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School news

Sitework for construction of new AHS: Through week of Jan. 24

Saturday work continues

AHS project logo

UPDATED Jan. 21: Preliminary sitework for rebuilding Arlington High School began in late February 2020, and, late that year, residents saw steel rising for one one wing. That work, Phase 1 sitework, is finished. Construction for phase 1 began in November 2020 and is nearing completion.

Construction work hours are expected to be Monday through Friday. Saturday work returned Nov. 7, 2020, and is required for the foreseeable future. 

See the new school taking shape by reading the update and viewing the photos through the week of Jan. 24 >>

Read more ...

As new AHS readies wings for February transition, forum Tuesday

AHS project logoEntrance at new AHS, November 2021.

UPDATED Jan. 18:  The first wings of the new high school are to open after February break, followed by phase 2 of construction soon after.

To prepare, a second virtual community forum is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25. Access the forum here >>

Replays of the first forum, in December, are available below (scroll down) and on the project's website >> The January forum will cover new information and additional details, including:

What families and students can expect when moving into the new buildings;

A preview of what phase 2 construction will entail; and

Ample time for questions -- which you can submit here >> 

Both forums are available in six languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and American Sign Language.

ACMi will broadcast the forums live on the Government Channel (Comcast ch. 22, RCN ch. 614, Verizon ch. 26) and recordings will be posted on the AHS project website at www.ahsbuilding.org.

Read more ...

AHS Class of '72 to hold 50th reunion in June

Reunion logo

The Arlington High School Class of 1972 will hold its 50th reunion on Friday, June 3, at the Arlington Town Hall Gardens and Auditorium.

The evening will begin with cocktails and music outdoors at the Menotomy Fountain Gardens followed by hors d'oeuvres, music and dancing in the Robbins Memorial Town Hall Auditorium.

In the light of this special anniversary, all proceeds from the reunion will be donated to Arlington High School’s John L. Asinari Scholarship Fund. The scholarship benefits Arlington residents studying in premedical programs as undergraduates or attending medical school. 

John L. Asinari, 20, an accomplished member of the Class of 1972, was a premedical student majoring in biology at MIT. He died on March 22, 1975, from injuries he sustained when he and a fellow MIT student were abducted and attacked by four youths.

To honor their only child, John’s late parents, Eleanor and Louis E. Asinari, founded the John L. Asinari Scholarship Fund.

Read more ...

Covid tests didn't delay public schools' reopening

School Committee logo
'We are hopeful that we will be able to return to a regular schedule on Wednesday.'

-- Elizabeth Homan

Early releases today, Tuesday

Arlington Public Schools plan to return from the holiday break on schedule, Jan. 3, but both Monday and Tuesday will be early release days.

“We are committed to staying open and will do everything we can to ensure that we can continue to operate. We are hopeful that we will be able to return to a regular schedule on Wednesday,” schools Superintendent Elizabeth Homan wrote in an email Jan. 1.

YourArlington on Dec. 31 had asked her for comment after Lexington and Burlington schools were expected to be closed Monday, because officials said they could not respond quickly enough to distribute Covid tests, partner Patch reported.

Meanwhile, BostonGlobe.com reported Dec. 31 that Massachusetts officials on Friday rebuffed calls by the state’s largest teachers' union for schools to remain closed Monday, following a snag in the state’s plan to provide Covid-19 rapid-test kits to educators before classes resume.

A delay in receiving the promised kits prompted some districts to cancel classes on their own, to allow time for employees to ensure they are virus free before returning to work after the holiday break, the Globe reported.

But the office of state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley doubled down on its plan to forge ahead with classes, saying Friday that shutting schools for an additional day would be “to the extreme detriment of our children,” it repirted.

Read more ...

