APS NewsCheck

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YHS MSANOn Feb. 2, Yorktown’s Minority Leaders United (formerly MSAN) hosted professional men to speak about their careers and offer advice to MLU members. The young men heard about careers in engineering, business, law, law enforcement, and trades. One group focused on what to do if you are undecided about a career.


Aquaponics at the Career Center is up and running! Science classes and PEP students at the Arlington Career Center have seeded their first round of organic lettuces for the aquaponics system. The aquaponics system is a sustainable system containing fish and plants, which nourish each other by recycling nutrients throughout the system. The large tank has held tilapia for a month. Now, students hope that the organic lettuce seeds will flourish within the system, so that they can provide the culinary arts program with an assortment of fresh, crisp lettuces and a supply of fresh fish, grown and raised in our incredible greenhouse.


Oakridge OlympicsThe First Annual Oakridge Winter Olympics are in full swing! First on the agenda was the Parade of Nations. Each grade level gathered together during specials in the gym for the opening ceremony. To prepare, classes created their own “nation” flags during C.U.B.E. with teacher Amy Slavin. Music teachers, Amanda Thiel and Zachary Martini, coached the students to compose individual country national anthems. As their nation was announced, their flags displayed on the big screen, and their music booming across the arena, students walked around the track waving to the crowd. Next came the Lighting of the Torch Relay, where students had to pass the flame – a very large ball – down two rows of athletes, as many times as possible, to “light” the Olympic flame. Over the next three weeks, students will participate in other sports like bobsled, skeleton, figure skating, biathlon, and cross country skiing. These games are designed and hosted by the P.E. Department — Sean Jones, Joe Papola, and Tyler Quinn. Each group will earn points for their own nation during these games. Nations can also earn character points during P.E. or any other any special such as art, music, or C.U.B.E. This collaborative effort by all the specials teachers here at Oakridge will undoubtedly prove to be worth of a gold medal!


McKinley KindnessOver the last two weeks, McKinley Cardinals and their families participated in the first ever McKinley Kindness Challenge. Students, staff, and parents completed Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) boards that included things like “write a nice note for your mail carrier” and “help clean up a mess you didn’t make.” One of the mail carriers for the surrounding neighborhood even stopped by McKinley to ask what was going on because he was finding so many kind notes in mailboxes. For every RAK board that was completed the school counselors put a heart in the lobby and added a paper link to a kindness chain in the cafeteria. By the end of the challenge the kindness chain wrapped around the entire cafeteria! Teachers supported classroom to classroom kindness by surprising each other with songs, kind notes and dance parties. The building was buzzing with kindness!


School Board Member Tannia Talento visited Jefferson’s Latinas Leading Tomorrow for a meet and greet. Students were able to practice their leadership skills and ask questions.


On Feb, 1, students in the Wakefield Aerospace Engineering Club enjoyed a fun, hands on competition. Groups of up-to-six were tasked with constricting a wing for an airplane using index cards, tape, and yarn. The winning wing was sturdy enough to hold its shape when suspended between two chairs that are placed two feet apart. In the process students learned about the concepts of lift and air resistance.


On Tue, Feb. 6,  Gail Klein’s fourth grade students went to Ford’s Theater to perform the Gettysburg Address as part of the Oratory Festival. These students have been learning about the meaning of the Gettysburg Address and have been rehearsing since October. They read the speech and learned about podium points or the principles of public speaking. Heidi Fortune, an artist educator from Ford’s, has been helping the class prepare for this exciting event.


Three classes merged to enjoy an awesome Super Bowl party at Stratford. The students all participated in a vote on who would win the Super Bowl. With great wisdom our students chose the Philadelphia Eagles in a 9 to 1 vote over the New England Patriots. They students then enjoyed watching last year’s Super Bowl on the Smart Board. While enjoying the game, students and staff dug into football food including chicken fingers.


Abingdon gardenSeveral Abingdon Staff members are collaborating to design new garden beds that will provide a fertile landscape for growing fruits and vegetables that will be donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). Science and STEM teacher Jordan Kivitz is organizing the crops, offering gardening as a teachable moment for his students. Art teacher Lauren Muscarella and architecture teacher David McDavitt are adding aesthetic and architectural appeal to the garden’s entrance. Debbie Staren-Doby, Abingdon’s volunteer and partnership liaison is coordinating volunteers to tend the garden in the summer, as well as the donation process with AFAC. This enriching experience will enable students, staff, and families to find gratitude in knowing they are helping hungry families in our community.


Barrett Reading NightLate last month, Barrett hosted a Library Night to share our love of reading with students so that they may then share their love of reading with kids at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. After a read-aloud, students made a Valentine card with some words of encouragement to send to a child receiving treatment at Children’s National. The cards will be tucked inside a book and will be delivered around Valentine’s Day.


Henry Exemplary Project Coordinator Susan Spranger and fifth graders shared their service project with the staff at the Career Center. The students presented what they learned about the watershed and ways to protect it. Henry students were focusing on water quality issues, biodiversity in the school yard and modes of transportation. Henry’s fifth graders wanted to encourage the Career Center staff members to participate in the motor-free, public transportation or carpool options offered by Arlington Public Schools through Arlington Transportation Partners. This year, Henry has 16 participating staff members and they hope to have the Career Center match the participation rates.


Ashlawn readBrittany Lee’s second graders at Ashlawn have started using their iPad to assign and track independent daily goals in reading and math. These provide individualized and flexible goals that match student-needs and give them ownership of their learning. Students in the Reader’s Theater book club are preparing a skit called “The North Wind and the Sun.” They are learning to use reading fluency and expression to bring the characters and help the audience ask the question, “Who is mightier–the north wind or the sun?”