PAC Meeting Minutes

PAC Meeting Minutes – October 18, 2016

APS staff provided an overview of HBW’s new building at the Wilson site in Rosslyn.

MINUTES FROM PAC MEETING, OCTOBER 18, 2016

(Taken by Kristen Colston, Co-Chair)

Attendees: David Tornquist, Kristen Colston, Casey Robinson, Graham McBride, Celia Boddington, Jay Brodsky, Jared Hughes, Heather Cocozza, Alison Wertzler, Laura Dines, Audrey Pritchard, Anne Hammer, Ashley Yingling, Jan Gronemeyer

  1. Introductions

Attendees introduced themselves.

  1. Routine Business (David)
  1. No Sweat Fundraiser Update

– Have raised $42,000 to date.- If you would like to contribute, link is here- Teachers have submitted their requests to Casey.- Casey needs two parent volunteers to participate in meeting to determine allocation of funds on Monday, 10/24 at 5:45pm.

  1. Directory Status
  • – We will have a directory this year.
  • – PAC should be receiving raw data from the office this week and will assemble directories as soon as possible (hopefully for distribution the first week in November).
  1. Principal’s Report (Casey)
  • First Blackbox production was last week.
  • Choral & instrumental concerts are this week and next.
  • HBW administrators recently had meetings for 9th grade parents & 12th grade parents.
  • College application season is keeping seniors and high school teachers busy.
  • Lots of discussions happening in Town Meeting & elsewhere about academic integrity, especially with respect to homework.
  • Staff is working on managing personalized devices to help with personalized learning, which will be important with Virginia’s “High School Redesign” on the horizon.
  • Everyone should come watch an ultimate frisbee game—Arlington’s newest—and HBW’s only—official sport.
  1. Update from Meeting with Reid Goldstein, HBW’s School Board Liaison (David)

– On Monday, 10/17, Reid met with the PTA presidents from the schools for which heserves as the School Board’s liaison

  1. Update Regarding Fire Station 10 & Parking Garage at Wilson Site (Kristen)

– In September, the County Board voted unanimously to locate a temporary fire station on the Wilson Site.             – In addition to the direct impact of having a fire station adjacent to the school, this decision also means that there will be no on-site parking for several years; limited field space while the fire station is in place, followed by 18 months of no field space; and drop-off & pick-up on Wilson Boulevard.- Over the next several years, we are going to need help making sure that measures arefunded and put in place to mitigate the impact on HBW and Stratford students. If youare willing to help, particularly in a leadership position, please send an email to hbw.pac.chair@gmail.com.

  1. Presentation Regarding New Building on Wilson Site (Jennifer Xu, Project Manager, APS)

– School Board approved Schematic Design, including a 92-space underground parkingGarage in July- Aiming for County Board approval of design at their December meeting- For more information, see APS webpage (https://www.apsva.us/design-and-construction/wilson-school-project/)

  1. Update Regarding Construction at Stratford Building (Graham)

 

  1. Addition will be built on west side of building at cafeteria entrance.

– Construction should begin Summer 2018                        – Stratford Program will be moved to Reed for 2018-19 school year                        – Will lose some parking during construction                        – Minimal updates will be done inside existing building & most will be    constructed over the summer (e.g., additional elevators)                        – APS has promised minimal disruption to HBW students                        – New road connecting to Old Dominion could infringe on field space                        – For more information, see APS webpage (https://www.apsva.us/design-and-construction/stratford-middle-school-project/)

  1. Parks & Rec Project at Stratford Park (“Upper Field”)

– Construction timeline is June – October 2017- New tennis courts & basketball courts, plus full Little League baseball field- Will lose 30 parking spaces- May be possible to play ultimate frisbee in outfield, but will not be full-sizedregulation field- For more information, see Parks & Rec webpage(https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/stratford-park-athletic-courts-lighting-field-reconstruction/)

  1. Next Meeting will be on November 15th at 7:30pm in the Library. Guest speakers will give a presentation regarding Teen Dating and Making Good Decisions.

 

PAC Meeting Minutes – September 20, 2016

Presentation from current student on HBW traditions.

MINUTES FROM PAC MEETING, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

(Taken by Andrew Cullen, Acting Secretary) 

  1. Introductions

There were a lot of parents, a few guests, and a few staff. (Should I have said spoiler alert? I should have said spoiler alert. ) 

  1. Challenging Racism program

Dawn Kiseor

Marty Swain

 Offering a parent group at HBW: Challenging Racism: Learning How Through Stories and Conversations Begins October 12Group max: 14 people. Dawn will facilitate with two others Not enough HB folks have registered. Grew out of school boards strategic goal of eliminating achievement gaps. The curriculum had been developed over 10 years. Application form is on line. One of the guidelines is to have fun. It is a lifelong conversation There’s a YouTube video, because Internet. Search for Challenging Racism.Form is on the website (www.challengingracism.org)3 different groups currently running, you don’t have to join the HB group. Also, THEY HAVE SNACKS. (I think they may have buried the lead.) 

  1. Principal’s Update
  1. Great start to the year! Yay!

Two weeks in. Welcomed the smallest number of new teachers in recent years.Largest class of incoming 6th graders, most new 9th graders. Working towards goal of 10 percent enrollment increase in next few years. Talked a bit about the tradition of Seniors meeting the Monday before school starts for a scavenger hunt and school decoration. The more Casey talks, the more I realize how LAME my school was. 

  1. New technology: 9th graders got laptops, 6th graders got iPads. Now working on how the technology changes what happens in the classroom. HB has decided to do small groups of teachers researching best practices.

 

  1. Focus on academic integrity:

* what is it?* preparation for college* how to develop sense of ethics and integrity. E.g., how to teach in the age of Google? How do you explain the value of doing things the long/hard way?* larger conversion at the state level. HS needs to look different than it does now. 

  1. New activities! Ultimate now a real, live sport (according to APS). Presenting new issues (visiting schools, what are the school colors? )

 

  1. Volunteers!

September 27, activities fair first block of day October 27 (early release day) will be community day, from 9:30 to 1. New process for volunteering to be safer (who is in the building, background checks, etc.) Casual volunteers (chaperones, for example) will see no change. People who will be routinely in the building need to fill out a form. Background checks will be completed., but only available to our volunteer coordinator, Vanessa “Andrew can’t spell my last name” Piccorossi. If you have a question about if you need to fill out the form, talk to Vanessa. 

  1. The new building

Thanks to all the people who have been involved. The school board approved the building, but the county board approved a plan to locate a temporary fire station on the playing field for about 3 years. County Manager is recommending the field location as opposed to the alternate , a park surrounded by townhomes who are concerned with property values. Meetings all week with board members.Not optimistic, but not giving up.Decision to be made Saturday. Please take the time to write to the County Board! 

  1. No Sweat Fundraiser

 We solicit parents (no, not that kind of solicitation, get your minds out of the gutter). Parents are asked to donate cash.Each teacher gets $50.$1000 is allocated to the PAC.The rest is distributed to teachers who put in a request for specific items (field trips, new tech, etc. ). No sweat generates about $40,000 a year. Currently rewriting / reconsidering the letter, because our used to say every dollar went to the HBW community, but some small percentage may go to APS-wide efforts. The question is whether to simply update the language, or to refuse requests that do not benefit HB directly. Motion to massage the language to more accurately reflect current practices made and passed unanimously. Q: How does PAC work?Show up the third Tuesday of the month. Next month (October 18th): APS architect talking about the new HB building Future topics: dating, bullying  

  1. Caroline Tornquist, junior at HB, presenting on HB traditions 
  1. Swim test?

No swim test!