Arlington Education Foundation awards more than $155K

To broaden innovation, district planning

AEF logo

Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) has committed more than $155,000 in support of an Arlington Public Schools' distinct vision and strategic-planning grant, in addition to  many programs that will enhance learning at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  

An investment grant for $117,400 was awarded to the public schools for district vision and planning.  AEF, in collaboration with Envision Arlington, supports new school superintendent, Dr. Elizabeth Homan, as she leads the district through a strategic planning process that will enable identification of priority initiatives over the next five years. 

This grant allows the district to retain an external facilitator to engage a diverse group of APS staff, town leaders, community members and students on the visioning process. Work on the five-year district plan will begin as early as this month.

Read more ...

Feedback deadline passes for $1M Stratton safe routes project

Sign at Stratton School

UPDATED Nov. 23:  The Town of Arlington held a public meeting Wednesday, Nov. 10, to share information and gather feedback about a $1 million Safe Routes to School infrastructure project for areas near the Stratton Elementary School. 

A survey and comment form are available to provide feedback to the project design consultant by noon Friday, Nov. 19. Read more about this project, access the project information page, and find the link to the comment form here >> 

In 2019, the town received a state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Safe Routes to School award to fund new sidewalks, sidewalk repairs and safe roadway crossings near the Stratton Elementary School. The updated project scope includes a fully accessible walking route for children and others walking in the Stratton School area along Hemlock Street between Brattle Street and Dickson Avenue, along Dickson Avenue between Hemlock Street and Mountain Avenue, and along Mountain Avenue to Wheeler Lane. 

The revised estimated project cost is $1,072,752. The project is shown in figure 1 and in the Project FAQ

Read more ...

Thompson ventilation issues send students home early Monday

Thompson School

With an abundance of caution during a lessening pandemic, school officials Monday, Nov. 15, sent students home early at Thompson after ventilation issues drew concerns.

Parents were not immediately informed, and that led to questions on social media that day.

Superintendent Elizabeth Homan responded Tuesday, Nov. 16, after YourArlington received no answer from Thompson Principal Karen Donato.

“We released Thompson elementary school early yesterday [at 11:45 a.m.] due to concerns about the ventilation system. We had evidence that while rooms were receiving adequate outdoor and filtered air, the exhaust may not have been functioning properly,” she wrote.

Read more ...

AEF brings community, Dr. Homan together

AEF logo

Join the Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) for a free, outdoor community event to welcome Dr. Elizabeth Homan, the new  superintendent of the Arlington Public Schools.

The event is set for Tuesday, Oct. 19, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., in the Winfield Robbins Memorial Garden, the park between Town Hall and the Robbins Library.

Read more ...

Who's new in town's public schools? See list of 150

“We are happy that in a very challenging recruiting year for schools, we have been able to attract very talented employees to join the Arlington Public Schools.”

       -- Robert Spiegel
Back-to-school logo

Arlington Public Schools has been hiring for its campuses and central office in a major way over the past three months, and isn’t done yet. Starting July 1, the district hired a new superintendent, some 50 teachers and dozens more employees in varied roles.

 A chart from earlier this month, which provides a snapshot in time, lists 150 names. See them all below.

Among those are four more assistant principals, so now all elementary campuses have full-time assistant principals, according to Director of Human Resources Robert Spiegel. 

New hires include a director of diversity, equity and inclusion; a director of the METCO program, which facilitates bringing young people of color from Boston to study in Arlington; a director of nursing; and a director of digital learning, Spiegel pointed out via email.

Read more ...

MCAS scores statewide drop in pandemic year; Arlington discussion next month

MCAS logoUPDATED, Sept. 22: The spring scores for the standardized test that many hate and others tolerate were released Tuesday, Sept. 21, and the big picture wasn't promising, YourArlington partner Patch reports.

State education officials said results showed that "many more students had gaps in their knowledge of math and, to a lesser extent, English language arts" compared to scores from 2019, which was the last year MCAS was administered. The test was skipped in 2020 due to the pandemic forcing a shift to remote learning.

Parents and guardians are to get the scores Sept. 30. The Arlington School Committee is to discuss them in October. Here are results reported by The Globe (scroll down in each case to see Arlington):

Read more ...

