Join Club
S. Nash Street and 23rd Street S. (via Google Maps)

An Oakridge Elementary student was hospitalized Tuesday afternoon after being struck by a driver.

The incident happened around 4 p.m. at the intersection of S. Nash Street and 23rd Street S., two blocks away from the school in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood.

The striking vehicle was a Honda Civic and the victim reported head and leg pain, as well as cuts on the head, according to scanner traffic at the time.

The student was taken to a local hospital and, according to the school principal, “is doing fine.”

The full letter to Oakridge families is below. It did not note whether the driver was cited.

Emergency Vehicles near Oakridge at the corner of Nash and 23rd Streets South

Good evening.

This message is to inform you that emergency personnel responded to Oakridge this afternoon at dismissal today to assist a student who was hit by a car at the corner of Nash and 23rd Streets South. The family of the student has been notified. As some of our students, families and staff observed the incident and first responders, we wanted to ensure you are aware. The student was transported to the hospital and, per the family, is doing fine. Unfortunately, we don’t have any further details at this time.

This is a great opportunity to remind our neighbors to drive slowly and pay close attention to children while driving in school zones. Thank you for taking such good care of each other this afternoon and every day.

As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

Take care,

Lynne Wright
Principal

0 Comments
Oakridge Elementary School in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood in May of 2023 (via Google Maps)

A small group of parents from Oakridge Elementary School are asking Arlington Public Schools to take a hard look at student achievement and teacher retention.

Student assessments show low growth and lower pass rates in math and science tests at the school in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. Meanwhile, it has higher teacher turnover than the school system as a whole, according to the group, named Concerned Parents of Oakridge

“We’ve looked at the data as of the end of the 2022 school year and we did not see academic growth but we did see significant staff turnover and a widening equity gap,” group representative Anna Hudson told the Arlington School Board last week. “We know that many teachers will not return to Oakridge in the fall.”

Hudson is one of four parents who co-wrote a letter on behalf of this group, urging APS to hold students to higher academic standards.

APS has been talking with parents and the Arlington Ridge Civic Association about these issues, per an email that the school system shared with ARLnow.

It has developed a plan that addresses academics and staff satisfaction, as well as family engagement and behavior management, the email says. Not long after this plan was developed, a fight broke out among Oakridge parents at a fifth grade commencement ceremony.

The school began sending iPads home at the end of April so students and families can access the learning software APS has on these devices throughout the summer. Last year, Oakridge restricted iPad use at home due to inappropriate content found on the device of a student.

Before the school year ended earlier this month, English and math supervisors and other administrators began meeting regularly with teachers and making rounds at the school and teachers have quarterly planning days to prepare their lessons.

Demonstrating growth in reading and math are part of the school’s strategic plan. Oakridge committed to increasing small-group and one-on-one instruction and regular staff meetings to reach this goal.

When it comes to performance in English, Oakridge students are close to on par with their peers countywide, with 74% passing a state assessment in the 2021-22 school year, compared to the countywide average passing rate of 78%, per a state school quality dashboard.

In math, history and science, the Arlington Ridge elementary school performs lower than APS as a whole, though some of the elementary schools with high rates of children from low-income families have lower pass rates, per data from a state dashboard.

In math, 64% of Oakridge students passed state assessments compared to the APS rate of 74%, and in science, 40% pass rate compared to a 64% pass rate. Pass rates in Arlington for these subjects range from 95% to 21% and 90% to 16%, respectively.

Schools with some of the highest pass rates, like Nottingham Elementary School, registered low “growth rates,” while schools with lower pass rates register high growth rates, such as Randolph and Drew elementary schools. The Oakridge parents say they are troubled by the zero growth registered in math and science.

“Equity in education relies on strong academics. Reading, writing, math and problem-solving are critical foundations, whether you go to tech school, 4- year university or enter the workforce after high school,” Hudson said. “Low standards in elementary school lead to kids falling out in middle school and high school. Our kids are capable and they deserve better.”

Read More

0 Comments
Oakridge Elementary School (photo via Google Maps)

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A physical fight among 2-3 adults marred a promotion ceremony for fifth graders at Oakridge Elementary on Thursday.

Police were called to the school in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood around 4:45 p.m. for a report of a sizable fight, involving adults and possibly children as well.

“At approximately 4:46 p.m., police were dispatched to the 1400 block of 24th Street S. for the report of a fight,” Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that adults who are known to each other became involved in a physical altercation during an event at the school. The parties were separated and no significant injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.”

Savage said that no children were injured, though medics were dispatched to the school for a child who may have been bitten during the fracas.

