Arlington County has accepted a site plan application for a senior living facility proposed to replace a church in the Alcova Heights neighborhood.
Sunrise Senior Living, a McLean-based senior living provider, proposes to demolish a church building at 716 S. Glebe Road to build a four-story, 60-foot-tall building with 108 assisted living units, 55 parking spaces, common and service areas, a covered porch and an outdoor garden.
Kedrick Whitmore, the land use attorney representing Sunrise Senior Living, says the development would add sorely needed assisted living facilities in Arlington County.
“This facility would provide or coordinate personal and health care services, 24-hour supervision, and assistance (scheduled and unscheduled) for the protection general supervision and oversight of the physical and mental well-being of aged, infirm, or disabled adults,” he said. “The current supply of such facilities in Arlington County is insufficient to meet the current demand.”
So far, the applicant isn’t looking to go beyond base density, and proposed community benefits include streetscape and sidewalk improvements, utility and affordable housing contributions and sustainable design, per application documents.
As the change in use would displace two child care programs, county planning staff are urging Sunrise to incorporate child care into the development.
“The County has a need for child care services,” county planner Leon Vignes said. “Please consider the possibility of collocating a child care use with this development to maintain an existing use.”
There are two programs operating inside the church, Children’s Weekday Program and Rainbow Road Preschool. County staff said one of the programs in operation there does not have the necessary approvals to do so, but did not specify which.
“A previously approved use permit for childcare uses affiliated with the existing Methodist church was discontinued with the operator noting the potential to resume operation,” associate planner Anika Chowdhury said in staff comments on the application. “A revelation confirmed by the applicant was that an existing daycare is currently operating at the existing church. There is no valid use permit approval on file for this operating use and a use permit is required for child care use(s) per the ACZO.”
If Sunrise were to consider incorporating a child care center, it would have to request changes to how the property is zoned, Chowdhury says.
County planner Matthew Pfeiffer, meanwhile, urged the applicant to increase the number of trees it will plant and make the architecture appear more historic.
“Recommend altering architectural style to match existing historic properties, such as Colonial Revival,” Pfeiffer said. “The most important site design aspect will be ensuring that there is a strong vegetated buffer on the western property line to screen The Alcova,” a historic property next door.
The building’s owner, Arlington United Methodist Church, sold the property to Sunrise last year, leaving a different Christian congregation that meets there, the Redeemer Church of Arlington, the child care programs and a clothing bank in search of a new home.
Sunrise has two other senior living centers in Arlington, in the Glebewood and Boulevard Manor neighborhoods.
A private secondary school in Ballston is looking to move to Rosslyn.
The Sycamore School, which has operated at 4600 Fairfax Drive since it began in 2017, will soon lose its home to a residential redevelopment. So it is asking Arlington County for permission to relocate to 1550 Wilson Blvd, near Fire Station 10, offices, apartments and an Arlington Public Schools building
The Sycamore School proposes operating a private school for up to 140 students grades five through 12, along with 40 staff members and teachers, according to a county report. Its campus would comprise 14,000 square feet on the third floor, divided into seven classrooms, a canteen, an art studio, an exercise room and other administrative rooms and amenities.
“The Applicant provides a valuable educational service to the County’s residents by serving a diverse cross-section of students,” writes land use attorney Andrew Painter. “As part of its personalized learning approach, The Sycamore School offers small class sizes at a ratio of one teacher to six students, and provides individualized instruction with self-paced learning and a focus on student choice.”
The Sycamore School’s proposed opening hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with classes occurring Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Occasional school-related and community-based events may occur in the evenings, and are required to conclude by 11 p.m.
Meanwhile, the County Board approved a new childcare tenant in a nearby office building last month. The Gardner School will set up in the ground-floor retail space of an office building at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Quinn Street (1776 Wilson Blvd).
The Gardner School has locations in seven states, the closest being in Herndon, Virginia.
The child care center will take up about 17,670 square feet, divided into 13 classrooms for preschoolers, toddlers and infants, playrooms and 400 square feet of outdoor play area. There will be up to 28 staff and up to 186 enrolled children.
But with two schools moving into an area with offices, apartment buildings, Arlington Public Schools’ H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program, and Fire Station 10, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District expressed some concerns about transportation management.
The Rosslyn BID encouraged the county to “take a holistic approach” to evaluating APS’s transportation management plans for its two programs against those of the new daycare and private school.
