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Archive for October, 2012

Manassas Votes wants you to change when Manassas votes for local officials from May to November. Yet, for all its heavy use of the plural on its website exhorting Manassas to change local elections from May to November, only one, singular name seems to be visibly associated with this self-designated grassroots movement, Steve Hersch.

Who is Steve Hersch? Well, he is apparently a bi-partisan movement who has funded, organized and championed the ballot initiative which will appear on the November 6th ballot. If you would like to know who else has fueled and joined in this popular groundswell of a movement, good luck.

You won’t find it on the Manassas Votes website, nor down at the City’s Registrar’s Office. Instead, you’ll  have to navigate the labyrinth of  the PWC courthouse to find out who else is behind Manassas Votes and who signed the petitions to get the date switching initiative on the ballot.

For a self-proclaimed bi-partisan, populist driven movement championing a more open, democratic voting process in Manassas, Manassas Votes is surprisingly opaque and singular as a grassroots movement with neither the spontaneity nor transparency one normally associates with such movements. Nevertheless, A One Man Grassroots Movement is certainly a variation worthy of a ballet,  I mean ballot initiative.

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Manassas Patch reports today on the 1st feedback from the Citizen/City Council/School Board session on  the issue of new facilities for the MCPS.

Not surprisingly, Parrish/Albrecht Learning Halls, i.e., trailers, are not a popular option among city residents for Manassas students.  Once again, I would suggest Manassas look at the old Marsteller school on Sudley as part of the solution to school building woes. In addition to possibly contributing to the solution for the need for more classroom space for the MCPS, it also contributes, suggests a path for the development of the neighborhood which residents might find preferable to the Liz one note solution to all of Manassas development needs – TOWNHOUSES.

As for new digs for the Central Office? Sure,  Marsteller might just free up some trailers at Haydon and Weems for a new ribbon cutting at Tudor Lane. Surely Central Office wouldn’t place students in trailers while building new facilities for themselves?

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Just as you think Manassas can’t get any sillier, i.e, ‘Man Arrested for Shooting Self,’ this study by AIM (Accuracy in Media) suggests that our ‘Race to the Top’ (Save My Job- MMeyers) grant proposal wasn’t too thoroughly thought thru by the people in charge of our children’s education. What kind of school system embraces a core curriculum which apparently challenges the very concept of core knowledge? To be fair to the critical thinking challenged MCPS School Board, 48 governors signed onto the core curriculum in ‘Race to the Top’ not only before reading it but before it was written.

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City of Manassas and Manassas City Public Schools Seek Residents’ Input on Building Projects

City-wide community meeting scheduled for October 16, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Mayfield Intermediate School

Kudos to  public affairs employee or employees  who thought up the promotional slogan for the meeting:

Your Voice. Your Community. Our Future.

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Even though it is a program riddled with problems, the EB-5 program may be a possible source of funding for a Manassas charter school:

New US visa rush: Build school, get green card

It’s been a turbulent period for charter schools in the United States, with financial analysts raising concerns about their stability and regulators in several states shutting down schools for poor performance.

The volatility has made it tough for startup schools to get financing.

But an unlikely source of new capital has emerged to fill the gap: foreign investors.

Wealthy individuals from as far away as China, Nigeria, Russia and Australia are spending tens of millions of dollars to build classrooms, libraries, basketball courts and science labs for American charter schools.

In Buffalo, New York, foreign funds paid for the Health Sciences Charter School to renovate a 19th-century orphanage into modern classrooms and computer labs. In Florence, Arizona, overseas investment is expected to finance a sixth campus for the booming chain of American Leadership Academy charter schools.

And in Florida, state business development officials say foreign investment in charter schools is poised to triple next year, to $90 million.

The reason? Under a federal program known as EB-5, wealthy foreigners can in effect buy U.S. immigration visas for themselves and their families by investing at least $500,000 in certain development projects. In the past two decades, much of the investment has gone into commercial real-estate projects, like luxury hotels, ski resorts and even gas stations.

Lately, however, enterprising brokers have seen a golden opportunity to match cash-starved charter schools with cash-flush foreigners in investment deals that benefit both.

The demand is massive – massive – on the school side, said Greg Wing, an investment advisor. On the investor side, it’s massive, too.

Two years ago, Wing set up a venture called the Education Fund of America specifically to connect international investors with charter schools. He is currently arranging EB-5 funding for 11 schools across North Carolina, Utah and Arizona and says he has four more deals in the works.

And that’s just the start, Wing says: It’s going to be explosive.  Read rest of story

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Personalized Learning Environments

“Personalized learning environments allow students to: understand their individual learning goals and needs; access deep learning experiences that include individual and group tasks; and develop such skills and traits as goal setting, teamwork, perseverance, critical thinking, communications, creativity, and problem solving across multiple academic domains. If students are to do this successfully, both students and educators need opportunities to build their individual and collective capacity to support the implementation of personalized learning environments and strategies.”

Education jargon of the day to pour money down or a promising concept?

http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition

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City of Manassas and Manassas City Public Schools Seek Residents’ Input on Building Projects

City-wide community meeting scheduled for October 16, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Mayfield Intermediate School 

 

September 27, 2012…Future building projects for schools and the city will be the topic of conversation as the City of Manassas and Manassas City Public Schools host a meeting to determine top priority projects for the decades ahead. Residents are encouraged to join city and school staff on Tuesday, October 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Mayfield Intermediate School, 9400 Mayfield Court in Manassas.”Citizen involvement is crucial to developing a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that represents the entire City of Manassas,” said City Manager John A. Budesky. “By working together, the City and the Schools will both benefit from these meetings.”At this first meeting, participants will hear short presentations and see lists of needs from both school and city personnel, then break into groups to discuss ideas and priorities, such as schools, public safety, parks and transportation. The city and schools have joined forces to engage the community about projects that will ultimately go into the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

“We will work with the city to identify capital improvements for the entire community,” said City of Manassas Schools Superintendent Dr. Catherine Magouyrk. “Goals must be set in a collaborative manner based on projected needs voiced by the community.”

At the August 13, 2012 City Council Meeting, the City Council and the School Board passed a resolution to direct City and School staff to work together to define and document current and future capital improvement needs. This and future citizen engagement meetings are a part of this process.

This is a one-of-a-kind effort in the Northern Virginia area. The City of Manassas and Manassas City Public Schools will hold three citizen engagement meetings. The first is on Oct. 16, the second is on November 7, and the third will be held on December 4. All three meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Mayfield Intermediate School.

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