Many adults can struggle for several minutes with a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube.
Fifth-grade student Hunter Paige at Arlington’s Cardinal Elementary School can do it in less than ten seconds.
Hunter is heading to CubingUSA this August for a national championship where “speedcubers” — people who race to solve Rubik’s Cubes — will face off against each other.
Hunter’s mother, Liz Paige, said her son become interested in cubing in February 2022.
“A few of his friends had started cubing and showed him,” Liz said. “He got curious to learn more, found some video tutorials online, and picked it up pretty quickly after that! Watched the Netflix documentary, The Speed Cubers, and was further hooked.”
Liz said early on, Hunter practiced and timed himself, then he joined an online cubing club and kept training. When local competitions started up around summer 2022, Liz said her son was eager to start competing. There, Liz said Hunter found his crowd.
“At the competitions, he meets people of all ages and skill levels,” Liz said. “One of the great things about the competitions is everyone is encouraged to not only compete but be a judge, a runner (bringing unsolved cubes to the competitors) and a scrambler (scrambling the cubes a specific way before handing off to runner). It really encourages a sense of community — it’s not just about the competition and who wins.”
The classic 3×3 cube is just the tip of the iceberg. There are quicker 2×2 cubes and more complicated 8×8 cubes, along with a variety of shapes like a pyramid or a skewb. There are competitions to solve the traditional 3×3 blindfolded or one-handed. Hunter’s done the latter with what his mom called “decent results”.
Hunter said that he likes cubing as a hobby because it’s unique and helps him stand out in a crowd. And it has paid off — in addition to the trip to nationals, Hunter is on the front page of an upcoming issue of the school’s student newspaper, The Cardinal Times.
He isn’t alone in the cubing craze: Liz said there’s a clique of students at the school that also enjoy cubing. At family gatherings, though, it’s an impressive party trick.
“I do think people are surprised to learn he’s a ‘speed cuber,'” Liz said. “There’s been many a family gathering when he’s brought his cubes and everyone’s seriously impressed by how quickly he can solve one!”
Liz said she isn’t sure how long Hunter will stick with cubing, but at the very least he’s excited for the national championship later this year.
“Beyond that… we’ll see,” Liz said.
(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) Should the Arlington School Board have a sixth, non-voting student representative?
One candidate for School Board thinks so. Angelo Cocchiaro argues it would give students a stronger voice and align Arlington with neighboring jurisdictions, including the cities of Falls Church, Fairfax and Alexandria, Prince George’s County in Maryland and D.C.
“So many of the challenges we face as we emerge from this pandemic center around student wellbeing. Especially given the scale of this moment, we need this generation of youth at the table in school policymaking,” says Cocchiaro in a recent statement published on his website. “Arlington should be leading the way on this, especially as we emerge as one of the ‘trendiest Gen Z hubs‘ in the country.”
The issue has come up in previous School Board candidate forums and second-time candidate Miranda Turner told ARLnow she generally is in favor of the addition. She and Cocchiaro are vying for the endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee this May to determine who will run as the defacto Democratic candidate in the November general election. (There are no partisan primaries for School Board elections, but parties can endorse candidates.)
“I’d start with seeking feedback from districts that have already implemented it both from the student and board perspective, and with feedback from students currently serving on our SAB as to whether that provides an effective and meaningful way to advance that student perspective,” Turner told ARLnow, shortly after publication.
In Virginia, having a student representative is left to local practice, similar to 30 other states, according to a 2020 survey by the National School Boards Association. A study it published in 2021 found 14% of the 495 largest school districts in the U.S. have at least one student member.
This past legislative session, Del. Alfonso Lopez introducing a bill that would have made a student representative to school boards a requirement in the Commonwealth, an idea he said came from student political advocacy groups Coalition for Virginia’s Future and the Virginia chapter of Voters of Tomorrow.
This was his first pass at such legislation and it failed in committee, despite, he says, the bill providing deferrance to localities for deciding if students would vote and how they are selected.