Turkey bowl: flag football last day before Thanksgiving

Chicken bowl : 7th v 8th grade football

Pigeon bowl: 6th grade capture the flag 

No sports? Pshaw!

Volleyball tournament last day before winter breakAP sciences play volleyball last day before winter break.

March madness tournament. Play games during lunch, make up teams with friends.

Badminton tournament! At lunch, very popular. 

Music traditions  Chamber singers perform at back to school night.

Winter concert Spring concert Last song at prom is always Bohemian Rhapsody

Graduation songs: feet of a dancer, time of your life (green day) 8th graders can go off campus. Very safe, don’t worry! Interest spikes in 8th grade, then tapers until some students get cars. 

Town meeting is a big deal. Every Tuesday, everyone who wants gathers in library to govern the school. For example, the schedule system changed a few years back, handled via town meeting. Attendance varies based on agenda. 

Locker decorations for birthdays. Day 1: seniors out on a play with comedy bits, make a music video List day of school: teachers put on a show roasting the seniors. 

HB prom: all high schoolers invited. Different place every year. Typically midweek (its cheaper). Fall formal in NovemberSpring fling (April or May)Prom in June Middle school dances thrown by upper classes to raise $ for prom. 

Graduation: no robes, in the gym. Each student gets talked about by their TA. (It’s a long ceremony). No dress code here, sometimes people wear pajamas (not often) 

Halloween: lots of people wear costumes.Costume contest.Seniors may do a haunted house or maze. 

Every year the HILT students put on an international dinner. 

Senior quotes on walls!1st class was 1986. They wanted the cover of the yearbook to be their names. Painted a wall, added madness, took a picture. Never got around to painting it over. Grew from there. Written on last day of school.

PAC Meeting Minutes – May 17, 2016

A panel of parents of HBW seniors povied their insight on the College Decisionmaking Process.

Insight on the College Decisionmaking Process from Parents

Casey Robinson: Principal’s Report  We’ve had a lot of events and successes over the past month. We had a very successful Frisbee weekend May 14-15. Our Varsity girls won the entire Southerns and our Varsity boys placed third after being seeded sixth. (Applause!) On Friday May 13, they were pulling out on charter buses to head to Atlanta as we were simultaneously trying to get the other 610 students heading out to 42 different service events.This service day was an idea of a couple of juniors and a couple of seniors. For our first time doing it, I think it was a huge success. I would say 95% of projects were really successful. Kids were outside and I was super-impressed with how they dealt with the rain. They kept their heads up; a ton of the projects were outdoors. It was a really great day and a great idea.We finished two weeks of AP testing. We have the SOL’s starting after Memorial Day. We have never- ending opportunities in the Black Box….Two weeks ago we had all of the middle school music students at Hershey Park. We had a good class trip to Philadelphia….Also we are just trying to have some classes in between all of the events.We have just as much coming in the next six weeks. We have the One Acts. Next week we have some really great music: the last instrumental and chorus concerts of the year are fun events: light and great music and a time to appreciate our seniors. Friday is our last day for seniors to be fully in school. They are embarking on their senior projects starting Monday then on to other senior events.One of the reasons we came to Junetime four years ago was: How do we keep instruction going and interesting all the way to the last day? Junetime is a way of doing that, of learning something that kids may not have had the opportunity to learn about before.Kelly Kabiri, Treasurer’s ReportWe are still cashing checks so the number I give you is not final. This year the No Sweat Fundraiser raised almost $40,000 for the No Sweat Fund. From last year we had an additional $6,000 we did not spend. So that rolled into the $40,000. Teachers asked for $37,800 in requests ranging from small requests to really big requests. Technology is usually a big one. We have the testimonials from grateful teachers posted on the PAC website: http://www.apsva.us/domain/1662#nosweattestimonialSo 46,000 in total minus the $37,800 we spent for projects in the year that’s now ending means that $8,200 is going to roll into next year’s No Sweat fund, thanks to the amazing generosity of parents.

Vicki Mendelowitz: Report from the County Council of PTA’sI’m the County Council of PTA’s representative for H-B. Anne Hammer is my co-rep, representing the middle school. I represent the high school. Anne is moving up next year to represent the high school and I am moving out.Some of the other [APS] schools are not so wealthy as H-B. So APS is starting a fund that they hope all of the PTA’s will contribute to. Then if a school doesn’t have enough money to fund something, they can come to the County Council of PTA’s, fill out paperwork and a committee discusses their request and decides how much to fund. For example, this year, one elementary school was given $800 so they could take a trip to Jamestown.The CCPTA Fund has just been launched; five or so schools have contributed amounts in the hundreds of dollars.[There followed discussion in which a couple of parents emphasized that money contributed to the No Sweat Fundraiser is under a compact with parents that says every penny will go to H-B. So a donation to the CCPTA Fund would need to be made from other PAC funds.]

Laura Saul Edwards, PAC Co-Chair, reporting in her role at a member of the Stratford site Building Level Planning Committee:Later this week they are reporting on the schematic design….It was discussed earlier in the year by the School Board that this Stratford site, where we sit on Vacation Lane, might not re-open as a middle school until September of 2020 rather than the initial target date of September, 2019. Well, the Arlington Public Schools’ Superintendent’s proposal has now put the schedule firmly back at the Stratford project being done in September, 2019. Secondly, the proposed driveway separating auto from bus traffic, the County Board voted four to one to uphold the proposed driveway.Question from parent Celia Boddington: Will the Stratford program therefore have to move [twice] as was initially anticipated?Laura: I believe so.

Parent Lisette Mondello, pitch on the Arlington County Film Festival: My son so is part of the film program here at H-B. Our film festival is now the Arlington County film festival. We had a fundraiser at Chipotle….the money is used to help pay the judges, film teachers and actors and directors from all over the Washington area. This year we had 195 student films. It has grown incredibly over the past year. It’s becoming increasingly prestigious. We are proud of that.We need a little more help. We have a Signup Genius. On Friday afternoon June 10th, teams from all over the county come, we mix the students from different schools. They have three hours to make a film. We need help that evening. We serve them dinner. And then Saturday June 11th we need some parental help volunteering. It’s an all day festival. So if we send out a Signup Genius in the next week or so, please consider signing up. It is Saturday June 11 and Fest Eve is Friday night June 10th. It is as fun and exciting to see that imagination and creativity is alive and well. It’s at H-B: we are the host.

Kristen Colston update on the Wilson Project, H-B’s new building in Rosslyn: The Building Level Planning Committee approved a schematic design that will be discussed by the School Board on June 2 and voted on June 16th. The meeting can be watched on-line http://www.apsva.us/page/3053

Votes on Nomination for a Parent Advisory Committee Co-Chair to replace Laura Saul Edwards next year.Laura moves and it was seconded by Meredith Wadman that David Tornquist and Kristen Colston be approved as co-chairs of the H-B Woodlawn PAC for the 2016-2017 school year. The vote carried unanimously.The two positions we really need volunteers for still for next year are the secretary and the ListServ manager.At this point, Casey Robinson and Liz Waters who runs Junetime left the meeting with about half of the parents in attendance to talk about Junetime. Those interested in the College Panel remained in the library to hear a panel of parents talk about the college application process.

