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Arlington County Civic Federation

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ACCF Questions for the School Board Visit
December, 2001

November 4, 2001
Ms. Mary Hynes
Chairman, Arlington Public School Board
1426 North Quincy Street
Arlington, Virginia 22207


Subject: Arlington County Civic Federation December Meeting

Dear Ms. Hynes,

This letter provides a follow-up to the Civic Federation’s earlier invitation to the School Board and Superintendent to visit our December 4th meeting. The members of the ACCF thank the School Board and Superintendent for accepting our invitation. The format for the hour-long Schools portion of the program is as follows. The first twenty minutes will be for the School Board to discuss such topics of interest as the School Board and Superintendent would choose to select. Following that, we would request the School Board to spend 4-5 minutes on each of the five topics below. The remainder of the program (approximately 30 minutes) will be allocated to questions from Federation delegates.

Topics/questions for the School Board visit in December:

1) How do you expect the revenue sharing plan to affect the way the APS develops its budget? How would this affect a citizen's ability to have meaningful input into the budget process?

2) Currently a student can stay in the ESL program for eleven semesters and be exempt from fulfilling some of the state requirements during that time. What incentive is there for an ESL student to exit the program early? State policy exempts certain student's SOL scores from counting toward their school's SOL accreditation. The result is that two schools could be accredited, but because of their demographics, one may have 99 per cent of the test takers count toward accreditation while the other might have 50 per cent. Where do the exempt students fit into the equation of "how well a school is doing?"

3. Arlington continues to enjoy success in recruiting (and retaining) teachers. The new evaluation system seems to be a success. If recruiting, retaining, and evaluating are not a problem, why is there a need for the teacher excellence initiative? Which problem is being resolved?

4. Describe the implementation of integration of special education students into general classrooms. What percentage of special education students are being integrated? What percentage of special education students are in true self-contained classes? When a project's space requirement is determined, is it based on student programming needs, taking into account special education integration, or is it based on the number of teachers in a school's program? How is the co-teaching model factored into space planning considerations?

5. Approximately four years ago, the School Board stated its intention to have an evaluation component for all new programs. Is this in fact happening? For example, after three years of conducting an elementary school first language pilot program, what is the empirical data showing?

The foregoing questions have been developed by the Civic Federations' Schools Committee. If clarification of these questions is desired, please feel free to contact our Schools Committee Co-Chairs, Ms. Terri Prell (703-820-3782) or Mr. Roger Meyer (703-671-3655).

We are eagerly looking forward to your visit in December.


Jim Pebley
President, Arlington County Civic Federation

This page was last revised on: December 28, 2003.
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