Frequently Asked Questions: Instructional Programs and Pathways(IPP)

Community Feedback | Framework | Suggestions shared Feb. 4. 2021 – Virtual Learning ProgramPreK-8 Montessori Public School of Arlington Academic AcademyKenmore Arts & Communications Technology ProgramNeighborhood SchoolsCareer CenterDual Language Immersion

Community Feedback

1)What feedback are you seeking from the community in this process? (added 3/23/21)

APS staff is seeking feedback on the following suggestions:

    • Realign, co-locate or combine some programs
    • Create a K-8 school through realigning a program when funding is feasible through the capital planning process
    • Creation of a virtual learning program for secondary students
    • Make programs within neighborhood secondary schools available as countywide options for students when operationally feasible (building capacity, transportation, etc.)

 The community questionnaire provides community members an opportunity to provide feedback on the four ideas above, as well as any additional feedback they may wish to provide. Community feedback will be considered by APS staff as they prepare final recommendations to the Superintendent. Feedback on these ideas will help inform this visioning process and future visioning processes.

2) How will community feedback be used? (added 3/23/21)

Community feedback will be gathered through multiple mediums (Virtual meetings, questionnaire, emails to Engage) and shared with instructional leaders who will consider this feedback as they prepare recommendations to the Superintendent. Community feedback will also be shared with the Superintendent and School Board and considered as part of the decision-making process.

3) How will the community be kept informed? (added 3/23/21)

Staff will continue to use a variety of mediums to communicate updates with the community.

    • Virtual community meetings
    • Virtual Open Office Hours
    • News releases, School Talk messages
    • Updates shared with Principals, Bilingual Family Liaisons, PTA leaders and APS School Ambassadors for dissemination within communities.

 In addition, the APS Engage webpage continues to be the information hub for:

    • Highlights of key information about the process
    • Timeline and Engagement activities
    • FAQs, Presentations and Recordings of Community Meetings, and Resources

4) What are steps are being taken in the engagement process to reach families who tend to be under-represented in these processes. (added 3/23/21)

Staff are using a variety of mediums to reach families including:

    • Virtual community meetings offered with simultaneous interpretation in Spanish, Amharic, Arabic and Mongolian
    • Spanish available at Open Office Hours
    • Community Questionnaire in 5 languages
    • News releases, School Talk messages
    • Bilingual message shared with APS School Ambassadors
    • Information resources shared with Bilingual Family Resource Assistants for dissemination within communities.


1) How is in initial IPP from 2018-19 being incorporated into this process? (added 3/23/21)

Staff are continuing to build on the initial IPP from 2018-19. The initial IPP focused on pathways for 6 programs (IB, Dual Language Immersion, Montessori, Democratic [HB Woodlawn], AP Network, Expeditionary Learning) and recommended creation of three programs that do not yet exist (Early College HS, Hybrid High School, Fine & Performing Arts Program at the secondary level). This Fall, staff proposed expanding the IPP to include all programs, PreK-12 to Adult, to take a more inclusive, holistic view of APS’s instructional program that aligns with the strategic plan goal of providing multiple pathways to student success. Given the pandemic and breadth of topics that need to be addressed in the IPP, staff needed to prioritize visioning work for 2020-21. Recommendations from the initial IPP process are being incorporated into the IPP visioning process cycle. For example, this Spring staff will begin a visioning process for the Dual Language Immersion program. Additional updates will be provided to the community in April.

2) How will community demand for certain programs/options, as evidenced by applications/waitlist numbers, factor into your considerations for the future of options and programs?

Community demand, as evidenced by applications to programs and waitlist, will be considered during visioning processes for programs. However, the extent to which a program is achieving goals and aligning with our mission, vision, strategic plan goals, equity policy, and VA Profile of Graduate will be a greater driver in the decision-making process.

3) Why will the IPP include annual recommendations? (added 3/23/21)

Superintendent’s recommendations would be made annually in January to allow time to build any approved/adopted recommendations into the Annual Budget or Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) process if we are doing a CIP that year. Some of the recommendations may need School Board approval based on policy. Another reason for annual recommendations is that we believe it is important to incorporate the evaluation work into the IPP visioning process and defining of new options/programs. As we identify program criteria and evaluate programs on a cycle, we will be able to determine if options/program are meeting goals and aligning with our mission, vision, strategic plan, equity policy, and VA Profile of Graduate. This information will aid in the decision-making process when considering whether to:

    • Expand current programs
    • Changes or modifications to existing programs
    • Create new programs
    • Move programs to new sites
    • Consolidate programs
    • Eliminate programs

4) Who were the instructional leaders that participated in the visioning sessions? (added 3/23/21)

Elementary, Middle and High School Principals, as well as Directors, Supervisors and Specialists from the Department of Teaching and Learning. Directors of Counseling also participated in the visioning sessions.