Doing so, the BID said, could “help mitigate potential logistical and safety impacts, particularly during pick-up/drop-off hours,” per the report.
Driver Crashes into Trooper’s Cruiser — A Virginia State Police trooper was radioing in a license plate during a traffic stop on I-395 near Shirlington when his cruiser was rear-ended. The trooper finished giving the tag number before telling the dispatcher about the crash. [Twitter]
Circulator Strike Continues — “The first day’s negotiations between a bus drivers union and the operator of D.C. Circulator since workers began striking were unsuccessful through Wednesday evening, increasing the prospects of a potentially lengthy outage of the city’s only public bus service.” [Washington Post]
Marymount Planning Child Care Center — “Marymount University is setting up a new child care center on campus in a renovation project that it said is designed to fill a critical, and deepening, local workforce need as those with young children return to the office. The Marymount Early Learning Academy for children aged 3 to 5 will open in the summer or fall of 2023, reviving the idea of an on-campus preschool that the university used to run in the 1990s before it closed down.” [Washington Business Journal]
Sexual Battery Incident in Pentagon City — “500 block of 12th Road S…. at approximately 11:40 p.m. on April 29th the male victim had entered into the elevator of a secure residential building when the unknown suspect followed behind him. The victim exited the elevator and walked down the hallway, during which the suspect grabbed his buttocks. The suspect then fled the scene.” [ACPD]
Air Force Colonel on Trial — “An official with the California National Guard charged with indecent exposure in Arlington in March is scheduled to go to trial in Arlington on July 18… the suspect entered the business and exposed himself to female victims, according to the ACPD.” [Patch]
Falls Church Lowers Property Tax Rate — “On Monday night, the Falls Church City Council approved a $112.8 million Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) that invests in public schools, core government services, walkability and traffic calming, environmental sustainability, and more, all while reducing the real estate tax rate by 9 cents… To mitigate the 11 percent overall increase in real estate assessments, the adopted budget includes a decrease in the real estate tax to $1.23 per $100 of assessed value.” [City of Falls Church]
It’s Cinco de Mayo — Mostly cloudy, with a high of 67 and low of 56. Sunrise at 6:07 am and sunset at 8:06 pm. [Weather.gov]
A new childcare center could be coming to a gutted restaurant space between Clarendon and Courthouse.
Ladybug Academy LLC is requesting county approval to convert about 4,391 square feet of vacant, ground-floor restaurant space at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Cleveland Street into a daycare and preschool. The space at 2500 Wilson Blvd was home to Minh Vietnamese Restaurant until 2016.
“The use at this location will fill a ground-floor commercial space that has been vacant for a number of years and the site has sufficient space on-site to support outdoor play and parking requirements,” a county report said.
Ladybug Academy LLC looks to be affiliated with a Ladybug Academy location in Merrifield.
This is the second daycare company to request to take over the space. Last August, ARLnow reported a music-based Montessori preschool program had filed to open a franchise location in the same spot, but that appears to have fallen through.
Ladybug Academy plans to employ up to 14 staff to care for up to 76 children. Kids will have access to an outdoor play area at the back of the property’s frontage on N. Cleveland Street, the report said.
The hours of operation would be Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Drop-off will occur between 7:30-10 a.m. each morning, and pick-up will occur from 4-6 p.m. each evening.
Eight parking spaces in the surface lot and adjacent garage would be provided for staff and parent use. On-street parking available is also available in the area.
The County Board is set to hear the request during its meeting this Saturday.
Local child care centers will have to stay the course with longer quarantine and isolation periods, says Arlington County’s Public Health Division.
That could mean multiple contingency plans for parents with kids in child care, who have already weathered holiday closures and winter-weather closures. (Many facilities follow the snow closure or delay lead of Arlington Public Schools, which was closed all week.)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened isolation and quarantine periods last month to five days for the general population. This week, the CDC announced it will be bringing its guidelines for K-12 schools in alignment with the shortened quarantine and isolation.
But the changes have been met with some criticism. The American Medical Association called them “confusing and counterproductive” and other medical providers have said they’re “reckless.”
There’s one place where the new quarantine and isolation guidelines won’t go into effect, save for fully vaccinated and boosted staff: Arlington’s child care settings.
That’s because Arlington’s littlest kids either should not wear a mask or do not wear them reliably, meaning the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant is highly likely in these settings, according to the public health division.
