The following was among actions taken at the June 18 meeting of the Arlington School Board. For more information, call 558-2838.
ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS -- The board voted to allow principals at the county's three popular alternative schools to consider race when selecting pupils to attend the schools.
The board, acting on the advice of the county attorney's office, did not establish strict racial quotas. Instead, it adopted a policy directing principals of alternative schools to improve the racial makeup of the schools so they more accurately reflect the school system's racial mix.
While almost 47 percent of Arlington's students are members of minority groups, minorities make up less than 20 percent of the student body at two of the three alternative schools: 18 percent at H-B Woodlawn Secondary School and 10 percent at Page Elementary School. Minority enrollment is 40 percent at Drew Model School. Page stresses a traditional back-to-basics curriculum with heavy emphasis on homework and discipline. Drew, also an elementary school, stresses academic creativity and independent thinking through open classrooms and team teaching. H-B Woodlawn, which enrolls students in grades 7 through 12, encourages student participation, independent thinking and consensus decision-making in mixed-grade classes.
The board did not change the current policy of requiring parents to sign up their children in person for enrollment at alternative schools. Some parents and board members have opposed the system, arguing that it favors students whose parents have time to stand in early morning lines in the fall.
While principals generally will continue to give priority to the order of applications, they will also be encouraged to recruit minority applicants.