Seeking volunteers for new elementary school working group

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Below is a letter from Arlington School Board Chair James Lander asking civic associations for a representative to participate in a working group to identify sites for a new neighborhood elementary school in South Arlington.  If you would like to volunteer to participate, please let Joe Porporino know at

Dear PTA and Civic Association Presidents,

The Arlington School Board would like to invite your organization to be part of a South Arlington Elementary Working Group we are creating to provide guidance to the board on the siting of a new neighborhood elementary school in South Arlington. As you know, Arlington Public Schools is experiencing significant enrollment growth and we have been addressing the issue through program moves, classroom conversions and relocatables in recent years.   The School Board is now committed to building a new 725-seat neighborhood elementary school in South Arlington, preferably by 2019, to address capacity issues in this part of the county.  To achieve this goal, a location for this new school must be determined by December 2015.

The School Board is initiating a Community Working Group Process to evaluate sites for a new neighborhood elementary school in South Arlington.  As stated in the attached document, this working group will be charged with working with APS staff to provide an analysis of possible locations for the new school based on their evaluation of available site options and provide input on related program moves with the overall goals of addressing crowding and enhancing instructional opportunities in South Arlington elementary schools.  This will be an inclusive process, with the community’s participation being reflective of the diversity of South Arlington and the County as a whole.

The members of the Community Working Group will be approved by the School Board and will reflect the diversity of the community. Members will include representatives of all South Arlington elementary PTA groups, Civic Association representatives and a number of other representatives.  The plan is for this group to meet at least twice a month from June through November and provide a report to the board by early November 2015. Dr. Barbara Kanninen will serve as the School Board liaison and staff will work closely to support the group.

The School Board plans to adopt the charge for the Community Working Group at its June 4, 2015 meeting and appoint membership at its June 11, 2015 meeting.  Recognizing the timeline, the School Board is asking for  recommended names from South Arlington PTA and civic associations  to serve on this important working group.  An alternative member may be identified if you choose.

Please reply to this message with the name and other information requested on the form attached regarding your recommended representative (and alternate if you choose) by Friday, June 5th.  You may complete the form online and return to

A major expectation for each representative will be to serve as an “ambassador”, bringing back information to your organization, soliciting ideas and suggestions and bringing your group’s thinking to the working group.  We will also be holding a number of open community forums to get input and feedback from the South Arlington community.

An initial Public Community Forum on this important issue is scheduled for Tuesday, June 9th at the Career Center, 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, 22204

Please feel free to contact Dr. Kanninen at 703-328-5322 if you have any questions and we all look forward to a successful and productive community process resulting in a new 725-seat neighborhood elementary school in South Arlington!


James S. Lander

Chair, Arlington School Board