3 AHS students semifinalists in 2022 merit scholarships

School-awards logo

Three Arlington High School students have been named semifinalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship competition -- Victor Q. Chen, Alessandro M. Drake and Katerina R. Shubochkin.

The students are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th annual program, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced Wednesday, Sept. 15.

In a news release, the corporation said, "These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring."

Read more ...

Dallin School meeting on new arrival, dismissal plan held

Dallin Museum after 2016 renovation

Aims to improve school-zone safety

UPDATED, Aug. 24: The Dallin School is the host for a community meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, to discuss a new plan to improve safety during arrival and dismissal hours. All are invited to attend via Zoom. Meeting details are available at arlingtonma.gov

Changes to the arrival/dismissal plan are recommended as a result of an audit by the state Department of Transportation Safe Routes to Schools Program. Proposed changes include options to alter traffic flow on George Street, create a car-free zone, or designate specific areas for bus and family vehicle drop-off and pick-up. The goal of these proposed changes is to improve safety for Dallin’s 425 students by reducing traffic conflicts and vehicle congestion for a more orderly arrival/dismissal process.

Read more ...

RETURN TO CLASSES: Public schools, town services update draft health report

Covid-19 image
"We appreciate the community's patience as we work diligently to deliver this collaborative plan."
-- Elizabeth Homan

UPDATED, Aug. 11: Schools Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Homan and Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno have issued an update on return-to-school plans, along with updated Covid-19 safety recommendations and guidance for residents.

The plan, made public Saturday, July 31, as a draft, focuses on health and safety protocols, approaches to assessment and instruction, as well as support necessary for students' academic and mental health. See the more formal draft in the link below.


Aug. 12 draft plan documents >>


Arlington Public Schools is developing this return plan alongside the town Department of Health and Human Services while following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state Department of Public Health.

Read more ...

HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING

An in-depth look at new public-school superintendent

Dr. Elizabeth Homan, marathonerDr. Elizabeth Homan, marathoner.

UPDATED, July 21: One day before she officially became Arlington’s top education official, Dr. Elizabeth Homan posted a video to introduce herself as schools superintendent, and in it she mentions almost immediately, “You all can call me Liz.”

The video is accessible in five languages. As of July 17, the English-language version had 852 views, the Spanish version 14 views, the Portuguese version 12 views and the Mandarin and Japanese version 29 views each. That is nearly 1,000 views in less than three weeks.

In the seven-plus minutes of the video, she gives an overview of her life and career, explains her three core values of equity, empathy and excellence, and walks the viewer through her four-phase entry plan for leading the district and shows photographs of her husband, their two preschoolers and the family pet.(That last one would be Gertrude the dog, who stars in 21 clips on Homan’s personal YouTube channel, which went online in 2009.)

Read more ...

Student from Arlington gets merit scholarship

School-awards logoEthan David Staff of Arlington is among more than 1,000 additional winners of national merit scholarships financed by colleges and
universities, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. has announced.

The student at Lexington Christian Academy expects to pursue computer programming. The scholarship is for Northeastern University.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a private research university in Boston. It is a leader in interdisciplinary and use-inspired research, urban engagement and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. 

Read more ...

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Latest Comments

Steve Berczuk For town housing, move beyond critique to solutions
23 January 2022
Also: I was reacting to the comment that I made an incorrect "accusation" which I take seriously. Looking at the two articles again, my "facts straight" comment was about this sentence "This draft rep...
Steve Berczuk For town housing, move beyond critique to solutions
23 January 2022
My comment about facts was more about the followup analysis, rather than whether the report met state guidelines, and I didn't check on the state rules for the draft report. In M. Seltzer's article, ...
Don Seltzer For town housing, move beyond critique to solutions
22 January 2022
Mr. Berczuk accuses me of not getting the facts straight when I wrote that the draft Plan does not meet the State requirement "At a minimum, the Plan must examine...The capacity of the infrastructure ...

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