“A full 10-day isolation and quarantine period was recommended because of the difficulty to enforce mask wearing in such a young population (i.e. children under 2 years old should not wear a mask),” Public Health spokesman Ryan Hudson told ARLnow.
The interim guidance came out Wednesday, as Arlington and the Northern Virginia region continue to see high levels of COVID-19 transmission, and will be in effect until the CDC comes out with guidance specific to child care settings — which are known as places where kids pick up all kinds of germs.
“The CDC’s recent updates to shorten the isolation and quarantine period are for the general population, including K-12 school settings,” Hudson said. “In absence of specific guidance from the CDC regarding child care centers, Arlington County Public Health provided interim guidelines, subject to change based on updates from the CDC.”
One local child care provider that had started implementing the new CDC guidance acknowledged the flip-flop may cause disruption for families.
“We had been following the recent CDC 5 day isolation period, which we confirmed with [the Virginia] Department of Health last week,” the facility’s director wrote. “However, in light of the omicron variant and the current surge, Arlington County has recently announced interim guidelines for child care settings which we must follow. We understand that this recent change is frustrating but we are our trying our best to follow the policies, which do keep changing.”
Pre-pandemic child care was in short supply in Arlington, as it was in many parts of the country, in part because of a shortage of child care workers. The pandemic has exacerbated these realities and forced many parents, especially mothers, to quit their jobs.
Board Chair Katie Cristol, who has worked on a number of efforts to fight the local child care shortage, says she’s still learning about the new recommendations and the tensions that public health professionals and child care providers have to navigate right now.
But the biggest challenge facing child care providers during the pandemic remains staffing, which the guidelines could exacerbate.
“From my conversations with providers, their biggest challenges over the last year have been with staffing,” Cristol said. “I think this reflects the general upheaval in the labor market, as well as the ongoing difficulty of affording high-quality staff in a very low-margin business, and — at least anecdotally — the challenge of recruiting and retaining staff seems to be making it hard for some providers to expand hours or capacity as they try to adjust back to ‘normal’ after the first year of the pandemic.”
To boost child care employee recruitment during this time, the county has provided training and is working with the local Richmond delegation to pass legislation that would improve how benefits like retirement and health care get to employees.
“It remains a big challenge, for certain,” she said.
The county also supports centers through ongoing health consultations and informational resources, and has run targeted vaccination clinics for child care providers and employees, Cristol noted.
The new Arlington Public Health guidelines for local child care providers are below.
Pandemic recovery, childcare and criminal justice reform will be receiving millions in federal and county funds.
This week, the Arlington County Board voted to put federal COVID-19 relief funding and unspent county budget dollars toward these areas and other equity initiatives. Members also signaled the county’s commitment to these priorities by adopting them in their state legislative priority package.
On Tuesday, the Board allocated $29.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for pandemic response and local assistance programs.
It also put more than $6 million in surplus from the 2020-21 budget, or “closeout” funds, toward retention bonuses and compensation of county employees, support for restorative justice initiatives, review of body worn footage cameras and a new position in the Sheriff’s Office.
“Our American Rescue Plan and closeout funding allocations focus on our continued responsibility to keep our community healthy and safe, providing funding for testing, vaccine support and COVID response,” County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. “We also are investing in mental health care through the Crisis Intervention Center and childcare, a critical issue that the pandemic has revealed as more pressing than ever, as well as transportation and our employees.”
Since the plans were introduced in October, the county added some line items to the ARPA and “closeout” spending plans. Two of particular note include money to establish a childcare capital fund and to hire a quality assurance employee for the Arlington County jail.
The Board left $2.4 million ARPA funds unallocated to meet any unforeseen needs determined in 2022, as well as $14.1 million in unallocated close-out funds to address financial pressures in upcoming 2022-2023 budget.
Direct pandemic response — such as testing site and vaccine clinic support — received $9 million while local programs, ranging from housing assistance to the expansion of the Crisis Intervention Center for behavioral health services, received $20.5 million.
New to the ARPA spending plan is $5 million to develop affordable childcare options, spearheaded by childcare champion and Board Vice-Chair Katie Cristol.
“ARPA federal guidelines highlight some of the uses for it: they include investment in new or expanded learning services, support for pandemic-impacted small businesses and support to disproportionately impacted populations and communities. One thing at the center of those three circles of the Venn diagram is childcare,” she said during the Board meeting on Tuesday. “This has emerged as one of the top needs during the pandemic.”
