UPDATED, Oct. 22: The town plans to reopen the revamped Whittemore Park with a celebration of the completion of phase 1 set for Monday, Oct. 25 at 9:30 a.m. (Rain date Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 3 p.m.).
UPDATED Oct. 22: The Covid-delayed season of CBS-TV's "Survivor" launched Sept. 22 with 18 new castaways, including Arlington resident Evvie Jagoda, and she continues to survive. Read an erxplanation about removing "Come on in, guys" >>
A doctoral student in the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard, the 28-year-old offers well-defined opinions as she pits brains against brawn vying for $1 million in segments filmed in Fiji.
In an online interview, Entertainment Weekly asked for three words that describe her, and she responded: "Extroverted, enthusiastic, smart."
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.
UPDATED, Oct. 21: To the surprise of no one, Arlington results on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS test, were generally lower this year compared to those of two years ago, administrators told the Arlington School Committee on Thursday, Oct. 14.
The 2021 scores were compared to 2019 because those were the most recent ones available. Because of the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, and with all instruction having been virtual in spring 2020, the tests were skipped last year.
Generally, math scores slipped more than English-language scores.
Testing was done in late spring in grades three through eight, and in 10th grade. Of the younger students, some 20 percent took the test remotely, while the 10th graders took the test on campus.
Those speaking Thursday had different perspectives about the scores, their meanings and how the district should help kids to catch up.
“There’s not that much of a difference,” said Assistant Superintendent Roderick MacNeal Jr., noting that, even with lower numbers, “All groups performed higher than the state” average as a whole.
UPDATED, Oct. 15: The School Committee has recognized Thompson teacher Sarah Marie Jette, named a semifinalist for state Teacher of the Year.
"I want to take a minute to applaud" the third-generation educator, Superintendent Elizabeth Homan, who herself is a third-generation educator, told the committee Thursday, Oct. 14.
Mrs. Jette said that, while she obviously was not happy that the pandemic occurred, she improved her professional abilities by successfully dealing with that challenge. "I learned so much. I grew so much," she told the seven committee members.
In interacting with her third-grade students, she listened intently to them. "Every question mattered. Every question mattered. It was such community," she said.
She noted that for pupils aged only 8 years old, the Covid-19 crisis has been a huge event in their childhoods. "A quarter of their lives have been lived in a global pandemic," she noted.
UPDATED, Oct. 15: Arlington’s Select Board decided Wednesday, Oct. 13, to maintain all 21 town precincts, rather than reduce the number to 16, in a 4–1 vote (Len Diggins voted no). The specific boundary lines will be discussed at a future board meeting.
“A change from 21 to 16 precincts isn’t what most people want,” said board Chair Steve DeCourcey.
Board member Diane Mahon said, “The Finance Committee will have a disastrous result if we support 16 precincts.” The Finance Committee has one representative from each precinct.
“We also need to pay attention to long-range planning, because we’re looking at a massive override, three to four times more than we’ve ever asked. This isn’t the right time for this,” added Mahon.
Town Moderator John Leone also spoke in favor of maintaining the current number of precincts. “I recommend keeping the 21 precincts to keep the continuity of the past 50 years. The financial savings are a minuscule part of the town’s budget, and the mail-in costs are the same, not decreased, because it’s the same number of voters. Cutting out 12 Town Meeting members affects the quorum, and with approximately 60 town committees, it will affect the pool of applicants. Furthermore, we’d have to change all the Finance Committee’s bylaws.”
The Arlington Historical Society has been awarded $39,236 from the Institute of Museum & Library Services' “Inspire! Grants for Small Museums” to digitize and rehouse 1,352 objects in its collection. The effort includes complete removal, inventory, installation and rehousing of high-density rolling shelving.
This project is a small subset of its collection of 17,976 local-history materials. The 1,352 objects consist of mainly material culture objects that are all in one of three small collections storage rooms. These objects are the most at risk for potential collections-management issues related to substandard storage furniture, crowded conditions and minimal cataloging. This winter the society will undertake a complete rehousing and associated inventory and digitization of these objects that have not been adequately documented in its modern database.
The Arlington Redevelopment Board on Monday, Oct. 4, meeting in remote session, heard a report about urban renewal and blighted areas from Jenny Raitt, planning director.
She said the town's board was the first combined planning and redevelopment authority in Massachusetts, established in 1971. Members of the board discussed the implications of the report, and one member asked whether the Mugar site could fall under urban renewal (she said it can).
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