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.

Fall 2020: Registration Update
Your commitment to learning is stronger than ever during this pandemic. Our course registrations have outpaced Fall 2019. Thanks for all that you do to participate in our organization - it's you, our members, who keep it vital and relevant.

One of the benefits of virtual learning is that we were able to expand class sizes for many courses. There are still seats available in 32 courses. One of our most popular courses, Legal Hot Spots, begins this week and it's not too late to sign up. If you haven't already registered, check out what's available online. Classes have staggered start times from now through November, so you're sure to find something to fit your schedule.

The Fall 2020 Catalog is available online to view, print or download.

Your membership must be valid through the last day of a course to register for it. See the Member Account Manager box on page 8 of the catalog for more details. You can get help 24/7 with our QuickStart Guides. Email us at should you encounter any issues.

All Fall 2020 courses are online via Zoom. 

Photo by 
Joe Furgal
Remembering Art Gosling

Former Encore Learning President Art Gosling passed away surrounded by family on September 10, 2020. We are so grateful for the contributions that Art made to Encore Learning during his six years as President. The family has requested memorial contributions be made to the Encore Learning Youth Scholarship Fund. Read more in our recent Newspost.


Important Reminders about Getting Into Class
There are some key things to know about getting into your virtual classes:
  • If your instructor has provided materials, they will be available to you in Membership Account Manager. Simply login and check the My Activities tab under My Account. Click on the link that says "View Class Media". The Zoom instructions document with the Zoom Meeting ID and passcode will be found here.
  • The same Zoom Meeting ID and passcode will be used for each class session of the course, so save that in a convenient place. Do not share this information with individuals who are not registered for the course.
  • Please use your full name (first and last) when joining your class. This is for security purposes and also allows our Virtual Class Aides to easily identify you from the class roster. Those unable to be identified may be moved from the class back to the waiting room. 
  • We want to remind our virtual participants that in many cases your video is off, however, if your video is on where others can see you, know they can also see those around you. Please turn off your video if you have roaming housemates or other distractions. A virtual background may be a solution for you to consider as well.
  • Our registration system currently has a problem with displaying member activities multiple times, even though you are only registered once. You may click on any of the individual duplicate listings to find the class media and Zoom instructions for that particular course.

Thank you to all of our Volunteer Class Aides and Instructors who have learned to teach and host in the virtual environment. 


Getting to Know Your Board of Directors
Jeanne LaBella was recently elected Co-chair of the Academic Programs Committee. We asked her to share a little about how she ended up on our Board of Directors and her life outside of Encore Learning. Jeanne writes:

I had heard about Encore Learning almost since its inception as "Arlington Learning in Retirement Institute." After I retired in 2014, I was eager to investigate course options at the re-branded Encore Learning. We are so fortunate to have such a rich resource for retirees here in Arlington. I've taken courses in literature, music, art, history, theater, public affairs and enjoyed every moment in the classroom.
I have a long history of volunteering in Arlington -- in the '80s, '90s and '00s, most of my volunteer gigs revolved around my three children and their activities. Each time I signed up for an Encore Learning course, we are asked if we are willing to be a class aide. I always volunteered-I recognize the importance of giving back when participating in a volunteer-driven organization.
In 2017, a friend asked if I would serve on the Academic Programs Committee. The prospect was a bit intimidating because I'm a retired energy policy journalist, with very limited career experience in academia. I joined the committee and the then-co-chairs Dick Juhnke and Lois Chadbourne gave me very manageable assignments. As I found my groove on the committee, the call for stepping up my role followed. My frequent Encore Learning classmate Ed Rader called me a few months ago to ask if I would be willing to serve as a committee co-chair. So here I am, buoyed by the opportunity to team up with Barbara Spangler, who has been my friend since our daughters were in kindergarten in 1990.

Encore Learning allows me to broaden my horizons in the classroom and on the planning committee. Retirement is so much fun!  
I grew up in a small town in upstate New York, near Ithaca, home of Cornell University. I moved to the DC area in 1975 and spent most of my career as a writer and editor for the American Public Power Association, which represents municipally owned electric utilities.
Pre-COVID, I spent a lot of time going to theater. I have volunteered as an usher at Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, Studio Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre. My husband Gary and I love to go to New York City to binge on Broadway. We often see four or five shows in just a few days. In fact, we were in New York on March 12, the day Broadway shut down. We were planning to go see the new production of West Side Story that night. I also (pre-COVID) had been volunteering weekly at the food pantry at the Father McKenna Center in Washington. At home, I spend time making quilts, cooking and trying to improve my piano skills.

Jeanne with her husband, Gary. Photos courtesy Jeanne LaBella.

Ongoing Virtual Activities
Classes began this month and we continue to host virtual Clubs and Special Events through Zoom. Many of you are already familiar with Zoom but if you need help, our Zoom Resources page will help get you started and troubleshoot, if necessary.

The Travel Club, Cinema Club, Mindfulness Club, Non-Fiction Book Club, Tech Hobbyist Club and Current Issues Discussion Group have all been meeting online with great turnouts and conversation. The Kayak Club has met on the water and kept social distance. 

Our Breakfast Club continues to meet virtually bright and early each Wednesday morning. Grab a cup of coffee and join the conversation! Send an email to if you would like to be added to the Breakfast Club (or any of our clubs) email list.

Breakfast Club August 12, 2020. Photo by Lee Cooper.

