Protesters Criticize County School Board’s Transparency With Redistricting Proposal

Dozens of protesters showed up last night to the Fairfax County School Board’s work session on a proposal that would change how local school boundaries are adjusted.

Before the school board began discussing the proposal, the meeting room was packed with protesters. Police blocked the door, telling a crowd of about 30 people outside that they could not go into the room, which had reportedly reached its capacity.

The discussion on the proposal was delayed by an hour and a half as staff worked to set up overflow seating with live streaming of the work session in the cafeteria.

Around 7:30 p.m., Jeffrey Platenberg, the assistant superintendent for the Department of Facilities and Transportation Services, kicked off the discussion on the proposal with a presentation.

The draft policy would look at a new set of criteria for prompting and then establishing school boundaries. Once a school boundary change has been identified, some of the new criteria to create the new boundary include:

  • “socioeconomic and/or racial composition of students in affected schools”
  • “the safety of walking and busing routes”
  • “operational efficiency”

“When boundary changes are being considered by the School Board, the changes shall not be restricted by the boundaries of individual schools, administrative areas, zip codes, or magisterial district,” according to the draft. The proposal would also get rid of expedited boundary adjustments.

Throughout the meeting, protesters in the room waved signs saying “Communities Build Great Schools NOT Boundary Changes” and “Education Excellence NOT Social Engineering.” Several of the protesters said that they thought the process behind how the proposal was created was not transparent.

Some Great Falls residents have banded together to oppose the boundary changes — which could break up the Langley school pyramid. An online petition to keep the pyramid together has gained more than 2,000 signatories.

We want our school board and administration to recognize that redistricting would pull apart our community, will significantly decrease property values of hard-working families who pushed the envelope to move into this community, and most importantly, leaves the underlying problems unsolved,” the petition states.

School board members had mixed reactions to the proposal.

School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders said that “significant growth” in the Dulles Corridor that will impact schools and questioned if an outside consultant could help the board and community, since it “seems to be a bit of a disconnect that people don’t feel like we have let people about what we’re doing.”

“I very much support opening the boundary,” Jane Strauss, the Dranesville District representative, said.

Meanwhile, others raised concerns about equitable access outlined in the proposal.

At-Large Member Ilryong Moon said that he’s not convinced that the proposal is an improvement after asking for an example of “equitable access to educational opportunities” and Platenberg told him that school boundaries could change to prevent program placement in different schools.

The school board is slated to approve the draft in September ahead of its incorporation in the Capital Improvement Program draft in December.

Catherine Douglas Moran and Fatimah Waseem reported on this story.

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Crime Roundup: Minor Vehicle Thefts Reported in Reston

The Fairfax County Police Department has reported no major crime incidents this week.

However, the FCPD’s Reston District Station reported the following minor incidents in recent days, including several thefts from cars in the area:

LARCENIES:

2100 block of Centreville Road, shirts from business

2500 block of Centreville Road, beer from business

1700 block of Business Center Drive, purse from location

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, electronic device from vehicle

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, electronic device from vehicle

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, tools from vehicle

2500 block of John Milton Drive, liquor from business

12000 block of Greywing Square, packages from residence

1500 block of Hiddenbrook Drive, wallet from vehicle

11900 block of Market Street, clothing from vehicle

2400 block of McNair Farms Drive, cash from vehicle

12600 block of Saylers Creek Lane, property from vehicle

12100 block of Sunset Hills Road, wallet from vehicle

STOLEN VEHICLES:

2400 block of Stryker Avenue, 2007 Lexus RX400

13300 block of Hunger Ford Place, 2004 Lincoln, Navigator

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New Prismatic Art Installed on Lake Thoreau Spillway

New art by South Lakes High School’s STEAM team was installed on the Lake Thoreau spillway this month.

The piece, called “Spectrum,” is composed of five wooden interlocking rectangular prism made of different sizes and colors. Wood, paint and metal brackets were used to create the piece.

Public Art Reston issued the following description about the project:

After two years of creating sculptures with strong conceptual origins that featured minimalist color palettes, STEAM decided to change direction and create a sculpture that prioritized an exploration of aesthetic elements over a representation of a tangible theme. To do so, STEAM started out with one of the most basic geometric forms, the cube, with the intention for the emergence of an infinitely more complex, powerful, and unique form. The end result is Spectrum, a celebration of line, form, and color, unleashing the potential and power in the austerity of the formal elements employed in the sculpture.  More specifically, basic line accentuated by its rainbow palette; a conglomeration of neon hues, and soft gradients similar to strawberry sherbets and dusky sunsets. The process of constructing the sculpture became a form of beacon for students who had not been involved in the sculpture thus far. In other words, a congregation of students turned out to collaborate in fabricating the sculpture, students that were not the weekly attendees through-out the year. 

