Arlington, VA

Arlington County’s annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is moving online this year, forgoing all in-person experiences due to COVID-19.

This 52-year tradition was first organized in 1969, about ten months after King’s assassination, by local community members and county staff.

This year’s edition honoring the civil rights leader life and legacy will be held on Sunday, January 17 at 5 p.m. It will include a collection of online performances, music, spoken word, and dialogue that participants will be able to select from.

The tribute is being produced in partnership with Encore Stage & Studio.

All videos and content will go live at 5 p.m on the event’s website, but will continue to be available on the site into the coming months.

In addition, Volunteer Arlington’s annual MLK Day of Service will also be online this year. On Monday, January 18, starting at 9:30 a.m., residents can participate in 12 different service opportunities, engage in volunteer trainings, or learn more about their community.

There will also be collection sites for the Arlington Food Assistance Center outside of eleven community and fitness centers.

The current schedule of programming for Arlington’s MLK Day tribute is below:

At 5 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 17, visit the MLK Tribute webpage for a dynamic experience that allows the user to select the content they wish to view. The content will remain online for the coming months.

Specific program elements will include content sections with videos from past MLK Tributes and never-before-seen works:

A video compilation highlighting clips of music, dance, spoken word and dialogue from recent MLK Tributes, including:

  • Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir’s renditions of The Best Is Yet to Come and Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
  • Original work by spoken word artist Kim B. Miller, Your Calling
  • Motherless Child and I’ll Rise Up, performed by the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Dance Ensemble
  • Scene from the 51st MLK Tribute, performed by actor Deshawn Harris (as MLK) and Yancy Langston (voice of Benjamin Mays)
  • Arlington native Joy Gardner solo rendition of A Change is Gonna Come
  • Remarks from Arlington resident Joan Mulholland, activist and educator
  • Lift Every Voice and Sing, produced by Balm in Gilead, Inc.

Specific Music Options

  • I’ve Been Buked and Scorned, soloist James Gibson
  • I Know I’ve Been Changed, soloist Karen D. Archer
  • You’re All I Need To Get By, duet with Duke Ellington School of the Arts students Kianna Kelly-Futch and Kyree Allen
  • Is My Living in Vain performed by local quartet The Four
  • The Wall Between Us, performed by Kimberly D. Gordon and written by Anne Smith
  • Arlington native Joy Gardner solo rendition of A Change is Gonna Come

Specific Dance Options

  • Chains, performed by Worship Without Words
  • Precious Lord Take My Hand and Glory, performed by the Inspire Arts Collective
  • If I Could, performed by Kailah Doles
  • Motherless Child and I’ll Rise Up, performed by the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Dance Ensemble

Specific Spoken Word Options

  • New original work from spoken word artist Kim B. Miller
  • Reflections from Encore Stage & Studio students
  • Original work by spoken word artist Kim B. Miller, Break the Chains
  • Original work, Stand, by Outspoken Poetress Audrey Perkins

Other options include historical footage and a presentation by Samia Byrd, Chief Race and Equity Officer for Arlington County.

About the Program

Arlington’s first tribute to Dr. King was in 1969, the year after his assassination. The goal of this program is to bring people together (virtually or in-person) to support the community’s vision of social justice and community. This year’s program is produced in partnership with Encore Stage & Studio.

Virtual Day of Service

Volunteer Arlington’s annual MLK Day of Service program has also pivoted to be online. On Mon., Jan. 18, from 9:30 a.m.-noon. Online volunteer opportunities include service projects, advocacy panels and volunteer trainings. Learn more and register by Thurs., Jan. 14. by visiting https://volunteer.leadercenter.org/mlk-day-service.

Food Donation Collection

Food donations to benefit Arlington Food Assistance Center clients will be collected outside at the centers below from Jan. 15-18.

Learn more about the 2021 MLK Tribute event at https://parks.arlingtonva.us/mlk-tribute/

Photo via Adam Fagen/Flickr

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(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) In addition to elementary students, more middle- and high-school students in Arlington Public Schools are struggling to make passing grades this year, according to a new APS report.

