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Foundation grant backs remote-learning professional development

AEF logo54 town educators enrolled at Harvard

The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) has awarded a $12,000 grant to the Arlington Public Schools to fund a course on remote-learning strategies for educators.

Fifty-four Arlington educators are currently enrolled in the monthlong course titled “Developing Strategies for Online Teaching and Learning,” offered by the Harvard School of Education. 

AEF made this large-scale professional-developmental opportunity possible this summer because the school district faces extraordinary challenges because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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School-meal deliveries continue through summer via partnership

Part of school is the familiarity and comfort of school lunches, so we have tried to maintain that for kids during this uncertain time."                   -- Denise Boucher, director of food services

EATS logo Since April, the Arlington public school system has provided weekly deliveries of free breakfasts and lunches to children and teens facing food insecurity in Arlington. This program will continue through the summer.

This continuing program means Arlington EATS will not run a separate summer lunch program this year.

All children and teens up through age 18 can receive meals through this program, regardless of whether they attend public schools or are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Families can sign up to receive weekly deliveries using this form, which is short and requires no financial information.

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School leaders see hope in race gap as discipline numbers narrow

A black teen known for “attitude” spoke out of turn and got a detention. A white teen with his own issues did, too, and faced no consequences.

Out-of-school suspensions by race

Was dealing discipline this way racist? Depending on the circumstances, it could be, and the Arlington Public Schools are taking steps to address it.

At a 90-minute virtual “community conversation” Wednesday, July 15, attended by 200 people at its height, a series of administrators took on “disproportionality” – that is the ongoing ways that shape how discipline is meted out fairly – or not.

Based on their comments and the numbers presented, the proportions between white and nonwhite students are narrowing.

From 2017 through 2020, the overall number of detentions and suspensions at the high school have declined.

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Virtual reunion held: AEC, Model U.N., Roots-Shoots

A virtual reunion of alums from various programs is set for 7 p.m. Sunday, July 26, EDT, on Zoom.

Model UN logoInvolved are the Arlington Enrichment Collaborative (AEC) middle-school after-school program, as well as its former staff; alumni of the Model United Nations and Roots and Shoots programs, which ran as part of AEC and continued after it, and from all the years of ARMUN (Arlington Regional Model United Nations & Civic Engagement Clubs).

A number of former students from both programs decided they wanted to do this, and several former staff have agreed to participate along with a sizable group of students who are scattered all over the U.S. and beyond.

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Foundation targets $56.5K grant to public-school safety

AEF logoThird, final award, fulfilling AEF’s total $200,000pledge.

The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) in June awarded the Arlington Public Schools a grant of $56,500 to support the ongoing work of Safe & Supportive Schools, a districtwide, multiyear initiative focused on student mental health and community engagement. The most recent grant is the third and final award, fulfilling AEF’s total pledge of $200,000.

In 2017, AEF committed to a District Investment Grant of $200,000 to fund instituting Safe & Supportive Schools within the town's public schools. The first phase of the grant was for $100,500 and funded Youth Mental Health First-Aid training for more than 300 APS staff. The second phase of the grant began last fall. AEF granted $43,000 to support community outreach and engagement around youth mental-health issues. Because of Covid-19, however, the main event to connect with the community had to be postponed. This event, known as ENGAGE: A Parent University, is now scheduled to occur next May.

In the current and final stage of Safe & Supportive Schools, APS will benefit from consultation with Education Everywhere to create deep and sustainable awareness of and support for youth mental health throughout the town's public schools.

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Estimated 300 attend Black Student Union protest, march

Kristin Chalmers' photos >> | NAACP video of some speakers >> | 2,000 march in Cambridge >>

Protesters at Black Student Union protest, June 20, 2020./ Susan Gilbert photoProtesters at Black Student Union protest in front of Town Hall on June 20. / Susan Gilbert photo

UPDATED, June 22: Black student leaders at Arlington High School held a peacful protest from noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20, starting at Town Hall. An estimated 300 people of all ages and backgrounds attended, despite temperatures in the 90s.

The event posted on Facebook was called "Arlington Activates." The Black Alum of Arlington, in support of the Black Student Union, was the host for the protest and march to address systemic racism within the Arlington Public Schools.

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Bodie denies claim about racial data made by former specialist

A former data specialist for the Arlington Public Schools who is black has alleged in a video posted to social media that the school superintendent asked him not to dig too deeply into district racial data after he said he questioned its integrity.

School Committee logoRemy

Kathleen BodieBodie

Asked about the explosive claim, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie emphatically denied she said that during the employement of Jean Mike Remy from 2015 to 2017. In a statement to YourArlington, she wrote, "The former employee’s allegations are not accurate; at no time did I say that we were not going to look deeply at the data because we have done so for many years."

Remy makes his claims in a 6:26-minute Instagram video, which you can watch here >> In the video, he says that "he just wants to speak this truth, especially today."

That includes describing his work collecting sensitive data about race and discipline for state and federal reports. He says the data with which he worked "was in such disarray," in 2016-17, and he sought to "improve the data integrity to make sure we had actionable numbers." He said that while compiling numbers for a Civil Right Data Collection report, he saw that, of about 1,400 students in the district, 3 percent were black, Hispanic or special education, but they reflected 80 percent of the suspensions and expulsions.

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AHS graduation: Auto parade, video streaming

Watch ACMi showing car caravan >>

UPDATED, June 7: Members of Arlington High School's Class of 2020 and their families know what to expect for graduation.

In a bittersweet message, Principal Matthew Janger has written: “This should be a time of happiness and celebrations for the class of 2020. Despite the challenges we are all facing, the Arlington High School community is committed to making this a special time for you to remember” – holding a graduation ceremony on the originally scheduled weekend, June 6 and 7. 

