The Inside Scoop - for Members Only
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Welcome to  The Inside Scoop , our electronic  newsletter for  members only.  Please  enjoy this issue,  and  share your feedback  by email. We always look forward to hearing from you.

A Message from our President

Encore Learning's many volunteers and staff are working together to plan for the future. As you  know, Spring 2020 courses and other programs have been canceled and fee refunds have been  authorized. We piloted a virtual course on March 23, and based on its success, will be offering a few  additional virtual courses. Registration will be open soon; more details can be found below.

Last week we announced the first of our virtual Special Events. Some of our Clubs are meeting virtually, as well. And planning is well along to re-institute programs this coming f all, with many spring courses being rescheduled for the fall. While a reduced number of courses, clubs and special events are now strictly virtual, we expect a full return to normalcy  once we are past the current health crisis.

Election of Board Members for 2020-21 is scheduled to be completed during the general  members meeting on May 21. This event may not be doable. If that is the case, we will be asking members  to vote electronically so that a new Board is in place July 1. The  challenges for the Board will be significant as Encore Learning gets back to offering a variety of  programs.

I ask you to join me in sending kudos to staff and Board Members for working  through the health-related challenges of late winter and early spring. Thanks also to our committee members (especially Academic Programs and Special Events, who have been putting in overtime) and our Club Coordinators. We could not do it without their help. I also want to thank you, our members, and let you know how much we appreciate your support during this period. 

-- Art Gosling, President

Virtual Activities Have Begun!

We will host most virtual events through Zoom. Encore Learning has been using Zoom this week and found it quite user-friendly. Board Member Marty Suydam is providing assistance to our presenters in using Zoom and all events will include moderators other than the instructor to manage participant interaction.  

You do not need a login ID or password to connect to Zoom. You will download the app to your personal computer, tablet or smart phone. You can run it from any browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.). If you have never tried it, please familiarize yourself prior to the course or event. 
Here's an an informational video that we liked:


4014-Real Media Literacy kicked off on March 23 and feedback on the experience was very positive.

The following additional courses will be offered virtually. If you are not already registered for one of these courses, registration will re-open on Wednesday, April 1 at 10:00 A.M. If you are already registered, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your registration status. Please reply promptly.

4004 Global Hot Spots - Thursdays at 10:00 AM - 11:30 A.M. from April 9 - May 14. Same course instructors as in original course description, slight schedule change.

6007 AI Nightmare Scenarios - This course began in-person on March 9, and will continue virtually beginning on Tuesday, April 21 until May 12 from 12:00 noon - 1:30 P.M.

1015 How to Write a Symphony - The course dates are coming soon to begin in mid-late April for four weeks.

Instructions for connecting to virtual courses are emailed to registrants and available in the course materials for the course.

Our usual registration policies still apply, with one exception. If you try a virtual course and decide it is not for you, send us an email requesting a full refund. We will waive the usual $10 late cancellation fee and refund your full $55.00 charge for the course.

For full details, click on the course name above or c heck the Quick Pick List


A note from Ron Wise, Breakfast Club Coordinator:

On March 25, 2020, at our usual gathering time, the  Breakfast Club had its first videoconferencing session using Zoom. It went surprisingly well for a first-time activity. We'll continue to do this on a weekly basis. Zoom isn't difficult to use. The only drawback we had was the free version has a 40-minute time limit for a session. However, one could start another session immediately afterward. The member hosting our sessions is also hosting Zoom sessions for other groups, so he has subscribed to the paid version, which has no time limit. That's good considering how talkative our members are!  

Most of the Breakfast Club regulars have signed up to take part in the Zoom sessions. I'm continuing to send out periodic emails to everyone in the club to ensure that all members know what's happening and to convey information that members wish to share with each other. -- Ron

If you are a tech-savvy member and would like to help your Club meet virtually, please email your Club Coordinator or staff at

Special Events

As we announced last week, our inaugural virtual Special Event will be on Monday, April 6, 2020. A panel of local legislators, moderated by Mary Margaret Whipple, will discuss  Sweeping Changes: A Historic Virginia Legislative Session

Our wonderful Special Events Committee is working on a list of virtual tours for you to enjoy until we can get back to the live, in-person tours that we value so much. Look for it, as well as an updated  list of upcoming virtual events , in our next Special Events email on Thursday, 4/2/20.

Annual Meeting

As Art mentioned, we hope we can go forward with the meeting live on May 21, 2020. Should we be unable to meet in person, we'll have a virtual meeting. As in years past, a link to a ballot on SurveyMonkey will be sent out a few weeks prior to the meeting. Luckily, virtual voting is something you all are already good at!