5) When would the recommendations recently shared be implemented? (added 3/23/21)

The suggestions shared in the 2020-21 visioning process would be implementation no sooner than 2022-23. Some of the suggestions, such as the PreK-8 Montessori program would take much longer as they need to be built into the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) process. Planning for implementation would begin after the vision is adopted. This process will include timeline for implementation, resources needed, and stakeholder input. The community will be kept informed about implementation timing and details throughout the planning process.

6) What are the goals of the IPP? (added 3/23/21)

    • Ensuring equity and access in all programs
    • Ensuring multiple pathways to student success
      • Strengthen pathways for existing K-12 programs
      • Create additional K-12 pathways
    • Promoting demographic diversity in our programs and schools
    • Assisting with managing enrollment at all school levels

Instructional Leaders suggestions shared at School Board Meeting on February 4, 2021

Using one floor of Education Center for a Virtual Learning Program

1) What is rationale for wanting to use one floor of the Ed Center for the virtual learning program? Why not just make this program available at each high school? (added 3/23/21)

In Sept. 2022, Washington-Liberty will add 500+ seats at the Education Center.  APS plans to double the number of IB seats offered annually, which accommodates the number of students who typically are on the IB waitlist. Enrollment projections show that there is additional capacity at the Ed Center. Before a high school boundary process gets underway in Fall 2021, instructional leaders suggested using one floor of the Education Center building for a potential virtual learning program for secondary students (Grades 6-12) from across APS. Some of the benefits of this suggestion include:

    • Expands access to a learning model that some students thrive in and prefer
    • Connects well to personalized learning and providing choice and pursuit of goals of students
    • Would offer a smaller setting that some students prefer
    • Can aid in managing student enrollment at the secondary school level
    • Students enrolled this program full time would not attend their neighborhood school which would reduce enrollment at those neighborhood schools and provide capacity relief.
    • Credit recovery and acceleration opportunities
    • Flexible school day
    • Expanded access to internship opportunities through flexible schedule
    • Because W-L is centrally located in the county and has IB, there are hub stops throughout the county that could be utilized to transport students to this site.

2) Why would a virtual learning program require classroom space? (added 3/23/21)

We envision that this program would need physical space regardless of the instructional model (full-time virtual, hybrid or a combination of both). This would provide our students a safe space to work that is conducive to learning. We would also want to ensure that students have access to in-person academic and social-emotional supports.

3) Could you share some additional details on what the virtual learning program might look like?  (added 3/23/21)

Additional work is needed to further develop and define this vision, but below is some initial thinking of possibilities.

    • Combination of hybrid and full-time distance learning courses likely
    • A hybrid course combines traditional, in-person instruction with online learning activities. Students complete course work online outside of the classroom while also having regularly scheduled in-person learning opportunities with their teachers and peers.
    • This would be a countywide option for all secondary students.
    • In some instances, certain hybrid courses that are hard to staff and need a critical mass to run could be based at the Washington-Liberty Education Center annex
    • Some students could be in the program full time at the Education Center completing all course work (blend of hybrid and virtual) and others who are there for only one hybrid course.
    • Social-emotional learning curriculum and supports through virtual courses, as well as in-person supports. The pandemic has provided the opportunity to reflect on what is working and what is not, and continually refine and strengthen our SEL curriculum and delivery through a virtual platform. In addition, we envision building in student service supports on site for students to access.
    • Through the visioning process, we will continue collaboration with the program offices (i.e. Special Education, English Learner, etc.) to discuss the continuum of services that would be available at this program.

4) Would this program be just for W-L students or students countywide? (added 3/23/21)

This would be a countywide program, accessible to all APS students in Grades 6-12 .

5) Would high school students still be able to take virtual courses at their current school without enrolling in this program? (added 3/23/21)

We envision that students will continue to have the option of taking virtual course(s) at each of our comprehensive high schools and our secondary program sites.

6)The IB program at W-L has a waitlist every year. Will a virtual learning program at the Ed Center impact expanding the IB program so that more students who want the program can access it? (added 3/23/21)

The visioning process has accounted for expansion of the IB program at W-L and accommodating students from the IB waitlist.