Black and Hispanic students, English-language learning students, and students with disabilities are experiencing the deepest drops.

“We knew that we might see some degradation in scores, and this is helpful to understand exactly where we are seeing some deep drops,” School Board Chair Monique O’Grady said during the School Board meeting on Thursday night.

The new report builds on data released earlier this month, and follows on requests from School Board members for more precise data the impact distance learning is having on different groups of students. Fairfax County Public Schools released a similar report last month.

Overall, Es — failing grades — account for 2.1% of all middle school grades this year, up from 0.7% last year. This year, 5.4% of high school grades are Es, up from 4.3% last year.

The full report separates data for middle and high school, but during the meeting, Superintendent Francisco Durán presented overall trends for specific student groups.

This year, the percentage of English-language learners and students with disabilities earning Es increased by 11 and 6.2 percentage points, respectively, he said.

Among racial and ethnic groups, the percentage of Hispanic and Black English-language learners in secondary grades earning Es increased by 15 and 7 percentage points, respectively, he said.

Economically-disadvantaged students were also hard-hit, according to the report. Last year, 10.3% of economically disadvantaged high schoolers received Es, compared with 17.5% this year. In middle school, the percentage grew from 4% last year to 11% this year.

Meanwhile, white children registered smaller increases in failing grades: 1.4% of middle-schoolers earned Es this year, compared to 0.6% last year, while 3% of high-schoolers earned Es this year, compared to 1.6% last year, according to the report.

In-person learning supports — such as “work space” programs, where kids can get out of the house and study quietly at school — are being rolled out at the Arlington Career Center, H-B Woodlawn, and at Wakefield, Washington-Liberty, Yorktown high schools. Other programs are scheduled to begin at middle schools after the winter break.

Outgoing School Board member Tannia Talento said more needs to be done to support students, even if larger groups of students start returning to classrooms early next year.

“I just want to remind the community that this isn’t just about reopening schools to support these needs and growing gaps,” she said during the meeting. “We are going to have to do this for groups who choose to stay home.”

Talento asked the school system to dig deeper and find out why grades are dropping — for instance, if students are generally dropping one letter grade due to instructional quality, or if generally good students are dropping dramatically in response to factors like a mental health crisis, or a death or job loss in the family.

In addition to disparities in letter grades, Black and Hispanic students are reading at lower proficiency levels, literacy test results show — an issue existed before distance learning. APS has started working on ways to address, through instruction and extra supports, the persistent literacy problems in the system, Durán said.

Images via Arlington Public Schools

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Arlington Public Schools is preparing data that will compare students’ grades this fall, during distance learning, with pre-pandemic grades in the fall of 2019.

Superintendent Francisco Durán will present the highlights of this report at the Dec. 17 School Board meeting, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said.

“We are in the process of producing a report showing a comparison of current first quarter grades for secondary students to previous years,” Bellavia said in an email. “The analysis will include a breakdown of student grades by sub-groups, such as English Learners, Students with Disabilities and economically disadvantaged students.”

Last week, Fairfax County Public Schools published data showing the number of middle school and high school students earning failing grades in at least two classes jumped from 6% to 11%. Those who are struggling the most are English-language learners, 35% of whom have at least two Fs, and students with disabilities, 19% of whom have at least two Fs.

In response to the numbers, FCPS school board members discussed extending the school year.

There is similar interest in a report for Arlington. After Durán presented some preliminary data on grades in November, school board member Nancy Van Doren indicated she wanted to see a comparison of 2019 and 2020 first quarter grades. Meanwhile, member Tannia Talento said she would like kids to have extended school year options to make up failing grades.

“Do we have a plan in place? Can we make a summer school plan to be proactive versus reactive?” Talento asked.

The early data only looks at grades from the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year. During his presentation, Durán said elementary students are more consistently meeting expectations in math, while there is a wider variety of results for reading.

