The Inside Scoop - for Members Only
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Welcome to our first edition of The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter for members only. 
We  plan to include regular features as well as 
one-time articles. Please enjoy this issue,  and 
share your feedback by emailing

President's Note:  2017 Annual Meeting Recap
Encore Learning members met at the Fairlington Community Center on Wednesday, May 31, to elect our board and hear reports on the state of the organization. I opened the meeting by reading a concise report from our Treasurer regarding our fiscal state. The microphone then passed to John Sprott, Chair of the Nominating Committee, for our annual election process.

John conducted the vote by show of hand. Our by-laws require a quorum to elect the Board of Directors; this was met by the online absentee vote plus those present. The membership approved the slate, then gave a round of applause in appreciation for incoming and outgoing board members. 
The bulk of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of the fee increase which goes into effect July 1, 2017. Annual membership will be $65.00 and each course will cost $55.00. My letter to the membership regarding the fee increase was emailed to the membership on June 1, 2017.

As part of the follow-up discussion, members asked about making donations to Encore Learning. While you are prompted to make a donation each time you register for courses or renew your membership, donations may be made online at any time. There are two opportunities to donate. The default option is for our Arlington Youth Scholarship , awarded annually to a local high school student who will be attending either George Mason or Marymount Universities. The second option is our General Fund , which helps defray ongoing operating expenses. If you wish to donate to the General Fund during registration, please make sure you check that option.

Another topic raised was the ongoing desire to have name badges. Our new system does not support the production of name badges and additional staff time is not within the limits of our budget. Sharon Bisdee and Pat Chatten volunteered at the meeting to spearhead a volunteer effort to produce name badges. Those interested in joining this effort, which will be independent of the office staff, are encouraged to email our new Volunteer Committee Chair.
The meeting concluded by 10:30 a.m. and all descended back upon the tables of pastries, fruit and cheese artfully arranged by our Membership Committee. New and seasoned members mingled, exchanging comments on the array of special events offered and expressing curiosity about the upcoming fall semester lineup.
The members of the Board of Directors for 2017-18 are listed below:
President- Arthur Gosling
Vice President - David Rhoad
Vice President - Barbara Spangler
Treasurer - John Morton
Secretary - Joan Carter
Academic Programs Committee Co-Chair - Lois Chadbourne
Academic Programs Committee Co-Chair - Dick Juhnke
Class Aides Committee Co-Chair - Gail Massot
Class Aides Committee Co-Chair - Eileen Janas
Community Advisory Council Chair - Christine Milliken
Information Technology Committee Co-Chair - Stephen Spangler
Information Technology Committee Co-Chair - Martin Suydam
Membership Committee Co-Chair - Paula Kaufman
Membership Committee Co-Chair - Ed Rader
Publications Committee Co-Chair - Mildred Lawson
Publications Committee Co-Chair - Jill Neuville
Special Events Committee Chair - Kris McLaughlin
Volunteer Committee Chair - Steven Shapiro 
Short biographies of each board member are available on our Board of Directors webpage . All board members may be contacted via our office at . Many thanks to outgoing board members Bernie Alter, Richard Barton, Sharon Bisdee, Stephen Hopper, Mike Morton, Lee Nash and Sam Schaen for their years of service.
-- Arthur W. Gosling, P resident

Staff Corner

We are so pleased to bring you The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter. Most activities at Encore Learning are rooted in volunteer effort and this one is no different. Several members have volunteered to work under the direction of our Communications and Data Management Specialist, Beth Dowd, in producing content that is current, lively, and of interest to our membership. You see the fruits of their efforts here, along with notes from Art Gosling, our president. I'll provide an item with each issue addressing a particular item of concern to our members or just a report of changes within our administrative offices. 

Our staff of three work part-time and maintain regular office hours at our space at Arlington Public Schools' Syphax Education Center (SEC), housed within the Sequoia Building. We are now on reduced summer office hours until September. Administrator Molly Geary and Beth Dowd work year-round at our main office at the SEC; I dash between Mason, outside sites, and the SEC, depending upon the work required to keep us running smoothly. The SEC is undergoing some changes on the upper floors as the school system completes additional office consolidation through the summer and fall. We may be moving to new space within the building by January 2018. I'll keep you apprised.