“Localities and their advocacy organizations expressed concerns about mandating the participation of a student representative, even with all of the flexibility we included in the legislation,” Lopez tells ARLnow. “Localities preferred to have the option to manage student input however they wished.”
The School Board has never had a non-voting student representative but, for 40 years, has solicited feedback from students through the Student Advisory Board (SAB), says Frank Bellavia, spokesman for Arlington Public Schools.
This is made of eight students from every high school, including H-B Woodlawn sophomore Naya Chopra. She says the SAB also meets with APS staff and other advisory councils to provide feedback on their priorities, such as screen time.
Students decide their top issues and form subcommittees annually that dig into these topics, such as the budget, mental health and sexual assault and harassment, and make recommendations to the School Board at the end of each school year. They do branch out to other topics, recently meeting about drug use, Chopra says.
“We have a direct line of communication and can give feedback on and discuss issues that affect us, and while I can’t speak for the School Board, the hope is that our advice is taken into account as at the end of the day, we are the ones who are directly impacted by the Board’s decisions,” she said.
Chopra says there would be interest in a non-voting position on the board, because “there are still some topics that we have no say in, and are not offered to give our input.”
The current School Board and a former member, however, say the SAB is sufficient.
A nearly decade-old 5K race through Fairlington supporting a local girl with a rare disease is canceled, possibly indefinitely.
Since 2014, hundreds of Arlingtonians and visitors have participated in the Fairlington 5K, which raises money to fund research for a cure for leukoencephalopathy, or LBSL. The disorder affects the brain and spinal cord of Wakefield High School student Ellie McGinn.
Her P.E. teacher at Abingdon Elementary School initiated the first race in 2014. Since then, her family established the nonprofit, A Cure for Ellie, now Cure LBSL, which supports treatment research and raises awareness about the disease, while the race has attracted those affected by it from as far away as New Zealand.
“It’s been more than I ever could’ve dreamed for,” Ellie’s mother, Beth McGinn, tells ARLnow. “It’s a great community event and brought out the best in everyone here.”
This year would have been the eighth year for the race, but it was canceled due to stepped-up security for local races.
“For the safety and security of participants, spectators and special event staff, ACPD has a longstanding practice of clearing race courses of parked vehicles,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said.
Over the last year, organizers of a few regularly occurring races that “did not have clear courses” were notified that by 2023, ACPD would no longer allow these events to occur if vehicles were parked along the race route.
The policy is intended to avoid drivers accidentally or purposefully striking participants. During last year’s race, police had to escort five individuals who inadvertently drove on the race course, despite public messaging and signage, Savage said.
This policy has been around for nearly a decade, according to Kathy Dalby, the CEO of local running store Pacers Running, which has handled race-day logistics for the Fairlington 5K as well as other races around the county.
“This isn’t a new policy, just probably not enforced across the board,” Dalby said. “We have been paying for car removal and meter charges since probably a year after the Boston Bombings, give or take.”
While ACPD offered to work with Beth McGinn to find a solution, she says she just does not see a way forward right now that keeps the race in Fairlington. Too many people use street parking, and relocating the race may result in fewer participants.
“What made our [race] so successful was also its downfall,” she said. “Thanks to the volume and density of Fairlington, we were able to turn out a lot of people. The civic association, the schools and the farmer’s market would promote it. There’s not that buy-in from everybody if I move it to a park.”
She says she understands the perspective of the police department. In addition to the incidents on the Fairlington 5K course last year, there have been a number of incidents in the last three years in which drivers have intentionally driven into crowds at community fundraisers, protests and foot races.
“It’s coming from a good place,” the mother said. “I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt during my race, either… Right now, that’s the world we’re in.”
Although the race is canceled, Beth McGinn says people are still donating to the cause. The race has raised some $130,000 for research, per the race website, while the A Cure For Ellie cause has raised some $2 million, per the Cure LBSL website.