Arlington has increased the number of available childcare slots, but they are not affordable to those making 50% or less of the Area Median Income, she said.
The county would put the $5 million toward a new childcare capital fund to be accessed by providers and developers who agree to set aside some affordable spots on an ongoing basis in exchange for a one-time infusion of dollars.
The result would be permanently discounted childcare spots created at the time a provider signs a long-term lease or a developer receives approval to build a childcare center, she said.
Before Tuesday night, the Board had previously allocated $2 million in ARPA funds for small business support and $3.8 million for restoring libraries, community centers and other important community facing programs.
(Updated 12:30 p.m.) A shuttered Vietnamese restaurant between Courthouse and Clarendon may be converted into a music-based childcare center.
Rock and Roll Daycare is requesting Arlington County approve child care as a use for the site, which comprises about 4,391 square feet of unused, ground-floor restaurant space at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Cleveland Street. Rock and Roll Daycare offers music-based Montessori instruction to infants, toddlers and preschool children, according to the company’s legal representation, land use lawyer Nick Cumings.
The company is eyeing the former location of Minh Vietnamese Restaurant, at the base of a five-story office building at 2500 Wilson Blvd. The building is lined with other ground-floor retail and has 189 parking spaces, wrote Cumings, from the firm Walsh Colucci, in a letter to the county dated February.
“The Applicant is a family-run daycare provider in Massachusetts that is seeking to establish its presence in the D.C. metropolitan area,” Cumings said. “Rock and Roll Daycare… provides a unique music and arts program, international cultural education, and self-directed learning programs tailored to each child.”
The pending franchise location in Arlington follows the opening of two others in the D.C. area, one in Alexandria and the other in Reston.
The daycare will provide five classrooms: one for preschoolers and two each for toddlers and infants, Cumings said. There will be eight to 10 staff members and up to 58 enrolled children. Classes will be held year-round, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
An outdoor play area about 995 square foot in size will be fenced in and contain play equipment, he said.
Approval “will bring a unique and much-desired child care option to Arlington County while continuing to activate the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Cleveland Street,” Cumings said.
The request is one of five site plan applications that will be heard at a County Board meeting this fall. After the August recess ends, the County Board will begin meeting again on Saturday, Sept. 18, but a spokeswoman for the Department of Community Planning Housing and Development said she expects it will go before the board in October.
(Updated 5 p.m.) Arlington Children’s Center, a childcare facility that has operated in a county-owned building for 30 years, will close temporarily at the end of August.
Doors to the facility at 1915 N. Uhle Street, near Courthouse, will shut on Aug. 31, when the contract expires between Arlington County and the company operating the program, AA Daycare, according to Arlington County spokeswoman Jennifer K. Smith. The two could not reach an agreement to extend the contract ahead of major renovations slated for January 2022, she said.
AA Daycare has managed the program, which enrolled children of Arlington residents and county employees, for the last 17 years, according to owner Anna Wodzynska.
“This is a dramatic situation for all of us,” she said in an email to parents.
According to a letter to parents from the county, shared with ARLnow, the county and AA Daycare were negotiating an extension up until a week before the news of the closure. Parents were notified of the changing situation last Wednesday.
Parents tell ARLnow they are under immense pressure to find an alternative while childcare is in such high demand. One said this “is a herculean task given that most daycare centers in the area have waitlists of at least 6-9 months. If the county is serious about solving the childcare shortage issue, this decision is baffling.”
AA Daycare was notified about the planned renovations to the space, which has not been updated in 30 years, in January 2020, Smith said.
“We offered alternative space to AA Daycare to continue operations for the period of planned construction,” she said. “This offer, along with an option to extend the contract, was declined.”
Parents said they had heard about the upcoming renovations early last year. The county letter to parents said the planned improvements include reconfiguring the space to meet current standards for daycare and to reach compliance with the Americans with Disability Act, as well as an interior refresh.
“We started at ACC in January 2020 when our daughter was 4.5 months old,” said one mother. “Shortly after starting, I do remember receiving a flyer from the center detailing that, at some time, work would need to be done on the building… But it was not worrisome at the time, and it was certainly not presented in a way that the center would unexpectedly close forcing families to find new care within 6 weeks.”
Smith acknowledged the parents’ frustrations.
