Arlington, VA

As parents, we all want our kids to meet their full potential, today and as they grow into adults.

One of the most effective ways to realize that goal is to make sure that every child in every school has access to healthy, high-quality food.

At its best, school food not only combats hunger and obesity, it improves academic and athletic performance, reduces disciplinary problems, and teaches kids a life skill as fundamental as math and reading.

Since 2010, local nonprofit Real Food for Kids has championed healthy food and nutrition education in Arlington, Fairfax and other D.C. area school districts. Real Food for Kids has engaged thousands of area students in its educational programs, and successfully advocated for new salad bars, healthy entrees and elimination of sodas in vending machines in Fairfax County schools.

To kick-off the new year, we’re throwing a Back to School celebration and you’re invited!

Join Real Food for Kids Executive Director Jenn Yates and TV-personality/Chef David Guas at his award-winning Bayou Bakery in Courthouse on Thursday, October 3, 5-7 p.m. for a fun evening of apps, drinks and a dash of southern charm!

This event supports Real Food for Kids’ efforts to fight childhood hunger and obesity, and to ensure access to healthy foods and nutrition education in schools.

Real Food for Kids pursues this mission by:

  • Working with school leaders to identify and overcome challenges faced by food service departments
  • Teaching Pre-K through high school students healthy eating habits through fun activities and events
  • Uniting parents, school and elected officials to prioritize our kids’ health

Come raise a glass with parents, elected officials and other community leaders from across the region, and learn more about Real Food for Kids’ advocacy for healthy kids.

For more information and to register, visit https://bit.ly/2lNcBeF.

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Arlington Public Schools students returned to class this morning as fall unofficially kicked off on the day after Labor Day.

No major problems have been reported thus far on the roads, just the normal “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” increase in traffic volume on local arterials and highways, as well as some crashes and other hazards.

In Arlington, drivers were asked to slow down and take note of new traffic patterns near new and newly-repurposed schools, including Dorothy Hamm Middle School in Cherrydale, The Heights Building on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, and the Montessori Public School of Arlington on S. Highland Street. Another change this school year: the newly-renamed Washington-Liberty High School.

Arlington County Police, meanwhile, are out conducting high-visibility enforcement around school zones doay.

APS has been active on social media this morning, showing back-to-school scenes from around the county. A number of those posts are below.

Photos via Arlington Public Schools, Arlington County Police

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Morning Notes

Woman Arrested for Burning Flag Near W-L High — “A woman was arrested for burning an American flag on an overpass over I-66 in Arlington, police say. Kayla Caniff, 22, was charged with property destruction after police say she burned a flag attached to a chain link fence on the N. Stafford Street overpass, north of the Ballston area, at about 11:55 p.m. Thursday.” [NBC Washington]

County Website Goes Down — The Arlington County website was down for an extended period of time over Labor Day weekend. [Twitter]

Lucky Dog Takes in Pups from Hurricane’s Path — “While Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas — thousands of miles away in Arlington, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue plotted a rescue mission… The Carolinas are projected to be in the storm’s path and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is partnered with a shelter in South Carolina. So the organization’s volunteers met an animal control officer part of the way there to take 19 of the shelter’s dogs.” [WJLA]

APS to Review Westover Tree Plan — “Facing community unrest in Westover, Arlington Public Schools plans to take another look at the potential of saving more trees during construction of a new elementary school on North McKinley Road near Washington Boulevard. Following an Aug. 29 meeting with residents, the school system has directed that ‘before the trees are removed, we have the contractor stake out the site and renumber the trees.'” [InsideNova]

Energy Plan Concerns: Feds and Trees — Arlington County’s impending update to its Community Energy Plan, which sets a net zero carbon emissions goal, is an important step in fighting climate change, some advocates say, though additional action is still needed on the state and federal level. Others, despite supporting the goal, are concerned that achieving it may come at the cost of the area’s tree canopy. [Washington Post, Arlington County]

Arlington’s Many Advocacy Orgs — “My viewing [of the Netflix documentary ‘The Family’] got me thinking of the many newsmaking organizations — of all political stripes — that have long populated our suburb so close to the action of the nation’s capital. Wilson Blvd. and Crystal City alone are home to enough colorful groups to generate a slew of political and public policy contretemps.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Reminder: Be Careful on the Roads Today — It’s the first day of school, kids will be walking to school and there are new traffic patterns around some schools. Arlington County Police are conducting “a high-visibility traffic enforcement campaign in and around school zones and bus stops” today. [ARLnow, Arlington County]

Photo courtesy David Johnson

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The school year for Arlington Public Schools starts up again on Tuesday (Sept. 3), and there are a variety of traffic changes around the county for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to be aware of.

There are several new traffic patterns around new and newly-repurposed schools. At Dorothy Hamm Middle School in Cherrydale, there are new traffic signals and signs, crosswalks and crossing guards near the school at 4100 Vacation Lane. At The Heights Building on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, students will be arriving at buses on 18th Street N., which will be closed to the public The Montessori Public School of Arlington on S. Highland Street is now a countywide school, meaning more buses will be at the school.

