School Notes

School Notes

As part of the school system’s continuing effort to keep students, parents and community members abreast of the latest news and information, the Arlington Public Schools Web site has been updated to enhance its navigation and usability through a new mini-site and updates to content and design.

A new “Registration & School Options” mini-site is now available from the APS home page, available under the “About APS” heading, which allows parents to walk unassisted through all of the steps in registering a child for school and reviewing the options that are available to Arlington families.

The School Options mini-site features four navigation elements, three of which are new to the APS Web site, These include:

* “Make a Choice” – When parents reach a page that has options for viewing additional unique information, a list of options will appear in the blue box on the right-hand side of the screen. For example, the School Choices page features “Make A Choice” links to preschool, elementary, middle and high schools.

* “Related Links” – When parents reach a page with information that is not specific to one particular area or serves as supporting material, a yellow box will appear on the right-hand side of the screen listing “Related Links.”

* “School Options Site Map” – The site map is available under “Related Links" on the main page and then a site map link is available at the bottom of every page in the School Options section.

* “Breadcrumb Trail” – Once parents click on a link in the School Options Web site, a blue box will appear directly underneath the “School Options in APS" banner image. As they click deeper into this mini-site, they will see links in the blue box that will indicate what pages are “above” their current page. Parents can then quickly return to a page they previously viewed without having to use the back button multiple times.

Additionally, a “Searchable Boundary” site was added to the APS Web site just over a year ago to help citizens determine their neighborhood schools. Parents can type their home address into the database and will instantly learn which is their neighborhood elementary, middle or high school.

School officials hope the redesigned School Options site will be helpful to families during the current registration period for secondary students, Nov. 1 – Jan. 21, and in the fall during the elementary registration period, Feb. 1 – April 15. Community members are encouraged to share their comments on how the site can be further improved through the feedback form available on the APS Web site or by e-mailing

Claire Lauterbach of Arlington was one of 18 first-year female undergraduates selected as the inaugural class of Baldwin Scholars at Duke University, a four-year program that aims to empower women to change Duke's campus culture and the world beyond.

The program will begin in January with a team-building retreat and a semester-long academic seminar, "Perceptions of Self, Society and the Natural World." During their sophomore year, the women will live together on West Campus and participate in a team service project. Junior year will include an internship with a Duke alumna, and the program will finish during their senior year with a capstone seminar.

Students, parents and community members are invited to purchase a 2005 Arlington Historical Architecture calendar, produced by Drew Model School students this year. Copies of the calendar are available for $10 each at Drew, the Arlington Historical Society and Commuter Direct stores in Rosslyn, Crystal City and Ballston. They can also be purchased online at For more information contact Monique O’Grady at 703-521-5631.

The preschool program at the Arlington Career Center has a Children's Library from which students can borrow books to take home and read with their families. With help from Career Center preschool teacher Ruth Bilodeau, Maureen Murray, the daughter of Career Center teacher Laura Murray, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award Project, by creating the Children's Library to encourage family reading time. Murray spearheaded the effort to collect and log more than 500 books donated through book drives with local churches. She also created and set up an "easy to use" library system for the preschoolers to check out the books.

Through a joint partnership with the Arlington Virginia Federal Credit Union (AVFCU), students in Lisa Moore's Banking, Finance, and Investments class at the Arlington Career Center are now responsible for running a branch of the credit union. The grand opening of the 2004-2005 United Students Credit Union branch of the AVFCU was held on Nov. 3. The branch is open to students and faculty at the Career Center as well as anyone with an AVFCU account. The branch is open every Wednesday and Friday. To open a share savings account, students must deposit $5. There is no service fee and even students under the age of 18 can open an account with parental permission.

Barrett Elementary School is implementing a schoolwide poetry program this year to promote fluency and a love of reading among students and staff. So far, the monthly "Poems on the Stairs" and "Poem Zones" have been a big hit with students. Many ideas for the poetry program came from this summer's "Children Literature Conference, For the Love of the Book: Reaching the Reluctant Reader," at Shenandoah University. Principal Terry Bratt, ESOL/HILT Lead Teacher Ali Ledbetter, and Lead Reading Specialist Mary Lou Rube attended the conference.

Kenmore art teacher Jeff Wilson and principal John Word were honored on Oct. 26 for their role in working with students Margot MacDonald and Anthony Tran who received a first place and honorable mention respectively, in the Ford Motor Company Fund, Washington Post Hispanic Heritage Art Contest.