Arlington County

The following were among actions taken at the Sept. 27 meeting of the Arlington School Board. For more information, call 358-6000.

MINORITY ACHIEVEMENT -- School officials recommended allocating $93,923 for 20 projects under the 1990-91 minority achievement program, designed to improve the academic performance of the county's minority students.

The board will act on the proposals at today's meeting. The proposed funds are part of the $190,586 earmarked in this year's budget for minority achievement programs.

New in this year's school budget are programs for minority students at seven schools and the separate Hoffman-Boston and Langston continuing education programs. Funding for these new projects totals $42,000.

Eleven schools that had minority achievement programs last year are scheduled to receive $51,923 for this school year's programs.

School officials this year are planning to expand minority achievement programs to focus on all minority students. Last year's program focused primarily on improving the academic achievement of black students.

To help minority students perform better on Scholastic Aptitude Tests, school officials also plan to offer Saturday SAT prepatory workshops to students in grades 9 through 11.

The minority achievement program and the Humanities Project, a division of the school system's fine arts department, have proposed sponsoring school performances by musician and educator James "Plunky" Branch that chronicle the history of black music.

School officials also plan to establish a new broad-based group, composed of parents, school staff and members of civic organizations from the minority community, which would meet regularly to discuss the minority achievement programs.

Fairfax County

The following was among actions taken at the Sept. 27 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. For more information, call 246-2991.

MINORITY ACHIEVEMENT -- The board awarded a $119,000 contract to a private consultant to assess how well the county's six-year-old minority achievement program has addressed the lagging academic performance of minority students.

The consultant, the McKenzie Group, will analyze the school system's philosophy and strategies regarding minority achievement and recommend ways to improve the program.

In the past few years, some black community leaders have criticized the program as ineffective because minority students, particularly black students, continue to score lower than other county students on standardized tests and continue to drop out of school at a higher rate.

Under the present program, additional funds are allotted to schools with large minority populations to help them improve academic achievement among minority students. In the last school year, an estimated 26.5 percent of the county's 128,000 students were minorities, with a breakdown of 9.6 percent black, 5.7 percent Hispanic and 11 percent Asian. While enrollment figures for the current academic year are not yet available, a school official said the percentage of minority students is expected to have increased slightly.

School Board Member Robert E. Frye, who has publicly criticized the program and accused Superintendent Robert R. Spillane of not demonstrating enough commitment to minority achievement, requested the study last winter.