Drew Elementary School and the new Dorothy Hamm Middle School are both neighborhood schools now, meaning pedestrians and cyclists to the school are more likely.

According to the press release, drivers across the county should remember to:

  • 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. Violations could result in a fine of $250.
  • On a two-lane road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
  • On a multi-lane paved road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
  • On a divided highway, vehicles behind the bust must stop. Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution.
  • Have all vehicle occupants wear their seatbelts.
  • Pick-up and drop-off students in designated kiss and ride locations.

Pedestrians are reminded to only cross the street at the crosswalk and follow the instructions of crossing guards.

Bicyclists ages 14 and under are required to wear helmets, while helmets are recommended for everyone. Cyclists should keep to the right and ride with traffic, then to lock up the bicycle when not in use.

File photo

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) There’s still a lot that needs to be done in The Heights, the new home of H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program and the Shriver Program, before the school opens next week.

Construction crews are putting on the finishing touches of the building at 1601 Wilson Blvd even as teachers get their classrooms ready for the start of school next Tuesday (Sept. 3). Much of the state-of-the-art interior is completed.

Demolition for the old Wilson School at the site started in 2017, with crews working since then to build the new, five-story terraced structure. Most of the building is slated to be open and usable when school starts, though the auditorium remains under construction. Jeffrey Chambers, director of design and construction for Arlington Public Schools, explained that there’s still construction work that needs to be done and it won’t be accessible until a few weeks after the school opens.

There are other projects around the school, smaller pieces Chambers described as “finishing up the punch list,” but Chambers said any construction work that would be disruptive to students will be done after hours.

“We’re excited to open in a week,” said Dr. Casey Robinson, principal of H-B Woodlawn. “There’s lots to do and we’re having lots of fun exploring the new space.”

H-B Woodlawn is a secondary program with a focus on students playing an integral role in developing school curriculum and shaping the culture of the school. Robinson was a student at the old H-B Woodlawn and later became a teacher there, so like much of the faculty she’s still adjusting to the new location, but she and the others are approaching it with a smile.

“We’ve been telling ourselves and our students that the comfortable feeling [at the old school] took 40 years to create,” Robinson said. “It won’t happen overnight.”

But artifacts brought over from the old school have helped soften the blow of the move for Robinson, as has an elaborate mural painted across the main common area that includes images from the generations that decorated the walls of the old school. Robinson said a “town meeting” planned with faculty and students will decide how the relics should be displayed.

The lower two floors of the building will be devoted to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program — formerly the Stratford Program. The two programs will share a common area, cafeteria, auditorium and other school amenities.

“I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am [for school to start again],” said Dr. Karen Gerry, principal of the Shriver Program. “It’s surreal to be in this beautiful building and we’re excited to collaborate again with H-B Woodlawn.”

Plans for the new building haven’t always been happily received by the H-B Woodlawn community, but faculty at the school seemed determined to make the best of the new, more urban location.

“All of your familiar teachers are ready to welcome you back,” Robinson said.

Bill Podolski, director of choral activities at H-B Woodlawn, wore a shirt with an artistic rendering of the school’s former beloved home — which has been transformed into a neighborhood middle school — but seemed happy in a spacious band room with a full wall of multi-floor windows.

“We’re going to make it home,” said Podolski.

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Going into the Labor Day weekend, Arlingtonians should be aware of several closings coming up on Monday and one big opening the day after: back to school day.

As local students head back to the opening day for schools on Tuesday (Sept. 4), the Arlington Police Department has put out a reminder for motorists to slow down, avoid distractions, and watch for the influx of students walking and biking to school.

Arlington Police also reminded drivers that passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading can result in a $250 fine. Vehicles on both sides of the road must stop on all roads except for divided highways, where drivers are urged to proceed with caution.

Pedestrians are reminded to only cross streets at crosswalks with permitting signals, to walk along sidewalks or paths rather than on the side of the road, and to follow the directions of crossing guards.

For cyclists, helmets are required for anyone 14 or under, but are recommended for everyone. When riding through Arlington, cyclists should keep to the right on the roads and ride in the direction of traffic.

Parents with students starting school should make sure their child knows their home phone number and address. Parents or guardians should roleplay possible situations a child might encounter and discuss personal safety tips with their child.

Before school opens back up, several government facilities will be closed on Monday for Labor Day.

Courts

  • Closed

DMV Select & Virginia DMV

  • Closed

Human Services

  • Closed

Libraries

  • Closed

Parks & Recreation Facilities & Programs

  • Admin Offices – Closed
  • Classes/Leagues – Closed
  • Parks – Grounds Open
  • Centers – Closed
  • Spraygrounds – All spraygrounds will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Parking

  • Metered areas not enforced

Public Schools

  • Closed

Sheriff’s Office

Swimming Pools

Transportation

Trash Pickup & Recycling

  • Trash & Recycling – Regular schedule
  • Special Collection (Brush, Metal, E-waste) & Cart Services – Regular schedule
  • Mulch Delivery – No service
  • Leaf & Brush collection – Regular schedule

Call Center

  • Closed

HHM Facility and ECRC

  • Closed

Treasurer’s Office

  • Closed

File Photo

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With a little over a month until the first day of school in Arlington County, the Arlington County Police Department and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will begin a school supply drive tomorrow (Aug. 1).

