H-B Woodlawn

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H-B Woodlawn
H-B Woodlawn.JPG
Verbum Sap Sat
(A Word to the Wise is Sufficient)
4100 North Vacation Lane
Arlington, Virginia, 22207
United States
Coordinates 38°54′0.7″N 77°6′43.2″W / 38.900194°N 77.112000°W / 38.900194; -77.112000Coordinates: 38°54′0.7″N 77°6′43.2″W / 38.900194°N 77.112000°W / 38.900194; -77.112000
School type Public Alternative-education program
Founded 1978
School district Arlington Public Schools
Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy, APS
Principal Dr. Casey Robinson
Assistant Principals Graham McBride
Grades 6–12
Enrollment 606[1] (Fall 2010)
Language English
Campus Suburban

The H-B Woodlawn Program, commonly referred to as H-B, is an alternative all-county public school located in Arlington County, Virginia, United States based on the liberal educational movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The school, which serves grades 6 through 12, is a part of the Arlington Public Schools district.

The current program is a combination of two earlier programs, Hoffman-Boston, a 7th through 9th grade school founded in 1972 and Woodlawn, a 10th through 12th grade program founded in 1971 by Ray Anderson, Jeffrey Kallen, Bill Hale, and others who felt a pressing need to provide a more individualized, caring environment to students.


Two schools become one[edit]

The Hoffman-Boston Program (founded in 1972) and the Woodlawn Program(founded in 1971), contain junior high and high school programs respectively, which both embraced the idea of alternative education. Originally, Hoffman-Boston had some 169 students. Woodlawn had 69 students, grades 11 and 12, in its first year of operation, adding 10th grade and expanding to some 169 students the second year. Donald Brandewie was the founding principal of Hoffman-Boston and served for three years, after which Margery Edson became principal. Woodlawn, which was then a haven for "anti-establishment" types, had no principal. Ray Anderson served as Head Teacher and served as administrator for the program. With dwindling school populations in Arlington County in the mid-1970s, there was a belief that 9th grade should be moved up from the (then) Junior High Schools to the High Schools. This move would have impacted negatively on the two programs, so a movement started to merge, which was ordered by the School Board to take place in the fall. After a year of careful planning, discussion, and hard work by administration, staff, students, and alumni of the two programs, a comprehensive merger plan and combined philosophy was adopted, and this document served as the "blueprint" for the initial years of the combined program. The two schools joined in the former Stratford Junior High School building on Vacation Lane in the fall of 1979. (In an unrelated note, Stratford Junior High School was the first racially integrated school in Arlington, bringing an end to "Massive Resistance" in the state in the 1960s).[2] The Stratford Junior High School building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

New Location[edit]

In 2014, the Arlington School Board identified a need for additional middle school capacity in the north-central area of the county. After contentious public debate over various options, it was determined that the Stratford building was the best location for a new middle school, and another location would be chosen for H-B Woodlawn. The school will move to Rosslyn, Virginia in 2019, to property that is now the former Wilson School and Rosslyn Highlands Park.

Special rankings[edit]

H-B Woodlawn was rated 1st in the 2005 Challenge Index in the area. It received an Equity and Excellence rating of 82.7% that year. In the 2006 survey by Newsweek ranking high schools nationwide, H-B Woodlawn ranked several slots below its previous position - 13 (compared with number 5 in the 2005 survey).

There is some controversy in ranking H-B Woodlawn nationally as a "school." Students do not actually receive diplomas from H-B Woodlawn, but rather their home schools from around Arlington county.

Town Meeting[edit]

Every week there is a "Town Meeting" in the library. Here, students, teachers, and parents alike can vote on important school issues and make announcements to the school. In Town Meeting, participants use a silent method of agreeing and disagreeing using their hands (a "knocking" motion to agree).


The school's motto is Verbum Sap Sat, short for the Latin Verbum sapienti sat est, meaning "A Word to the Wise is Sufficient." [4]

H-B Woodlawn is run on the belief that left with responsibilities, students will learn and get work done. They are given privileges such as going off campus, going to Town Meeting, etc.

Another tradition is the Teacher/Senior Play, at the beginning of the year, and the Teacher Play, at the end of the year. Since 1971, it has been tradition for the students to interrupt the Head Teacher (now Principal), of not allowing him/her to speak for roughly five minutes any time the Head Teacher speaks at the school.

Before Thanksgiving break, H-B's physical education teachers organize the Turkey Bowl, where the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes face off in flag football.

The most notable tradition is H-B graduation. It takes place in their gym. It is generally informal (family and friends are encouraged to bring lawn chairs). Each Teacher Adviser presents their graduating seniors and write a two to five minute speech about their experience at H-B. This unorthodox practice makes H-B's graduation much longer than most high school graduations. In addition to the speeches, teacher advisers present their students with gag gifts and leis. At the end of graduation (as well as at the end of the year play), H-B's principal, Frank, and other faculty perform renditions of "Feet of a Dancer" by Charlie McGettigan.. Students are encouraged to sing along.


  1. ^ http://www.apsva.us/cms/lib2/VA01000586/Centricity/ModuleInstance/8685/COLLEGE_PROFILE_10.pdf
  2. ^ Urban Arlington County, Arlington Historic Society
  3. ^ Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ http://www.apsva.us/156420113015586440/site/default.asp

External links[edit]