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This Week in Arlington

<sh>New Schools Resource for Parents

<bt>Arlington public schools is launching a new "Parent Academy" to increase parent knowledge about the school system and help their children do better in school.

The academy will offer workshops, and courses of interest to parents through the existing Adult Education program, and will be offered at various school sites across Arlington County.

Available courses for parents include bully prevention, teaching your teen to drive, understanding special education and parenting with success. Upcoming Parent Academy events are Kindergarten Information Night, Montessori Information Night and the Summer Activities Fair.

Most courses and workshops will be offered at little or no cost, depending on the topic and format. Generally, topics offered by the academy will be tuition free. Courses connected to the Adult Education program will continue to be offered at a nominal cost.

"This pulls together under one umbrella all the activities and workshops for parents and make it easier to find it," said Linda Erdos, the school system’s communication director. "These resources are not just for parents but for the entire Arlington community."

Parents can view the course catalog as well as register online. All Parent Academy courses are listed in the Arlington Adult Education winter-spring 2007 semester catalog (page 42) or at www.arlington.k12.va.us/instruct/ctae/adult_ed/.

For more information, contact the office of School and Community Relations at

703-228-6005 or 703-228-7660.

<sh>Alexandria Spends Most on Education

<bt>Alexandria has stolen Arlington’s title as the jurisdiction in the region that spends money the most per pupil, according to a new report by the Washington Area Board of Educators.

For fiscal year 2007, the Arlington school system is spending $17,958 up from $16,464 the year before — a 9.1 percent jump. Alexandria schools, however, will spend 18,232 for each student this fiscal year, a 14.9 percent increase.

"While Arlington taxpayers can be happy to be in second place in this comparison, they still need to ask members of the Arlington School Board why the cost-per-student is increasing at several times the rate of inflation," wrote the editors of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association on its Web site.

The breakdown of jurisdictions:

Jurisdiction Cost per pupil FY ’07 Percentage Increase

Alexandria 18,232 14.9%

Arlington 17,958 9.1%

Fairfax County 12,853 7.9%

Falls Church 17,700 0.5%

Loudoun 12,023 5.7%

Manassas City 12,036 11.7%

Montgomery 13,446 7.1%

Prince George's 10,332 7.2%

Prince William 10,378 10.7%

<sh>Whitman-Walker Clinic Expanding Hours

<bt>The Whitman-Walker Clinic is expanding its hours of operation at its Arlington location to better serve the community.

Previously the clinic — located at 5232 Lee Highway — was open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Now it will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. On Wednesday and Thursday it will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"We asked what we could do to make our services more convenient and our clients gave us a loud and clear answer: ‘Open up earlier and stay open later,’ so that’s what we’re doing," said Donald Blanchon, the clinic’s chief executive officer.

Officials with the Whitman-Walker clinic announced earlier this fall that it has renewed the lease for its Arlington location for next year and will continue to provide services for people living with HIV and AIDS.

In June 2005 Whitman-Walker officials said they intended to close the clinic, located on the corner of George Mason Drive and Lee Highway, due to financial difficulties. In response, the governments of Arlington and Fairfax counties, along with the city of Alexandria and the commonwealth of Virginia, pledged funds to keep the clinic up and running through the end of 2006.

Established in 1993, Whitman-Walker is a nonprofit organization that provides medical care, mental health and addiction counseling, legal services and case management for individuals infected with HIV and AIDS. The clinic also has two sites in Washington, D.C.

In addition, Blanchon announced that Bruce Weiss would be the new director of the Virginia branch of the clinic, and Brent Minor would take over as the clinic’s director of policy and external affairs for Northern Virginia.

<sh>Red Cross Comes to Wakefield

<bt>Wakefield High School held its first orientation meeting last week for its recently formed Red Cross Club. The first club project was posting signs and passing out red ribbons on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

"By bringing the Red Cross to Wakefield, we're able to engage more youth in volunteering and giving back to the community," said Heather Pritchett, volunteer coordinator for the Arlington branch of the organization.

Working closely with Arlington County chapter, club members will participate in Red Cross service projects that help their school, the Arlington community and the world.