across U.S. — “Two Arlington County residents set out on a year long journey to see all 50 states and document it through art, photography via the 50 states project. That was before the pandemic temporarily stopped their plans in March 2020… what began as a project to see all 50 states turned into a study of before and after the impacts of 2020.” [WJLA]

Another Local Endorsement for McAuliffe — “Arlington County Board Chairman Matt de Ferranti has become one of the latest county elected officials endorsing Terry McAuliffe’s bid for governor. McAuliffe ‘has laid out clear plans to create a better future for all Virginians,’ de Ferranti said in a statement.” [Sun Gazette]

Responses to Violence in Atlanta — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam released a statement yesterday, saying: “We are grieving with the Asian American community and all of the victims of the horrific shootings in Atlanta last night that took eight lives, six of whom were women of Asian descent. This is the latest in a series of heinous attacks against Asian Americans across this nation, but sadly these are not isolated events.” Arlington police, meanwhile, said there are “no known threats” in the county associated with the shooting. [Commonwealth of Virginia, Twitter]

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For the past year, Arlington Public Schools students have been learning from home to varying degrees of success.

As of this morning (Tuesday), all grade levels have access to two days a week of in-person instruction. Some have struggled during remote learning — as is evidenced by dropping GPAs and rising rates of students failing classes. But others, according to APS officials, are excelling.

“We know right now that some students are really thriving in this virtual environment so we want to be able to keep that option open to those students,” said Sarah Putnam, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for APS, during a virtual open house last month.

For these middle- and high-school students, virtual learning — either hybrid or full-time — could be an option as early as the 2022-23 school year. The program could be located in the revamped Education Center at 1426 N. Quincy Street, the former APS administrative building next to Washington-Liberty High School.

Extending virtual and hybrid learning options for secondary-level students beyond the pandemic could help relieve some school capacity pressures, instructional leaders and School Board members say. It would also leverage existing technology investments while letting students pursue extracurricular opportunities and, potentially, take more classes to accelerate their learning or recover credits.

“We’re really excited about this idea,” said Jonathan Turrisi, the Director of Strategic Planning for APS, during the same open house.

School staff are still working through the logistics. If the School Board approves this option, it would not start until next fall at the earliest.

More information will be presented to the School Board on April 8. Members have indicated an interest in long-term virtual learning.

“The School Board believes virtual school is an important consideration to factor into long-term planning, given that many students have been successful in distance learning,” members told ARLnow in a joint statement. They said APS will still need to examine numerous factors to see what such a program would look like and if the school system can afford it.

One of those factors would be if it is appropriate for middle-schoolers, Board Member David Priddy said during a February meeting.

“From being around middle schoolers, I’m not sure if the virtual piece would align with that many middle schoolers just simply because their social-emotional needs are different,” he said. “I guess we can throw that out to the public to decide.”

The program would likely be located on one floor the Education Center, which could accommodate 100-300 students, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Bridget Loft said at the February meeting.

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The school at the Key site, which opens to students this August, has a new name: Innovation Elementary School.

The name received unanimous support from Arlington School Board members during a meeting last night (Thursday), passing 4-0 with member Reid Goldstein not present.

“We’re very excited for students and staff to enjoy and attend the Innovation Elementary School in Arlington,” said Board Chair Monique O’Grady.

The School Board voted last February to convert the Key site, which currently houses a Spanish immersion choice program, into a neighborhood school. It will serve children in the fast-growing Rosslyn area, including some who were previously zoned for Arlington Science Focus School.

A naming committee proposed Innovation as its first choice for the school building at 2300 Key Blvd.

“We really feel like ‘Innovation’ represents a skill and an ideal that we want our children to get from their elementary school experience,” said the new school’s principal, Claire Peters, during an informational meeting last month.

As an alternate, it proposed Gateway Elementary School, which committee members said references the school’s location as a gateway to Arlington from Washington, D.C. and symbolizes the purpose of education as a gateway to a child’s future.

Board Vice Chair Barbara Kanninen, who moved last night to name the school Innovation, said in February she initially preferred Gateway.

