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PEACE, PASSION: Second demonstration against gun violence at AHS

 Thousands March for Our Lives in Boston

Arlington High School walkout, March 15, 2018. / Vanessa Steck photo
Arlington High School walkout on March 15. / Vanessa Steck photo

Arlington parent Rebecca Riccio has provided information about March for Our Lives Boston (Facebook), set for Saturday, March 24: It stepped off from Madison Park High School, Roxbury, at 11 a.m. The program on the Common began about 2 p.m.

The Globe reported thousands at Common.

Adults are encouraged to support from behind. Students old enough to be on their own are expected to lead the march. The march route and other details are available at

Students from Arlington, including those involved in high school walkouts, say they plan to attend.

UPDATED, March 18: The second public demonstration at Arlington High School in eight days opposing gun violence drew hundreds of students and some faculty Thursday, March 15, this time with police presence.

Over 17 peaceful but passionate minutes, a series of students speakers and one faculty member expressed a unified message about what it must feel like to stare down the barrel of a gun at school. The event's minutes represented each of those killed by a teenager in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14.

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Arlington students to participate in U.N. Commission on Women

Model UN logo

Students representing the Arlington Regional Model United Nations and Civic Engagement Clubs (ARMUN) got a surprise Friday afternoon. Their director got a phone call from the U.N. in New York, inviting them to participate this Tuesday at the U.N. Commission on Women 62 NGO Forum.

After a somewhat frantic and crazy few hours of discussion and investigation into the possibilities regarding whether it was logistically possible, six students from Arlington and a young adult from Lexington are headed to New York City as fully credentialed participants in the forum.

The students are Ottoson eighth graders Juliette Ortiz, Maya Krishnan, Henar Maillo and Anya Sharif; and seventh grader Alisha Gandhi, and ninth-grade home-schooled student Charlotte Kilroy.

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For 2nd year, orthodontics practice gives $5,000 to education foundation

Amy Speare, left, AEF president; Dr. Carolyn Melita
Amy Speare, left, AEF president, with Dr. Carolyn Melita.

Since 2005, Dr. Carolyn Melita has invested in the teachers and students of the Arlington Public Schools. The owner of Belmont Orthodontics & Belmont Pediatric Dentistry since 1994 has demonstrated that commitment by donating $5,000 to the Arlington Education Foundation for the second year in a row.  

Belmont Orthodontics & Belmont Pediatric Dentistry are the foundation’s single largest benefactors, having more than doubled the lifetime charitable donations of any other foundation business partner.  

"As a member of the Arlington community, I see the impact that the Arlington Education Foundation is having in the Arlington Public Schools," Melita said in a March 16 news release.

"Their work is valuable and essential, and I am thrilled to continue to partner with them and assist with the funding needed to support critical efforts like their Safe & Supportive Schools partnership with the district. It's initiatives like this -- ones that affect the mental health of every student in the Arlington Public Schools -- that truly make a difference in our community."

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#NeverAgain: AHS walkout held -- a day after 35 join Beacon Hill protest

national walkout'we will call for stricter background checks, a higher legal age for gun purchase and the repeal of the Dickey Amendment.'


Globe, March 15, 2018: Mass. students walk out over gun violence; administrators seek balance | Walkouts nationwide

March 7, 2018: Hundreds rally at AHS opposing national gun violence

UPDATED, March 15: For 17 minutes at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 15, Arlington High School students and staff walk out of classes in support those seeking to curb mass killings, such as the one in Parkland, Fla. The event was postponed one day because a blizzzard closed schools.

A full summary with photos will be reported.

Leaders made clear earlier that this is the student's own effort, in the spirit of the national effort, but not formally connected to it.

Under the banner of #NeverAgain, the AHS walkout continues local, brief protests, including one involving 200 students Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Somerville High

The latest: Meanwhile, on Wednesday, March 14, Griffin Gould, one of the leaders of the March 7 walkout at Arlington High School, told YourArlington that, earlier today, he was with a group of about 35 AHS students who went to Beacon Hill to speak with representatives about adopting safer and more responsible gun-control laws.

Specifically, he referred to bill H3610 (Extreme Risk Protective Order), which will allow judges to confiscate weapons from unfit owners based on reports from family members or mental health experts, and bill S2325, which ensured equitable funding for schools in need.

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Online kindergarten registration for 2018-19 underway

ed admin

Online registration for kindergartners will open on Saturday, March 10. You will not be able to access online registration until that date.

In-person registration nights will be held at Central Registration Arlington High School, 869 Mass. Ave., from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, March 12 through 15. Staff will be on hand to help process the required documents.

