More Capacity for Yorktown, Career Center — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve use permit amendments that will allow 300 additional seats at Yorktown High School, thanks to internal modifications, and another 200 seats at the Arlington Tech program within the Arlington Career Center. [InsideNova]
Crystal City BID Considering Expansion — “The Crystal City Business Improvement District is weighing plans to include Pentagon City and Potomac Yard within its borders, creating a single, unified submarket that could also serve as a larger canvass for Amazon.com Inc. as it homes in on potential locations for its second headquarters.” [Washington Business Journal]
Entry-Level Homes Remain Sparse — One of the challenges facing the real estate market in Arlington and Northern Virginia as a whole is a dearth of entry-level homes for sale. Likewise, the inventory of homes for sale in general is low. Said one agent: “In hot areas like Merrifield, Arlington, Reston and Tysons, my buyers are experiencing multiple-offer situations.” [InsideNova]
ACFD Removes Handcuffs from Student’s Wrist — “Interesting call of the day: When you’re playing with handcuffs and the key breaks! [Rescue] 109 cut off a pair of handcuffs that had got stuck on a student’s wrist. No injuries except a broken pair of cuffs.” [Twitter]
GGW Endorses in County Board Race — The urbanist website Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Matt de Ferranti in the Democratic Arlington County Board primary. de Ferranti told the website that he supports “building housing that would be affordable across a variety of incomes and available to younger workers who can build income and own homes in the future.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Arlington Public Schools is shooting down rumors that the Stratford Program is going to be “dismantled” while also announcing that a new, temporary location is under consideration.
Stratford serves secondary-level special education students and is currently co-located with the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program on Vacation Lane. Both programs are set to move to a new facility in Rosslyn for the 2019-2020 school year, but Stratford will be moving to a temporary home during the next school year to facilitate the renovation of its current building into a neighborhood middle school.
In a letter to parents today, Stratford principal Karen Gerry said that APS is now reconsidering a plan to house Stratford in the Reed School building in Westover for a year. For various reasons, APS says Yorktown High School may be a better temporary location, and the school system is kicking off a hurried outreach effort with parents to discuss the new option.
Gerry, in her letter, also acknowledges a false rumor that had been spreading via email that APS was planning to eliminate the Stratford Program.
“It seems that Arlington County has made a decision to dismantle the Stratford Program and that we will not be joining HB Woodlawn at the new site in Rosslyn, as planned,” said the email, which was sent by a parent and later obtained by ARLnow.com. “Several Stratford parents are concerned that this decision has been made without consultation with the wider Stratford community.”
“Over the last few days, there have been many community conversations, emails and statements posted about our plans for next year, and unfortunately, much of it has included misleading or incorrect information,” Gerry wrote. “We want to reassure you that regardless of the one-year location for Stratford students in the 2018-19 school year, the Stratford Program is not being dismantled and our plan to move to the new building on Wilson in the fall of 2019 has not changed.”
The full letter from Gerry to Stratford parents is after the jump.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Following a national trend, data shows that Arlington Public Schools are disproportionately suspending black and Hispanic students compared to their white classmates.
The recently released stats from the U.S. Department of Education indicate that among the total 25,149 APS students, 10.6 percent were black, 28.4 percent were Hispanic and 46.1 percent were white. Meanwhile, the makeup of students serving in-school suspensions in APS was 29.1 percent black, 40.6 percent Hispanic and 19.4 percent white students. For students serving out-of-school suspensions, 29.5 percent were black, 33.3 percent were Hispanic and 27.6 percent were white.
APS administrators also referred disciplinary incidents to county police on 160 occasions, the stats show. In those cases, 25 percent of the students involved were black, 40.8 percent were Hispanic students and 25.8 percent were white students. There were only two expulsions at APS in 2015, and both students represented two or more racial backgrounds.
The racial disparity reflects a national trend revealed in the DOE’s report that found black students were suspended, expelled and referred to law enforcement more frequently than their white peers.