“As you sit with names, they hit you differently,” she said at the time. “I came to appreciate Innovation.”

Next month, the School Board will vote on a new name for the school at the Reed site, which is also involved in the school shuffle. A committee is currently weighing the top contenders: Cardinal, Compass, Exploration, Kaleidoscope and Passport.

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Morning Notes

APS to Fully Return to Classrooms in Fall — “Arlington Public Schools will bring all students who choose it back for five days of in-person learning every week starting in the fall, Superintendent Francisco Durán told the school board Thursday.
He emphasized that any families… who want to stay virtual-only will be able to do so, and noted that staffers have already begun to plot out what the remote option will look like.” [Washington Post]

County Still Seeking New Logo Ideas — “Calling all artists, and artists-at-heart! The County will choose a new logo this year that better represents our Arlington community, and we need your help… Submit your logo concept/art by March 14.” [Arlington County]

Fire Breaks Out in Route 1 Median — From Dave Statter: “Watch your cigarettes, matches & ashes. Dry & breezy. A small brush fire on Rt 1 south of 23rd St briefly blocked traffic. @Reagan_Airport MWAA Engine 301 handled it.” [Twitter]

Brooks Basking in the Sunlight — From the Arlington County Police Department yesterday afternoon: “It’s a pawsitively beautiful day in Arlington County! FRK9 Brooks hopes you get out and enjoy the weather!” [Twitter]

Va. Booze Sales Soar During Pandemic — “Virginians bought considerably more liquor in the second half of 2020 than they did during the same period of 2019. That’s according to figures Washingtonian obtained from the commonwealth’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, which show statewide sales of spirits were up 15 percent over 2019 from July to December of the worst year in recent history.” [Washingtonian]

State Tax Revenue Higher Than Expected — “On a year-to-date basis, collections of payroll withholding taxes — 61 percent of General Fund revenues — increased 1.1 percent, behind the annual forecast of 2.7 percent growth. Sales tax collections — 17 percent of General Fund revenues — increased 6.7 percent through February, ahead of the annual forecast calling for a 4.8 percent increase. Recordation taxes advanced 38.3 percent on a fiscal year basis, ahead of the 24.4 percent annual forecast. Total revenues rose 8.0 percent through February, ahead of the revised annual forecast of 3.0 percent growth.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]

Reminder: Spring Forward This Weekend — “The second Sunday in March is when Daylight Saving Time begins in most areas of the U.S., so in 2021 we’ll ‘spring forward’ one hour and on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 2 a.m. Be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour before bed on Saturday night!” [Farmers’ Almanac]

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Two Democratic hopefuls for the Arlington School Board want to see full-time in-person learning and more consistency across Arlington Public Schools.

Miranda Turner, who made a name for herself calling for a quicker return to in-person learning, and Mary Kadera, the vice president of the Arlington County Council of PTAs, are looking to fill the void that will be left when Board Chair Monique O’Grady steps down. They are the only two to have met the March 1 deadline to be considered for an endorsement from Arlington Democrats.

O’Grady follows two other members who opted not to seek re-election in 2020: Nancy Van Doren and Tannia Talento, who were replaced by Cristina Diaz-Torres and David Priddy.

These races are non-partisan, but Arlington Democrats will select a candidate to endorse over the course of two days of caucus voting in May. The winner will run in the Nov. 2 general election.

Turner, a mother of three young children, tells ARLnow that she started following goings-on within Arlington Public Schools when she enrolled her kids in 2015. Despite Superintendent Francisco Durán’s regular updates and the plethora of information APS publishes, Turner said she is frustrated with the return-to-school conversation among elected officials, who should be more laser-focused on five-day, in-person learning.

“Every kid deserves an option to go to school full-time at this point,” she said.

APS has been returning students to their classrooms in phases since November, but most students started to return for a two-day-per-week hybrid schedule last Tuesday after concrete dates were announced in February. The recent phased return followscalls from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to make a hybrid in-school option available to all students by March 15.

