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  • School vision logo

    New school year -- old educational questions

    Education. We pretend it begins for youngsters in September, when the leaves turn, but it continues through all of our season, every minute of every day, for everyone. Learning persists for two reasons -- human curiosity and technological change (you can't stop either one, but notice which is first). Shouldn't a third factor be classroom teachers? Good ones can have a lifelong effect, but our curiosity is the best guide, as technology draws us, often in too many directions, in the classroom that is everywhere. As Arlington schools open Tuesday, Sept. 2, what happens there is sliver of the educational story, albeit a key one for residents. Still, let's take a quick look at the new school year -- and then peer more broadly beyond it. ...

  • Pondering Our Future logo

    Spaced out? Many artists, but resistant owners

    Does Arlington have the imagination to embrace co-working? The town is trying to find out and held a forum in June attended by about 30 people. Read a summary of comments from some of the attendees here >>  See what properties in town may be available here >> Following publication, Eric Love, present at the forum, provided a brief critique. His LARP Adventure Program, aims to spur imaginations. ...

  • Arlington election logo

    Primary letters -- all welcome -- 8 ask you to vote for Berwick

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at Here are eight supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. Send letters supporting any candidate in the primary. 'It's not just talk' Don Berwick, Democratic candidate for governor, speaks boldly about values and making Massachusetts a beacon for the nation. It’s not just talk -- he has met bold goals throughout his career.  Don is a creative leader with wise judgment and deep executive experience in complex bureaucracies, including as President Obama’s head of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that vast $800 billion federal agency.  His vision includes single-payer healthcare for Massachusetts, and he is the one candidate who understands how to make that happen; and, why it must happen, as rising healthcare costs consume o ...

  • Film reviews logo

    Review, ‘Life of Crime’: Leonard’s crew back at shenanigans

    This review by Tom Meek, a writer living in Cambridge, was originally published at Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner, and is republished with permission. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in The Boston Phoenix, The Rumpus, Thieves Jargon, Film Threat and Open Windows. He is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TBMeek3 and read more at Elmore Leonard, the beloved master crime and western novelist, transcended seamlessly the divide between pulp and celluloid. His career is littered with great novels that became great movies (“Get Shorty,” “Jackie Brown” and “Out of Sight” to name a few), a smattering of original screenplays (“Joe Kidd”) and even took a few turns as producer. Cormac McCarthy might be his only peer. ...

  • Image of leaves

    Searching for an Arlington poet laureate: YOU?

    Are you a poet -- and you do know it? What have you written? Anything published? Inquiring minds want to know. Rumor has it that Arlington could have its own poet laureate, perhaps next year. Could that be you? ...

  • Arlington election logo

    8 ask you to vote for Berwick; letters for others welcome

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at Here are eight supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. Only candidate to oppose casinos   I write in support of Don Berwick for governor. I support Don because he is the only candidate for governor opposed to casinos. In a strong field of likable candidates, this is decisive for me. I saw the Detroit casino pull the life out of the Greektown neighborhood there, so that it looked like a bombed out war zone. ...

  • Chris Loreti, former Redevelopment Board member

    Loreti to seek Town Meeting article targeting assessors' fiasco

    Loreti The following opinion column by Christopher Loreti of Adams Street was first published in The Arlington Advocate, on Aug. 14, under the headline "It’s Time to Professionalize Arlington’s Board of Assessors." The full column, which includes a paragraph about YourArlington deleted from The Advocate's version, is republished here with permission. In January 2012, the state Department of Revenue provided to Arlington a “Town and School Finance Analysis,” which included several recommendations for restructuring town government. The report contained two recommendations related to the Board of Assessors. The first of these recommendations was that the town make the director of assessments position an appointment of the Town Manager instead of the Board of Assessors. The second was that the town consider changing the Board of Assessors from an elected to an appointed board. The actions of the Board of Assessors in recent months make it clear that the town needs to move forward w ...

  • Domestic-violence logo

    New law curbs domestic-violence reports: What about sexual-assault case?