Nationally, in 2015, black students made up 31 percent of children referred to police or arrested, but only 15 percent of the total U.S. school population. White students comprised 49 percent of all students, but only made up 36 percent of student police referrals.
The disparity within APS also includes students with disabilities. Although students with disabilities only made up 13.3 percent of the school population, they comprised 34.6 percent of in-school suspensions, 42.5 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 46.7 percent of referrals to law enforcement.
In a statement emailed to ARLnow.com, Jeannette Allen, the school system’s director of administrative services, said that the APS is aware of the disproportionally large number of suspensions of both minority students and students with disabilities, and is committed to eliminating those disparities.
Allen highlighted the national problem as well, adding that the school system has seen these disparities persist, even as APS has recorded a decline in its total number of suspensions.
The top three offenses that lead to disciplinary action at APS are categorized as “disruptive behavior,” “altercation” and “fighting,” Allen said. Over the past few years, APS has begun to address the disparity by providing funds to schools to find alternatives to suspension, including training for administrators.
“Since most of our suspensions fall in the category of disruptive behavior, our primary focus is providing professional development,” Allen wrote. “Providing professional development and alternatives to suspension will help address the subjectivity that sometimes influences decisions to suspend a student. We are also providing targeted support for students to address their disruptive behaviors in a way that encourages behavioral improvements and helps students to self-regulate their actions and reactions.”
The rest of the suspension data for APS — including specific totals for Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown High Schools — is after the jump.
Yorktown Grad Chosen in NFL Draft — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose Yorktown High School graduate M.J. Stewart in the 2018 NFL draft. Stewart was working with his youth foundation at Langston-Brown Community Center when he learned that he was the 21st pick in the second round of the draft. [InsideNova, Twitter]
Amazon Speculation Boosts JBG Stock — JBG Smith Properties’ stock is up 13 percent in the past month on speculation that Amazon could build its second headquarters in the D.C. metro area. Many of the company’s holdings are based in Crystal City, which is seen as a contender for the site of Amazon’s new HQ2. [Washington Business Journal]
Drug Take-Back Day Numbers Up — Arlington police collected nearly one-third more prescription drugs at Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day than at last spring’s event. Residents handed over 744 pounds of prescription drugs to police on Saturday, compared with 562 pounds last April. [Twitter]
Arlington Recognized for Tourism Event — The Virginia Association of Destination Marketing Organizations presented the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service with an award for its June 2017 Monumental Views IPW Travel Trade Reception, which showcased Arlington to international travel trade and media during the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW 2017 event in Washington, D.C. [Arlington County]
Rosslyn Circle Beautification — Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol was among the volunteers with the Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria and the Children’s International School to team up with the National Park Service to beautify Rosslyn Circle on Sunday (photo above). They planted 32 trees and plan to add more later this year.
Red Flag Warning Today — Northern Virginia is under a Red Flag Warning through 8 p.m. today, indicating a heightened danger of outdoor fires. “Dry and windy conditions will create an environment conducive for the rapid spread of wildfires,” the National Weather Service said. “All outdoor burning is discouraged today.” [Twitter]
Photo via Katie Cristol on Twitter
Arlington Among Top Cities for Recent Grads — According to rankings from the website Livability, Arlington is the No. 2 best place for recent college graduates. Champaign, Ill. was ranked No. 1 and Jersey City, N.J. ranked No. 3. [Livability]
Major Water Main Replacement Approved — “The Arlington County Board [on Saturday] approved a $1.9 million contract (including contingency) to Sagres Construction Corporation to replace a nearly century-old water main along South Arlington Ridge Road, between 23rd Street South and South Nash Street. The existing 8-inch water main was built in 1927 and has experienced frequent breaks in recent years.” [Arlington County]
Cemetery Investigates Suspicious Package — On Saturday Arlington National Cemetery’s main entrance was briefly closed to vehicles and pedestrians while a security team investigated a suspicious package in the Welcome Center. The package was determined to “pose no threat” and normal operations resumed at 4:50 p.m. [Twitter]
Yorktown Grad in NFL Draft — M.J. Stewart may be the first Yorktown High School grad selected in the NFL Draft: “The 6-foot, 205-pound defensive back, who played at the University of North Carolina the last four seasons and was a three-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, has been projected to be chosen in the second or third round. The draft begins the night April 26 with first-round selections and last through April 28.” [InsideNova]
Heated Dispute Over Amazon Fire Stick — “Overheard on the scanner: Police responding to a man and a woman arguing over which person owns an Amazon Fire stick.” [Twitter]
Yarn Bomb Featured in Video — A new video shows the creation of the “yarn bomb” in Clarendon. In captions, it explains that a yarn bomb “is a type of graffiti or street art of knitted or crocheted yarn rather than paint or chalk.” [YouTube]
Flickr pool photo by Dave Bentley
The event, scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s Patriot Hall, will kick off Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in Arlington.