College PanelThe Parents on the College Panel were:Lawrence Cheng – his daughter is a graduating senior and his son just graduated from college two weeks ago and is a class of 2011 H-B alumBeth McLean- her H-B senior son is Evan. Her older son is a junior in college.Jayne Bultena – her son Luke is a graduating H-B senior. Her daughter is a 9th grader at H-B.Vicki Mendelowitz; her graduating H-B senior is Dylan. She also has a son in college who went to H-B.Marcy Gessel: her son Ben is a senior at H-B.Our moderator was PAC Co-Chair Dave Tornquist, whose son Matt, a Yorktown senior, is going off to college this fall. His daughter Caroline is an H-B sophomore.Some takeaways:Marcy: I spent a lot of time on Naviance probably more than my son did. I looked at the Scattergrams and the acceptance history. Those two tools tell how your child’s grades and test scores match with how others at H-B have either been accepted or not at that school. It helps you to know what school is a real reach, where he might get money.Fatima in the office has the Naviance password if you don’t get it from your kid.Your child’s TA is his/her counsellor. You may have to ask them for a meeting; some TA’s will reach out to you and others won’t.Google “Common Data Set” – all schools have to enter all kinds of statistics there.Also, the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System publishes all of this information. See their website: https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/Collegeboard.org also has algorithms allowing you to find and compare colleges. For instance, you can request “schools with a study body of less than 3,000 with ultimate Frisbee and music. “There are lots of filters here which are useful, especially if your kid is overwhelmed.College Raptor has kids’ reviews on various colleges.To make the load of applications manageable, H-B physics teacher Mark Dodge recommends that a student develop a list of their ten top-choice schools, then apply early action to the fifth school, and if they get into that one, then only apply in addition to the remaining top four.Recommended Books:By Lauren Pope: 40 Schools You’ve Never Heard of That Will Change your LifeBy Frank Bruni: Where You Go is Not Who You AreBy Cal Newport: How to Be a High School Superstar Without Burning Out: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)End of PAC minutes May 17 2016 In Attendance: Casey Robinson, principal; Liz Waters, H-B Gifted Resources teacher; and the following parents: Laura Saul Edwards, Kelly Kabiri, Amy Stock, Celia Boddington, Anne Hammer, Richard Stern, Jayne Bultena, Beth McLean, Meredith Wadman, Jeanne Radday, Helen Tiene, Kristen Colston, Marcy Gessel, Vicki Mendelowitz, Greg Lane, Laurie Miller, Matt Bennett, Lawrence Cheng, Leslie Atkins, Beth Connors, Paula Levin-Alcorn, Jacky Jenks, Maribeth Egan, Lisette Mondello, Deanne Sobczak, Art Saenz, Judy Palmore, Theo Mall, Kathryn Ricard, Donna Alpi, Meryl Corshen, Ken Rybarczyk, Alice Rybarczyk, Susana McTyre, Sam McTyre, Elisabeth Casey, Alison Roser, Debbie Grant, Maria Zemankova, John Cherniavsky, Melinda George, Jennifer Scotti, Heidi Daniel.

PAC Meeting Minutes – April 19, 2016

Topics: Update on Construction, Principals report, Panel of Fine Arts teachers

Minutes of the H-B Woodlawn Parent Advisory Committee meeting, April 19 2016

Attendees: Anne Hammer, Casey Robinson, Dave Tornquist, Kristen Colston, Laura Saul Edwards, Chuck Kleymeyer, Celia Boddington, Leslie Atkins Anne Rogers, Audrey Pritchard and Meredith Wadman.

Plus our panel of H-B fine Fine Arts teachers: Tom Mallan, theater and film teacher; Faylinda Kodis, visual arts teacher; Carl Holmquist, band director, Bill Podolski, chorus teacher.

Business Section of the Meeting:

Laura Saul Edwards, PAC Co-Chair: 

Laura announced that former H-B PAC chair Melissa McCracken was selected by the School Board for an APS Honored Citizen Award, given annually to some 12 citizens.  The PAC had nominated Melissa, the mother of H-B graduate Finley McCracken (2014), for the award. She will be honored on the evening of Thursday April 21stat a reception and plaque presentation.  Melissa is chair of the design committee for the new H-B building in Rosslyn.

The PAC has approved and paid Arlington’s Central Library a donation of $100 for May’s annual study night.

H-B’s No Sweat Fundraiser letter will soon be going out to all families. In October, parents will be needed to sit on the committee designating how these funds are spent from among the proposals that teachers submit.

Update on construction of the revamped middle school on H-B’s current site on Vacation Lane: The concept design was supposed to be in hand by now, but has been delayed due to a proposal to include a road that connects Vacation Lane to Old Dominion, to separate car traffic from bus traffic. This proposal is now under closer scrutiny. The School Board approved it, but the County Manager and the County Transportation Commission are having further thoughts about this. So the presentation of a design review for this site has been delayed; it should have been before the County Board by now.

Separately: A couple of months ago. APS staff suggested that instead of executing the Vacation Lane (Stratford) and Wilson (new H-B building in Rosslyn) projects simultaneously, the Stratford project might be phased in, with the effect of delaying the opening of the revamped middle school on Vacation Lane by one year, to September, 2020.  Our H-B program would be at Wilson by September, 2019 which is when the construction work would begin on Vacation Lane. In this scenario, our community would not need to endure intensive construction.

This would also mean that the Stratford program would not have to move out of this building to a temporary facility while the Wilson site is under construction.

Celia Boddington: Informed by her perch on the Advisory Committee on Instruction, Celia says the School Board is extremely concerned about impacts on the Stratford program of having to transition twice in two years, because those kids are already vulnerable.

Laura Saul Edwards: On May 5, the Superintendent of APS presented a proposed Capital Improvement Plan as is done every second year, in even years. The School Board is expected to vote on the new CIP in early June. The bottom line is that as it stands now, the County and School system have the authority only to borrow about half the money needed to build a new comprehensive high school and two elementary schools in addition to renovating several middle schools to accommodate the constantly growing APS student population. Laura said: “We don’t have anywhere near the money we need to build what we need to the standards we need. So we’ve got to get creative.”

Casey Robinson:

Principal’s Report: The high school last Thursday and Friday was in New Orleans on a “truly fantastic music trip. I have done many of them. This was by far the best I’ve ever been part of. The kids were amazing and did absolutely everything we asked and more.” At the same time, Faylinda had a group of advanced art students on a trip to New York, in museums, looking at and doing art. Thursday and Friday also happened to be the model General Assembly in Richmond.  Our Salome Gongadze, a senior whom the students elected, ran the entire thing which involved students from all over the state.

Today is the first day of fourth quarter. Things really ramp up from here. From an administrative point of view next Thursday April 28 we begin our allocation process. Then we’ll have our all- school Town Meeting to vote on allocation the following Tuesday, May 3rd. The challenge is always: how do we balance our desire for small class size with student interest in taking a wide variety of classes. From there we go to master scheduling and from there to arena scheduling.

This Friday April 22 we’ll be celebrating our colleague Julie Dickson-Brown at her memorial service. She is present in our minds.

Kristen Colston:

Wilson Project update:  Kristen is reporting for the Building Level Planning Committee, which is supposed to approve a schematic design on May 11. That then is supposed to go to the School Board on May 18 or 19. But there are still a lot of open issues with parking and lots of other things. We’ll see if it all stays on schedule.

Casey Robinson: Regarding the new H-B building at the Wilson site, we are moving into a phase where a lot of the work is really on instructional spaces and how they are fitting into the building. We spent a couple hours with the architects today: should the art room be here? Should the music room be here? Very fine detail. There will still be months of very fine tuning after the schematic design that’s coming next.

End of the business Section of the meeting

PANEL OF OUR H-B FINE ARTS TEACHERS

Tom Mallan, theater and film teacher

Faylinda Kodis, visual arts teacher

Carl Holmquist, band director

Bill Podolski, chorus teacher

Bill: [Despite its reputation for being “the arts school” H-B is not formally so. But it’s true that] between 6thand 12th grade, about 2/3 of H-B students are enrolled in a fine arts program.  One-third are enrolled in music ensembles.