“We recognize this is short notice and have offered to assist parents as best we can — this was not the outcome we wanted,” she said.
Wodzynska, meanwhile, has assured parents that their children who are two-and-a-half years old and older will have a spot in a sister facility in Ballston, at 3850 Wilson Blvd. She said the transition “will be as smooth as possible,” with some staff transferring to BCC.
“The only consolation is that less than 2 miles away from ACC, we own another beautiful daycare called Ballston Children’s Center and we have space for all our children that are 2.5 years and older,” she wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, BCC is not licensed for younger children, so we will not be able to enroll our youngest children.”
She declined to comment further on the closure.
Ed Talk is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.
School divisions and local governments in the region and across the country are providing child care while students are learning online.
These programs recognize that many parents cannot work from home and that low-income students in particular benefit from the adult supervision, help with technology, and food provided.
For example, Fairfax County Public Schools provides full-day child care at 37 school sites with fees based on income that are as low as $80 per month. Loudoun County is offering child care at 11 elementary schools and two additional sites for a fee, with a 50% discount for students enrolled in the Free and Reduced Meals program. The City of San Francisco has 50 sites providing free child care to 700 students, with space for up to 2,000 students.
Here in Arlington, no Arlington Public Schools (APS) sites or Arlington County Government sites have opened for child care during the pandemic.
County officials are studying the issue.
“The County has been exploring multiple options for care for school-aged children with APS and non-profit partners, with the initial priority being at-risk children,” according to a statement that Deputy County Manager Michelle Cowan recently provided to ARLnow.
One option is a program to begin in October that would provide child care free of charge for 50 children, ages 4-11, at one APS location.
During the last school year, 4,402 Arlington elementary school students were eligible for free or reduced price meals, according to the Virginia Department of Education. The need for child care is much greater than 50 students.
Arlington officials should quickly assess how many spaces are needed for child care and expand availability for low-income children. Such an assessment is underway in Alexandria, which has created the Alexandria Emergency Child Care Collaborative.
The need for child care is driven not only by increased demand with students learning at home, but also by reduced supply caused by the closure of many private day care facilities due to the pandemic. Arlington County’s interactive map of private child care centers shows those that are closed and how few slots are available in the ones that remain open. Tuition charged at many private facilities are cost-prohibitive for low-income families.
There are many challenges to opening new child care facilities. These include identifying appropriate locations, staffing, and transportation; addressing licensing requirements and the health and safety of the participants; establishing eligibility requirements; and funding.
Other jurisdictions have addressed these challenges and have opened child care facilities for those most in need.
The need will continue, even as APS begins to bring students back to school for some in-person learning. The APS plan provides for some students with disabilities to return to school in October; additional students in November; and all students who chose a hybrid learning model starting in December. But the hybrid model has students learning from home more than they are at school. Child care still will be needed as this phased return to school is implemented.
Arlington County’s Child Care Initiative (CCI) was created in 2017, bringing together those in the public and private sectors with a goal to improve the affordability, availability, and quality of child care, recognizing that child care “is a key component of a thriving, diverse community.”
A fall 2019 CCI report notes that changes have been made to zoning ordinances and that “red tape” has been reduced, to help meet the CCI’s goals.
Addressing the need for child care as a result of the pandemic should be a top priority. CCI, Arlington County government, and APS need to continue to cut through red tape, work together, and provide quality child care for Arlington’s low-income families.
Abby Raphael served on the Arlington School Board from 2008-2015, including two terms as Chair. She also led the Washington Area Boards of Education for two years. Currently she co-chairs the Destination 2027 Steering Committee, is a member of the Board of the Arlington YMCA, and works with Project Peace, the Community Progress Network, and Second Chance.
Arlington Public Schools says any in-person return to classrooms will be phased, bringing back certain student groups before others.
That was revealed in a School Talk message sent to APS families on Tuesday. Officials also announced plans to help connect working families in need of childcare during remote schooling with local options.
The email, sent by Superintendent Francisco Durán, said students with disabilities would be the first to return once APS determines that it’s safe to resume some in-person instruction. Students in Pre-K through 3rd grade, as well as English Learner students, would phase in next, followed by all other students who opt in to the hybrid model of two in-person instruction days per week.
To decide when a hybrid model can safely begin, APS is looking at metrics like family and employee preferences, global availability of PPE and custodial supplies, and COVID-19 health metrics at local to national levels, according to APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.
“As we prepare for distance learning, I want to reiterate that we remain in close contact with state health officials and the Arlington County Public Health Division to monitor health data and evaluate opportunities to gradually phase in hybrid, in-person instruction,” Durán wrote. “I will notify you well in advance as plans progress and circumstances change.”
The letter also said Arlington County’s Department of Human Services (DHS) has identified 328 available slots in childcare centers and family day care homes located throughout the county.
These facilities are not affiliated with APS and families would have to pay to send their children there. The department is currently looking for additional slots and ways to expand options for low-income families.
“APS is providing childcare for staff only in our buildings. We are not providing childcare for families in our facilities,” Bellavia said. “Instead, APS is working with Arlington County to identify current childcare centers and in-home childcare facilities that can accommodate additional children.”
DHS is working for a way to prioritize children and families with the highest need when filling these slots, according to Bellavia.
More from Durán’s letter:
We know childcare is a major challenge for working families. We are working with the County to make some options available. The Department of Human Services has been working to expand availability among existing childcare providers, encouraging closed centers to reopen, and helping potential providers overcome obstacles such as licensing and land use processes. Through this work, DHS has identified more than 300 available slots through existing providers, based on numbers reported at the end of July:
- Childcare Centers (63 total): 32 currently open with approximately 145 slots available
- Family Day Care Homes (120 total): 109 currently open with approximately 183 slots available
More than 20 of these providers have indicated interest in expanding their hours and age ranges to accommodate school-aged children. DHS is supporting those efforts and creating a process to prioritize available slots to support children and families with the highest need. We are also working with the YMCA and other local non-profits and to expand options for low-income families. More details and how families can access these childcare options will be communicated through APS and the County as this work progresses.
The new school year is set to start online only, on Tuesday, Sept. 8. In July, Durán said he hoped to start transitioning students back in-person instruction in October.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Lauren Harris and Portia Moore were best friends growing up and both ended up launching preschool programs in Arlington. Their experiences highlight some of the differences between North and South Arlington and the county’s deep economic divisions.
Harris is the CEO and Executive Director of Little Ambassadors’ Academy, which has three locations in Arlington along Lee Highway. Moore owns STEM Preschool, which has locations in Fairlington and Capitol Hill in D.C.
“Arlington definitely has a high demand for quality preschools,” Harris said. “I think Portia and I both try to fill that void. The reality of the situation in Arlington is that there are more kids than there are preschool slots… It’s hard to find quality childcare, and harder to find one close to where you live and have that community feel.”
Moore said both of their programs are also very localized to their respective areas.
“It’s about the neighborhoods,” Moore said. “Lauren has the north side locked down. I chose to go to Fairlington because it’s such an amazing family community.”
Moore said it’s also an industry where it’s not unusual for the majority of providers to be people of color. Moore said she likes the diversity of her staff and community, while for Harris that’s a more difficult goal to achieve in North Arlington.
“Arlington is diverse, but on my side of Arlington, it’s significantly less diverse,” Harris said. “My staff are sometimes the only people of color that these children interact with. But I don’t think that we specifically put out that we’re a Black business. We’re preschool owners; we happen to be Black and we happen to be women, but we don’t think of ourselves as Black women-owned. We do great things for the community and we happen to be Black women.”
For Moore, the K-12 schools the children in Fairlington will go into tend to be more diverse.
“For my schools, they all go to other schools where there are all types of diversity and nationalities,” Moore said.
Moore moved to Arlington from Texas when she was ten and said she developed friends here across all sorts of nationality and racial lines. She said there’s a drive towards diversity in the county, but one that sometimes clashes with parents who moved into neighborhoods hoping their students would go to school perceived as being better than others.
“I know Arlington has been trying its best to have different boundaries, so there’s always a fight for integration,” Moore said, “I get the parent’s point too. I paid for a neighborhood I want my children to go there. However, it’s also important for integration, for times like this, for children to have a different mindset and meet someone you may not see in your neighborhood.”
Harris said roughly 97% percent of her school’s population is White. The majority of her students wind up going to Nottingham Elementary School, the student body of which is only 0.4% Black, according to APS data.
“My daughter is the only person of color in her Pre-K classroom,” Harris said. “Absolutely, while we do hope to bring diversity, we bring it to our staff and through our culture that we give and the lessons we teach our children.”