No APS Return Dates Yet — “Alexandria City Public Schools this week joined a flood of Northern Virginia school systems in setting firm timelines for reopening classrooms, vowing to welcome all students back for in-person learning by mid-March. But in Arlington, school officials aren’t committing to return dates just yet.” [Washington Post]
Summer School Appears Likely — “Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday will announce a plan to extend the school year into summer to allow students to catch up. The announcement will come during an 11 a.m. news conference, Northam said during a Thursday morning interview with Washington Post Live. No details have yet been released. ‘We’re working with our teachers, our school boards, our superintendents. It has to be a top priority,’ he said.” [InsideNova]
Karantonis Running for Reelection — “Although his announcement was temporarily derailed by a snafu too common in the Zoom era, Arlington County Board member Takis Karantonis on Feb. 3 formally kicked off his bid for re-election with comments before the Arlington County Democratic Committee.” [InsideNova]
Napoli Salumeria’s D.C. Location Closing — “The restaurant has decided not to renew their lease at their current location, so they are temporarily closing their Columbia Heights doors as they search for a new DC location. In the meantime, guests can still get the full Napoli Pasta Bar menu at Napoli Salumeria in Arlington starting next week (including dine-in). Napoli Pasta Bar will also offer free delivery for DC residents within a certain radius from Napoli Salumeria.” [PoPville]
Marymount Announces Commencement Speakers — “In mid-May, approximately 975 students will receive their degrees over the course of three days during Marymount University’s 70th annual commencement ceremonies. The newest graduates of the mission-based Catholic university will hear from three distinguished commencement speakers – influential Virginian James Dyke, Jr., entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson and business leader Donald Graham.” [Marymount University]
Editorial: No Counterbalance Against Tax Increases — “The government’s Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission effectively has been gelded; the Arlington County Civic Federation is trying to keep up but is not the budget-watching powerhouse it once was; the Arlington County Taxpayers Association effectively died with its leader, Tim Wise; and serious budget discussions almost never even come up within the intra-Democratic nomination contests that determine who will hold elected office.” [InsideNova]
Virginia May Abolish Death Penalty — “Virginia is poised to become the first state in the South to abolish the death penalty, a sign of ascendant liberal political power in a state that has executed more people since the 1970s than any other except Texas.” [New York Times]
With many students struggling with their academic achievement during remote learning and the pandemic, Fairfax County Public Schools has discussed potentially extending the school year into the summer.
The idea of an extended school year, to allow students to catch up on their studies during the summer, has also been raised by Arlington School Board member Tannia Talento.
“Can we make a summer school plan to be proactive versus reactive?” Talento asked, at a recent Board meeting.
Given that vaccines are on the way, and that there appears to be a lower level of infection during warmer-weather months, it seems likely that classes could be held in-person this summer. That may be just what’s needed, at least for some students, after months of virtual classes.
On the other hand, it could be argued that kids most of all just need a break from sitting and staring at screens, something that a summer vacation provides. And the virus will likely still be circulating this summer, despite the vaccines.
Do you think APS should plan to do so?
Special County Board Meeting Planned — On Thursday at 6 p.m., the Arlington County Board “will hold a special meeting for a listening session on racial justice, systemic racism and policing. The County Board special meeting will be conducted using electronic means.” [Arlington County]
County Commissions Still Mostly Inactive — “Faced with a growing rebellion over the lack of meetings by Arlington government advisory panels, County Board members and top staff on June 13 offered (slightly defensive) apologies – but not much of a roadmap forward. Board members were responding to a June 9 letter sent to them by 25 chairs of advisory groups, complaining that the local government has been lagging in re-starting meetings that largely have been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March.” [InsideNova]
Pandemic Affects College Plans — From a 60 Minutes segment on Sunday: “The struggle extends to those already in college who are laboring to pay tuition and are weighed down by debt like 20-year-old Katherine Trejo of Arlington, Virginia. The daughter of a single mom from Bolivia, Katherine was supposed to graduate from George Mason next year. She is the first person in her family to attend college.” [CBS News]
Summer School Registration Underway — “Registration for distance learning secondary summer school is underway. Elementary students who qualify to participate in the Elementary Summer Learning Program will automatically be registered by APS.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Guilty Plea in Case Involving Arlington Company — “A former Arlington business executive pleaded guilty today to embezzling nearly $8 million that was intended to settle claims by children who alleged they were victims of medical malpractice. According to court documents, Joseph E. Gargan, 59, of Round Hill, was the Chief Executive Office of the Pension Company, Inc., an Arlington business that would execute settlement agreements entered into between civil litigants.” [Dept. of Justice]
ARLnow Operating Remotely — Since the first confirmed local coronavirus case in March, ARLnow’s employees have been working from home. We plan to continue working remotely until 2021, and may continue to have most employees work remotely most of the time after that. [Washingtonian]
The pandemic has claimed another victim: the 2020 Arlington County Fair.