Right now, there are two drugs in clinical development. Beth McGinn says she hopes these could stop the disease’s progression in Ellie’s body and even help her daughter recover some mobility.
The disease has progressed to the point that Ellie uses a wheelchair at school and for long distances. Still, her mother makes sure to count her blessings.
“She’s a happy camper,” Beth said. “That’s a blessing.”
Arlington County police and medics responded to a near-fatal opioid overdose in the Ballston mall parking garage this afternoon.
The initial dispatch went out shortly before 1:30 p.m. for a possible cardiac arrest with CPR in progress after an overdose, inside the county-owned public parking garage. A group of teens was found near the mall elevators on the 6th floor of the garage.
First responders administered the overdose reversal medication Narcan to two people with suspected overdoses and reported that the person initially said to be in cardiac arrest had a pulse but was unconscious, according to scanner traffic.
The fire department established an incident command at the garage and ended up transporting three people to a local hospital via ambulance.
Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed to ARLnow that those involved were juveniles.
“At approximately 1:24 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of possible overdose in the 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard involving three juveniles,” Savage said. “First responders administered NARCAN on two of the juveniles which resulted in positive responses. The three juveniles were transported to an area hospital. The investigation is ongoing.”
A similar incident was reported at the parking garage last week, on a Tuesdy morning.
A group of highly intoxicated teens required medical attention in a stairwell, not far from the entrance to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
“At approximately 9:33 a.m., police were dispatched to the 600 block of N. Glebe Road for the report of a Drunk in Public,” Savage said at the time. “Upon arrival, six juveniles showing signs of intoxication were located inside a stairwell of a commercial building. Out of an abundance of caution, they were transported to an area hospital for evaluation. The investigation is ongoing.”
ARLnow did not previously report on the alcohol incident. Between then and now, a police source confirmed to an ARLnow reporter that the juveniles were students at nearby Washington-Liberty High School and were skipping class.
Savage said it was not immediately clear whether today’s incident involved the same group.
“As part of the ongoing investigation, detectives will work to determine if this incident is related to any other reported incidents,” she said.
Today’s overdoses follow several involving students on and off school grounds since the start of December’s holiday break, part of an ongoing opioid epidemic at Arlington’s public schools.
At least three have occurred on school grounds so far this year, including a fatal overdose at Wakefield High School on Jan. 31. That has led to calls for various changes at APS by teachers, parents and School Board members.
Arlington Public Schools is changing the way it verifies that students live within the county and will unenroll students who live outside its boundaries.
The new Home Address Confirmation Process is aimed at updating, improving and systematizing how APS keeps track of where students live. Individual schools used to conduct home checks and review proofs of residency, such as leases, as necessary when there were concerns about a family’s living situation.
Covid, however, showed APS that this created gaps in its record-keeping.
“During the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our families changed residences or were displaced entirely, and APS found that some of our information was out of date,” says APS spokesman Andrew Robinson. “This limited APS’ ability to accurately communicate with families.”
The new process involves confirming addresses for students in fifth and eighth grade, who will be promoted to the key transition years of sixth and ninth grades. Those whose addresses cannot be confirmed or who no longer live in Arlington will be withdrawn by mid-May for the upcoming 2023-24 school year, per a letter to families last week.
“We felt there was a need to standardize the process and ensure that it provided us with an opportunity to work with more of our families if their living situation was more complex,” Robinson tells ARLnow. “Moreover, we wanted to ensure that we were able to provide resources to our families that were now experiencing housing instability.”
Ultimately, he says, this provides a “fair and consistent process” for ensuring students live in Arlington and that APS has accurate information.
In the letter, the school system pledged to provide resources to assist families in enrolling in the correct school system. Families of students who are withdrawn, but later establish residency in Arlington, may re-enroll in APS.
This process will also help staff better identify students in complex living situations, such as students experiencing homelessness, and work with families to provide assistance and connect them with county and community services. The number of students experiencing homelessness during the 2022-23 school year is the same as during the 2018-19 school year, per data provided by APS. That number dropped during the early years of the pandemic, when an eviction moratorium was in place.