Tom: based on other secondary schools I’ve worked in, my theory [about why so many of our students participate in the fine arts] is that we have some real geniuses behind the design of the schedule. And a really strong interest in scheduling kids into as may electives as interest them…. So many are involved just because they can be.

Faylinda: This is the time of year when I get students asking me: Do you know when your Art 2 class is? I want to take it….It really falls on Casey to try to make all the pieces come together. I would agree with Tom that that’s a big piece of this.

Karl: We arts teachers feel so supported and so trusted and so free to run our disciplines, our classes, our rehearsals, our performing, and trusting the students to take on major responsibility as well. What I love about this place so much is that because it’s small, if you make that wonderful choice to become involved in the fine arts, you are expected to deliver. Because we’re small. You can’t just sit back in a clarinet section of 18 players and doze off…even as a sixth or seventh grader. It gives them some confidence. It gives them a sense that, “I can do this.” That individuality and collective experience together is so unique.

Bill: Interestingly, the music arts have not always been a part of the H-B Woodlawn story. …It’s kind of a new phenomenon. When Casey was a student here, group ensembles were something you did at your home school. It was Arts Ed that said: those hippies need some music instruction….a band and orchestra and choir program followed.

Tom: I personally came here a number of times in the 1990s as a freelance teaching artist and directed plays. …The theater program became a major point of expression of some of the core values of the school: one of them being student autonomy. This program hires its own students as directors. The kids choose their own material and they have a lot of leeway to do it….The kids really step up to this idea that they are choosing content…They take a lot of pride and a lot of responsibility in that.  Theater is also a place of cross-grade integration, where 6th-graders are on stage with 12th-graders. And 12th-graders have to feel some sense of mentorship.

The theater program is also a place where vocational skills are being taught: sewing, painting, set design, it’s a place for integration of music, art and physical activity. Theater is also a place of community building in the absence of sports teams.

The film department: A student lobbied Town Meeting just ten years ago to make a film department where there was none. This was Cutter Hodierne [who has succeeded tremendously as a filmmaker and] came back and spoke to our students just last year.

Film exists because the students wanted it. And it really resembles the theater department because of the kids’ ability to lead each other, mentor each other and choose whatever wacky content they want….It looks very different than the Career Center’s TV program for example.

Casey: We had more of a traditional art program [years ago]. I think we’ve had three art teachers in the last thirty years.

Bill: The Black Box was originally the bomb shelter of the school. In 2006 the music wing opened, largely as a result of the number of students in the music program.

Tom: The photo program has had ups and down over the years. Since George [Laumann] took over [teaching last September], interest has skyrocketed—his allocation is going up next year because of what a great job he’s doing.

Karl: In the ten years I’ve been here something like 30 students have gone on to advanced music degrees and/or professional music careers.

Tom: One of the reasons we are thought to be an arts school is that our most talented kids are given space to go as far as they can go. Extraordinary things happen. Kids write entire plays and musicals.

Faylinda: we have a group of seniors this year who have actually installed an exhibit at the Arlington Arts Center….It was really a beautiful thing to see them come together and put this installation up.  Next Wednesday night April 27 is the opening.

BillA Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future is a book by an economist, Daniel Pink. His argument is that the MFA is the new MBA.

End of Fine Arts Teachers’ Panel

PRESENTATION BY REID GOLDSTEIN, FORMER CHAIR OF THE H-B PAC AND NOW AN APS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER. HE IS ALSO H-B’S LIAISON ON THE SCHOOL BOARD.

Reid Goldstein: What has the School Board been doing? Dealing with the budget for a couple of months now. It has been a good budget year.  Partly because it was a good year for insurance. APS is self-insured and there were far fewer claims than expected. We had put aside a bunch of money and didn’t have to use it.

Over the past few years we made a bunch of cuts….Now our projections are for the APS student population to grow from 25,000 students to over 30,000 by 2021, and keep going. In order to accommodate these students, we need infrastructure, so we put a lot of positions back in the budget this year.  We ended with a $3.5 million gap between what we needed and what the County Board was prepared to give us. Just last Thursday they decided to give us another $2 million, leaving a $1.5 million gap which I believe they are voting on this evening. So depending what happens we will either have a fully funded budget or we will have to figure out how to close that $1.5 million gap.

Thursday April 21 is a School Board meeting where we have an agenda item on the School Board’s proposed budget. People can show up and say whatever they want about the budget. Then the budget will be formally adopted at the May 5th meeting.

That will happen just in time to start the Capital Improvement Plan.(CIP) This is a ten-year plan for how we are going to address crowding. We redo it every two years, in even-numbered calendar ears. And depending on what it says, we’ll have a school bond on the ballot this November.

We are looking at a roughly 2,800 deficit in high school seats in the next ten years [middle school a little less, elementary almost as much]…We are spending every dime we have available. The whole point of the CIP process is to figure out what the priorities are and how we are going to meet these capacities needs, then to devote as much money to it as we need.

What else is going on? Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child is our Number Five Strategic Plan goal. Last month we established the Whole Child working group, 40 members of the Arlington community, students, staff. To address the…needs of the child. It’s a huge huge task. They will have an interim report on April 21. That will be the skeleton of what they are planning. The effort will roll forward into next year and possibly beyond. Meeting the needs of the whole child really encompasses everything and they are trying to figure out a good way for us to do it.

Following Reid’s brief presentation, there was a question and answer session with him, touching largely on capacity issues and the current plans for the Vacation Lane and Wilson sites.

Our final PAC meeting of this academic year will be on Tuesday May 17th, at 7:30 in the Library.  The subject will be “June Time.”

Volunteers will be needed for several PAC positions in the 2016-2017 school year, including a PAC co-chair to join Dave Tornquist.  Look out for email traffic on this subject on H-B News and Talk. Please consider volunteering.

 

PAC Meeting Minutes – Mar. 15, 2016

Attendees: Casey Robinson,  Laura Saul Edwards, Celia Boddington, Karen Gerry, Sue Di Filippo, Jeanne Radday, Meryl Corshen, Sheila McGlynn, and Maddie Boyle The meeting convened at 7:30 pm, and kicked off with introductions.  Jeanne Radday mentioned she is our Box Top Coordinator, and that if you have any box tops you want to turn in, […]

Attendees: Casey Robinson,  Laura Saul Edwards, Celia Boddington, Karen Gerry, Sue Di Filippo, Jeanne Radday, Meryl Corshen, Sheila McGlynn, and Maddie Boyle

The meeting convened at 7:30 pm, and kicked off with introductions.  Jeanne Radday mentioned she is our Box Top Coordinator, and that if you have any box tops you want to turn in, Vanessa is collecting them in the office.

Principal’s Report: Casey Robinson

HB is just wrapping up a successful visiting season following the 6th and 9th grade lotteries.  Approximately 75 rising 6th grade and 25 rising high school students have spent a day shadowing, and the list of new students who plan on attending in the fall is being compiled.

Parent question: How many students applied to the lotteries?

Casey: 549 rising 6th graders applied for 75 6th grade slots, and 191 rising 9th graders applied for 16 9th grade slots.

Last Thursday was an Early Release, after which teachers and administrators reviewed the recently submitted student course requests.  They combed through these to start determining demand for various classes for the fall.  On April 28th, there will be another Early Release and HB’s annual Allocation Meeting, to determine the number of full and part-time teachers allocated to each department for the fall, will be held that afternoon.

APS’s 2016-2017 School Board budget will be adopted next week.