    A new law, signed Aug. 8 by Governor Patrick, requires law enforcement to keep domestic-violence cases off public police logs initially, and the Arlington police department is complying. That means details about domestic violence reported to police are not immediately available to the media -- or to you. Had the law been in effect June 1, information about a sexual-assault case in East Arlington would have been delayed. Chief Fred Ryan reached out to area media outlets Aug. 12, alerting them about the law and asking for feedback. He explained: ...

  • 2014 Arlington Cal Ripken champs

    How about honoring this team, Arlington?

    The Arlington National U12 All-Stars baseball team did not win the 2014 Cal Ripken World Series, but the boys had one doozy of a ride. They had four wins in a row until they ran into a then-unbeaten Bronx squad and a heartbreaking, double come-from-behind 7-6 loss to a Florida team. No need to cry. What the team has done is remarkable. The town should recognize their on-the-diamond accomplishments, just as occurred in 2008, when an Arlington Cal Ripken team went to the Series. There was a parade down Mass. Ave. Officials spoke on the steps at Town Hall. It was August then, as it is now. You can read brief summaries about how the 2014 team played out in the Series here >> This is a story that The Advocate or Patch have yet to report. In the photo from left in rear are manager John Messuri, Coach Scott Jones, Spencer Friedman, James Santagati, Brendan Jones, Sam Theodore, Timothy Mazzei, Patrick Masci, Coach Rich Flynn; in front are Timothy Shaw, Jacob Ahern, Caden FitzPa ...

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 Tuesday Sept. 2, 2014 |  12:13:05 p.m.
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World language logo

Principals express some cautions

Six parents supported by about 30 people have publicly urged the School Committee to consider establishing a one-year pilot program for foreign-language immersion classes for elementary students next September.

All six touted the benefits of giving children an early start on a foreign language. Melissa Tintocalis said such learning, which she called "a vision of the future," helps trains young students to juggle information effectively.

Later in the Thursday, Dec. 6, meeting, after principals made a presentation about the fiscal 2014 school budget, the elementary school leaders indicated support for foreign languages. One urged parents backing this effort to take the long view. Two noted that more immediate help for English language learners is needed.

Parents made their pitch during public participation. By policy, the committee does not respond directly to comments made then.

Amy Gear reported that two surveys of parents both showed 95 percent support for such a program. She said that issues involved, including equity and cost, could be overcome.

Tintocalis and Gear both apologized for presenting the parents' petition via The online activist site known for attracting spam was the subject of some complaints last week on the Arlington email list. Gear emphasized that parents were seeking a collaborative approach.

Parent Erin Goodman asked for a show of hands among those in the School Committee Room, and about 30 responded.

David von Schack, a Bishop parent whose children also speak German, noted how such a program aids English learning.

Scott Lever moved to Arlington three years ago. He grew up in town and attended the Junior High East, where he took French but didn't use the opportunity to his best advantage.

The last parent to speak, Monika Musial-Souk, who has two children, one of them at Hardy, has a home in which Spanish is spoken.

Following budget presentations from principals at Ottoson and Arlington High as well as those representing the seven elementary schools, Kirsi Allison-Ampe, the committee chairwoman, asked principals for their reactions to the parents' proposal.

Sheri Donovan, Thompson School principal, said: "We do not support the ELL program the way we should." Her school has a large number of students for whom English is not a first language.

Michael Hanna, the Stratton principal, had more to say. He made clear he backed the enthusiasm of parents seeking the pilot, but he drew on personal experience.

"I was involved in an effort like this" in a previous position, he said, adding that it did not work out, because it had been "rushed" and there had not been enough details worked out.

He said he would emphasize a program that involved "all children."

Stephanie Zerchykov, Brackett's principal, said she supports Donovan's comment. She called the equity issue "pretty important." She also asked: "Where's the time [in the school day] going to come from?"

Allison-Ampe said the committee had to be aware of its budget.

The group of parents, educators and community members seek a program that offers language immersion; a traditional model, known as foreign language at the elementary schools; and after-school options, beginning with a pilot immersion program at the kindergarten level next September.

Last Sept. 3, the School Committee made a formal request to Superintendent Kathleen Bodie that a task force explore the feasibility with a report and recommendation due this December. To date, three formal task force meetings have been held. Parents have organized house meetings, coffee meet-ups and two communitywide meetings.

This story was published Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.



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