I am succeeding veteran Polly Liss as the League's representative to Arlington Public Schools' Advisory Council on Instruction (ACI). The Advisory Council on Instruction consists of representatives from each of the county's public schools, as well as representatives of selected community organizations, such as the Arlington Education Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
Fourteen committees report to the Advisory Council on Instruction. Several committees cover core academic subjects (Math, English, Social Studies and Science) as well as foreign language, arts education, and health and physical education. Specialized committees such as special education, career and technical education, and gifted services, also report to ACI. Half of the committees report to the school board each year, while the other committees provide recommendations to the school board. The following year, they switch, and the committees that reported in the previous year provide recommendations in the following year.
At the beginning of each school year, ACI meetings provide updates on the school system as a whole, including enrollment projections and an overview of programs that provide special services to children. So far this school year, ACI has also spent a great deal of time dealing with budget issues, given the anticipated deficit. The spring meetings focus on committee reports and recommendations.
In the past, ACI has been credited with being a key force supporting many initiatives, including establishing distance learning courses, increasing opportunities for foreign language study, and providing math, reading, and gifted resource teachers. In contrast with past years, ACI committees are now being encouraged to propose ways to cut their programs, instead of offering proposals for new programs or increased spending.
I welcome your comments and suggestions for LWV involvement with Arlington Public Schools in general and with ACI in particular.