An email sent to parents, obtained by ARLnow, further describes what happened.

Dear Oakridge Families,

I wanted to inform you that an altercation occurred between two adults this afternoon during our Fifth Grade Class Promotion. Staff intervened and were able to separate the parties involved as quickly as possible. The police were called to the school to investigate the matter and there were no injuries.

If your children have questions or would like to discuss this matter with a counselor, the student support team will be available all day tomorrow.

A tipster tells ARLnow that the fight might have been a bit larger, involving three women and a group of school staff and parents trying to break up the brawl.

“There was a fight amongst the parents… that got physical resulting in parents on the ground and other parents and staff breaking up the fight,” the tipster said. “Children were crying. Police and EMS were called.”

“This isn’t safe for our children,” the tipster added.

This is at least the second significant, traumatic incident this year for the fifth grade class at Oakridge. An alleged “sexual incident” among two students during an overnight visit to the Arlington Public Schools Outdoor Lab in Fauquier County — which was investigated by local law enforcement — involved fifth graders at Oakridge, according several sources.

Photo via Google Maps

4 Comments

Hundreds of K-5 students at Oakridge Elementary School packed 200 gift boxes to seamen and Marines serving on the USS Arlington.

The boxes sent to those aboard the 684-foot-long amphibious transport ship, named after Arlington County in memory of those who lost their lives here on 9/11, included handwritten cards as well as candy, chips, crackers, chewing gum, toothbrushes, challenge coins, ear plugs and other items.

It’s part of an effort to ensure an ongoing relationship between the men and women who serve on the USS Arlington and the residents of the county for which it is named.

Spearheading that effort is the USS Arlington Community Alliance, headed by retired Arlington County Police Department captain Kevin Reardon, who is president, and Del. Patrick Hope (D-47), who is vice president.

Reardon, who happened to know Lynne Wright, the Oakridge principal, brought to her the idea of the gift packages.

“It’s the little things that keep us in contact with the ship,” says Reardon. “And this is one of those things.”

Donated goods came from Arlington-based firms, including Nestlé (200 bags of candy), and were sorted and packed by students at the end of the school year and transported to the ship.

Running their hands through hundreds of pounds of temptation must have been a challenge for the children, right? Oh, you’d be wrong.

“The students have been practicing the intentionality of being kind to each other and members of our community,” Wright says. “Creating care packages for individuals on the USS Arlington was a natural extension of being kind to others.”

“We have been fortunate to have partnered with the USS Arlington for several years,” she adds. “Additionally, we have many military families in our Oakridge community, and this year we became a [Virginia Department of Education] Purple Star-designated school and have focused on better serving the military-connected child.”

Honoring Arlington goes both ways. Reardon says the ship’s main passageway, traditionally called Broadway, is named Columbia Pike. Arlington street signs and Pentagon shapes abound.

“The sailors are constantly reminded of why the ship was named ‘Arlington,'” he says. Those same sailors often visit Oakridge Elementary when they are in the area for the annual 9/11 memorial 5K race — which is now in its 20th year.

Arlington is currently renovating the Bozman Government Center at Courthouse and the new lobby of county government headquarters, when it opens, will have an exhibit of USS Arlington artifacts and video displays, as well as a sizable model of the ship.

Reardon, for one, will be happy when the pandemic-delayed renovations are complete.

“There are not too many people with a six-and-half-foot ship model sitting in their parking spot in their garage,” he says with a laugh.

And this is not the last those aboard the Arlington will hear from Oakridge kids.

“Generously building care packages for the USS Arlington was an outstanding opportunity to bring everyone together through kindness and care for our community,” Principal Wright says. “When school reopens, I know the school community will be eager to build more care packages for the USS Arlington.”

The $1.6 billion vessel, commissioned in 2013, is one of three named for locations where citizens were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, along with the USS New York and the USS Somerset.

0 Comments
Capitals practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex (via Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

Oakridge Elementary will get to cheer on the Washington Capitals heading into the playoffs.

More than 280 third through fifth grade students will participate in a pep rally at the Arlington Ridge school tomorrow (Friday), just days before teams begin facing off for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The event, dubbed “Soar to the Playoffs,” is being organized by the Caps and sponsored by Boeing, which has its D.C. headquarters in nearby Crystal City. The event will run from noon to 1 p.m. and feature street hockey, as well as an appearance from Caps mascot Slapshot.

As the season winds down and playoff matchups are firming up, there’s news swirling around Alexander Ovechkin’s injury and ability to start in the playoffs. He sat out of Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders. The team is set to play the Islanders again tonight at 7 p.m. on Long Island.