Secondary-level special education students and sixth- and ninth-graders returned yesterday and the final cohort of middle- and high-school students will start hybrid instruction next Tuesday.

Although the logistics conversation will have played out by Election Day, Turner predicts learning loss and mental health deterioration among students will persist. She said her kindergartener at Montessori Public School of Arlington has struggled with virtual learning over the past year. Her family made the decision to transfer her oldest, a third-grader, from Drew Elementary School to a private school because online school was not working for her.

“I am running for school board because I want our schools to open five days a week, safely, so my daughter can have an appropriate full-time education available at the school she wants to go to,” she said.

Beyond the pandemic, Turner said she wants to see APS more actively handle curriculum decisions across the school system, particularly around literacy.

“Some differences are entirely appropriate, but there should not be so much variation depending on where your child goes to school,” she said.

Kadera, a mother of two middle school-aged children, ​is also channeling the impact of the pandemic on parents, teachers and students as part of her campaign.

“We’re tired, uncertain, and worried,” she writes on her website.

In response to the dip in student performance, she said some of her areas of focus include attracting and retaining teachers, creating more authentic community engagement between the school system and individual school communities, and incorporating equity into all decision-making.

“APS educators have moved mountains this year to teach and take care of our kids — and we need to take care of them, too,” she said.

Kadera led the McKinley Elementary School PTA for two years, mobilizing and stewarding her community through the controversial school swap last year. During the pandemic, she organized volunteers to get groceries, books and school supplies to McKinley families in need, as well as families in other school communities where PTAs have fewer resources.

Inequities among PTAs are now an area of advocacy for her.

“I’m working to improve inclusion and representation in school PTAs and advocating for more equitable fundraising and spending by PTAs across the County,” she said.

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(Updated 5:45 p.m.) Washington-Liberty High School senior James Licato is trying to clean up micropollutants in the Potomac River, and he came up with a solution that vaulted him to the finals of a major science competition.

Licato is one of 40 finalists in the Society for Science’s Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021, the nation’s oldest science and math competition for high school seniors. He developed a sandy substance, using zeolites, that acts as a microscopic net, catching the micropollutants that wastewater treatment facilities miss.

Chosen from 1,760 applicants, top finalists each earn $25,000 in scholarships and can nab between $40,000 and $250,000 if they are named in the top 10. This year’s virtual competition goes from March 10-17.

“Regeneron is definitely prestigious,” Licato said. “It feels great.”

Arlington Public Schools last had a senior — from Wakefield High School — make it to the finals in 1997. Washington-Liberty High School last had two students reach the final round in 1976, and have had four in total since 1942, said Society for Science spokeswoman Aparna Paul. Yorktown High School most recently had a finalist in 1996.

Licato credits the APS science staff with connecting him with extracurricular opportunities to present his work. His teachers also helped him work out the logistics of participating in science fairs and ordered materials he needed but could not obtain.

“The APS science department is awesome and has always been really supportive of everything I’ve done,” Licato said.

Licato said his area of research is a growing one, as more people become aware of the toxicity of these micropollutants. Many known pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) are toxic to aquatic organisms and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAs), found in non-stick and water-resistant coatings, can cause a host of diseases in humans, he said.

“The more we study, the more negative effects we find,” he said.

The benefit of his product is that it could be cheap and scalable because it could use the byproduct of coal fire plants, which normally sits in landfills, he said. It will need more testing and engineering work but Licato believes it has the potential to attract federal funding.

A Boy Scout and avid fisher, Licato has always been passionate about water quality and ecology. He won second place in the Earth and Environmental Sciences at the INTEL ISEF competition, also hosted by Society for Science, for his project removing an anti-diabetic medicine from wastewater.

That project introduced him to Thomas Huff, the Director of the Shared Research Instrumentation Facility at George Mason University, who specializes in researching river pollutants. Licato reached out to him because he needed to access a liquid chromatograph-tandem mass spectrometer.

At first, Huff was “highly skeptical,” but the then-sophomore won him over. He said Licato proved to be more adept with the machine than many senior undergraduate students.