HB middle schoolers held student-led conferences on February 25th to showcase their work.

Three HB students were recent art award recipients.  Congratulations!

The Capi Black Box will be hosting multiple student-directed plays this spring.  Come out to support them.

HB will be holding its annual Physics Festival on April 1st during which physics students will demonstrate how to use their innovative creations.

APS has an early spring break this year (March 21 – 25), followed by three solid months of school.  About three weeks after spring break (April 19th), fourth quarter will begin.

PAC Business 

In response to a request from Arlington Central Library, a Motion was made to approve a $125 PAC contribution to help fund drinks and food during an upcoming High School Study night hosted by the Central Library.   Pizza, soda and snacks will be provided for those who attend.  Motion approved. 

Each year, APS’s school board recognizes those special volunteers who have made extraordinary contributions to Arlington Public Schools with its Honored Citizen Award. These dedicated individuals participate in a wide variety of school activities, and have demonstrated a sustained commitment to APS of at least five years.  The county is accepting nominations until 25 March this year.  PAC co-chair Laura Saul Edwards noted that her PAC co-chair predecessor and current HB BLPC Chair Melissa McCracken had not yet been a recipient, and made a Motion to nominate Melissa.  Motion approved. 

Celia Boddington, one of HB’s High School ACI volunteers, mentioned she had not been able to attend recent ACI meetings, but would be attending one on March 16th.  It’s her first year volunteering in this capacity, and she is very impressed with the incredible caliber of people on the ACI. 

Laura Saul Edwards: Update on the Stratford (i.e. Vacation Lane future Middle School) and Wilson (future HB and Stratford program location) projects 

In the fall of 2019, the HB and Stratford programs are scheduled to move to their new Rosslyn building, at the same time HB’s current home reverts to a 1,000 seat neighborhood middle school.   The Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) for the Vacation Lane (future MS site) recently finished its work.  The schematic design will go before the School Board this Thursday.  The SB will vote on this design in early April.  The Construction bid came in under $40M.   In accordance with the current plan, the Stratford Program will temporarily move during the summer of 2017 to accommodate construction of a 300 seat addition to our current Vacation Lane building to bring it to its maximum 1,000 seat MS capacity.  They will link back up with HB in 2019 in our new building.  This plan also includes a road connecting Vacation Lane to Old Dominion.

One item not addressed by this current plan is a change in the Vacation Lane construction timeline that the SB is considering.  The current plan has construction beginning in 2017.  Under the alternate timeline, renovations would not begin until summer 2019.  Under this proposed plan, the neighborhood MS would still open in fall 2019, but at a reduced capacity, with maximum capacity realized by fall 2020.  The SB will vote on this piece separately at a future point, not as part of their April vote.

The BLPC for the new HB/Stratford building in Rosslyn has also recently wrapped up its work.  In May, the SB will look at the schematic design for this project, with some project modifications likely, including additional universal design modifications.  There will be a black box theatre in the school, and discussions about rooftop terrace designs continue.  It also includes a 92 slot underground parking structure.  Efforts to allow for some amount of APS/Arlington County joint use of the facility are ongoing.   Hopefully the SB will approve the design with little or no pushback.   Laura noted that you can view an Xfinity interview with the building’s architect, Bjarke Ingels, if interested.  He will also be designing the new Red Skins stadium.

Guest Speakers: Our main presentation was by the principal of the Stratford program, Dr. Karen Gerry, and HB senior Maddie Boyle, who participates in the Stratford Friends program.   The process of designing a new building to jointly serve the HB and Stratford programs has brought the relationship between these programs to the forefront.  This presentation provided an opportunity to learn more about the Stratford program, how HB and Stratford support each other, and hear from current HB students on their relationship with Stratford students. 

Sue Di Filippo, who advises students interested in pursuing a gap year, gave a brief presentation as well.   If interested, you can obtain information about her company, Gap Year Explorer, through her website: gapyearexplorer.com

Following both presentations, Casey asked if parents and PAC officers found the monthly PAC format and frequency to be appropriate, and if perhaps a survey should be conducted to get feedback about these questions (i.e: might attendance increase if they were held less often or formatted differently)?  Several parents commented that they considered monthly meetings to be appropriate, and that periodically tying in guest speakers was a good way to increase attendance and provide relevant information to the community.  Another parent suggested using name tags, or perhaps having ice breakers.   Laura felt regular meetings were necessary to address action items, and suggested perhaps we could experiment, holding a few meetings at atypical times such as during the school day or on weekends, to see if new blood came out.  She also felt a survey would be a good idea.

The meeting adjourned around 8:30 pm.

PAC Meeting Minutes – Nov. 17, 2015

Attendees: Casey Robinson,  Laura Saul Edwards, David Tornquist, Meredith Wadman, Laurie Miller, Michael Swisher, Kelly Kabiri, Kristen Colston, Art Saenz, Anne-Marie Bolton, Cindi and Brian Charles, Anne Rogers, Monica and Dave Heil, Celia Boddington, Paula Levin-Alcorn, Jennifer Mazarr, Jacky Jenks, Sharyn Tejaim, Daniela Brancaforte, Karolina Walkin, Chuck Kleymeyer, Paul Ferguson, Karen Keyes, Lynzey Danahue—and about […]

Attendees: Casey Robinson,  Laura Saul Edwards, David Tornquist, Meredith Wadman, Laurie Miller, Michael Swisher, Kelly Kabiri, Kristen Colston, Art Saenz, Anne-Marie Bolton, Cindi and Brian Charles, Anne Rogers, Monica and Dave Heil, Celia Boddington, Paula Levin-Alcorn, Jennifer Mazarr, Jacky Jenks, Sharyn Tejaim, Daniela Brancaforte, Karolina Walkin, Chuck Kleymeyer, Paul Ferguson, Karen Keyes, Lynzey Danahue—and about 12 others who didn’t sign the sign-in sheet.

The meeting convened at 7:35 pm. (on the heels of the H-B Chamber Singers concert, which was just winding up.)

Principal’s Report: Casey Robinson

Our chamber singers are being honored this Friday as the choir selected to sing at the state music educator’s conference.

In the last month, we’ve had lots of great events: concerts, the middle school play, and a very successful Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction which was a huge fundraiser for the Music Department. A successful fall formal was held last Tuesday, Nov. 10th.  The 6th-graders had a great trip to Hemlock last week as a team building exercise; an Ellis Island simulation with the 7th graders happened the same day. “Every day there is something meaningful and powerful going on,” Casey said. First quarter report cards will be out by the end of the week.

There was a successful professional learning day early in November, with good acclimation of the new staff members.  The various poultry bowls are coming up on November 24th: the Chicken Bowl and Turkey Bowl, which are big community events. The Stratford Program will be participating as well—their addition is an improvement in terms of building community.

Parent question: Is there discussion happening around reversing the schedule change?

Casey: There was an extended town meeting this morning on this. Some are eager to reverse it, others to keep it the way it is. The ultimate decision at today’s Town Meeting was to go away and think until the next Town Meeting in a couple of weeks. There seems to be strong feelings on both sides, and Casey suspects the vote will be a close one if and when it comes.

Parent question: What do they not like about the new schedule?

Casey: Change…..We have found from a faculty standpoint that the TA period is being used much more effectively on a Monday than on a Friday at 3 pm….So, many of us are actively interested in continuing to try this for this year.

