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School news

About $5M cut from cost gap for new AHS design

Meeting considers ways to stay within budget

UPDATED, Dec. 18: The Arlington High School Building Committee has trimmed about $5 million from the design-development estimate for a rebuilt Arlington High School, but the new amount remains $24.7 million over the agreed-to top amount. The project is to cost $290.8 million, with the state contributing $86 million. 

AHS project

To reduce the gap, the committee met three times recently. Its meeting set for Tuesday. Dec. 17, was postponed to Wednesday evening, and the committee worked that night to greatly reduce the gap.

An update from the committee reported Friday, Dec. 13, said, "Much of the remaining gap is attributable to the rapidly changing construction market and the number of large, competing projects underway."

The committee continues its work to align the project with the approved budget through value engineering, design modifications and changes in scope. At meetings Dec. 3, 9 and 10, the group discussed a variety of ways to close the gap, while maintaining the education program and functionality, building quality and sustainability.

Read more ...

Foundation raises $9K for schools, honors educators

UPDATED, Dec. 16: Spirits were high at Arlington Education Foundation’s annual fund-raiser on Nov. 25, as those gathered celebrated innovations in education within Arlington’s public schools.

Storytelling Residency at Thompson - Jeanne Orlando and Tonja Bishop (Thompson), Norah Dooley (storyteller) receiving the Dawn Moses Memorial AwardFrom left, Jeanne Orlando and Tonja Bishop (Thompson), Norah Dooley (storyteller) receive the Dawn Moses Memorial Award. MORE PHOTOS >>

Board members, supporters, guests and grant recipients shared a lively evening recognizing AEF’s work. The event raised $9,380 for the foundation. All funds raised will directly support advancing public education in Arlington, a Dec. 14 foundation news release said.

Through its grants, AEF aims to enhance the educational experience of teachers and students by empowering teachers, school staff and administrators to design innovative projects and initiatives, which in turn empower students as they grow and learn to think in new ways.

Evidence of AEF’s work was on display through numerous presentations of recently awarded grants that are now operating the schools. The grants highlighted the wide variety of projects funded and included the following:

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Town youngsters add voices to climate efforts in Boston, here

Following the lead of 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg and students worldwide, the Thompson Green Team has been holding climate rallies regularly this fall on the first and third Fridays before school and monthly in Arlington during evening rush hour.

beourhero crowd 350 121119#beourhero: Youths, parents with Rep. Sean Garballey at State House.

Joining the global call to action for international strike Dec. 6 during the U.N. Climate Conference, known as COP 25, Arlington Green Teams organized a day of climate events, including attending the Boston strikes.

On Friday, Dec. 13, the Arlington Green Teams plan to rally again on the front lawn of First Parish on Mass. Ave. and Pleasant from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Second Line Honk Band will join them. All are welcome. Participants will be wearing red because "the Earth is on Fire, and So Are WE!"

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Estimate for new AHS design shows $29.5M gap

Manager calls issue 'common for large projects'

The Arlington High School rebuild project, in the phase where the design is further developed and refined, has completed a revised project estimate, and it shows a $29.5 million gap between the design-development estimate and the approved project budget.

AHS project

Significant contributors include higher estimates for HVAC, mechanical utilities and site costs.

In a Nov. 22 post on the project website, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said: “Situations like this are common for large projects and are part of the process. Maintaining educational components of the facility are the highest priority and the Committee remains dedicated to building an educationally exceptional facility.”

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Education foundation announces $8,800 for teachers

The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) funded in October its first round of Continuing Scholar Awards for the 2018-2019 school year. The award is designed to give teachers opportunities to explore their own interests and expand their professional and personal development.

AEF logo

The following teachers and school staff are AEF’s most recent Continuing Scholar Award recipients:

  • Dallin School teachers, Michelle Crowley, Lianne Dusek and Ruby Liu will attend the Social Emotional Artistic Learning (SEAL) winter retreat, in Essex, Mass.
  • Pierce Elementary School first grade teacher, Elena Haro, will participate in a Responsive Classroom course entitled ”Responding to Misbehavior.”

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Led by youth, all ages rally for climate-change awareness

Video by Gibbs sixth grader Gael, who said: "I shouldn't have to stand up here defending my future, but I am."
Thompson Green Team a key organizer

Forty students, parents and grandparents from Thompson, Hardy, Stratton, Gibbs, Ottoson, Arlington High School, Minuteman High and First Parish Unitarian Universalist participated in the first of a series of climate rallies on Friday, Oct. 25.

Thompson Green Team who was the key organizer for this first rally marched in costume from Thompson school to the evening rush-hour rally.

First Parish, at Mass. Ave. and Pleasant, is the host for the monthly youth-led, adult-supported rallies on the front law. Others are scheduled for 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13.

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Town may get $2M more under 'historic' Student Opportunity Act

Dave RogersRogers

Sean GarballeyGarballey

Arlington's House delegation has joined colleagues in unanimously passing the Student Opportunity Act, legislation they called “historic.”