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THIRD FORUM: 100 tour AHS, look into future; hear flexibility touted

Loosian tour 350 3718Kate Loosian, a member of the Arlington High School Building Committee, leads a tour to a crowded classroom. / Marjorie Howard photo.

Freshman Avery Spellmeyer took a group of 10 people on a tour of Arlington High School on March 5, noting columns in classrooms that obstructed a view of the teacher, dark hallways with worn floors and cracked and peeling walls.

The group saw a cafeteria designed for 375 students in a building that houses 1,320; a science classroom with outdated equipment and an auditorium that does not meet requirements for accessibility for the disabled.

"It's a dark and nasty building," Spellmeyer said, "but the school itself is good."

Tour shots >>

The group was among an estimated 100 people who went up and down some of the two dozen staircases in a building that began its life in 1914, with six buildings added chockablock from 1930 to 1980. The tours were not for those faint of breath or leg muscles, as the adults got to experience what students go through to move from class to class. After getting an idea of what the high school is like, most of those who took tours sat down in Old Hall to talk about what a new school could become.

The gathering was the third public forum held as part of a feasibility study for the Arlington High School building project. The town has been invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) process for the renovation or construction of the high school.

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Hundreds rally at AHS opposing national gun violence

Student Democrats point to similar efforts in region

Jim Miller, Griffin Gould observe silence with AHS students. / Bob Sprague photoStudents Ian Miller, left, and Griffin Gould observe an extended silence with AHS students. / Bob Sprague photo

UPDATED, March 8: Hundreds of students at Arlington High School joined a rally Wednesday, March 7, in concert with those at schools in Medford, Somerville and Cambridge to remember the 17 murdered in Parkland, Fla., and call for legislation to curb guns.

The event, led by leaders AHS Young Democrats Club, was a separate effort from the planned #NeverAgain event set for March 14.

Cambridge Day: Cambridge students join those in Somerville

A tide of students, and some faculty, rolled through the school's main entrance before 8:17 a.m., the time that the Feb. 14 Florida massacre began. The swelling throng hesitated on the steps and then washed across the front lawn, amid intermittent snow, some chanting "Enough is enough."

Sophomore Griffin Gould, an organizer of the event, took the bullhorn and announced a period of silence to remember those lost to gun violence -- which turned into lengthy, reflective quiet, with the faces of many suggesting a pallor of sadness.

Ian Miller, a senior, with a guitar slung over his shoulder, spoke: "What can you say?" Instead of the facts of continuing gun violence in America, which he said are known, "I'll give you what you don't have, and that's what I feel."

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Community forum on AHS revamp included tour

what if 400An imagined cut-away drawing by HMFH Architects of Cambridge showing how an interior of a new Arlington High might look.

UPDATED, March 5: The effort to revamp Arlington High School is moving forward with a series of forums aimed at involving the public in forming an educational vision about how to reshape the 1914 landmark. 

The third of four community forums was held Monday, March 5, and continued to focus on the vision for the new or renovated high school building. Snow date is March 12.

The evening began with tours of Arlington High School and ended with a presentation and feedback on design patterns. Tours started at 7 p.m. in the foyer of the main entrance of the high school and end in Old Hall for a short Q&A about AHS (from what people saw on the tours) with the AHS principal and superintendent and then move into a discussion about design patterns and desires for the future AHS.

David Stephen from New Vista Design facilitated the second half of the evening leading an interactive discussion about potential design patterns and ideas for the future facility. 

District leaders and representatives from HMFH Architects (project architect) and Skanska (Owner's Project Manager) were on hand to answer questions.

This is the third in a series of public forums to gather community input for the future renovated/rebuilt Arlington High School. The next forum will be held April 4. 

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February Citizens of the Month at AHS: 3 lifesavers

Principal Matt JangerJanger

The Student Council is proud to present a special edition of the Citizen of the Month award to Patrick Gallagher, Alan Lee and Alex Hewes.

Several weeks ago, these boys were outside Arlington High School and found a man lying unconscious in front of the school. Patrick, using his skills learned in his AHS gym class, administered CPR to the man, while Alan dialed 911. Alex later arrived on the scene and assisted the other two. By using what they were taught in their physical education classes, the boys were able to save this man's life.

Thank you Patrick, Alan and Alex for being exemplary members of our school and town community. We commend you for your bravery to step forward and help a person of the community in need.