--Marjorie Varner, Executive Director

Get to Know Your Board of Directors

Each month we f eature a different member on our Board of Directors, This month it's our President, Art Gosling. We asked Art to write a bit about himself and his work with Encore Learning. Art is beginning his fourth year as our President.

"Now What?"
By Art Gosling

Like many others whose formal working life was winding down, I puzzled this question over several months, maybe even over several years. After serving as superintendent of the Arlington Public Schools for twelve years, 
I had several consulting gigs, served as Executive Director of the Washington Area School Study Council (consisting of the school superintendents in the metro area), and ran a federally-funded project on school reform at George Washington University for five years. But now what?

Golf, tennis, reading, and annual vacation trips to Hawaii can occupy one for only a limited time. The challenge is to use the brain a bit more and to make use of whatever management and leadership skills I have developed over the years. Thus did Encore Learning pop onto my screen a few years back.

After attending several classes, many as a class aide (and having learned the ropes from my spouse Carolyn who shepherded the class aides program for quite a few years), I joined the Board as secretary for a few years before John Sprott invited me to lunch one day for the express purpose of talking me into running for Board president to succeed his many years of service. I'm about to enter my 4th year as Encore Learning's president.

A significant development during my tenure has been the decision to contract with a new data service provider, and then to develop the necessary management tools and staff to make the new system work. Several Encore Learning stalwarts, but particularly IT Committee members and staff, were central to helping make a successful transition to this new data management system.

What do Carolyn and I like most to do besides working for and with Encore Learning members (and for me strolling on a golf course and trying to run on a tennis court)? We like to spend time with our three offspring and two grandchildren, attend various theaters, go to the movies, check out Arlington's great restaurants, spend too much money buying ebooks, hike in the many great parks in the region, migrate to Hawaii in January of most years, and agonize over the Washington Nationals.

                               Art Gosling and John Sprott, Spring 2016

By the Numbers: Spring Semester, 2017

Courses offered: 30
Seats offered: 1364
Registrations: 1136
Courses with waitlists: 6
Class Aides: 61
Class Sessions: 191
Course materials posted: 158
Members enrolled in courses: 626

Committee Spotlight: Special Events

Our Special Events Committee works hard each month to bring you the best the D.C. area has to offer. In 2016-17, they set up more than 30 tours lectures, and other events. The team handles everything from lining up tours and speakers to publicity to on-the-ground coordination. They manage our special partnership with Arlington Central Library to present the "Meet the Speaker" or "Meet the Author" lecture series each month (and occasionally a film, like June 2016's screening of Best of Enemies). Events at Arlington Central Library are always free and open to the public. They are a great way to introduce friends to Encore Learning.

Pausing for a photo:
Front to back
Left side:                                                                             Right side:
David Tate                                                                           Helen Esserian
Kris McLaughlin, Chair                                                        Bill Peters
Steve Shapiro                                                                      Priscilla Becker
Andrea Vojtko                                                                      Karin Price
George Hobart (center)
Not pictured: Joanne Jones

Many thanks to our Special Events Committee Volunteers!

Start Your Day off Right with the Breakfast Club!

Breakfast club meets every Wednesday morning from 8-9 a.m. at La Madeleine at Bailey's Crossroads. The first 40 minutes or so is devoted to consuming breakfast and casual conversation with old and new friends.  Then for 20 minutes we do something called "Check-in", where we go around the table and everyone is free to share anything that is on their minds.  People are also free to "pass."

On the morning of May 24, 2017, there were a dozen members present, split evenly between men and women. Our resident poet recited his latest original poem. It told about his wife and their feelings about parting with their seventeen-year-old van, which was painful due to all the wonderful memories of carting around granddaughters. A second member announced that she was going to hear a local candidate speak at a neighbors' house.  Someone else worried about the state of the world today. Another member talked about going to a funeral of a relative held at Arlington Cemetery, commenting that it was nice to see something work the way it is supposed to. I spoke about my recent trip to visit my daughter in Orlando.

We are a friendly group, we don't bite, but we do laugh a lot!!

The Breakfast Club, May 2017 (photo courtesy of Lee Cooper)

-- Submitted by Lee Cooper

  • Save the Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017 - Fall Course Preview 9am to noon at National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), 4301 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203
  • Registration for Fall Semester opens at 10 a.m. sharp on 9/11/17.
  • Volunteers are always needed. If you'd like to get more involved, please email
More News and Photos

Check out the following stories on our website:

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: