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Two Arlington Public Schools programs offering alternatives to traditional high school will soon be housed in the same building.

New Directions Alternative Program, currently located in the Thurgood Marshall Building in Clarendon, will join the Langston High School Continuation Program located in the Langston-Brown Community Center along Lee Highway before the start of the 2021-22 school year.

“We are moving New Directions from the Marshall Building to Langston this summer,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia. “This is an efficiency for us since many New Directions staff work at Langston.”

New Directions helps students who have trouble in traditional school settings, need strict monitoring or are under court supervision, according to APS. Students successfully exit the program by graduating, returning to their home high school or transferring to the High School Continuation Program at Langston.

One person who contacted ARLnow questioned whether the new location will be a downgrade for students.

“The program diligently serves justice-involved youth, teaching them to reconnect with the Arlington community while achieving their high school diplomas,” the person wrote. “The location has always been important to their success through partnerships with multiple establishments in Clarendon.”

The building at 2847 Wilson Blvd is privately owned and rented to APS. It also houses the Employee Assistance Program, which provides free, confidential, professional assistance and counseling to APS and county employees and their families.

“EAP will remain in there for a little while longer,” Bellavia said.

Arlington County has a little under four years left on its eight-year lease, said realtor Bill Buck, who has already started marketing the space to potential renters on behalf of Steve Woodell, the owner.

Woodell, who runs a funeral home in Alexandria, has owned the building since 1979, when it was Ives Funeral Home. APS moved in about 21 years ago, he said.

Buck said Langston “is a better facility for the students” and he is happy for the students moving buildings.

“[EAP] will likely also leave before the end of the term,” Buck said. “What’s going to happen in the future, I don’t know. We have had interest from people that wanted to build an office building there, but the county would like to see retail on the first floor.”

Buck said he would like to see the space turned into a 100,000-square foot affordable housing building — not an office or retail space that would contribute to the glut of such amenities in Clarendon.

“I think it’d be great for affordable housing,” Buck said.

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(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) Students at Arlington’s high schools walked out of class Wednesday morning to protest gun violence in the wake of the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting.

The 10 a.m. walkout was planned nationally, on the one month anniversary of the shooting, and in Arlington it was the second such protest in as many months. Washington-Lee, Yorktown, Wakefield, Langston and H-B Woodlawn were among the schools participating. Students at Kenmore Middle School also walked out, according to the school’s Twitter account.

At Washington-Lee, hundreds — if not thousands — of students gathered on the football field amid cold, blustery weather for a solemn remembrance of the slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and teachers.

A group of students sat in the bleachers, holding signs with the names and photos of the victims, while another group of students read each of their names and a bit of biographical information, one by one, about one per minute. The gathered students stood still, in silence only broken by a brief applause at the end, before returning to the school.

A couple dozen administrators and teachers watched over the event, along with a pair of Arlington County police officers, there to provide security. A few W-L graduates, parents and local residents also attended, some holding signs.

During Yorktown’s walkout, meanwhile, students wrote letters about school safety to members of Congress

Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy said late last month that today’s walkout would be the last walkout in which participating students would be granted a blanket excused absence.

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Morning Notes

Nate Remnants Pushing Out — It has been a rainy and windy morning thanks to the remnants of what was once Hurricane Nate. The heaviest of the rain is over but it is expected to remain windy and humid during the day today, with a gale warning in effect until 6 p.m. for those on the water. [Twitter, Weather Channel]

Voter Registration Up This Cycle — Arlington County has processed twice the number of voter registration transactions between Labor Day and Oct. 6 this year as it did during the same period four years ago, according to elections chief Linda Lindberg. That suggests greater interest in this year’s statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, though County Board and School Board races are also on the ballot. [InsideNova]

Arlington Schools Get Grant — Arlington is among the Virginia localities getting a grant for new school security equipment. Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Langston High School Continuation Program are together receiving $44,480 through the state program, put in place in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting in Connecticut. A total of $6 million is being divvied out to dozens of school systems, paying for “video monitoring systems, metal detectors, classroom locks, electronic-access controls, visitor-identification systems, direct communications links between schools and law enforcement agencies, and other security upgrades.” [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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