Community members can bring supplies to ACPD’s headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road) from Aug. 1-16. From 6-8 p.m. on Aug. 16, donors can also bring items to help “fill the cruiser” at Westover Shopping Center or Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

The drive will support county public school teachers and students, whose expenses can add up quickly. Supplies and school fees for the average elementary school student cost $662 last year, according to the Huntington Backpack Index, and that number goes up as students advance to middle and high school. Teachers often spend hundreds out of pocket purchasing items for their classrooms.

Arlington Public Schools is charged with distributing the donations. Suggested items to donate include No. 2 pencils, glue and loose leaf paper.

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With schools set to welcome students for the new year this coming Tuesday, Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington County Police Department are urging everyone to stay safe on the roads.

Police will conduct highly visible traffic enforcement around county schools starting that day, while electronic message boards placed next to the roads will remind everyone of the start of school.

To ensure everyone’s safety, police reminded drivers to:

  • 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.
    • On a two-lane road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
    • On a multi-lane paved across road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
    • On a divided highway, vehicles behind the bus must stop. Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution.
  • Have all vehicle occupants wear their seat belts.

Students, bicyclists, and pedestrians are reminded to:

  • 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.

And for general safety, students and parents are reminded to:

  • Ensure students know their address and phone number.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Whenever possible, walk or bike with another person. Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Limit the use of devices that may distract you.
  • Avoid engaging with or answering questions from strangers.
  • If something occurs that makes you feel unsafe, report the incident immediately to an adult such as a parent, guardian, principal, teacher or school resource officer.
  • Parents and guardians are encouraged to roleplay possible situations with students and discuss personal safety and awareness tips.

In a video (below) released by APS, Superintendent Patrick Murphy, Police Chief Jay Farr and School Resource Officer supervisor Lt. Susan Noack, the three urge being safe, like staying within speed limits, avoiding distracted driving and looking out for students on bicycles or on foot.

The trio also encouraged parents practice looking both ways at crosswalks before crossing the street, as well as having a buddy to walk with.

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District Taco will donate $1 today (Monday) from every regular burrito and breakfast burrito it sells to a nonprofit that serves underprivileged children.

The event, called Back to School Burritos, will take place all day at each of District Taco’s 10 locations across the area. The money will be donated to the National Center for Children and Families, which will help purchase school supplies for underprivileged children and families in the region.

District Taco CEO and co-founder Osiris Hoil said he came from a disadvantaged upbringing and so tries to give back to the community whenever he can.

“When I was a child my parents were very poor, and it was very hard for them to buy school supplies for me and my brothers,” Hoil said in a statement. “Helping other kids makes my heart feel full and makes me extremely happy.”

Hoil started District Taco as a food cart in Arlington, before opening his first brick and mortar location on Lee Highway. It has since added restaurants in D.C. and Northern Virginia, with its first locations in Maryland and Pennsylvania both set to open this fall in College Park and King of Prussia, respectively.

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School suppliesThis weekend, Virginia will hold its annual sales tax holiday for shoppers purchasing qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, emergency preparedness items and certain energy-efficient items.

The tax holiday — which runs from early Friday morning to 11:59 p.m. Sunday — is aimed at helping families doing back to school shopping along with encouraging Virginians to prepare for the hurricane season.

Online purchases of qualifying items are also tax-exempt as long as orders are placed and paid for during the tax holiday and the items are available for immediate shipment.

“This sales tax holiday will make items that help families prepare for the school year or for a potential emergency more affordable,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, in a statement. “It is my hope that shoppers will use this time to get their children the items they need to succeed in school, as well as stock up on the essentials that may come in handy during a hurricane or other emergency where electricity or clean water may be unavailable for an extended period of time.”

Tax exempt items include:

  • Most school and office supplies, such as pens, loose-leaf paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, and construction paper, priced at $20 or less.
  • Clothing and footwear, priced at $100 or less per item or pair.
  • Batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, fire extinguishers, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors, buckets, rope, and first aid kits, priced at $60 or less.
  • Gas-powered chainsaws, priced at $350 or less, and chainsaw accessories, priced at $60 or less.
  • Portable generators, priced at $1,000 or less.
  • Energy Star-labeled dishwashers, washing machines, air conditioners, ceiling fans, light bulbs, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators, priced at $2,500 or less.
  • WaterSense-labeled sink faucets, faucet accessories, aerators, shower heads, toilets, urinals, and landscape irrigation controllers, priced at $2,500 or less.
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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”

 

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