0 Comments
A woman holding an Apple iPad (file photo)

(Updated at 4 p.m.) Oakridge Elementary students are no longer allowed to take their school-issued iPads home due to reports of “inappropriate use.”

The policy will be in place “for the foreseeable future,” Principal Lynn Wright told families in a School Talk email, after “teachers, students and families have shared that iPads are being used inappropriately outside of school hours.”

“Please remind your children that the iPad is a learning tool specific to school assignments,” Wright wrote.

Word of the email comes a day after Arlington County police were dispatched to the school for a report of “pornography” on a student’s iPad. ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said no one was arrested or charged following the report.

“At approximately 10:39 a.m. on March 24, police were dispatched to the 1400 block of 24th Street S. for the report of a juvenile incident,” she told ARLnow. “The investigation determined no crime had occurred.”

Separate from Thursday’s police dispatch, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said that a rumor about “several incidents of Oakridge students using their iPads to view hard-core porn” was “not true.”

In 2017, a group circulated an online petition calling for APS to “discontinue immediately the current 1:1 iPad program within APS elementary schools for grades K-5,” which supplies each student with an APS-purchased device. The petition garnered just under 400 signers.

The iPad email comes amid a rise of violent incidents and other misbehavior in and outside of schools, as we reported yesterday.

The full email to Oakridge families is below.

Greetings Oakridge Families.

Students’ iPads will remain at school for the foreseeable future. This is a result of an increase of technology misuse and breach of the APS Acceptable Use Policy that students and families acknowledged at the start of the year. Teachers, students and families have shared that iPads are being used inappropriately outside of school hours. Inappropriate use includes, but is not limited to: nudity, inappropriate Google searches, messaging via Google docs, video downloading, recording other students without their consent, and gaming. Additionally, students have become heavily reliant on the use of their iPads for Non-APS related activities. We are going to re-establish the expectations specific to this technology. Please remind your children that the iPad is a learning tool specific to school assignments.

We are currently checking all iPads to ensure that they are being used appropriately. If we discover inappropriate content on your child’s iPad, you will be notified immediately.

To ensure that children have access to the technology during the school day, we ask that you return all charging equipment. This will help create more consistent and clearly defined iPad usage routines. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. We want your children to remain safely engaged in their learning. Please contact either Mr. Sean Jones (ITC) or myself if you have any questions or concerns.

Take care,

Lynne Wright

0 Comments

(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) As the development plans stack up for Crystal City and Pentagon City, the need for a new school could be growing.

As plans progress for Amazon’s second headquarters, developer JBG Smith has submitted its own plans to the county proposing to build thousands of additional apartments (and potentially condos) in the area, to help house the tens of thousands expected to one day work at HQ2.

JBG Smith’s plans for Crystal City and the Pentagon City area so far include adding:

However, the public elementary school that serves the area, Oakridge Elementary in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood, already is facing significant overcrowding.

While apartment buildings catering to younger workers are unlikely to generate an abundance of students — in 2015 it was reported that the entire 1,670-unit Riverhouse complex in Pentagon City only housed 30 Oakridge students — the redevelopment plans are still raising an eyebrow among those monitoring school capacity issues.

Local officials tell ARLnow that there are no specific plans in the works for building a new school to accommodate new students in the area. There has been past discussion, however, of Vornado (now JBG Smith) providing a site for a new school.

“As of this moment, [Arlington’s planning department] has not had any discussions with JBG Smith about any of their pending applications regarding providing a school site,” a county spokeswoman when asked whether there are current school-related discussions with the developer.

In an interview with the Washington Business Journal, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said that in exchange for approving the massive developments, the county could ask JBG Smith for a package of “truly transformative community benefit improvements.”

Dorsey did not immediately respond to a request by ARLnow to clarify what might be included in such a package.

“APS has discussed an elementary school in that area in the past,” said school spokesman Frank Bellavia, when asked if Arlington Public Schools was considering adding a new school to the area.

“Specifically, the South Arlington Working Group had identified the Aurora Highlands neighborhood,” which is adjacent to Pentagon City and Crystal City, as a potential site, Bellavia said Thursday. “We are in the process of working through our future seat needs and will most likely need elementary seats in that neighborhood.”

Prior to its merger with JBG Smith, Vornado had given APS a tour of vacant office space it owned nearby which could be converted into a school.

APS will be updating its facilities plan in early 2020 as part of the county’s 2021-30 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), according to Bellavia.

A spokeswoman for JBG Smith said the developer is “working with the County but it’s too early to discuss the community benefits package.”

0 Comments

The USS Arlington, named for the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, is soon bound for its second overseas deployment.