Special Events
With our virtual Encore Learning Presents we are fortunate to record the presentations and share them in our YouTube channel. Here are links to two recent programs:

On August 10, Admiral (Ret) Jon White spoke to us about how climate change impacts national security.

Encore Learning Presents Ocean Blues: National Security Issues and Solutions
Encore Learning Presents Ocean Blues: National Security Issues and Solutions

On August 24, Instructor Wayne Limberg spoke on U.S.-Russia Relations 

Encore Learning Presents U.S.-Russia Relations: Back to the Future
Encore Learning Presents U.S.-Russia Relations: Back to the Future

September 21 Encore Learning Presents: Are we really ready for a safe and secure election?  
On September 21, over 150 people heard about key facts and recent election trends comparing Virginia to other states, 2020 legislation to ensure the integrity of our elections, and the specifics of such key topics as local absentee and early voting. Thanks to State Senator Barbara Favola, Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) Founder and Executive Director David Poole, Vice Chair of the Arlington Board of Elections Matthew Weinstein, and host and facilitator Steve Shapiro for an informative, engaging presentation and lively, helpful Q-and-A discussion. 

September 21 Encore Learning Presents

Virtual Tours Began This Month
In September, the Special Events Committee returned to providing member-exclusive tours, albeit virtually. Our first event was a Smithsonian virtual tour of Japanese Art in the age of Hokusai and filled quickly. Our October virtual tour of the National Park Seminary/College campus also filled quickly. Please be sure to join the waitlist if you don't get a spot. That will enable the Special Events Committee to gauge demand and possibly offer the event again in the future.

Staff Corner

Staff and Volunteers Gathered at Beth Dowd's Farewell Hour

Encore Learning lost our long-time staff member, Beth Dowd, this month. After five years of thousands of contributions, Beth is leaving to spend more time with her family. Her impact is quite profound including every e-newsletter you have read, to event you attended, to webpage you viewed, or course for which you registered. We are thankful we could have a virtual
farewell for her and share appreciation from our volunteers. Please have patience with us as we make the transition in many areas and work to hire a new Communications Specialist.
Francesca Chilcote

We are fortunate to have a new colleague join
us as Virtual Class Host. Please welcome Francesca Chilcote when you see her online. She is primarily supporting our virtual classes. Francesca is a freelance theater teaching artist and looks forward to making classes successful and engaging.

I want to share a special thanks with Donna Banks and Patty Rowland who have stepped up to help staff host our virtual classes.

Please keep your account information up to date. We need to be able to recognize you when you login to one of your classes on Zoom. Please use both your first and last names when prompted by Zoom. If you are dialing in by phone, please use a number that is in your account record. 

Change your email address? Please send an email to let staff know. Unfortunately, if you make the change yourself in Member Account Manager, it does not make all the necessary updates.

Our staff are all working remotely during this time, with no specific open hours, but checking email regularly. The fastest and best way to reach us is via email to Voicemail messages are checked once daily.  

~ 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

  • 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 July and August 2020, the following new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome.

Elsa Angrist
Virginia Atkins
Roberta Bennett
Linda Bohannon
Cheryl Borthwick
Robert Brink
Sandra Burford
Judith Burkitt
Gail Burnaford
Vivian Byrley
Joedy Cambridge
Laura Carrier
Helen Castillo
Donna Christian
Wendy Cleland-Hamnett
Tehani Collazo
Margaret Corrieri
Pamela Cressey
Desmond Curran
Thomas Curtis
Laureen Daly
Howard Finberg
Morton Friedman
Elsie (Blynken) Hennig
Gail Howell
Norma Kacen
Howard Kaplan
Elizabeth Koehn
Barbara Kurtzig
Jim Mason
Patria Maulden
Sara Mazie
Sue Miller
Gloria Mog
Cindy Morrow
N Morrrow
Paul Nelson
Cindy Nolt-Helms
Donna Pastore
Fran Pearce
Ann Principato
Liz Reed
Richard Reed
Kate Ring
Richard Rodgers
Elizabeth Schroeder
Charles Self
Arlene Shapiro
Theresa Sims
Diane Smith
Carol Sparhawk
George Stevens
Julie Stevens
Beverly Tomasello
Susanne Trible
Kathleen Turner
Catherine Whitledge
Carol Wolinsky

THANK YOU to all of you who kindly referred friends:

Thomas Adams
Katharine Carney
Juanita Cullen
Milke Daley
Rob Dolce
Michele Downey
Mark Epstein
Steven Gell
Charles Hallahan
George Hobart
Ann Kaupp (twice!)
Millie Lawson
Katherine Lewis
Mila Mateu
Sara Mazie
Cressida McKean
Cindy Nolt-Helms
Bill Reilly
Sandra Rowland
Trudy Saracco
John Saracco
Cheryl Silkwood
Steve Spangler
Barbara Spangler
Steve Telkins
Michelle Trahan
Marcie Ubois
Peter Vaselopulos
Susan Wallace
Olivia Wong

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. This month we are receiving donations in memory of Art Gosling to the Arlington Youth Scholarship which will help sustain the award and potentially grow the amount over time.

Also, please know that you may consider Encore Learning in your estate planning. Perhaps you would like to consider naming Encore Learning as the beneficiary of a charitable remainder trust. If you would like to discuss this further, please reach out to Lora Pollari-Welbes, Executive Director.

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 us at

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