Huff offered him an internship drawing and analyzing environmental samples at the Potomac Science Center in Woodbridge. He and a team of graduate researchers at George Mason University were determining the concentrations of PPCPs near wastewater treatment facilities for multiple grant projects.

Licato became a peer of the graduate student researchers, offering new ideas and mastering the software the team used, Huff said. He also developed methods of analyzing data that the other students and professors still use. The lab received a three-year contract to continue studying micropollutants.

“He was a consummate team member and morale booster,” the professor said. “He even taught tricks and tips to a full professor with 35 years of research experience.”

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(Updated 3/3) New data from Arlington Public Schools suggest that more secondary students are failing classes and their average GPA has dropped.

Sixth-grade students appear to be the hardest hit this year: Their average GPA dropped about 6%, and the number of students failing at least one class increased 118%.

The newest numbers span marking periods one, which ends in November, and two, which ends in February, for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. ARLnow obtained the data from an APS parent, who requested it from the school system.

“We are concerned by the grades we are seeing as compared to last year,” said APS spokesperson Frank Bellavia. “Our commitment is to ensure every student continues to grow and make progress, regardless of their instructional model.”

There is a bright spot, he said: The number of As are up for students with disabilities who receive accommodations as well as those learning English.

Nearly one year after school buildings closed, students in grades 6 and 9 will enter their classrooms this coming Tuesday, March 9, followed by students in grades 7-8 and 10-12 on Tuesday, March 16.

Secondary students are the last to return. Elementary students began their phased return this past Tuesday, following some career and technical education students earlier this year, and some special-education students in the fall.

Students will be in-person twice a week, with teachers teaching to online and in-person students concurrently.

https://twitter.com/APSVirginia/status/1367482517268418568

Across the board, metrics for student achievement indicate students are struggling to make grades this year compared to last year.

“Our middle and high school students are almost always ignored in return-to-school discussions because they are supposedly more equipped to handle virtual school — the data shows that is clearly not the case,” said Arlington Parents for Education, a local group that has been vocal in pushing for a swift return to in-person instruction, in a statement.

The group added that “it’s clear that our secondary students need to be back in the classroom just as much — and just as soon —  as our youngest learners.”

This year’s sixth graders have an average GPA of 3.3, compared to last year’s, whose GPA averaged at 3.5. For ninth-graders, the second hardest-hit group, their GPA dropped from 3.2 in November 2019 to 3.0 in November 2020.

Pre-pandemic, researchers have noted that the transition from elementary to middle and middle to high school has an impact on student achievement.

Meanwhile, the most significant drop in the 2019-20 school year was among seniors, whose average GPA fell nearly 6% during that time.

A greater number of middle schoolers are failing at least one class compared to their high-school counterparts. In fact, fewer seniors this February failed at least one class than last February, down to 293 from 334.

ARLnow previously reported that fewer K-2 students in Arlington Public Schools, particularly English learners and Black and Hispanic children, were meeting literacy benchmarks this fall.

Bellavia said APS is adding in a number of supports to help students who fell behind catch up.

Teachers will provide one-on-one support for students who are experiencing difficulties during their office hours, he said. Counselors will reach out to students and parents when they do not attend school, online or in-person, regularly or are not performing well academically or socially.

APS is also allowing teachers to extend deadlines to support students experiencing difficulties, he said. Schools have made adjustments to the school day to include academic support opportunities designed to provide students with additional resources and direct instruction.