APS, like all public school systems, is federally required to count students living in a motel or hotel, moving frequently or living “doubled up” with relatives and friends as experiencing homelessness. This definition, enshrined in the McKinney-Vento Act, is more expansive than the one used by the county and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
Recent reporting in Georgia describes how this gap means schools are supporting children who don’t qualify for federal assistance because they have a roof over their heads — even if that roof belongs to a hotel or motel or is shared with a second family.
In these situations, APS staff members will visit families at home to learn more about their specific needs and how the school system can assist.
“APS can work to ensure they can stay in their home school, even if their temporary address changes,” Robinson said. “Children and youth experiencing homelessness also have a right to immediate enrollment in APS when residing in Arlington.”
Police and medics have been dispatched to Wakefield High School at least twice for students experiencing suspected substance abuse-related issues since Tuesday’s fatal overdose.
The dispatches seem to point to administrators taking an extra-cautious approach to the medical treatment of students observed to be under the likely influence of drugs and alcohol in schools.
Arlington County police and medics were dispatched around lunchtime today for what was initially described as a possible overdose. The dispatch suggested that a 14-year-old student was breathing normally but exhibiting signs of impairment.
“At approximately 12:10 p.m. on February 6, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of S. Dinwiddie Street for the report of a possible overdose,” Arlington police spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed to ARLnow. “The preliminary investigation indicates this is a possession of alcohol by minor incident. The patient did not require transport to the hospital. The investigation ongoing.”
“They had to call EMS out of an abundance of caution,” said Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia.
Medics were also dispatched to the school during dismissal this past Thursday, following an extended lockdown for a potentially armed trespasser, for what was initially feared to be a student overdose.
“At approximately 3:23 p.m. on February 2, police responded to Wakefield High School for the report of an overdose,” said Savage. “The investigation determined this was not an overdose incident, but it did involve possession of a suspected controlled substance by a juvenile. Petitions for a narcotics violation were obtained for the juvenile. In accordance with Virginia Code, additional details are not releasable due to the juvenile’s age.”
It’s not just Wakefield and not just high schools that are experiencing drug-related issues in Arlington. Around the same time as today’s incident, police were dispatched to Kenmore Middle School for a report that administrators had discovered possible drug paraphernalia.
Parent groups have been sounding the alarm about drug use in Arlington Public Schools for at least a year. A twin epidemic of opioid use and mental health issues have led to the deaths of at least three APS students since Christmas. Parents marched outside Wakefield and spoke out at the School Board meeting last week following the death of the 14-year-old student who suffered the apparent overdose on Tuesday.
Wakefield principal Chris Willmore told WJLA that it’s unclear whether drugs in general are being used more often by students, but said that the nature of the drugs being used has changed.
“I don’t know if it’s gotten worse in terms of the number of kids that are using illicit drugs,” Willmore said in an article published by the station today. “It’s the deadliness of the fentanyl now that’s the most concerning.”
The national epidemic of fentanyl-related deaths has been blamed, at least in part, on accidental overdoses stemming from the powerful synthetic opioid being added to fake prescription drugs. Users believe they’re taking oxycodone or even the focus-enhancing drug Adderall but instead get a crudely-made counterfeit containing a fatal dosage of fentanyl.
WJLA’s article noted that Arlington police have no plans for sweeps of schools using drug-sniffing dogs.
Arlington County police say they are actively reaching out to and engaging with the younger population, building relationships, and that there’s a youth outreach unit.
When 7News asked if narcotics-trained K9s might be searching the schools for fentanyl, a spokesperson said the county does have these K9s available but there are no plans to use them at schools.
An email sent by Willmore to Wakefield families after this afternoon’s emergency response is below.
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A march against drugs drew a large crowd of parents and community members to Wakefield High School, where a student died this week.