As February comes to an end, we will now begin accepting nominations for our March Citizen of the Month. Please take the few minutes to nominate AHS Students who:

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New principal for Ottoson coming from Dover Sherborn in July

Brian MerinMeringer: Help successful transition

ACMI report with photo, video >>

UPDATED, Feb. 19: Brian Meringer has accepted the position of principal of Ottoson Middle School, the Arlington Public Schools announced Friday, Feb. 16. Currently assistant headmaster of the Dover Sherborn Middle School, he will officially assume his responsibilities as principal on July 1. 

In response to a request for comment, Meringer wrote: "I am thrilled to be named the principal of the Ottoson Middle School. During the interview process, I was extremely impressed with the staff, parents, and students that I met.

"I am looking forward to listening and learning from the Ottoson Community, in order to help the school successfully transition to a two grade schools."

In making this announcement, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie noted his record of high achievement in his current and previous positions. "Ottoson Middle School will benefit from a highly capable, student focused and proven school leader as it transitions next year to a grade seven and eight school. Mr. Meringer comes with high praise from his colleagues, students, and community and we look forward to him filling this key role on the leadership team for the district."

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Public sessions added for school-budget input, information

Kirsi Allison-Ampe, chair of the School Committee's budget subcommittee, invites parents and community members to budget information sessions.

School Committee logo

School Budget logoLearn about the budgeting process for the Arlington Public Schools, the outlook for next year's budget and ask questions or suggest priorities.

A School Committee member will give a brief presentation at each session and bring comments back to the full Committee. Parents and community members are welcome to attend sessions at other schools, not just their own. Those involved appreciate the generosity of our host PTOs. The meetings are set for:

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January Citizen of the Month at AHS: Xavier Jacob-Dolan

Principal Matt JangerJanger

The Student Council is proud to announce Xavier Jacob-Dolan as Arlington High School’s January Citizen of the Month, AHS Principal Matt Janger announced Wednesday, Jan. 31.

Xavier was nominated by his peers. He is known by his classmates to “cares about everyone inside and outside of AHS.”

We want to thank him for creating a wonderful sense of community and bringing joy to everyone around him, for “always being positive and spreading that positivity to his peers” and being a great community leader and role model. “He exemplifies his immense pride in the AHS community by participating in volleyball, taking leadership in badminton club, and working hard in all his classes.”

Thank you, Xavier, for your constant efforts to make AHS a more positive and welcoming environment.

As January comes to an end, we will now begin accepting nominations for our February Citizen of the Month.

Please take the few minutes to nominate AHS Students who:

Read more ...

3 finalists in principal search at Ottoson

Eileen Driscoll WoodsInterim Woods

Bishop leader tells staff why he withdrew

UPDATED, Jan. 25: The search committee for the Ottoson principal position has named four finalists, and the public can expect to meet three of them Wednesday, Jan. 24, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the media center.

The schedule for the candidates was Donna Martin (6:30), Brian Meringer (7:15), Elizabeth Golden (8). The fourth, Bishop Principal Mark McAneny, has withdrawn.

Dr. Eileen Driscoll Woods, who has served in the position on an interim basis over the past two years after Timothy Ruggere left, confirmed McAneny had withdrawn, adding she did not know why. 

McAneny shared with YourArlington a letter to his staff sent last Sunday titled "Withdrawing Candidacy From OMS Search":

"Although it was my hope to further and grow my career by focusing on the work needed at the OMS, I have come to realize that my heart, passion, and commitment is with the Bishop community. With this said and with much thought, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy from the OMS Principal search.

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Japanese Language School in Arlington receives $500 grant from Harvard Pilgrim foundation


Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has announced that the Japanese Language School of Greater Boston Inc. in Arlington was awarded $500 from the foundation's Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant program.

The funds will provide students with new computers to assist in language learning.

Daniel Glushkov, an employee of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, nominated the organization for the award.

To commemorate those Harvard Pilgrim members who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, Harvard Pilgrim and the foundation created the 9/11 grant program. This allows each Harvard Pilgrim employee to award a $500 grant, completely funded by the foundation, to the local charity of his or her choice each calendar year.

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Who were the interns from AHS serving this fall?

intern 150 012018Alex Coats interns with town animal control.

Interns from Arlington High School earn credit for serving in a variety of capacities with local organizations and businesses.

Melanie Konstandakis, an AHS social-studies teacher who directs the program, handed out certificates to interns Jan. 11. She provided a full list of interns and who they served for fall 2017.

See a series of photos of the interns >>

Bridget Carney, Lynn and Jen's dance studio

Winston Chen, Arlington Engineering Office

Read more ...

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