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October Citizen of the Month at AHS: Pratika Dhungel

Principal Matt JangerJanger

The Student Council is proud to present the Arlington High School Citizen of the Month for October -- Pratika Dhungel

Matthew Janger, AHS principal, wrote Nov. 1: "Pratika was nominated by her peers for countless reasons. She is known by her classmates to 'say good morning to everyone who walks by going to home room.'

"We want to thank her for creating a wonderful sense of community and bringing joy to everyone around her, for taking spending countless hours of dedication giving back to her school community, for friendliness to all her peers, and just being a 'kind and considerate' person!

"Thank you, Pratika, for your constant efforts to make AHS a more positive and welcoming environment."

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MEDIA WALL: AEF, Belmont Savings partnership aims to enliven project-based learning

aef logo 2018“It’s ... motivating for students to know that their work will be presented in this larger way for others to see."
-- Gibbs Principal Kristin DeFrancisco
Ann Pirone, AEF president, with Faisal Azim, BSB assistant VP and one of their branch managers.Ann Pirone, AEF president, with Faisal Azim, Belmont bank assistant VP and one of their branch managers.

Project-based learning is more than just making a collage about a novel, constructing a model of the pyramids or analyzing water samples from a lake. While these artifacts and activities could be part of a project, they are not the whole project.

True project-based learning leads students through a subject area with a meaningful intent to explore and engage in solving a real-life problem. No matter the content, students experience a consistent method with which to approach a project and they understand the need to focus, research, plan, reflect, revise and finally present.

The new sixth-grade Gibbs School has a "project block" built into the school schedule -- one that incorporates innovative, multidiscipline, project-based learning into the daily routine. It is designed to encourage and nurture social-emotional growth and to prepare students for successful careers in the 21st century.

A key component of project-based learning is nurturing the ability for students to present their work to an audience wider than their classmates. This final, crucial component is made possible with the installation of the Gibbs Media Wall, which has been made possible through a partnership between the Arlington Education Foundation, Belmont Savings Bank, and the Arlington Public Schools.

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More than 100 celebrate renovated Gibbs School

UPDATED, Oct. 24: Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine estimated that more than 100 people attended the ribbon-cutting and tour at the Gibbs School, held Sunday, Oct. 21.

The official ceremony began with speakers at 2 p.m. The public also toured the school during the open house to follow, which continued to 5.

The above video was shot by Terry Weems, who has a Thompson student in fourth grade. He said his wife was curious about the school, so they went to the open house.

See photos of the event by Joe Moran, whose daughter Alex attends Gibbs. All are included in this video >> (after the page opens, scroll down).

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4 AHS rebuild concepts aim to show architect is listening

ahs historic 450 101618One of four new AHS draft concepts showing columns retained.

Discussion previews next forum

UPDATED, Oct. 19: The next forum about planning for the Arlington High School rebuild was set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the Thompson School, but that has been postponed to Nov. 27.

Here is what the public was expected to see at the time, a situation that likely will change by late November: Four concepts reflecting efforts by the architect, HMFH of Cambridge, to listen to those who want to retain green space along Mass. Ave. and white columns added to the front of the school in the 1930s.

Members of Save Our Historic Arlington High School, the group seeking to retain these long-established features, were among the 25 people attending the Oct. 16 AHS Building Committee meeting during which the four concepts were unveiled. For some, the revised concepts did not appear to go far enough.

"The building committee has not take seriously the gifts of architects" in town, said Ron Alex, an architect. He cited the Arlington Historical Commission vote to protect the columns and continued to maintain that renovation would cost less.

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Schools' CFO to leave for Burlington; search to start

John Danizio, new CFODanizio

School Committee members Thursday night discussed steps to name a new chief financial committee 120517

John Danizio has told YourArlington that he is leaving the position he has held since March 2017 to become the assistant town administrator and town accountant in Burlington.

In response to questions Oct. 10, he wrote that his last day will depend on how the search for a new CFO goes, but he expects to begin working in Burlington no later than Dec. 1.

"I am proud of the work we have done in the business office over the last year and a half. I think we have created a culture of collaboration and cooperation that I know will continue long after I am gone," he wrote.

"I believe that the credibility of the office is unquestioned, and they will continue to be be accurate and efficient in all they do. Although I am happy with all that we have accomplished, there still remains some ongoing and unfinished business that I wish we could have finished, but I am confident that the office and new CFO will continue to make improvements.

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AHS rebuild update: Some urge more green; $308M called top cost

ahs preferred design 62618

UPDATED, Sept. 26: As an estimated 140 people on Monday, Sept. 24, heard four speakers out of 17 urge more green space along Mass. Ave. after the building committee voted a week earlier to support the current plan for a rebuilt Arlington High School.

The first of four Town Hall forums before a final design is decided next February heard a range of views as well as comment from building committee Chair Jeff Thielman that $308 million, the rough estimate of total project costs, is "the high-water mark." Costs for AHS educational program needs are estimated a: $240.7 million.

ACMi video >>

Thielman made clear the committee had built in higher costs. The current plan goes beyond the template for space needs called for by the state School Building Authority as officials are allowing for enrollment growth and expanding other factors. Approved was a plan for 1,755 students.

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Next AHS building-project forum set for Oct. 24

AHS project logo

UPDATED, Sept. 25: The Arlington High School building project has entered the schematic-design phase, and the community is attending a series of fall/winter public forums to provide feedback on multiple aspects of the future building’s design.

At each forum, the AHS Building Committee, Skanska and HMFH Architects will update the community, present concepts, answer questions and gather feedback. Topics to be covered include site, exterior facade, and interior layout and features.

Further forums after Sept. 24 are scheduled for Town Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 24, Nov. 27 and at a January or February session to be determined.