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For AHS seniors, a small gesture looms large

As quickly as Covid-19 tore loose Arlington High School senior traditions this spring, positive forces sprang into action -- school staff, imaginative parents, volunteers.

Gifts await seniors at AHS.Gifts await seniors at AHS.

Among them was Lori Pescatore, who has coordinated the Last Blast, the annual all-night senior party following graduation. The coronavirus had closed schools in March, and of course derailed commencement rituals, include the parent-chaperoned "blast."

What to do?

Paul McKnight, the Collomb House dean, got in touch with Pescatore and told her about the idea to celebrate he had heard about in nearby towns: give gifts of up to $50 recognizing AHS seniors, showing how the community feels for what these kids are all missing.  

To get the word out, on May 2, Pescatore created a Facebook group, whose final name was "Sponsor an Arlington High Senior -- Support Our Ponders." See it here >> She invited friends, who invited more friends. Those signing up emailed Pescatore, who assign each a senior. She kept track on a Google Sheet.

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Foundation awards over $10K in grants to town's public schools

The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) has completed its spring grants cycle and has awarded a total of $10,310 in two grant categories, Innovations in Education and the Continuing Scholar Award.

AEF logo“AEF is proud to continue its mission to support Arlington's public school teachers and administrators despite the current school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We look

forward to schools reopening and these exciting new opportunities getting underway at that time,” remarked Julia Schilling, AEF president, in a May 21 news release.

Innovations in Education grants support innovative teaching and learning in classrooms throughout the district. This spring there were four such grants awarded:

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For AHS seniors -- and everyone else

Katie Chang

Kevin Wetmore has produced a video for Arlington Community Media inc. (ACMi) that all connected to Arlington High School should see.

The 7 1/2-half-minute clip is titled "Arlington High School Class of 2020 Appreciation."

See it and weep --  or cheer.

Click here >> 

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Parmenter School renovations underway

Renovations at Parmenter School, at Irving and Academy streets, are set to begin Monday, March 16.

AHS project logo

 Construction work hours will be Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some Saturday work may be required as the schedule develops.

Material deliveries and other work will be coordinated around the school and traffic schedules to create as little disruption as possible.

The renovation is part of the project to rebuilding Arlington High School and will provide temporary housing of Menotomy Preschool, whiuch has long been at AHS. 

Read the abutter letter at

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First in 5 years: Gibbs, Ottoson in state math competition

UPDATED, Feb. 17: For the first time in five years, Arlington will be represented at the Mathcounts state contest. 

Ottoson logo

Results were better than expected for Arlington, wrote the teams' coach, parent volunteer Jon McIntyre. The Gibbs team secured one of the two statewide wildcards, and seventh grader Kenneth Lu of Ottoson grabbed one of the eight statewide individual wildcards.

The state contest is set for Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, on Saturday, March 7.

Going to Wentworth from Gibbs are Jiahe Liu, Xitiz Shakya, You-Yan Wang and Yaxin Zhang. See a photo of the teams here >>

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Education foundation awards $16K in grants to public schools

The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) has awarded $16,000 for six Innovations in Education grants that will affect students across the school district.

AEF logoFitness, music, biotech, reading, therapy dog, warriors

“These grants represent the vast learning experiences made possible by AEF, from biotechnology at the high school to multicultural reading at Ottoson to individualized fitness in elementary schools. We are grateful to the teachers who apply for our grants and are excited to watch these programs develop,” said Julia Schilling, AEF president, in a Jan. 6 news release.

Innovations in Education grants support innovative teaching and learning in classrooms throughout the district. This fall six such grants were awarded:

Individualized Fitness: Hardy students will use pedometers and blink wristbands in physical-education classes to track their individual fitness activity and learn strategies to stay active in their daily lives.

Orff Instrumentarium: Stratton music classes will use Orff instruments, such as metallophones and glockenspiels, to teach pitch, harmony, tonality and to encourage improvisation and composition.

PCR Biotech Equipment: Arlington High School AP and tenth grade biology students will conduct experiments with miniPCR DNA Discovery Systems to learn about polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the most widely used method in biotechnology.

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$24.7M in cuts bring budget for rebuilt AHS into line

Keeping turf fields, cutting bikeway connection

UPDATED, Dec. 21: The building committee, sharpening its rough-cut diamond of a budget for a rebuilt Arlington High School, this week cut $24.7 million, to bring expected costs back into alignment.

AHS project

To reach that goal, 15 members of the volunteer committee voted to retain two turf fields, but reduced the number of geothermal wells, remaining an all-electric facility; eliminated the Minuteman Bikeway connector ramp as well as the eastside staircase and ramp connecting Mass. Ave. to the fields; removed lights for the new athletic fields (lighting infrastructure and artificial turf surface remain); and modified exterior brick selection.

In bringing projected projected costs down to $290.8 million, with the state contributing $86 million, the "committee worked extraordinarily hard" to reduce the total gap of $29.5 million, committee Chair Jeff Thielman said. "We got this news back in November, and in one month we have made the necessary adjustments.”

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Don Seltzer For town housing, move beyond critique to solutions
24 January 2022
Grant, up until your final snide comment I am in general agreement with you. Impact of new housing upon public school enrollment is highly dependent on the type of housing. And that is why I fault t...
Grant Cook For town housing, move beyond critique to solutions
24 January 2022
I will point out Don that your own math around school enrollment that really don't justify the hyperbole of claiming that a new elementary is around the corner. Your calculation around housing units ...
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...

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