Entitled “#MeToo: What Men, Boys, and Everyone Need to Know,” the event will feature nationally recognized scholar and activist Jackson Katz as the keynote speaker. Katz is also the co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), an organization that has been running gender violence, sexual harassment and bullying prevention programs for more than 20 years.
Almost 50 percent of Arlington Public School female students in grades 8, 10 and 12 report that they have been sexually harassed while at school, according to the Arlington 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Other community leaders will also be in attendance, including Arlington Chief of Police Jay Farr, County Board Chair Katie Crisol and Theo Stamos, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington and Falls Church. Middle and high school students as well as adults are encouraged to attend.
Arlington’s Project PEACE is hosting the event in partnership with INOVA Fairfax Hospital and Arlington Public Schools. Project PEACE, which stands for Partnering to End Abuse in the Community for Everyone, is a community educational initiative to end domestic and sexual violence in the county.
Photo via APS
Arlington Population Up in Latest Estimate — The new annual U.S. Census population estimates are out and Arlington County has added nearly 5,000 people. The estimate of Arlington’s population on July 1, 2017 is is 234,965, according to the Census Bureau website. That’s considerably higher than a recent UVA estimate. The previous Census Bureau estimate was 230,050 on July 1, 2016. [U.S. Census Bureau]
Festival of the Arts to Return — The annual Arlington Festival of the Arts is returning to Clarendon from April 21-22. The outdoor event features more than 100 artists showcasing — and selling — their work. [Facebook]
Standout Athletes of YHS — A recently-completed webpage highlights more than 50 years worth of standout athletes from Yorktown High School. [Yorktown Alums]
Photo courtesy of our local tech guru, Alex Chamandy
Arlington’s twice yearly Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) is will return later this month.
The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 31, at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd). The event, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., allows county residents to dispose of hazardous household materials, bikes, shoes, small metal items, clothing and other items that can be recycled but not through normal pick up.
Residents planning on dropping off household hazardous materials must bring the items in the original containers or in properly labelled storage. Leaking containers must also be packed in a way to prevent spilling.
Nonhazardous trash and business waste will not be accepted. Residents need to bring identification to verify residency.
The following materials are accepted:
- Automotive fluids
- Car care products
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
- Corrosives (acids/caustics)
- Fire extinguishers
- Flammable solvents
- Fluorescent tubes
- Fuels/petroleum products
- Household cleaners
- Lawn and garden chemicals
- Paint products (25-can limit)
- Photographic chemicals
- Poisons (pesticides)
- Propane gas cylinders (small hand-held or larger)
- Swimming pool chemicals
The following material are not accepted:
- Explosives and ammunition
- Medical wastes
- Prescription medications
- Radioactive materials
- Smoke detectors
Photo by Peter Golkin
Social Media Threats Against Arlington Schools — “There is an increased police presence at a middle school and high school in Arlington Friday after authorities say they were the targets of social media threats Thursday night. Arlington County Police say ‘threats of violence’ were made to Williamsburg Middle School and Yorktown High School… police have identified a person in connection with the incident.” [WJLA, Twitter]
Cannonball Found Near the Run — “A remnant of the most turbulent period in Arlington’s history was unearthed during the recent renovation of the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s warehouse space in the Four Mile Run corridor. A 24-pound spherical shell was found during the construction period.” [InsideNova]
Snow Showers Dust Area — Winter is not over yet. A brief period of snow showers left some white patches on lawns this morning. Meanwhile, a potential snowstorm looms for next week. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) Students at Arlington’s high schools walked out of class Wednesday morning to protest gun violence in the wake of the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting.