Sergio Flores was found unconscious in the bathroom Tuesday morning and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He died Thursday and his death is being investigated as a possible overdose.
Latino parents, mostly mothers, planned the march as a way to show love and support for their children.
Classes were canceled for Wakefield students today (Friday) after the overdose this week and a lockdown Thursday prompted by a possibly armed trespasser. Arlington County police have since arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with the trespassing incident.
Still, parents marched, carrying signs saying “Your community is here for you!” and “Queremos lo mejor para nuestros hijos,” Spanish for “We want the best for our children.”
The idea came from a community meeting held by community activists Elder Julio Basurto and Janeth Valenzuela — who wear many hats, but this time, were organizing under their organization, Juntos en Justicia. They have been advocating for more attention to opioids in Arlington Public Schools for more than a year through the organization.
Attendance swelled and other community members, as well as some School Board and County Board members, joined the march.
“It was very scary for me to read the student involved in the drug incident has died,” said Green Valley resident Frederick Craddock. “That just gives you an example: It’s in our neighborhood schools. It’s in the home somewhere, so then parents have a big role. It’s all got to come together. Maybe this will raise more awareness of the issue.”
Rebecca Brunner said three generations of her family have attended Wakefield. The high school needs police officers returned and the school system needs to be more transparent, she said.
“Don’t tell us there’s a medical emergency when a child ODed. Tell us the truth so we know what to tell our children, we know how to talk to them, we know to tell them, ‘don’t take anything,'” she said. “Fentanyl is out there.”
“Yesterday, I’m getting a video from inside the school of the SWAT team coming through the doors with assault rifles and they’re telling us, ‘Oh, we might have a possible trespasser,'” Brunner continued. “Yeah, something way more than that is going on.”
(Updated at 11:55 p.m.) Wakefield High School was placed in lockdown Thursday afternoon after reports of a trespasser, possibly armed with a gun, and a threat against a student.
The cause for concern is related to a recent shooting in the Green Valley neighborhood, according to initial reports. So far, there are no reports of any acts of violence inside the school.
The initial dispatch went out around 12:30 p.m. A large police presence surrounded Wakefield and officers — some heavily armed — searched the building and classrooms, as well as nearby neighborhoods.
During the search, a student who was not considered a suspect was escorted out of the school by police, ARLnow hears.
The lockdown was lifted and student dismissal started shortly after 3 p.m. under the watchful eye of police.
“ACPD’s investigation determined the trespasser, possibly armed with a gun, is not currently on school property,” Arlington Public Schools said in a statement. “The investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to ACPD… All students and staff are safe.”
“After-school and evening activities are canceled,” the statement added. “The safety and security of your student is our top priority.”
During dismissal, a medic unit was dispatched to the school for what what described as a separate incident unrelated to the trespassing.
Groups of parents started gathering near the school after the lockdown started but were then directed to a reunification center at a nearby church, per scanner traffic. TV news crews also gathered outside of the school.
Wakefield students were dismissed early Tuesday after a student was hospitalized in critical condition after an apparent overdose in a bathroom. Friday classes were cancelled as of Thursday evening, according to APS.
Wakefield High School will be closed for instruction tomorrow, Fri, Feb. 3, 2023. We will keep the building open during normal hours to provide counseling services and mental health support for students and staff who may need help processing this week’s incidents.
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) February 2, 2023
POLICE ACTIVITY: ACPD is investigating the report of a possible trespasser at Wakefield High School. The school has been placed on lockdown while police investigate. Expect continued police presence in the area. pic.twitter.com/SIvasFAyej
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 2, 2023
A student at Wakefield HS gave us permission to show this video of police with long guns entering a classroom at Wakefield HS. A reunification area has been set up at a nearby church. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/8HLNUEqTEC
— Matthew Torres (@News_MTorres) February 2, 2023
Please expect bus delays this afternoon due to police activity that occurred at Wakefield High School. Multiple bus routes are impacted. We appreciate your patience.