The U.S. Navy vessel is currently at sea preparing for the deployment, away from its base at Naval Station Norfolk, according to a news release. The ship is one of three named for the victims of 9/11, and was commissioned back in 2013.

Members of the county’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee visited the ship in Norfolk two weeks ago before it went out to sea, in order to meet with its commander, Navy Capt. Todd Marzano. According to the county,  “the group discussed opportunities for greater interaction with Arlingtonians, both virtual and in-person.”

They settled on forming a new partnership where a county school will “adopt” the ship, with students getting a chance to stay in regular communication with its crew. The group picked Oakridge Elementary School as the first school to participate in the program, and the county says “work is underway to plan the first activities.”

A small team of the ship’s crew members not set to be deployed also recently traveled to the county to run in this past Saturday’s Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K.

The USS Arlington has a crew of 360 sailors, and is one of the Navy’s 11 San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks.

Photo via Facebook

0 Comments

A top Nestle official will join Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe at Oakridge Elementary School on Friday to announce the company’s support for an anti-child hunger initiative.

Ahead of its move to Rosslyn, the company will announce its support for the No Kid Hungry campaign on Friday, December 15, a spokeswoman said.

Nestle’s USA CFO Steve Presley will announce the company’s support for the initiative alongside McAuliffe, who is described by the spokeswoman as a “longtime advocate of fighting childhood hunger.” The event is scheduled to take place from 8:20-9:40 a.m. at the school in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood near Crystal City.

McAuliffe is part of the No Kid Hungry initiative, alongside the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education and several corporate partners.

The public-private initiative aims to end child hunger in America by ensuring children have access to healthy food where they live and where they learn.

“Oakridge Elementary has implemented a breakfast program in partnership with No Kid Hungry that aims to provide children with a healthy, nutritious start to their day,” the spokeswoman said.

An Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirmed the visit, and said McAuliffe will show the officials from Nestle “how the school serves breakfast.”

File photo

0 Comments

Arlington Public Schools will look to temporarily add more space to try to cope with its rising enrollment by adding temporary classrooms and making interior adjustments at several schools.

The Arlington County Board is expected to vote on a slew of proposals across eight schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels at its meeting Saturday (July 15). The temporary solutions are all recommended for approval by county staff, as “student enrollment is growing at a faster rate than APS can provide new schools and classrooms.”

Some are looking to add more temporary, trailer classrooms — known in APS parlance as “relocatables” — while others will make interior adjustments to add more space.

The following schools are applying to add relocatables:

The following schools will look to make interior adjustments and modifications:

Photos Nos. 6, 7 and 8 via Google Maps

0 Comments

Morning Notes

View of Rosslyn from Courthouse

Norovirus Outbreak at School — More than 80 students at Oakridge Elementary in south Arlington are out sick as a result of a suspected norovirus outbreak. The virus causes symptoms like “stomach aches, fever, vomiting and, in some cases, diarrhea.” [NBC Washington]

Sign Controversy at Yorktown — Some conservatives are upset that teachers at Yorktown High School are being allowed to hang “politically suggestive” signs in their classrooms. The signs read: “Patriots Know: Facts are not political. Diversity strengthens us. Science is real. Women’s rights are human rights. Justice is for all. We’re all immigrants. Kindness is everything.” [Daily Caller]

Yorktown Lacrosse Star Nears 200 Goals — Yorktown senior lacrosse star Laura Crawford is nearing the 200-goal mark for high school career. Crawford, a three-time team MVP, has committed to Penn. [Washington Post]

Female UAE Hockey Player Visits Caps — Fatima Al Ali, a hockey player and coach from United Arab Emirates, has been visiting with the Washington Capitals this week as part of the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone month.” The visit has included taking the ice at the Caps practice facility in Ballston and dropping the puck at last night’s game at Verizon Center. [Fox 5, Al-Arabiya]

Levine, Favola Advance Rape Kit BillUpdated at 9:40 a.m. — Legislation sponsored by Del. Mark Levine and state Sen. Barbara Favola, which Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol helped to craft, has passed unanimously in the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill calls for police to keep rape kits for a longer period of time even if the victim is not ready to prosecute. [WVTF]

MMA Studio Gives Parents a Night Off — A mixed martial arts gym is not a place that one would usually think of as a babysitting venue, but that’s precisely what Pentagon MMA on Columbia Pike will be Saturday night. The business is hosting a “parents’ night out” event for Valentine’s Day, letting mom or dad “enjoy a worry-free evening with your special someone this Valentine’s Day while your child enjoys a night of structured activities in a supervised environment.” [Pentagon MMA]

33 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list