News and Photos

Special thanks to member and volunteer Laura Paul for writing the wonderful  profile of Natasha Lord last month. We are always looking for good writers like Laura. If you'd like to help write for the eNews, please email Beth at

Here are some more pictures from the Course Preview in February. Thanks to Kathy LaPier for these fun photos! We look forward to the time when we can be together again in person.

We are very proud to be an exhibition partner in Arlington Public Library's Women's Work Then and Now . We're even more proud that our nominee, Encore Learning former  Executive Director Marjorie Varner, was among the women included in the exhibit. 

Marjorie Varner and Art Gosling at the Grand Opening event, March 5, 2020. Photo courtesy Marjorie Varner.

Special Events

Our Special Events Committee helped us celebrate Women's History Month with some great events.

We had a great turn out for this film screening. Community Advisory Council (CAC) member and f ormer Virginia State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple was in attendance. She commented, " I loved the Molly Ivins documentary, I grew up in Texas and was an early subscriber to The Texas Observer. One of the people in the film, David McNeely, was my high school classmate. He was a wild guy at that age but turned out to be the senior reporter on the Texas legislature for The Austin Statesman. And of course I read her columns with delight!"

Mary Margaret will be moderating our first virtual Special Event on April 6.

Volunteer tour coordinator Michelle Trahan said, " Our March 12 tour at the Renwick was delightful. They always do a marvelous job at curating art exhibits and this one regarding Native American Women artists fit right into our Women's Month narrative.  We had 16 attendees, and everyone on the waitlist was included." Our thanks to Michelle for coordinating and providing this lovely group photo.

The Census is HERE! Have you sent in your information yet?

We are a proud Arlington 2020 Census Partner. By now, you should have received your census form in the mail.
Please fill it out and send it in! Your participation is vital to ensure that our community gets proportional funding. More information can be found on the Arlington County Census page.

Interested in serving on our Board of Directors?

Several positions are coming open in May 2020. You must have previously served as a volunteer with Encore Learning. Details were emailed in February. If you are interested, please contact the office at 703-228-2144 or and we will pass it along to the Nominating Committee for consideration.

Blooming Where You Are Planted

We want to hear from you! Share with your fellow members what you are doing to stay positive and connected during this time. Send us your ideas and some photos of how you're thriving during this period of confinement. We'll edit and then publish a compilation in next month's eNews. Email to and include "eNews" in the subject line.

Partner and Instructor News and Happenings 

While George Mason University is currently closed, they are offering a few virtual events, such as the w ebcast "Policy vs. Pandemics" held on March 26, 2020. To make sure you're in the loop for future events, sign up for Mason's Arlington Campus events email. Details:

On March 13, 2020, our friends at Arlington County asked us to make sure that you know that all  Arlington 55+ Programs and Centers are cancelling all activities through April 17, 2020. A ll the latest information can be found on its COVID-19 webpage.

A note from Tom Wukitsch:
I've had a suggestion that I should make available to my students (or to everyone in Encore Learning)  the materials, images, and Internet links that I use in my Pompeii and Vesuvius course -- something to look at while suffering  through  the current situation.

All the notes, images, and Internet links for further research for all of the classes that I have taught since ALRI/Encore Learning began in 2002 are available at:

The current course is always at the top of the first page of the website and a list of other courses is in the right margin. 

T here are more than 6,000 cross-linked pages on my own Internet site with links to many thousands more of other persons' and institutions Internet pages that are, I think, relevant to the subject matter.
Many thanks to Tom for sharing these materials and for all of the teaching hours he has donated over the years.

Keep Your Account Information Up to Date
(and let us know if you'd like a paper catalog mailed to you)

While we're all stuck at home, it's a great time for housecleaning - and virtual housekeeping as well. This is the perfect time to make sure all of your account information is up to date.

As we look to the future, we are trying to be responsive to some member requests about not mailing a paper catalog. We know there was some confusion at registration about this question, so we've updated it to make it clearer. Your options are:

Mail a paper catalog to my home   OR
I will view the pdf online

Please login to Member Account Manager. Under My Account, under the My Personal Info tab, click on EDIT MY ACCOUNT INFO. Make any necessary edits, then once everything on the first screen is correct, click Save and Continue. Then update your course catalog question (required) and let us know if you are interested in teaching (optional).

Taking this step will help ensure that account updates will not slow you down during the next registration cycle.