 

Update on the Stratford renovation project: Laura Saul Edwards, PAC Co-Chair and member of the Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) for the Stratford site (i.e. the Vacation Lane site)

The School Board voted last night on the concept design for the Vacation Lane building, H-B’s current home. They decided by a vote of 3-2 that this building will become a 1,000- seat neighborhood middle school …Between $31-36 million will be allotted for the project, though the School Board urged its staff to strive to keep it on the lower end. The current building, with renovations, could house roughly 835 students….The addition [to add capacity up to 1000 students] would be put on the west side of the school, facing the park.

There are some historic preservation issues involved with the site….so the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB)…are on board with this. There is $250,000 that will be set aside specifically for working with the HALRB [to create the physical pieces that will] actually let people know that this is a historic site and why.

On another subject, it’s anticipated that there will be more auto and pedestrian traffic here…APS and the School Board have approved the possibility of a driveway that connects Vacation Lane to Old Dominion, with most car traffic along the lower end of Vacation Lane, and the busses at the top. ….

We are concerned about the sequencing of the construction because H-B will be in session during the construction…In early 2017, they will come over here and break ground. …They would like to sequence it if at all possible so that the Stratford program students, because they are so vulnerable, will only be moved once, with [the rest of] us.

Parent question: Did you get a sense of how much demolition will take place in the H-B (as opposed to the Stratford) part of this building?

Laura: Not much [apparently].

Parent question: How much was initially allotted for the construction at this site?

Laura: Originally the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) said $29.6 million. That has been adjusted. Back in August with the original design, we were up near almost $50 million. The $31 million now is back close to what it’s going to cost, but there is a $5 million buffer.  The School Board urged staff to keep to $31 million in a resolution read last night by SB member Nancy Van Doren.

 

Update on the new H-B building at Rosslyn: Kristen Colston, PAC Capacity Committee Chair, and member of the BLPC for the Rosslyn building

Kristen: The building where we are going to be moving is in flux as far as what the School Board is going to do about it. The BLPC — the committee of people designing the building — and the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) all recommended that the School Board approve a $93.8 million, 670,000 square feet facility.  The APS superintendent suggested 146,000 square feet and $80.2 million [maximum]….As a BLPC we are pretty sure this would not work. So the thing we need to do now is to lobby the School Board to try to get more than the $80.2 million, preferably the $93.8 million.

The School Board meeting where the decision is going to be made is on December 3.  To get real-time updates on how you can help, like “Love HB” on Facebook.  If you are interested in speaking to the School Board, going to their office hours or helping in any way, email Kristen, (kristenmcolston@gmail.com), Laura (laurasedwards@me.com) or David. (david.tornquist@gmail.com)

Parent question: What was the square footage on the superintendent’s proposal?

Kristen: 146,000 square feet. By comparison, the current H-B  building is 140,000 square feet, not counting the trailers. However, at the Rosslyn site we will have 10% more students than we currently do: therefore we would have less square footage per student and the Stratford program would have drastically reduced square footage: almost 30 square feet less per Stratford program student. And they are already overcrowded.

In the School Board vote last night, the current building gained an additional 30,000 square feet in order to expand it to a middle school for 1,000 students.

Casey: there are economies of scale. Therefore, small programs cost more relative to schools with larger student bodies. At the Rosslyn site, the underground parking alone costs $9 million because of the small footprint and the urban location.

 

Guest Speaker: Michael Swisher, parent of an H-B 10th grader, and staff member at the Arlington Partnership on Children, Youth and Families on: “What your teen won’t tell you: Maintaining and improving communication with your son or daughter.”

Michael, who has been a staffer at APCYF for three years, gave a terrific presentation full of tips for talking with our teens.

The meeting adjourned at 9 pm.

PAC Meeting Minutes – October 20, 2015

The meeting convened at 6:30 pm, to accommodate the instrumental music concert at 7:30 pm. Attendees: Casey Robinson, Laura Saul Edwards, David Tornquist, Meredith Wadman, Kelly Kabiri, Nadine Asef-Sargent, Richard Walker, Lindsey Visbaras (H-B school psychologist), Siobhan Bowler (H-B substance abuse counselor), Hillary Horn, Paul Ferguson, Karen Keyes, Lynzey Donahue, Jan Gronemeyer. Casey Robinson, Principal’s […]

The meeting convened at 6:30 pm, to accommodate the instrumental music concert at 7:30 pm.

Attendees: Casey Robinson, Laura Saul Edwards, David Tornquist, Meredith Wadman, Kelly Kabiri, Nadine Asef-Sargent, Richard Walker, Lindsey Visbaras (H-B school psychologist), Siobhan Bowler (H-B substance abuse counselor), Hillary Horn, Paul Ferguson, Karen Keyes, Lynzey Donahue, Jan Gronemeyer.

Casey Robinson, Principal’s Report:

Casey reported on a successful back to school night with tremendous turnout and a positive vibe. The first Black Box show has taken place, along with the fall backpacking trip. The middle school play is set for next week. It has been adapted and written by our middle schoolers, with a Hallowe’en theme.

A new, student-run community service group called HIVE, the HBW Initiative for Volunteer Engagement, is launching on the morning of Tuesday October 27 with an all-school activities fair. The college application season is in full swing. Casey met in early October with parents of seniors, many of whom are racing towards a Nov. 1 application deadline. We are also about to embark on the season of looking at who our newest students will be next year. The APS system of required school visits and principal signatures for applying to H-B and other programs has been jettisoned, with a simple application now all that is needed. There will still be orientations for parents at the school, but they will not be obligatory Casey anticipates that this change will increase the number of applications overall, but it also removes a barrier that existed for some families who couldn’t take time off work to attend the orientations.

In response to a question, Casey said that Town Meeting minutes do exist and will be posted in due course. Teri Doxsee, H-B’ Technology Coordinator, has just created a Google system to make it easier to get them posted.

Kelly Kabiri, Treasurer’s Report:

There are three accounts at H-B Woodlawn.  All are funded by the annual “No Sweat” campaign in which H-B families give so generously. $42,000 was raised in donations for the current school year.

1) The Parent Advisory Committee account, which currently contains $1,500. The PAC uses this to help fund events like the County-wide senior study night at the public library.

2) The Teachers and Principals account, which holds $3000 — $50 for each teacher, for classroom use at his or her discretion.

3)  The “No Sweat” Fund.  After subtracting the above amounts, this fund was left with $37,500 to support various teacher requests. All of this money goes directly to the classrooms, and none to administration or overhead. Examples of uses of this money include classroom furniture, lab equipment, and different social and life skill games for students in the Asperger’s program.  Teachers in the HILT program may also apply for these funds. The requests received this year were a little bit more than the money available. Two teachers, two students and two parents, constituted as a “No Sweat Committee” went through the requests. They were able to grant every request by selective shaving from several individual requests.

Kathy Funes, the treasurer in H-B’s front office, disburses the money for the granted requests, and ensures that all the money is spent by the time the year is out.

To give parents a sense of how this generous giving by H-B families impacts our students’ lives and learning, testimonials from teachers will be posted on the PAC website, where teachers will explain what they got and how it helped in their classroom.

Laura Saul Edwards: Update on the Stratford (i.e. Vacation Lane) and Wilson projects 

By the opening of the school year in 2019, the H-B and Stratford programs will be relocated in a new building at the Wilson School site in Rosslyn, with H-B’s current building on Vacation Lane converted to a 1,000 seat middle school. Over-high design estimates which pushed both projects over budget have slowed progress, but “We think we’ve got it pretty much under control now,” said Laura, who sits on the Building Level Planning Committee for both projects. For the Stratford project, the winning conceptual design will end up doing essentially nothing to the current building, beyond reconfiguring some of the administrative space; redesignating the current Stratford program space for classrooms and possibly an auxiliary gym; and possibly adding capacity on the west side of the school, currently the site of the lower parking lot. Construction must be complete by Sept 2019.  The Stratford program will be temporarily relocated during construction, beginning in 2017.