The project seeks to represent a “proverbial village.” Students involved in the project — which was created under the direction of SLHS art teacher Marco Rando — come from various racial and social backgrounds.  

Rando said the vision of the project is embodied by the mission of the SLHS STEAM public art club:

The way the program has developed over its 7 years, I see as a formal meditation. Most people hearing the word meditation would think of a practice to make one feel better. While that might be a wonderful by product, experienced meditators know it’s the process of discipline, which is demanding and requires commitment. While at the same time, one most journey lightly as not to be self-defeating.   

Since this is an art project, creative ego’s are essential, however, students learn quickly and become intuitive to the necessity of team work as key to the projects success. This meditative process is challenging students to exert themselves, using their inquisitive minds as an element of practice. In order to be an effective student, one learns to be highly inquisitive.

Students experience firsthand that information is not a foreign element but just a state of furthering their inquisitiveness. This meditative participation involves revealing 2 factors, it relates to the individual and it relates to their world. Their training becomes synchronistic, discovering, seeing, and living their efforts to have a direct impact in their community.  Ultimately students are creatively serving their society by developing and exercising multiple disciplines to achieve a work of art. Like most art work, the student project is meant to foster dialogue. For me, the dialogue is about how to create more public art that affords students the opportunity to perform at a professional level; the meditative process of living and experiencing life.

SLHS, Reston Association and Public Art Reston partnered to bring “Spectrum” to the spillway.

Project sponsors include the Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association, Mary and David Prochnow, MOD Pizza, Hope and Hayes McCarty, Priscilla Miller and E.T. Conrad.

Photo 1 and 2 by Russ Evans; Photo 3 via Public Art Reston

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Sugarland Run Photo Wins Herndon Town Calendar Competition

Photographer Mike Madigan’s photograph of Sugarland Run has won the Town of Herndon’s 10th annual calendar photo competition.

Attendees at a recent ArtSpace Herndon meeting selected the photo as the “people’s choice” winner. The photo, along with other photos submitted by professional and amateur photographers, will be featured in the 2020 Herndon Town Calendar.

Entries for the next year’s competition will be accepted in June. More than 11,000 calendars are printed for distributed to town residents and businesses.

The “people’s choice” award is given to the photograph that best represents Herndon. Special consideration is given to entries that depict people representative of Herndon’s diversity, culture, and seasonal community events.

The competition is produced by ArtSpace and the Town of Herndon.

Photo by Mike Madigan

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Kalypso’s Debuts New Outdoor Bar to Mark 9th Anniversary

For nine years, Kalypso’s Sports Tavern has offered restaurant-goers a spot for lakefront dining, local sports and cocktails.

To mark its anniversary, the sports bar unveiled a new outdoor bar, which has a dedicated bartender and lakefront views. The bar was installed on July 3.

Kalypso’s is located at 1617 Washington Plaza N and is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day except Saturday, when it opens at 10 a.m.

The business takes its name from Kalypso, a nymph from Homer’s Odyssey who restaurant representatives say embodies the beauty and hospitality of Lake Anne.

Photo via Kalypso’s/Facebook

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Why Phase Two of the Silver Line Has More Problems — “Officials were confident construction of Phase 2 would be much smoother. They were using a different contractor, there were fewer construction challenges, and they had learned many lessons from the first phase. Fast-forward five years, and construction of the final portion of the $5.8 billion rail line, which was expected to be wrapped up next month, may not be completed until next spring or summer. Trains that were originally set to begin running in January probably won’t start carrying passengers until mid-to-late 2020.” [The Washington Post]

INOVA Blood Drive in the Area Today — The bloodmobile will be parked at the pavilion in RTC from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. today. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-866-256-6372 or in-person. [Reston Town Center]

Dive into Disaster Preparedness — Receive basic training on how to prepare for local disasters and hazards, as well as basic disaster response skills, at the county’s Fire and Rescue Academy. Classes will take place between August and September on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-11 p.m. [Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department]

Farmers & Makers Market is Today — Local farmers and artisans come to Reston Town Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m to sell a variety of items. The market ends in November. [Reston Town Center]

Photo by Mike Reyes

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