In the early grades, especially first- and second-grader, “students are not making expected progress and need supports now and in the long term,” Durán told the School Board, about reading-related achievement.

At the high school level, freshmen had the highest share of failing grades, 10.1%, in the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year, according to APS data. Following behind them were sophomores and juniors, where failing grades — Es, on the APS grading scale — make up 8.4% of grades; for seniors, that number is 6.8%.

The percentage of Es among middle schoolers is much lower, hovering between 4 and 5%, APS data shows.

It was not immediately clear how this year’s rates of failing grades compared to the previous year, during standard in-person learning.

Durán told the School Board that APS formed focus groups to examine student progress. The system will be looking at grades, social-emotional learning and the impact of interventions on achievement.

“We’ve heard from many students and families that they are making profess that they are successful and we received many emails that they are not,” Durán said. “We need to understand that this is not a one-size fits all.”

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This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has all of us adapting to new ways of spending our free time. Arlington’s artistic community has stepped up to the plate to offer a broad range of activities to help you manage the stresses of social distancing.

Arlington Arts has showcased many of these on our ARLINGTON ARTS AT HOME webpage. Some are free, others offer you a way to support a local small-business while engaging in healthy and positive activities at-home! Here’s a small sampling:

Bowen McCauley Dance 

Arlington dancer Lucy Bowen-McCauley developed a unique stretching technique that was officially adopted by U.S. Olympians such as Dominique Dawes. You can avail yourself of her expertise in virtual stretch classes on Mondays and Saturdays. The Company also is offering a range of movement classes for those with Parkinson’s Disease on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. For details, email: [email protected] or visit www.bmdc.org

Encore Stage & Studio 

From stretching and storytelling, to structured classes in theater and dance, Encore has a wide range of Zoom-based offerings for everyone from toddlers to teens. (Some Free. Some Fees Apply). More Info.

Jane Franklin Dance

Keep it moving with free online dance classes occurring daily. Learn different approaches to movement from different instructors each day in genres ranging from ballet and jazz, to clogging and improv. Classes are live-streamed and are not recorded. More Info.

Signature Theatre

Stay connected to your favorite Signature performers every week with Signature Strong — Live! Join the weekly Facebook Live conversation with Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and celebrated guests as they chat about musicals, sing a few songs, answer your questions and more. Tuesdays at 8 p.m. More Info.

Synetic Theater

From fitness classes by their award-winning movement-based performers, to storytelling for children, the award-winning Synetic Theater has much to offer that you can now enjoy right at home. This includes live-streaming of past shows, such as Sleeping Beauty (thru May 25) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (extended thru May 10). More Info.

In addition to programs by the above organizations, Arlington Arts also has assembled a range of art activities you can partake of drawing upon past programs.

Everything from art-making projects to self-guided tours of our internationally acclaimed Public Art Collection. For more info, visit the Arlington Arts at Home webpage.

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Arlington will celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a free annual event featuring local performers this Sunday (Jan 20).

“Supernatural” actor Christian Keyes is set to host Arlington’s MLK Tribute, which is now in its 50th year. The event will run from 5-6:30 p.m. at Wakefield High School.

Community members and county staff created the annual tribute one year after King’s assassination in 1968 as a way to bring the community together around King’s vision for social equality.

“Arlington’s beloved MLK tribute event is a joyful celebration of Dr. King and his powerful advocacy for social and economic justice, non-violence and empowerment that continues to serve as a beacon for our nation more than a half-century after his assassination,” Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said in a press release.

The program features music, dance and spoken word roles.

The lineup includes:

  • Spoken word artist Outspoken Poetress (Audrey Perkins)
  • Inspire Arts Collective
  • Soloist Jackie Pate
  • Soloist James Gibson
  • Arlington resident Joy Gardner
  • The Hoffman-Boston All Star Chorus led by Molly Haines
  • Teen Network boardmembers
  • Winners of the Arlington Public Schools’ MLK Literary and Visual Arts Contest

Guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis, and overflow space with a live stream of the program will be available if the auditorium reaches capacity. Anyone attending is encouraged to bring non-perishable goods to donate to Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Photo via Arlington County

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Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday, March 13

Trivia Night: Are you smarter than a Catholic sister?*
Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6:30-9 p.m.