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Morning Notes

Quarter of Students Staying at Home — “Students in Pre-K through second grade returned to Arlington County classrooms Tuesday, a step that Superintendent Francisco Duran says the school system is prepared to take on. Roughly 75% of the student body took the in-person learning option, while 25% will continue to learn virtually. Staff and students who return will complete a daily screening.” [WTOP]

More Commercial Burglaries Reported — Two more local businesses have been victimized among a spate of commercial burglaries. Arlington County police yesterday reported that business on the 5500 block of Columbia Pike and the 4200 block of N. Pershing Drive in Buckingham were broken into. In both cases, thieves stole cash registers and an undisclosed amount of cash. Police did not reveal the businesses involved; there are two on that block of N. Pershing Drive: El Paso Cafe and Popeye’s. [ACPD]

Wakefield Football Undefeated So Far — “The Wakefield Warriors rallied from a 14-0 deficit to defeat the Edison Eagles, 34-14, in National District high-school football action on Feb. 27… Wakefield stays undefeated on [the] gridiron.” [InsideNova]

W&OD Trail Work Taking Place — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “[This] afternoon: W&OD Trail asphalt repairs in Bluemont Park just south of Wilson Boulevard. Will take about 4 hours. Flaggers on hand to direct users onto nearby Four Mile Run Trail. (Rescheduled from earlier this week.)” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Reminder: In-Person School Resuming Updated at 8:55 a.m. — “@APSVirginia elementary schools re-open for preK-2nd grade on Tuesday, March 2, followed by 3rd-5th + 6th (middle school) and 9th (high school) grades on March 9, then all returning students on March 16.” [Twitter, Twitter]

County Buying Fairlington Area Apartments — “A push to redevelop the Park Shirlington apartment complex in South Arlington has fallen through, prompting county officials to take the unusual step of buying part of the aging affordable community. Arlington leaders signed off on plans in late January to purchase about half of the property, located along I-395 near the county’s border with Alexandria. The county will end up paying about $27.9 million for 105 apartments on a 6.3-acre parcel should the deal close in August.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Rosslyn Apartments Start Leasing — “Today, Penzance… announced the start of leasing and the opening of their interactive leasing center for Aubrey, the first luxury apartment tower to deliver at The Highlands, a dynamic mixed-use development project along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor.” [Press Release]

Amazon Donates to Wakefield HS — “As part of it’s celebration of Black History Month, Amazon presented a $15,000 donation to support Wakefield High School. This is the latest in Amazon’s ongoing work to support education and racial equality initiatives in communities across the country where its employees live and work. The donation to Wakefield High School of $15,000 will include the book Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Food Stand Operators Expand into Alpacas — “What started as just a food truck eight years ago [and later a food stand in Crystal City] has now turned into an expanded business. The Peruvian Brothers are actually selling a new product — selling alpaca poop. Yes, that’s right.” [WJLA]

Jaywalking Now No Longer a Primary Offense — “Though it didn’t garner as much attention as other police reform measures during the special legislative session that ended this fall, a provision to decriminalize jaywalking in a pretextual policing bill from Delegate Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, means that come March 1, police will no longer be able to stop folks for the act of crossing the street outside of a marked crosswalk.” [Virginia Mercury, NBC 4]

Amazon Funds Affordable Housing in Falls Church — “In response to concerns about the anticipated impact of its second headquarters in Arlington on the region’s housing prices, Amazon pledged $75 million over five years to affordable housing in Northern Virginia… Falls Church will get $3.4 million for a new affordable housing homeownership program and $350,000 to extend the availability of nine committed affordable apartments at the Read Building (402 W. Broad Street).” [Tysons Reporter]

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(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) For his first budget as Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, Francisco Durán said he is proposing a conservative budget “that reflects our most urgent needs.”

The 2022 budget for APS, which he presented to members of the School Board on Thursday, comes to $704.4 million in expenditures and $661.9 million in revenue. APS, which has expected budget gaps in years past, is expecting a $42.5 million shortfall for its next fiscal year.

“We are facing very unique challenges as our school division works through the pandemic and what is to come,” Durán said. “Over the past year, we have seen the impact that this has had on our local economy and significant losses in revenue in Arlington.”

The county will be transferring $529.7 million to APS, which is $5.1 million higher than the 2021 fiscal year, according to a county budget presentation document. County Manager Mark Schwartz presented his proposed budget two weeks ago.

Durán said increases in local and state contributions will be lower they have been over the last three years. The county has increased its contributions by an average of $19 million a year, while the state increased its contributions by about $4 million annually, he said.