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) February 2, 2023
(Updated, 2:40 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools is “aware of and are reviewing” new draft policies handed down by the Commonwealth late last week regarding the rights of transgender students.
On Friday evening, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released updated “model policies” directing local school boards to adopt a set of new policies relating to the treatment, rights, and actions of transgender students as well as who teachers are allowed to identify as transgender.
The guidelines, seen as a rebuttal to last year’s Democratic-led policies, are set to regulate everything from which bathroom a student can use to the meaning of “the phrase ‘transgender student’.”
In response this morning, APS released a statement saying that it is reviewing the guidelines and will continue to adhere to its own policies related to transgender students.
“APS will continue to uphold our core mission and policies to ensure that every child receives equal educational access and opportunities,” read the statement in part, which is co-signed by Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán and School Board Chair Reid Goldstein.
“We value the many diverse identities within our schools, where every student can authentically express themselves, including those in the LGBTQIA+ community,” the statement continued. “APS continues to take seriously the privilege and responsibility of working towards a shared understanding and mutual respect for all people.”
APS’s response also noted there’s a 30-day public comment period that begins Sept. 26 prior to the enactment of the new state-directed policies. APS spokesperson Frank Bellavia told ARLnow that VDOE could make changes to the policies in response to public comment.
“There is a 30-day public comment period, at which point the VDOE will review comments and make potential changes prior to posting a final document,” Bellavia wrote. “School divisions will need to then review the final document prior to any action.”
Fairfax County Public Schools are “thoroughly reviewing” the guidelines as well.
The new policies, under the administration of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), say that teachers and staff can identify as a transgender student only those whose parents provide written permission.
“The phrase ‘transgender student’ shall mean a public school student whose parent has requested in writing, due to their child’s persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs with his or her sex, that their child be so identified while at school,” says the guidelines.
Even if a parent does submit the required written request, however, it does not mean teachers and staff are required to use the student’s name or gender if the staff member believes it will violate their “constitutionally protected rights.”
The new policy has received backlash from some who say that this could result in students being misgendered, outed, and put in harmful situations. It also stands in contrast to APS’s policy first adopted in 2019, which says that students have the right to decide their own gender identity.
“Every student has the right to be addressed by names and pronouns that correspond to the student’s gender identity. Regardless of whether a transgender student has legally changed their name or gender, schools will allow students to use a chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity,” reads APS’s policy.
Amazon surprised a Washington-Liberty student with a $40,000 college scholarship and a paid internship with the company earlier this week.
An Amazon engineer showed up at the door of W-L senior Amina Luvsanchultem on Monday (April 11) with a surprise Amazon Future Engineer scholarship, the company announced in a press release.
The $40,000 scholarship will go towards her studying computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) next fall. Additionally, she’ll take on a paid internship with Amazon after her freshman year in college.
A video from the company shows Luvsanchultem answering the door and being in understandable shock while being greeted with the news.
Luvsanchultem is a first-generation Mongolian-American student who hopes to work at NASA one day, Amazon said. She also founded the organization Students for Racial Equity, which works with students, parents, and educators to better understand how race, cultural, and linguistic diversity impacts Arlington classrooms.
The Amazon scholarships were aimed at high school seniors from “underserved and historically underrepresented communities.” Recipients were chosen based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and financial need.
Of the 250 scholarships (totaling $10 million) handed out by Amazon, 18 were to students from the D.C. region. Luvsanchultem was the only student from Arlington to receive a scholarship.
More than 70% of recipients identified as Black, Latino, and Native American while half identity as women, Amazon notes.
Construction on the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City is coming along while, earlier this month, the second phase of the headquarters was approved by the county’s Planning Commission ahead of County Board consideration.
Rising high school seniors can apply for next year’s round of Amazon Future Engineer Scholarships when the application opens again in the fall. Requirements include completion of an Advanced Placement computer science course in high school, the intent to pursue a computer science degree at a four-year school, and a teacher recommendation.
(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.