Estimates, accounting for inflation, show that up to $2.2 billion will be invested in school districts. Early analysis projects that Arlington may receive more than $2 million more in next year’s budget for Chapter 70 funding than if future rates were decided via the status quo.

Voting Oct. 23 were Reps. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and David Rogers (D-Cambridge). State Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) recorded her vote when the Senate bill passed unanimously on Oct. 3.

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Anti-Semitic graffiti at Ottoson not swastikas, Bodie says

UPDATED, Oct. 9: Anti-Semitic graffiti found in a bathroom last Friday at the Ottoson Middle School has led to undisclosed steps against students involved.

apd logo

An Oct. 7 statement from schools' Superintendent Kathleen Bodie and Ottoson Middle School Principal Brian Meringer described what officials found as the anti-Semitic graffiti and a meme.

Asked by YourArlington to detail the graffiti further, Bodie wrote Oct. 9: "What I can say is that it was not swastikas. But, in the interest of the students involved, I cannot give you the exact graffiti language."

Capt. Richard Flynn, Arlington police representative, declined to comment and referred questions to Bodie.

"The district will not be releasing information about the students that have been found responsible and the consequences they will be facing," it said.

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Vote deadline passes for new Arlington High School 'A'

Principal explains reasons for change, discounts Native American claim

Principal Matt Janger

 UPDATED, Aug. 23: The public is voting for a newly designed "A" logo for Arlington High School, and some are unhappy with the change and have asked for more background..

More than 900 responded to a survey of options earlier this summer, Principal Matt Janger announced, and the competition is down to three finalists. The current logo is at left; see the three options here >>

Please only vote once. The last day to vote is Sunday, Sept. 8.

Following 133 comments on the Arlington List Facebook group on Aug. 22, the site's administrator turned off comments. They continued on the MA Residents' group

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Public schools open: Find out about new staff

Arlington High School, rebuild design, February 2019

As the town's public school reopen Tuesday, Sept. 3, consider the first-day-of-school information listed on the schools' website. Some important dates:

Sept. 4, 5: Kindergarten: Half the class attends full day.

Sept. 6: All kindergarten students attend full day.

Sept. 9: Menotomy: First day of school for preschool students.

Next, take a look at the names of new teachers and administrators provided by Robert Spiegel, director of human resources:

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Where AHS graduates are headed this fall

Arlington High School, rebuild design, February 2019Arlington High School rebuild design from February, as Class of 2019 headed for graduation.

UPDATED, Aug. 29: As the new school year approaches, let's take a look at the Class of 2019: A recent Arlington High School guidance report, highlighted by Select Board member Stephen W. DeCourcey at the end of the board's August meeting, offered these notes.

Applications to two- and four-year colleges have increased, with students applying to a wide variety of colleges and holding their own against high demographics and exceptionally stringent competition for admission slots.

"We are in awe of the three students whose highest-level achievement earned acceptance to three of the eight Ivy League schools," the guidance report says, "and the 10 students who challenged themselves to a new learning experience in countries throughout the world.

Read more ...

AHS student club studies peer vaping with $4,000 grant

Arlington Youth Health and Safety Coalition Director Karen Koretsky has announced that the Arlington High School's 84 Club received a grant to study vaping in their community and school. 

town seal

The 84 Club works to educate their peers about the tactics used by big tobacco companies to target youth. The $4,000 grant was awarded by Health Resource in Action, which manages the 84 movement for the Boston Public Health Department. 

The grant allowed the club's students to map tobacco retailers in Arlington and survey their peers to understand vaping use and perceptions within Arlington's schools. As part of their research, students used the addresses of Arlington vape retailers to create a map of the locations on the Students were able to see which locations were closest to schools, public parks and playgrounds. They also visited these retailers to create a "photovoice" project that combines photographs and narratives to document their perceptions. 

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Consigli chosen to manage construction of new AHS

Projects include those in Winchester, Methuen; all bidders listed

UPDATED: The Town of Arlington has selected Consigli Construction Co. Inc. as the construction manager for the new Arlington High School, the largest construction project in town history.

Chosen unanimously by the Arlington High School Building Committee, Consigli was selected for its expertise in construction of K-12 educational buildings as well as the team’s innovative phasing approach and proactive plan to provide the town with maximum value for the established budget, a July 11 town news release says.

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Public schools' paraprofessionals ratify first contract

The newly unionized education paraprofessionals have ratified their first contract negotiated between the Arlington Education Association and Arlington School Committee. The committee approved the contract June 13.

AEA logo

“This is an important step toward establishing the professional respect and better working conditions that teaching assistants and other education support staff deserve,”union organizer and bargaining chair Susan Soares, a teaching assistant at Stratton Elementary School, said in a June 20 news release.

Schools' Superintendent Kathleen Bodie said that the paraprofessionals are crucial to maintaining the quality of the education available in the district.

“This agreement will help Arlington attract and retain the best possible candidates for the positions in our schools,” she said.

Read more ...

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Latest Comments

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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