APS could make up some of the gap with funding from the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, Durán said. The school system is projected to receive $20.5 million in funding from the plan, which House Democrats passed last week and sent to the Senate.

The government will likely require the funds be allocated to health and safety and learning loss, he said.

This is the second consecutive year that APS is not proposing step increases for staff. Last year, the approved $670 million budget included a projected gap of $27 million, which led APS not to include these compensation increases.

Responding to a directive from the School Board to provide compensation for staff at all levels, Durán said he is making a 2% cost of living adjustment.

“A step increase would not provide a compensation increase to 35% of our full-time employees or to 100% of our hourly workers and substitutes,” Durán said. “A cost of living adjustment ensures that everyone will receive something.”

But, he added, “while I do believe there are many steps in the right direction, I want to acknowledge and recognize that it is not enough.”

Salary and benefits costs account for nearly 79% of the total budget and 95% of the school operating fund.

In the official 2022 proposed budget, Durán wrote that the primary drivers of the budget are:

  • $10 million for student enrollment growth, including staffing, opening the neighborhood school at the Key site and moving three other schools
  • $9.5 million to restore funding for one-year reductions used to balance the FY 2021 budget
  • $9.2 million for a 2% cost of living adjustment for all staff
  • $2.2 million for special education needs such as additional interpreters and Pre-K assistants
  • $3.5 million to support network infrastructure and student access to the Internet

The investments in special education and English language services are part of continuing compliance with a settlement with the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

“It seems clear to me that we are putting our emphasis on equity, equity for our students, equity for our staff in terms of the way that the proposed compensation is coming forward, and equity when it comes to our concerns about our students’ social-emotional needs,” School Board Chair Monique O’Grady said during the meeting last Thursday. “Those are major things that have been borne and laid bare because of the pandemic.”

School enrollment in the fall, meanwhile, is expected to rise well above figures from two years prior, after a big pandemic-caused dip this school year. Enrollment now projected to peak and start a slight decline mid-decade, after more than 15 years of growth to date.

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The elementary school at the Key site is close to getting a new name, and it will not be after a person.

A naming committee is proposing Innovation Elementary School, or Gateway Elementary School as an alternate, for the school building 2300 Key Blvd. The Arlington School Board will choose a name on Thursday, March 11 ahead of the school opening to students this fall.

“We really feel like Innovation represents a skill and an ideal that we want our children to get from their elementary school experience,” the new school’s principal Claire Peters said.

The new school at the Key site, which is currently used by a Spanish immersion choice program, will be a neighborhood school, and it was created by a controversial swap involving multiple schools.

The school will be populated with students who live in the fast-growing Rosslyn area, including some who were previously zoned for Arlington Science Focus School.

Absent from the top two was the preferred choice among a group of survey respondents — Grace Hopper Elementary School — named for computer engineer and university teacher Naval Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.

Fresh from renaming what is now Washington-Liberty High School, and in the thick of efforts to remove names of Confederate generals and soldiers and slave-owners from Arlington’s roads and parks, committee members and at least one School Board member said they want to avoid people entirely.

“We had a very significant discussion around naming a school after a person, and it was clear from both the comments we received in the survey and comments that our committee brought back from their community that naming a school after a person is a divisive choice,” the new school’s principal Claire Peters recently told the School Board.

School Board member Reid Goldstein concurred.

“I was cringing a little bit when I saw the name because lately, I’ve been shying away from naming schools after individuals,” he said.

School staff said Gateway would reference the school’s location as the gateway to Arlington from Washington and communicate the idea that an education is a gateway to a bright future.

The other suggested names were Polaris Elementary School and Summa Elementary School of Arlington.

The survey generated nearly 400 responses, as well as 74 comments, including a few in Spanish or Mongolian.

More than half of respondents said they were community members, while the rest said they were parents of students going to the new school, parents of students at other schools, APS staff or business owners.

“This was a very small representation of the community that will be served by this elementary school,” Wilson said.

Arlington Science Focus School students also picked their favorite names: Gateway came in first and Innovation in fourth.

Photos via Arlington Public Schools

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