Test your pop culture and general knowledge against a team of Catholic Sisters, with drink specials and free appetizers. Prizes for top trivia teams.

Wednesday, March 14

Shaping Arlington for a Smart & Secure Future*
County Board Room (2100 Clarendon Blvd)
Time: 6-8 p.m.

Listen to a panel discussion on how technology will shape Arlington, featuring government and cybersecurity experts. A reception with light refreshments will also be held.

Arlington Committee of 100 Virginia Hospital Center Expansion*
Marymount University (2807 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 7-9 p.m.

The Committee of 100 is hosting a panel discussion on Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion, the county’s population growth and evolving community healthcare needs. Optional dinner served.

Thursday, March 15

Parenting Lecture: Parenting an Anxious Child
The Sycamore School (4600 N. Fairfax Drive)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Dr. Christine Golden will discuss the challenges of parenting a child with anxiety and offer some helpful strategies for managing behaviors. The lecture is free to attend.

Friday, March 16

St. Agnes Soup Supper*
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.

The church will offer meatless soups and a noodle dish, and more every Friday during the Lenten holiday. Guests are invited to stay for confession and the stations of the cross afterwards.

Saturday, March 17

Whitlow’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Whitlow’s On Wilson (2854 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 9 a.m. – Close

Live Irish music and an open rooftop welcome you at Whitlow’s On Wilson’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Special Irish menu and March Madness games on the TVs all day.

WJAFC Open Day*
Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street)
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

A co-ed, free clinic to learn the Australian football game. Kids from 5-15 will learn starting at 9 a.m., with an adults clinic and co-ed non-contact game at 10:30 a.m.

Guinness and Gold*
Ten at Clarendon (3110 10th Street N.)
Time: 12-5 p.m.

Tour the Clarendon apartment building with a free Guinness and cash in on leasing deals. Leasing specials are subject to terms and conditions.

Wine Dinner*
Osteria da Nino (2900 S. Quincy Street)
Time: 6:30-10:30 p.m.

Join Tre Monti winery over a four course meal with five wines, including theThea Passito 2012 Romagna Albana DOCG raisin wine. Tickets are $75 per person.

Yorktown High School Presents “Almost, Maine”*
Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Boulevard)
Time: 7-9:30 p.m.

Students will be performing John Cariani’s “Almost Maine,” about a remote, mythical town and the effect of the northern lights on the lovestruck residents. Tickets are $10.

Sunday, March 18

St. Joseph’s Table Celebration
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 1-4 p.m.

Join the church following the noon mass for a procession to celebrate this feast day with a potluck lunch, live music, and a kids woodworking shop.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

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2017 MLK Tribute Event (Photo via DPR)It’s January, and that means this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute is less than two weeks away.

The 48th annual tribute event and concert is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 15, from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Wakefield High School Auditorium at 1325 S. Dinwiddie Street.

As is the tradition, the tribute concert is free and features live music, dance and spoken word performances.

This year’s lineup of artists and musicians includes gospel singer Helen Slade, the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts Show Choir, Alexandria’s Kingdom Fellow Church’s Worship Without Words Mime Ministry, poet Kim B. Miller and several other local performers.

The program will also “acknowledge the current social and political climate while motivating and uplifting attendees with words of inspiration and praise,” organizers said.

Those interested in attending must reserve free tickets in advance of the performance.

Photo via Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation

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MLK Tribute Event 2016 (via DPR)

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Event will return to Arlington this weekend in preparation for the federal holiday next Monday.

The 47th annual tribute is scheduled for this Sunday from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Wakefield High School Auditorium at 1325 S. Dinwiddie Street.