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Public schools draw U.S. honors for 'green' advances


Arlington public schools have received congratulations for achievements in sustainability at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Honoring the district Friday, Sept. 21, as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Awardee were Louisa Koch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration education director; James L. Elder, director, of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy; Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council; and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan.

The Arlington district was nominated by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The district’s recognition is based on three areas: reducing greenhouse gases; addressing the nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, and overall health of students and staff; and teaching curricula that addresses environmental topics at the elementary, middle and high school level.

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Semifinalists in '19 merit scholarships include 1 at AHS

School-awards logo

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. has announced the names of about 16,000 semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. One of them, Henry Fox-Jurkowitz, attends Arlington High School.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a merit scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level.

More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a national scholarship.

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AHS rebuild design raises questions, but process has just begun

ahs preferred design 62618Footprint design by HMFH Architects of Cambridge.

UPDATED, Sept. 6: Some want to preserve the white columns and grassy space in front of Arlington High School. Some worry about costs. Others fear missing the shot to rebuild the 104-year-old school, tied to a taxpayer vote next June.

Lori Cowles, a principal for project architect HMFH, offered some perspective about design later at the Sept. 4 building-committee meeting: "We're going to do a lot of work in the next six months, but we are not going to be done."

She explained that the creative process is reiterative and counseled patience. By late January, the team is expected to provide a design for a rebuilt high school that is expected to be done enough to send to the state agency providing project funds. That is to occur in February.

Leaders look ahead to design, cost challenges

The state School Building Authority (MSBA) board voted Aug. 29 to approve Arlington’s preferred option, once called option 3A, which the AHS Building Committee approved in late June and affirmed July 10. That vote moves AHS into the next phase of the years-long rebuilding process, called schematic design.

Bottom line: Through the fall and into winter, the design process remains flexible.

The next community forum at Town Hall about the high school project is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24.

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AHS rebuild approved to move on to schematic design stage

ahs preferred design 62618Footprint design by HMFH Architects of Cambridge.

UPDATED, Sept. 3: The Massachusetts School Building Authority board voted Wednesday, Aug. 29, to move Arlington High School into the next phase of the years-long rebuilding process, called schematic design, state Rep. Sean Garballey reported on social media.

Group forms to retain historic features, lawn

The AHS Building Committee met Tuesday. Sept. 4, sixth floor, AHS, and members of the group and others were present.

The state agency and the town will now look at possible options to replace Arlington High School, he wrote. The next step in the process aims to produce detailed designs for a potential project.

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New Ottoson assistant principal brings mix of news, education

Rochelle RubinoRubino

The new assistant principal at Ottoson, Rochelle Rubino, brings to the middle school and background in education and journalism.

"I am excited to join the administrative team at the Ottoson Middle School," she told YourArlington on Aug. 13. "I look forward to sharing my passion for school leadership and teaching and learning with the staff and students in Arlington."

She joins the new principal, Brian Meringer, who announced the appointment to parents on Friday, Aug. 10. Assistant Principal Jack Flood left in June to be principal of the Weymouth Middle School.

She has a certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational leadership from Salem State University and has more than decade of experience teaching English language arts to middle school students in Ipswich and Revere, Meringer wrote.

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VIA ACMi: Tour renovated Gibbs School

Brenda Dowdall Mahoney, reporter for ACMi, the Arlington cable-TV station, takes the public on a tour of the renovated Gibbs School in East Arlington, to reopen in September.

In addition, hear from the principal on how the new Gibbs fits in with a revamped sixth-grade curriculum in the full tour.

Dec. 9, 2017: GIBBS UPDATE: Crowd of parents turns out with many questions

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Will there ever be another 'D'?

Sabato D’Agostino wins Rotary Club Community Person of the Year Award

Rotarian Bill Cronin shows D’Agostino the plaque displaying names of all Community Person of the Year Award recipients. / Carla DeFord photoRotarian Bill Cronin shows D’Agostino, left, the plaque displaying names of all Community Person of the Year Award recipients. / Carla DeFord photo

On the night of Tuesday, June 5, a crowd gathered at the Sons of Italy Hall in Arlington to honor the Rotary Club Community Person of the Year: Arlington High School instrumental music director, Sabato (“Tino”) D’Agostino, and five recipients of the Paul Harris Award.

Rotary Club logo, 75 pixels

Known to his students as “Mr. D” or “D,” D’Agostino and the other awardees were being recognized for their exemplification of the Rotary Club motto: “Service Above Self.”

Kay Donovan, former Arlington Public Schools' superintendent, spoke about D’Agostino’s achievements, but before she could complete her presentation, Selectman Kevin Greeley rose from his seat in the audience with a planned “interruption,” asking the guests to direct their attention to the back of the room, where three of D’Agostino’s students were ready to offer a musical tribute to their teacher.


Julian Carpenter, piano (2019); Evan Barker (2018), electric bass; and Joey Dalton (2019), percussion, then performed “There Will Never Be Another You.” After that, they were joined by D’Agostino’s son, Francesco, a k a “Franco” (2021), who sang “All of Me” to his father. The set concluded with D’Agostino senior playing electric bass with the students in a rendition of “On Green Dolphin Street.”

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2018 merit-scholar winners add 1 from Arlington

School-awards logo

UPDATED, July 16: The National Merit Scholarship Corp. has announced 550 additional winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by colleges and universities. These Merit Scholar designees join about 3,500 other college-sponsored award recipients who were announced in June.

One of them is Linglong Le, an Arlington High School graduate who plans to pursue engineering under a Boston University Scholarship at B.U. The nonsectarian, privately endowed, coeducational institution has an undergraduate enrollment of more than 15,000.

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program who will attend their institution. College-sponsored awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

Read more ...

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