The 10 a.m. walkout was planned nationally, on the one month anniversary of the shooting, and in Arlington it was the second such protest in as many months. Washington-Lee, Yorktown, Wakefield, Langston and H-B Woodlawn were among the schools participating. Students at Kenmore Middle School also walked out, according to the school’s Twitter account.
At Washington-Lee, hundreds — if not thousands — of students gathered on the football field amid cold, blustery weather for a solemn remembrance of the slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and teachers.
A group of students sat in the bleachers, holding signs with the names and photos of the victims, while another group of students read each of their names and a bit of biographical information, one by one, about one per minute. The gathered students stood still, in silence only broken by a brief applause at the end, before returning to the school.
A couple dozen administrators and teachers watched over the event, along with a pair of Arlington County police officers, there to provide security. A few W-L graduates, parents and local residents also attended, some holding signs.
During Yorktown’s walkout, meanwhile, students wrote letters about school safety to members of Congress
Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy said late last month that today’s walkout would be the last walkout in which participating students would be granted a blanket excused absence.
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.
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
The final design of Yorktown High School modifications that will increase the building’s capacity to 2,189 seats is set to be approved at the Arlington School Board meeting on Thursday (March 8).
Per the plan, at least six classrooms will be created by converting a computer lab, a computer alcove, and several teacher work rooms. A copy room will turn into a new “teacher collaboration space,” and other teacher work space and offices will also be reconfigured.
Existing storage will be turned into bicycle storage, and charging stations will be added throughout the school, including in the cafeteria and atrium. The current gym lockers will be replaced.
The larger seating capacity comes weeks after the proposed Arlington Public Schools budget was announced with class size increases.
The project’s estimated $4 million cost will be funded by the capital reserve, according to School Board documents.
Sexual Assault Suspect Was Maintenance Worker — The man arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman in her apartment in Rosslyn last year worked as a maintenance worker for an apartment building in D.C. Police say he posed as a maintenance worker in the Rosslyn building to get the victim to open her door, before forcing his way into the apartment. [NBC Washington]
New Uber Pickup at DCA — “If you are planning to take an Uber, Lyft or other ride-share service from Reagan National Airport, you’ll need to head to a new spot to be picked up. Airport officials have moved the pick up zone to the ticketing level (upstairs) at Terminals B and C.” [Washington Post]
Spotted: M.J. Stewart at NFL Combine — Former Yorktown football star M.J. Stewart, who was also a standout defensive back at the University of North Carolina, was among those working out at the NFL Scouting Combine over the past week. [Twitter]
Rosslyn Hyatt Sold — The Hyatt Centric hotel in Rosslyn has been sold to a subsidiary of publicly-traded hotel operator Sotherly Hotels for $79.7 million. The hotel was recently renovated. [Seeking Alpha]
LiveSafe Helping to Keep SXSW Safe — The South by Southwest festival is utilizing the mobile safety app produced by Arlington-based LiveSafe to help with event security this year. SXSW kicks off on Friday in Austin, Texas. [DC Inno]
Nearby: Alexandria Residents Oppose Beer Garden — “Residents of a townhouse development next to a proposed beer garden in Del Ray are opposing the business, saying it will create ‘noise and safety issues’ and ‘negatively affect our community.'” [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me
Update at 1 p.m. — Arlington County Police have issued a statement about the investigation via Twitter.