Staff Corner

March started off with so much excitement for the spring courses. We had great registration results and moved Global Hot Spots to a larger location to accommodate more members.Then we shifted gears, suspended and then subsequently cancelled all courses, events and clubs. A few days later, with the outpouring of interest and support, we have several virtual offerings. This is not any regular semester or new way of doing our business, but an alternative to keep members engaged and connected during this challenging time. 

Our staff are all working during this time, with no open hours, but checking email regularly. The best way to reach us is via email to, the voicemail is checked once daily.

The last day the Smithsonian was open, I hopped on my bike and visited the Renwick to see the Native Women Artists exhibit. I was so glad I toured it and was proud to know that our members visited it too, just the day before. The opportunities Encore Learning provides to learn, connect, explore are so valuable and we hope you stay with us and continue to offer your time and ideas for programs. 

~ Lora 
Lora Pollari-Welbes, Executive Director

Connecting Friends with Encore Learning

We're often referred to as the "best kept secret in Arlington." New members join mostly because they hear about Encore Learning from a friend.  When joining online, new members may enter a "Referred by" name. We look forward to thanking you here in the newsletter - see below.

Ask friends to join to our  virtual  "Encore Learning Presents
series   (normally held   at Arlington Central Library). These lectures , panels  and films are open to the public and a great way for prospective members to learn more about us. Details can always be found in our list of upcoming   Special Events .

Share on social media. When you simply like our Facebook page or share our Facebook posts and events to your social network, it's a huge help. Forward our emails to a friend - use the handy link at the bottom of each email message. 

Like us on Facebook

  • SAVE THE DATE - Annual Meeting will be held on May 21, 2020 
  • Volunteers are always needed. If you'd like to get more involved, please email us.
  • Check our calendar for Special Events, Club meetings, and office holiday closures.
Welcome New Members

In February  2020, the following new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome.

Nat Ames
Kathleen Barnett
Richard Bauder
Brad Bickford
Steven Brody
Jan Burchard
Pilar Cabrera
Evelyn Chiao
Karen Christensen
Gloria Cohan
Juanita Cullen
Paul Cullen Sr.
Dianne Daily
Paula DeMasi
Tom Dickinson
Kenneth Erickson
Wendy Erlanger
George Faison
William Gainer
Ronald Geigle
Barbara Geigle
Cynthia Gillespie
Margaret Goss
Robert Gray
Jim Heegeman
Elizabeth Hickey
Jeff Hoffman
Lindsey Hooper
Judy Johnson
Elaine Johnston
Linda Katz
Kathy Killion
Irene Koerner
Deborah Latimer
Elizabeth Lichter
Jim Lyon
Anne Madden
Patricia McCarthy
Jacquelinn Mooney
Dennis O'Connor
Rebecca Pariseau
Esther Petrilli-Massey
Cynthia Pisinski
Cindy Romanyk
Phillip Rosen
Julie Rosenberg
Dorothy Anne Scanley
Kathy Scheimer
Michael Sieverts
Barbara Simmonds
Dorothy Skinner
Carlos Velazquez
Clelia Walker
Karen Walker
Frederick Wall
Dawn Wilson
Whitney Wilson
Scott Winn
Frederick Wood
Joe Zilincar

And a huge THANK YOU to the following members and staff for referring friends and family:

Kathy Arnos
Sandy Brody
Margarita Cabrera
Carol Dawson
Cathy Goldsmith
Marjorie Hobart
Mary Knox
Terri Lynch
Jim Lyon
Esther Massey
Lora Pollari-Welbes
Geraldine Shannon
Carol Silverberg
Margie Teed
Karen Walker
Sandy Wixon

Please email the office with any corrections.

Photos, Photos, Photos...

We all love looking at them and it seems we can never get enough here in the office. Please share your photos of Encore Learning activities with us. The higher the resolution of the photo, the better (1 MB or higher). Shots taken on your mobile phone are great! Just email them to us and if we use your photos, we will make sure to acknowledge you as the photographer. We can't use thumbnails, though, so please check your photo size settings prior to emailing.

Free Help with Technology

Did you know... Our friends at Central Library offer  one on one technology help sessions and free technology classes from beginner to advanced.

And...  Arlington County's Walter Reed Senior Center also offers free tech help.  Call (703) 228-0955 to reserve your appointment.

Don't Want to Wait for the Next Edition of The Inside Scoop?


Donations are Always Welcome

Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our  General Fund  or to our  Arlington Youth Scholarship .

We hope you enjoyed this edition of  The Inside Scoop . If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email Beth Dowd: .

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