At the Wilson site, the design committee reaffirmed its support for an innovative 5.5 story “fanning bar” design, with the Stratford program housed on the ground floor and H-B on the higher floors. This plan came in initially $2 million dollars over the $80.2 million budget allowed by the School Board.  Since then, in an effort to corral costs, Casey and her staff team have worked diligently with APS to allow programmatic sharing of space between the H-B and Stratford programs at the new Wilson building.  “I think the School Board wants the cover, the justification, for going beyond $80.2 million, if it really is necessary for these programs,” Laura said.  Most likely they are going to have to exceed this figure, she added, although they don’t want to, given pressing capacity needs throughout the school system. In November, 2015 the School Board will be presented with the modified designs for both sites, and vote yes or no. All of next year will consist of getting through the reviews necessary to get permits to help construction start by 2017 for both projects.

A parent raised concerns about a recent letter to the editor of the Sun Gazette from a community member complaining that the new H-B building planned for Rosslyn is over-priced.  Shortly after it was published, PAC leaders conferred and decided it made most sense not to respond, as there is little to be gained by entering into that argument at this stage in the public space. Casey noted that it is APS’s responsibility to defend the cost of the building, and not the PAC’s.

That said, trying to fly under the radar, Casey advised, is in the long term not a strategy. The takeaway from the letter to the editor, she suggested, is that we as a community need to work hard at publicizing and helping people in the community to understand the strengths and virtues of the H-B program. Also, it’s important that we stress that the new building will house two programs, not just H-B. The Stratford program expands the reach and service of the new building at the Wilson site.

Laura added that she didn’t see a good return on investment in responding to the letter to the editor, and added that there have been no on-line comments reacting to it.  But another part of our public message should be that H-B and Stratford are moving in order to help the crowding crisis in APS. The school system really needs the relief that 1,000 middle school seats on Vacation Lane will bring.  Laura noted that James Lander, a member of  the School Board, speaking at a Facilities Advisory Council meeting on October 19, reaffirmed that the Board has no intention of changing the plan to relocate our programs to Wilson and to convert the Vacation Lane building into a 1,000 seat middle school.

In response to a question about plans for parking at the new H-BLaura explained that at the Wilson site, a 92-seat underground parking garage, plus off-site parking with local garages, is one proposal currently being considered. Another plan would have all parking off-site. A third proposal would involve the local developer, Penzance, which wants to provide a portion of  up to 1,300-1,400 parking spaces for its tenants in a garage under what would be H-B’s athletic field at the new site. As part of the proposal, Penzance would provide 92 parking spaces for H-B.

Nadine Asef-Sargent: Report on the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee (ASEAC).

Nadine, the mother of an H-B junior, is former Chair and a current member of this committee, which usually meets on the last Tuesday of each month at the APS Ed Center, room 101, from 7-9 pm. The ASEAC is a special advisory committee tasked by the Commonwealth of VA to advise the School Board on the needs of students with disabilities with or without an Individualized Education Program (IEP), or 504 plan. Disabilities in this context encompass13 conditions, including hearing or vision impairment, intellectual, physical, learning and emotional disabilities. One of ASEAC’s recommendations, being made this year in collaboration with the Student Services Advisory Committee,  is that far more social workers and psychologists are needed in the APS system. Currently, the ratio of such workers to students in APS is 1:1500. However, the National Association of School Psychologists recommends a ratio of between 1:500 to 1:700 and the School Social Work Association recommends a ratio of 1:250.  Nadine reported that “there is a desperate and growing need for real, focused, specific attention on mental health education and services for APS students.” She urged parents to communicate this need to School Board members – especially the need to bring down the ratio of school psychologists and social workers to APS students.

Nadine added that the ASEAC Committee and individual members have made a lot of headway throughout the years, including helping to improve special education transportation; creating the secondary program for students with autism and the twice-exceptional program; bringing American Sign Language to all high schools; and raising awareness of ADHD and dyslexia.

For more information, contact Nadine at nadine.asef@gmail.com or check out the ASEAC website, here: http://www.apsva.us/page/1290

Feature presentation: Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention, by Angelina Harris, on behalf of the Jason Foundation.

angelina.harris@hcahealthcare.com   cell 571-249-0872

Angelina is the director of business growth and behavioral health at Dominion Hospital in Falls Church. She is also a volunteer with the Jason Foundation, and spoke on the foundation’s behalf.

Also participating in this discussion were:

 

H-B’s school psychologist, Lindsey Visbaras  lindsey.visbaras2@apsva.us  and

H-B’s substance abuse counselor, Siobhan Bowler  siobhan.bowler@apsva.us

Angelina: The Jason Foundation specializes in youth suicide prevention. It is a private organization and provides all of its resources for free.

Angelina urged us to check out all that the foundation offers at its website: http://jasonfoundation.com/    The website includes a Parent Resource Center, and an app that teens can put on their cell phones. (This includes information like “how to help a friend”, and  a crisis phone number; H-B has tried to get this app into the hands of all its students.) The website also offers DVD speaker presentations and lists of danger signs for suicide, as well as a curriculum for youth in Spanish. There are also faith-based resources appropriate for church groups.

Angelina noted the stigma and resulting silence around the topic of suicide, especially in young people. And yet, the less it is talked about, the less we can get resources to the people who need them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth aged 10-24.   (See the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, conducted every 2 years. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6304.pdf )

The bottom line from this survey: nationally, 30% of youth say that they have felt sadness or hopelessness that they can’t shake for two weeks or more, and 17% say they have considered suicide. Eight percent have attempted suicide. For Virginia (see table 27), the figure is 10 percent. All of these data are broken out by state within the report.

To lower these numbers, Angelina said, one thing we need to combat is the silence around this, a Jason Foundation goal. Which can begin with dispelling the myth that talking about it makes it happen, for which there is no evidence.  The Foundation offers training modules for youth, parents and teens, which include training for teens in how to recognize warning signs and symptoms in their friends.

Parent question: Can you go over the warning signs?

Risk factors include: depression; bipolar disease; self-injurious behavior; a family member who has carried out a suicide; someone else they know who has committed suicide; transgender identity.

Siobhan Bowler commented that she has watched the video for the parents and that it’s really easy, quick, good listening. Siobhan offers to moderate a discussion if any parent group is interested in getting together to watch the presentation.

Casey and Graham recently had an in-service for the staff around suicide prevention.

Siobhan said that she, Lindsey and Elizabeth, a part-time school social worker, do suicide risk assessments for H-B students if any teacher is ever concerned about a student. Parents must be notified after such an assessment is finished. Lindsey has done three already this year; Siobhan did four last year and has done one this year.  They make referrals for parents to get outside support if needed.

Casey said that, after the recent suicide at Wakefield, H-B made counsellors available, and lots of kids took advantage of that.

The meeting adjourned at 7:55 pm.

PAC Meeting Minutes – September 21, 2015

The meeting convened at 7:30 pm in the library. Attendees:  Casey Robinson, Graham McBride, Kate Seche, Laura Saul Edwards, David Tornquist, Meredith Wadman, Kristen Colston,  Chuck Kleymeyer, Celia Boddington, Anne-Marie Bolton, Elisabeth Casey, Jan Gronemeyer, Harald Kenerleber, Linda Friedman, Greg Lane, Maribeth Egan, Vicky Mendelowitz, Richard Walker, Jeanne Radday, Kathryn Ricero, Laura Hall, Anne Hammer, […]

The meeting convened at 7:30 pm in the library.