Yesterday, the police department was alerted to a potential threat of violence posted in a restroom at Yorktown High School. Police immediately began investigating the incident and at this time have determined that there are no credible threats to the safety of the school, (1/2)
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) March 1, 2018
students or staff. There will be extra police presence at the school on Thursday and Friday. The investigation into this incident is ongoing and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact police at 703-558-2222. (2/2)
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) March 1, 2018
Earlier: A threat scrawled on a bathroom wall has Yorktown High School on high alert.
In a letter to parents, Yorktown Principal Bridget Loft said that police are investigating and “community members may see a heightened police presence at Yorktown through the week,” but school is not being cancelled.
There has been a spike in school threats in the wake of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, including in the D.C. area. One parent said that students are in “a froth of anxiety” following the shooting.
“Some have expressed concerns about threats during a walkout protest as well, because they feel less secure outside the building,” said the parent.
An Arlington Public Schools spokesman says the threat at Yorktown is being taken seriously.
“We take threats very seriously and will continue to work with ACPD if any are made,” said Frank Bellavia. “We are asking our school community that if the hear or see something to say something to and adult or the police.”
“At this time, we are not aware of any other threats made to schools,” he added.
The full letter from Loft about the Yorktown threat is below.
Dear Yorktown Families:
Earlier today, Yorktown staff was made aware of a threat that was posted on a restroom wall indicating possible harm to the school later this week. The Arlington County Police Department was immediately made aware of the threat, and they are investigating the situation. For this reason, parents and community members may see a heightened police presence at Yorktown through the week.
We know that any rumor about a potential for violence is always alarming for our community, especially in light of the recent events in Florida. However, due to the recent events here at Yorktown, we know that emotions for our students, families, and staff have been especially heightened.
For these reasons, we wanted to share that we also learned that some students may have taken photos of what was posted and then shared those images out on social media. While we want our students always to report any threats they may see or hear about, we need to remind everyone that spreading rumors among classmates or on social media that have not been verified can create unnecessary panic and stress.
Please be assured that we always take threats of this sort very seriously. Any and all concerns about possible threats should be reported to an adult, but they should not be shared among students until we can investigate, since sharing unfounded threats will only increase anxiety for everyone.
We will continue to investigate this report and will work with the ACPD as well. If we hear more information about this threat, we will share it with you as soon as possible.
I also want to thank the Yorktown community for your support and responsiveness, and if you hear or see something that concerns you, please let me or a member of our Yorktown staff know immediately.
The Yorktown High School student rushed to the hospital last Friday died Thursday night. An Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirmed the death.
Police remained at the high school on Friday after the student was found unresponsive in a bathroom at approximately 9 a.m. Initial reports indicated that the injuries were self-inflicted.
Outside the school, students have painted her name and a heart on a large stone, as a memorial.
The following is the letter sent to parents this morning from the school’s principal, Bridget Loft. The full name of the child has been redacted to protect her identity and give the family privacy.
Dear Yorktown Families:
It is with great sadness that I must inform you that one of our 12th grade students passed away last night. She was a valued member of our community who will be greatly missed by all of us. While we are not in a position to release any more details at this time, many students are learning about this through social media. To that end, we shared the news with the entire school this morning and also let students and staff know that counselors are available should they need to talk.
Our counselors and staff from the Department of Teaching and Learning are available to meet with students who need support in dealing with this news. We will also provide additional support for staff
All Yorktown counselors, staff from the Department of Teaching and Learning and the counseling teams from Washington-Lee High School and Wakefield High School have joined us to support our students. They will be available from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday and throughout the coming week to talk with students who may need some added support.
Understanding death, especially the death of a peer, can be a very difficult experience. For that reason, we hope that you will listen to your son or daughter and talk with them about their feelings and reactions to this tragedy. We are taking every step we can to be responsive to the needs of our students and their families. Please keep us informed if there are ways we can further support your child.
Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and friends during this difficult time. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to call the school office at 703-228-5400.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 or the Department of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-228-5160. CrisisLink also has a 24-hour crisis hotline at 703-527-4077 or 800-SUICIDE, or text 703-940-0888.