The in-person fair, scheduled from Aug. 12-16, has been canceled and replaced with a “virtual format” that will run from Aug. 14-16.
“Given the current social distancing guidance and the uncertainty of the trajectory of the virus, it is unfeasible for the in-person Fair to move forward as scheduled,” organizer said late Thursday afternoon.
The exact format of the virtual fair was not immediately made clear. Organizers say it will “showcase the best of Arlington and share the spirit of the Fair.” Additional information is expected to be posted online.
The fair — a summer staple for generations of Arlingtonians — is expected to return in its full glory in 2021.
More from a press release:
Due to the current restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Arlington County Fair, scheduled for August 12-16, has been moved to a virtual format, to be held August 14-16.
The decision to cancel the in-person 2020 Arlington County Fair and move online was a very difficult one. A beloved community tradition, the Fair brings five days of pure joy to Arlington each August. However, given the current social distancing guidance and the uncertainty of the trajectory of the virus, it is unfeasible for the in-person Fair to move forward as scheduled.
The Fair Board is in the process of contacting our sponsors, entertainers, vendors, and community groups that are impacted to ensure all parties are aware of the change.
While we are disappointed that we cannot hold the in-person 2020 Fair, it also brings a new opportunity for the Fair to come to you! We have planned three days of virtual programming August 14-16 so we can still showcase the best of Arlington and share the spirit of the Fair. Check the Fair’s Facebook page in July for details and schedule.
The Fair is operated by an all-volunteer non-profit organization, Arlington County Fair, Inc. We rely on income generated by ride ticket sales, vendor fees and sponsorships to hold the Fair each year. While we understand that there are many pressing issues at the moment, we do accept donations year-round and would be grateful for any contributions you may be willing to make to ensure that the Fair remains a mainstay of the Arlington community. Additionally, we are actively recruiting Fair Board Members to assist with the planning of future Fairs. To apply, submit an online application.
We appreciate the continued support of the Arlington community and look forward to the return of the Fair as we know it in 2021.
Hope for Arlington Summer Camps — ” As summer is approaching, we know many families are anxiously awaiting information on Summer Camp 2020. While we hope to operate summer camp this year, the ultimate decision will be based on our ability to operate safely within national and state guidelines.” [Dept. of Parks and Recreation]
County Board Primary Cancelled — “The Democratic Primary for County Board, originally scheduled for June 9, 2020 and subsequently delayed until June 23, 2020, will not be held… Accordingly, Libby T. Garvey is the Democratic nominee for County Board in the General Election to be held on November 3, 2020.” [Arlington County]
Call for More Coronavirus Transparency in Va. — “Several Virginia legislators are calling for the release of information regarding specific long-term care facilities, saying the public has a right to know how many residents and staff have tested positive or died at each location… ‘In a situation like this, transparency is very important,’ said Del. Patrick Hope, D-47th District, of Arlington.” [NBC 4]
GGW, Blue Virginia Endorse Takis — “This week, a select group of Arlington Democratic party members will choose a nominee for the county board seat held by Erik Gutshall, who tragically died of brain cancer in April… We recommend eligible party insiders select Takis Karantonis as their first choice and then Nicole Merlene or Chanda Choun as second and/or third choices in the ranked-choice ballot.” [Greater Greater Washington, Blue Virginia]
Parade for McKinley Teacher — “Arlington County students and their parents held a drive-by parade to honor their third-grade teacher at McKinley Elementary School. Almost a dozen cars drove by the home of Amanda Herr, honking their horns and holding signs” [Patch]
Dutch Foundry Working on New Carillon Bells — “It took more than a week for the big bronze bell to cool. Over that time, a glowing crucible full of molten alloy was transformed into a 7,595-pound behemoth nearly six feet in diameter that next year will sing out across Arlington. The big Netherlands Carillon is getting bigger.” [Washington Post]
Bayou Bakery Has Provided Thousands of Free Meals — “Since the beginning of March, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington has been feeding Arlington County kids and their families for free. Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery enlisted Real Food for Kids to partner with him to serve free, plant-based meals 5 days a week.” [WJLA]
Citing staffing challenges and future budget cuts, Arlington Public Schools is discontinuing its summer enrichment programs for elementary students this year.
While axing the summer programs — which offered advanced classes on computer programing, math and world geography — APS said it will continue providing make-up classes and resources for students who are falling behind. Outdoor Lab sessions will continue as well.
“We are focusing our resources and staffing to provide makeup and strengthening courses to students who need extra help and additional support,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.
The decision is not sitting well with some parents.
“Arlington Public Schools [is gutting its] summer enrichment program with little advance notice leaving parents in the lurch,” one parent said in an email to ARLnow.
In a letter to families, below, Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson said the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation’s summer programs may pick up some of the slack created by the APS decision.
Dear APS Staff and Families,
As you begin to make plans for this summer, I am writing to share updates to the APS Summer School Program for 2020. This year, in order to make the best use of available staff and resources, and to serve the students of greatest need, we will no longer be able to offer elementary summer enrichment programs, including: Global Village Summit, Fun with Coding, Math Academy and Summer Laureate. Outdoor Lab sessions will continue for elementary and middle school students.
We came to this decision based on increased challenges in staffing summer school strengthening, as well as anticipated budget reductions for the 2020-21 school year. While this was not an easy decision, these changes allow us to sustain our high-quality summer strengthening program and provide excellent teachers and staff to serve students with the greatest need.
We are working closely with the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to identify similar offerings and will communicate comparable camp providers through a follow-up School Talk message in early February, prior to the DPR summer camp registration. Arlington County offers fee reductions for eligible students, making these options comparable in price to APS offerings. Please note:
- DPR summer camp registration begins on February 12 at 7 a.m. Lots of fun and enriching experiences for your student, with reduce fees as needed.
- Don’t wait to sign up for a camp until you hear if your student is referred to APS summer school. Spots fill quickly. Students who are referred to APS Summer School and must cancel a camp in conflict with APS Summer School can notify DPR by Monday, March 16 to get a full refund. All other cancelations follow DPR Cancelation Policy.
The APS Summer Strengthening Program, which runs July 6-31, will continue to be offered for elementary students who meet specific eligibility requirements established by the Department of Teaching and Learning. Enrollment is by teacher and principal recommendation only for students who are at least one grade-level below in reading and/or math. Eligible students will be notified during Parent-Teacher conferences on March 5-6. A letter will also be mailed to families indicating student eligibility.
Lastly, the make-up and strengthening fee for all programs, PreK-12, will be $150. Students who currently receive free or reduced-price meals will continue to pay $56 for summer classes, and students who receive Extended School Year services, may attend free of charge. The 2020 Secondary Enrichment fees and New Work for Credit fees will remain the same as in 2019.
These changes were presented by APS staff and approved by the School Board at the December 19 meeting. The full presentation is available online on BoardDocs.
I hope that this notice helps you plan accordingly. I also encourage you to participate in the APS Summer Activities Fair on Friday, February 7. This is a great way to learn about the many academic and arts programs, sports camps and other offerings available for the summer. Additional resources are provided below. Please contact the Summer School Office by phone at 703-228-7645 or by email at [email protected], if you need additional assistance.
Talento Selected as School Board Chair — “The Arlington School Board held its annual organizational meeting for the 2019-20 school year and elected Tannia Talento as Chair and Monique O’Grady as Vice Chair. The terms for the new Chair and Vice Chair begin immediately and will continue until June 30, 2020.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Which Amazon Units Are Coming to HQ2 — “We’re still a pretty long way from knowing what the estimated 25,000 workers at Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters will do, but a top company executive has named three units that will be represented in Arlington: Alexa, Amazon Web Services and Amazon’s consumer division.” [Washington Business Journal]
Private Sector Job Growth in Arlington — Arlington County’s private employment grew by nearly 20,000 jobs, or about 17%, between 2010 and 2018, according to the D.C. Policy Center. [Twitter]
Arlington Winners at the RAMMYs — Ambar in Clarendon captured the Service Program of the Year award at the 2019 RAMMYs over the weekend. The distinction of Chef of the Year at the D.C. area restaurant industry award show, meanwhile, went to Kyle Bailey of The Salt Line, which is opening a location in Ballston. [Washington Business Journal]
APS Testing New Visitor System — “Summertime will bring a security pilot program to a number of Arlington’s public schools, with a full roll-out of the initiative slated throughout the system in the fall. The new visitor-management system to be tested at five sites during the summer will require visitors, volunteers and contractors to provide specific photo identification, and their identities will then be checked against state and federal sex-offender registries.” [InsideNova]
ACFD Holds ‘Camp Heat’ — “Camp Heat, put on by the Arlington County Fire Department, concluded Friday night. During this week-long immersion into firefighting, campers learned everything from running hoses to breaking down doors to working on water rescue techniques. All the campers are young women, 15 to 18 years old.” [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Aspire! Afterschool Learning is planning to open its new facility in the Arlington Mill Community Center.
A ribbon-cutting celebration of the new program is planned for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday (June 6), according to a press release.
Aspire! launched a campaign in 2016 to finance a 7,300 square-foot expansion. The expansion ultimately cost $1 million.
“Words can’t express how thrilled and grateful we are to achieve this amazing feat, thanks to the incredible generosity of our partners, donors, and supporters,” said Aspire! Board Chair Steve Manlove in the press release. “This truly has been the most amazing public-private partnership between Aspire! and Arlington County, with invaluable support [of sponsors].”
The summer camp at the facility is planned to open on July 1 for 120 children. Aspire!’s Learning ROCKS! Program for upper-elementary students is planned to return in the fall.
“Aspire!’s new home at the Arlington Mill Community Center is the next step in a great partnership with Arlington County,” said Jane Rudolph, Arlington County director of Parks and Recreation, in the press release.”As a permanent fixture at Arlington Mill, Aspire! will continue to empower students through their after school and summer programs and bring energy and inspiration to this well-loved intergenerational community center.”
Photo courtesy Aspire! Afterschool Learning
(Updated at 9:25 a.m.) Summer is great. Warm weather, cookouts, swimming pools — everything.
Well, not everything. There are some downsides to summer in Arlington, of course. It’s hot and swampy, mosquitos abound, frequent storms ruin your outdoor plans and, thanks to all those summer vacations, there’s less going on and less excitement.
Of the above, which is your least favorite part of summer here in town?
By popular demand, we’re adding the following poll about your favorite parts about summer in Arlington.
Arlington police are urging residents to stay vigilant for any suspicious activity at large outdoor events this summer.
While the department stressed that there are “no known threats” to the county specifically, police also said in a news release that people can “help protect our community by reporting suspicious activity to police for investigation,” particularly at large gatherings.
Police say “shopping centers, restaurant districts, religious services and public transportation hubs” are examples of places where people should keep their eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary.
“While we share everyday moments with our neighbors, family, coworkers and friends, we all have routines that are uniquely our own, making you most well-acquainted with what activities may be suspicious in your neighborhood and communities,” the department wrote.
Anyone with a concern can report it to the police non-emergency line at 703-558-2222 or online using this form.