Hosted by the Department of Parks and Recreation, this year’s tribute is called Freedom: America’s Goal, Our Destiny. It will be a celebration with a variety of live music, spoken word and dance performances.

The performances were produced and directed by inspirational arts programmer Nolan Williams, Jr. The featured work will be performed by BET Sunday Best Allstars finalist Clifton Ross, the NEWorks Freedom Dancers and students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Jacquie Gales Webb from WHUR Sunday Afternoon will emcee.

The tribute also includes a food drive for the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Guests who’d like to contribute can bring nonperishable food items to the event. Community groups can also register in advance to organize a collection of their own that will end on Sunday night. The group that collects the most donations will be recognized for their contribution during the performances.

The tribute is free, open to the public and does not require any registration in advance.

Photo via Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation

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BalletNova Nutcracker (Ruth Judson)It may seem way too early, but it’s time to start making plans for the holidays, starting with BalletNova’s annual production of The Nutcracker over first weekend of December.

Tickets for the show are now on sale.

Members of the dance school will put on six full-length productions of the ballet at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater (125 S. Old Glebe Road). The show is approximately an hour and a half long, plus one 15-minute intermission.

Tickets cost between $13 to $35, depending on the show date and location of the seats. There are also discounts available for groups, students under 18 and seniors over 65.

The studio encourages patrons to reserve seats early, as all the performances have sold out in the past. Performance dates and times are:

  • Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online.

There is also a Nutcracker Tea and mini-performance scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 13, at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City.

Photo via BalletNova Center for Dance/by Ruth Judson

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Performance at Lubber Run Amphitheater (photo courtesy Arlington County)(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Two additional performances have been added to the schedule at Lubber Run Amphitheater.

The Lubber Run Amphitheater Foundation (LRAF) credits its cooperation with Arlington Cultural Affairs and donations from supporters for the added shows on August 18 and 25.

LRAF added the shows in response to requests for more children’s programming. The organization hopes to further expand programming next year if this year’s additions are successful.

Below is the schedule for the remaining performances, including the two new shows in August:

  • Friday, July 26 — The Traveling Players — Performing William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”. Selected as a “Summer School in the Arts” by the NEA, Traveling Players Ensemble is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing great theatre into the great outdoors through a thriving summer camp and year-round acting classes and workshops.
  • Saturday, July 27 — The Tone Rangers — For 25 years, this award-winning D.C.-based vocal group has brought inventive arrangements and keen wit to everything from Gregorian chant to TV theme songs. Nominated for 7 Wammies, they were Best A Cappella Group four consecutive years (2007- 10) and Best A Cappella Recording in 2007. National finalists in the 2002 Harmony Sweepstakes (the Superbowl of a cappella), they are 3-time winners of Mid-Atlantic “Audience Favorite” and “Best Arrangement” awards.
  • Friday, August 2 — Hexagon Theatre Company — Hexagon is musical, satirical and theatrical. Every year since 1956, this nonprofit has put on Washington’s only all-original, all volunteer revue of its kind—donating more than $3.5 million to 40-plus organizations.
  • Saturday, August 3 — Rico Amero — He makes music. He tells the truth. Join Rico for a night of hiphop jazz.
  • Sunday, August 18 — The Great Zucchini — He will delight the youngest members of the community with his popular, comical, magic show. Bring the kids, grandkids, and young neighbors to Lubber Run to this engaging show for children.
  • Sunday, August 25 — Cantor the Miraculous — The magic continues with Cantor the Miraculous who dazzles audiences through wizardly interaction and artistry to bring “quality prestidigitation from a master crafts person.” The whole family is welcome. This show is at 5:00 p.m.

The amphitheater, which was refurbished in 2011, is located at N. Columbus Street and N. 2nd Street, two blocks north of Route 50. All shows are free and open to the public. Performances on Fridays and Saturdays begin at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday shows begin at 6:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Information about last minute weather cancellations can be obtained by calling 703-228-1850 the day of each show. Picnics are allowed but alcohol is prohibited.

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