Attendees:  Casey Robinson, Graham McBride, Kate Seche, Laura Saul Edwards, David Tornquist, Meredith Wadman, Kristen Colston,  Chuck Kleymeyer, Celia Boddington, Anne-Marie Bolton, Elisabeth Casey, Jan Gronemeyer, Harald Kenerleber, Linda Friedman, Greg Lane, Maribeth Egan, Vicky Mendelowitz, Richard Walker, Jeanne Radday, Kathryn Ricero, Laura Hall, Anne Hammer, Launa Hall, Jacky Jenks, Adam Walsh, Hillary Horn, Rich Ferlauto.

Welcome:  Our PAC co-chairs opened the meeting. David Tornquist, the new PAC high school co-chair, is the father of  10th-grader Caroline Tornquist, who has been at HB since 6th grade  Laura Saul Edwards, the middle school co-chair, is continuing in that position. Her son Elliot Edwards is in 8th grade, and came to H-B in 6thgrade.

Minutes: The minutes of June 2, 2015 PAC meeting were approved.

Principal’s report by Casey Robinson:

Casey reported on a “great” first couple of weeks of school.  H-B welcomed more new students than it ever has, because this school year marks the launch of an incremental increase in the student body of 10 percent.  The incoming 6th-grade class is one of the largest ever. There are also a small group of new 7th-graders and 19 new 9th-graders, plus a handful of new 10th– graders.

During this time of  transition for H-B (new leadership; a move coming), the focus of the faculty remains on H-B’s core principles: community, self-directed learning and self-governance.

There are a number of new staff, and about 2.5 new teachers, to accommodate the growth in the study body and to more accurately reflect numbers in the HILT program.

Casey and the staff are excited to welcome Kate Seche, H-B’s new assistant principal, who brings a strong background in working with English as a second language students, which will be a real asset for the HILT program.. Kate is providing terrific help with that program, and working closely with its students. She’s also working on tasks that fall under the “Director of Counseling” role, relieving Casey, who carried these jobs in the past. Kate is also is going to be working as the primary administration contact for 9th– and 10th-grade students, teachers and parents.

We have a new librarian, Maggie Carpenter, from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County. Maggie brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and skill set in research. In terms of actual books being checked out, the library is being used constantly. Maggie is strong in that area and will be a really good resource for our teachers.

Ackesha Cathirell and Steve McKenney are our two new special education teachers. We have a new Spanish teacher, Travis Reyes teaching Spanish II, III and our fluent speakers program. Elena Velasco is our new theater teacher and the new sixth-grade science teacher is Jason Yoon.  We hired a part time photography teacher, named George Laumann who is a retired APS teacher.  Diedre Reimers is a new part- time social studies teacher and Randy Latimer a new part-time computer science teacher. As computer science teachers are hard to find, Randy is an exciting catch.

The school schedule has been adjusted slightly, with Friday afternoon TA time moved to Monday afternoon, to capitalize on more attentiveness on Mondays than on Fridays! Town Meeting is now on Tuesday instead of Thursday.  The other TA time is now on Thursday.

We have added two more grade levels to the personalized device program, so the 6th and 7th graders now have IPads in hand and the 9th and 10th graders have laptop computers. While there have been some technical difficulties we are really focused on helping the teachers find ways to integrate this technology.

Other topics: Looking to a future in Rosslyn with far fewer parking spots available, H-B is already trying to encourage alternative transportation, including more carpooling. H-B has signed up with Arlington Transportation Partners to boost this effort, and Catherine Frum, a high school English teacher, is H-B’s liaison to that program. She will be putting together related activities.

Frisbee is up and running, and the first Black Box show opens on October 8.

Next  Monday, Sept. 28, is H-B Woodlawn’s Back to School Night.

 Reports by other PAC Officers

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Saul Edwards reported for our Treasurer, Kelly Kabiri, who couldn’t be present. We as a PAC had about $45,000 in the bank at the close of last year.  See the PAC website (click on the “Parents” tab at the top of the H-B home page, then select PAC on the drop-down menu) for the ways in which this is put to use, including teacher testimonials.  There is still time to donate if you have not yet done so. Parents can send a check made out to H-B Woodlawn with No Sweat in the comment line to the Main Office.

Advisory Council on Instruction: Cecilia Boddington report from the School Board’s ACI, which held its first meeting of the year last week.  The ACI is forming a committee on digital technology and there are opportunities to serve the ACI in other capacities. Contact Cecilia for details: Celia_boddington@yahoo.com.

H-B PAC’s Capacity Committee.

1.     The new building in Rosslyn.

Kristen Colston, the chair of the Capacity Committee, gave a status report on planning for the new H-B building in Rosslyn.  For more detail than you can imagine, go the PAC website (hit the “parents” tab at the top of the H-B home page and click on PAC on the dropdown menu). Once at the PAC site, go to the bottom of the menu on the left, and click on the link “new Wilson and Stratford sites.”  Here you can find information both about plans and renovations at  H-B’s current site (“Stratford”) and plans for its new site (“Wilson.”).

Kristen reported that a bind has emerged: the School Board insists that the new H-B in Rosslyn be built for the budgeted $80.2 million, and yet the plan presented to the Board in August by the Building Level Planning Committee  (BLPC) was $20 million over budget.  A big chunk of this increase, $9 million, was due to escalation in construction costs.  The BLPC has been sent back to the drawing board by the School Board and told to come up with a plan that keeps to the $80 million target. The new, on-budget design, is due to be presented to the School Board on October 8th. It’s not clear that this will happen on time.

To follow this and other details of the planning processes both at H-B’s current site and in Rosslyn, be sure to sign up for H-B News, H-B Talk, and to like “Love HB” on Facebook. These are the forums where the BLPC is interacting with H-B parents.

2.      Renovations, etc. at H-B’s current site. (called “The Stratford site” by the planners.)

We heard a report from Laura Saul Edwards, our PAC co-chair, who sits on the Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) for the renovation of the Stratford site:

The renovation will convert the current H-B building into a 1,000-seat neighborhood middle school beginning in September 2019.

Our assistant principal Graham McBride serves with Laura on the BLPC for H-B.

The meetings of the BLPC  have revealed that the reno is a very challenging process. Not only because of the historic nature of the building, with integration in 1959, but because of where it is situated, on an island surrounded by high volume traffic. The BLPC has been consumed with trying to figure out how to route buses, cars and walkers around the site safely, while respecting neighbors’ concerns. It looks like access to Old Dominion could be approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation if needed.

The Stratford BLPC is currently considering about four designs for the reno.  The concept design should be complete  sometime in mid to late October.

As with the Wilson site, the designs are running over budget, and for the same reasons, especially increasing construction costs in the industry broadly. The most expensive of the designs being considered is $18 million over the School Board-designated budget of $29 million.

If the project remains on schedule,  ground will be broken for the reno in September 2017.

Laura concluded that “Despite bumps, I am confident we will get through this and we will end up with a building that serves our needs and that the academic program will continue to flourish.”

Topics for Upcoming PAC Meetings

David Tornquist asked for input on this, and parents volunteered topics that included:

–what to expect for our students, academically and socially, each year at H-B

–any topic that includes student panelists is especially appreciated

–how to support our students’ self-directed learning at H-B

–teen suicide, in light of the recent suicide of a Wakefield student, including addresses high rates at some Virginia universities

The Arlington-Aachen Exchange and other exchange programs with foreign students

Casey clarified that APS policy is that it does not comment on foreign exchange programs, and does not endorse them. This is out of concerns about liability. The PAC however can publicize such programs.

The next PAC meeting will take place on Tuesday October 20 at 7:30.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.