Saturday work continues
UPDATED May 19: Preliminary sitework for rebuilding Arlington High School began in late February 2020, and, late that year, residents saw steel rising for one one wing. That work, Phase 1 sitework, is finished. Construction for phase 1 began in November 2020 and is nearing completion.
Construction work hours are expected to be Monday through Friday. Saturday work returned Nov. 7, 2020, and is required for the foreseeable future.
See the new school taking shape by reading the update and viewing the photos through the week of May 23 >>
The lone winner from Arlington in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship competition is Morris William Henry Smith, a student at the Belmont Hill School who lists his probably career as college professor.
Arlington High School typically has a number of winners, but not this year. Last September, three AHS student were named semifinalists -- Victor Q. Chen, Alessandro M. Drake and Katerina R. Shubochkin.
A winner takes home a $2,500 award. The students were chosen from among about 15,000 finalists in the 67th annual program.
UPDATED: With Covid-19 case numbers again rising in Middlesex County, Arlington Public School students and staff face a recommendation that all resume wearing masks indoors.
In an email to the community Sunday, May 8, Dr. Elizabeth Homan, the school superintendent, “strongly recommends” this step as part of Covid-19 safety measures for the week of May 9.
BostonGlobe.com reported May 9 that Cambridge and Belmont school leaders have made similar pleas.
She called the rates “rapidly increasing” and promised another update May 15 as to whether the recommendation will be extended. The School Committee of APS is scheduled for its next regular meeting the evening of May 12; Homan typically reports at every APS meeting on all matters of consequence including the pandemic situation.
Phase I of the new Arlington High School opened its doors to the public for the first time Saturday April 30, and an estimated 3,000 attendees explored the new Performing Arts and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) wings, which opened to students a month earlier.
Those taking the tour interviewed by YourArlington expressed near-unanimous appreciation for the abundance of light in the new building. Jenifer Tidwell and Rich Carreiro agreed that the, “natural light is one of the best features” of the new wings.
They were not alone in their sentiment. Eleven year old Zoe, compares the new wing to a museum, crediting the “really nice lighting and a lot of windows.”
In addition, attendee Joseph Curro Jr., the former Select Board and School Committee member, thought that the brightness would likely be “helpful to the learning experience.”
The lighting in the new building was definitely a hit -- but was it worth the price tag?
The Ottoson Middle School, at 63 Acton St., has scheduled a Memorial Day assembly for 8:45 a.m. Friday, May 27, at the school.
All veterans are invited to the assembly and to attend the breakfast at 8:15 a.m. at Ottoson.
Reserved parking for veterans is in the upper lot at Ottoson.
Please RSVP to Marie Bassett OMS, 781-316-3745, x 28005
The public is invited to tour the new wings of Arlington High School on Saturday, April 30, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
An RSVP is encouraged, but not required (AHSTour22 >>
Tours will begin and end at the Mass. Ave. lobby and will include only the new wings.
Attendees are advised to park near the Mass. Ave. entrance. The rear entrance on Mill Brook Drive will not be open. Handicap parking is available on Schouler Court.
The Phase 1 Performing Arts and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) wings opened to students Feb. 28.
The auditorium is expected to open mid-April.
The Arlington High School Class of 1987 will hold its 35th reunion on Saturday, Nov. 26, from 7 to midnight, at The Heights Pub, 1314 Mass. Ave., in the Heights.
The venue is owned by 1987 classmate Jim O'Rourke.
Tickets are $35 until Nov. 1. After that and at the door, they are $50 (or at the door).
UPDATED March 3: With the opening of the new performing arts and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) wings, phase 1 of the Arlington High School building project is complete, and an estimated 50 people toured the wings before students arrived at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 28.
“The new school will be a fantastic community resource, not only for students, but for every Arlington resident,” Elizabeth Homan, superintendent of the Arlington Public Schools, said in a news release from the town.
“The building realizes an educational and community vision that was over eight years in the making,” said AHS principal Matthew Janger in the release. “We are excited to take the next step to bringing the educational vision to life in this amazing space.”
Excitement for some; for others, sentimentality
UPDATED March 4: Arlington High School is taking a first major step Monday, Feb. 28, moving from a World War I-era building to a sleek structure taking shape through 2024.
Students reacted to the move with varied emotions, from excitement to sentimentality, as AHS waves goodbye to Fusco House.
Fusco House is a town landmark. It's been standing since 1914, when WWI broke out. The building is home to so many quizzes, tests, laughs and memories -- accumulated over the 108 years that the oldest part of AHS has been standing.
Although home to so much memory, AHS is simultaneously falling apart. Buckets are often placed in classrooms collecting dripping water. Tape can be found plastered over windows and doors, in an attempt to hide the broken glass. Tiles on the floor are missing. The bathrooms are embellished with graffiti. In view of that, students find themselves excited to leave some aspects of the old building -- and head into the new one.
UPDATED Jan. 27: The first wings of the new high school are to open after February break, followed by phase 2 of construction soon after.
To prepare, a second virtual community forum was held Tuesday, Jan. 25. If you missed it, see the ACMi video here:
Replays of the first forum, in December, are available below (scroll down) and on the project's website >> The January forum will cover new information and additional details, including:
Both forums are available in six languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and American Sign Language.
ACMi will broadcast the forums live on the Government Channel (Comcast ch. 22, RCN ch. 614, Verizon ch. 26) and recordings will be posted on the AHS project website at www.ahsbuilding.org.
The talk’s title, “The Kids are Alright,” echoed that of a classic-rock song by The Who, a feature film starring Annette Bening and even an episode of a popular television show. It also describes the way most people, including children, continue to cope with the coronavirus pandemic that changed society in the first quarter of 2020.
That was the message of Michael Thompson, Ph.D, to more than 100 people attending his 90-minute presentation Thursday evening, Jan. 20.
Thompson, 74, an Arlington resident, has 50 years of successful professional experience helping youngsters. He began his career as a middle-school teacher and then became a clinical psychologist specializing in therapy with children, particularly boys. A father and grandfather, he is the author of seven books and a consultant to schools and summer camps around the world. See his website >>
His online talk held via Zoom was part of an educational series that began in the fall and is set to continue through spring.
Using an accessible, almost folksy tone during the program sponsored by the Arlington Public Schools, Dr. Thompson told listeners that most people find ways to live with the limitations, stress and uncertainty of the first pandemic in a century.
The Arlington High School Class of 1972 will hold its 50th reunion on Friday, June 3, at the Arlington Town Hall Gardens and Auditorium.
The evening will begin with cocktails and music outdoors at the Menotomy Fountain Gardens followed by hors d'oeuvres, music and dancing in the Robbins Memorial Town Hall Auditorium.
In the light of this special anniversary, all proceeds from the reunion will be donated to Arlington High School’s John L. Asinari Scholarship Fund. The scholarship benefits Arlington residents studying in premedical programs as undergraduates or attending medical school.
John L. Asinari, 20, an accomplished member of the Class of 1972, was a premedical student majoring in biology at MIT. He died on March 22, 1975, from injuries he sustained when he and a fellow MIT student were abducted and attacked by four youths.
To honor their only child, John’s late parents, Eleanor and Louis E. Asinari, founded the John L. Asinari Scholarship Fund.
Early releases today, Tuesday
Arlington Public Schools plan to return from the holiday break on schedule, Jan. 3, but both Monday and Tuesday will be early release days.
“We are committed to staying open and will do everything we can to ensure that we can continue to operate. We are hopeful that we will be able to return to a regular schedule on Wednesday,” schools Superintendent Elizabeth Homan wrote in an email Jan. 1.
YourArlington on Dec. 31 had asked her for comment after Lexington and Burlington schools were expected to be closed Monday, because officials said they could not respond quickly enough to distribute Covid tests, partner Patch reported.
Meanwhile, BostonGlobe.com reported Dec. 31 that Massachusetts officials on Friday rebuffed calls by the state’s largest teachers' union for schools to remain closed Monday, following a snag in the state’s plan to provide Covid-19 rapid-test kits to educators before classes resume.
A delay in receiving the promised kits prompted some districts to cancel classes on their own, to allow time for employees to ensure they are virus free before returning to work after the holiday break, the Globe reported.
But the office of state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley doubled down on its plan to forge ahead with classes, saying Friday that shutting schools for an additional day would be “to the extreme detriment of our children,” it repirted.
To broaden innovation, district planning
Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) has committed more than $155,000 in support of an Arlington Public Schools' distinct vision and strategic-planning grant, in addition to many programs that will enhance learning at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
An investment grant for $117,400 was awarded to the public schools for district vision and planning. AEF, in collaboration with Envision Arlington, supports new school superintendent, Dr. Elizabeth Homan, as she leads the district through a strategic planning process that will enable identification of priority initiatives over the next five years.
This grant allows the district to retain an external facilitator to engage a diverse group of APS staff, town leaders, community members and students on the visioning process. Work on the five-year district plan will begin as early as this month.
Minuteman Article Count: 159
FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below