Making Montessori Public School of Arlington (MPSA) a PreK-8 school

1)What is the rationale for the suggestion to expand MPSA to PreK-8? (added 3/23/21)

MPSA currently serves students in grades PreK-5. The Grade 6-8 Montessori program is currently housed at Gunston Middle School. The suggestion shared recommended moving the Gr. 6-8 Montessori program from Gunston to MPSA to create a unified PreK-8 Montessori program at MPSA. Instructional leaders also recommended co-locating a PreK-8 MPSA next to a middle school.   The rationale for the suggestion to expand MPSA to a PreK-8 school and co-locate next to the middle school includes:

    • Creating the three-year elementary continuum across grades that aligns with Montessori instructional model
    • PreK (3,4) & K (5,6) /  Grades 1,2,3 / Grades 4,5,6
    • Provides opportunity to apply for American Montessori Society accreditation
    • Co-location with a middle school would ensure that students have access to a range of courses taught by teachers with secondary level certification and expand access to electives and co-curricular activities for middle school students in a PreK-8 MPSA
    • Provides enrollment relief to Gunston by moving Grades 6-8 to MPSA
    • Could provide enrollment relief to other middle schools if more of the Grade 5 students at MPSA choose to stay at MPSA for Grades 6-8 rather than attend their neighborhood school
    • Aids in the recruiting, retaining, and educating accredited Montessori staff. Being all in one building provides mentoring, leadership opportunities, professional learning

2) What does co-locate with a middle school mean? Why would a PreK-8 Montessori program need to co-located with a middle school? (added 3/23/21)

Co-locate means to place next to a middle school. This would ensure that students have access to a range of courses taught by teachers with secondary level certification. In addition, co-location next to a middle school would expand access to electives and co-curricular activities for middle school students in the PreK-8 Montessori program.

3) If this suggestion becomes a recommendation and is approved, when would MPSA become a PreK-8 school? (added 3/23/21)

The current building that houses the PreK-5 Montessori program cannot accommodate a PreK-8 program. Facility needs are addressed through the Capital Improvement Plan process. Typically, the School Board adopts a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) every two years that addresses capital needs over the next ten years. Staff recommended that a future CIP process consider co-locating the program with a middle school. A projected date for opening would be determined during that process.

Co-locating Academic Academy with Langston at Langston site

1) What is the rationale of co-locating the Academic Academy with Langston at the Langston site?(added 3/23/21)

    • Smaller setting (as compared to current location at Career Center) that many of the students prefer and thrive in
    • Plans to add 600+ seats at Career Center site in the future. Size of school to increase
    • Maintain access to smaller classes
    • Access to semester based, 4×4 block scheduling, which entails students taking 4 classes at one time each semester
    • Ability to complete classes in shorter time-frame
    • Acceleration opportunities
    • Increased staffing at Langston to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of the students in both programs
    • Staffing attached to the Academic Academy program would move with the program.
    • Utilizing capacity at Langston site
    • Opens up additional seats/space at the Career Center site

2) If this suggestion becomes a recommendation and is approved, when would the move take place? (added 3/23/21)

The move would take place at the start of the 2022-23 school year at the earliest. If the vision is adopted, planning for implementation would begin. This process will include timeline for implementation, resources needed, and stakeholder input. Communications about implementation, timing and details will be shared throughout the implementation planning process.

3)Would the move impact the access students in the Academic Academy have to CTE courses? (added 3/23/21)

Academic Academy students would still have access to CTE courses if the program were moved to Langston. APS provides students at the Langston site transportation to and from the Career Center to access CTE courses.

Reopen the Arts and Communications Technology Program at Kenmore to middle school students countywide through the lottery

1)What is the rationale for the suggestion to open the Arts & Communications Technology Program to middle school students countywide? (added 3/23/21)

This change expands access to the program for students outside of the Kenmore attendance zone, which creates additional instructional pathways as many of our elementary schools have Arts and/or Technology exemplary projects or programs. A few examples include Arlington Science Focus’s Investigation Station, Drew’s STEAM program and Changing Education through the Arts (CETA).  This change also offers potential enrollment relief to schools that are overcapacity. Due to proximity, the program is likely to attract students from Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Gunston as it did previously.  A guaranteed number of seats would be reserved for students to apply for the program each year. This would allow students interested in this program the opportunity to apply for it using the application process currently in place for all option schools and programs.

2) If this suggestion is eventually approved or adopted, when might it be implemented? (added 3/23/21)

The 2022-23 school year would be the earliest when this program would possibly be implemented. If the vision is adopted, planning for implementation would begin. This process will include a timeline for implementation, resources needed, and stakeholder input. Communications about implementation timing and details will be shared throughout the implementation planning process.

3) How many students from outside of Kenmore’s attendance zone would be able to access the program? How would you make sure Kenmore does not become overcrowded? (added 3/23/21)

The number of students who can access the program from outside of Kenmore’s attendance zone would depend on capacity at Kenmore, which is reviewed annually. The number of seats available for students outside of Kenmore’s zone would be advertised annually as APS does for all option schools/program. If the number of applicants exceed the number of seats available, a lottery would be held.

4) Would opening the program reduce Kenmore students access to the program?  (added 3/23/21)

Opening the program would not reduce access to the program for Kenmore students if it were to become an option program. This is similar to what is done at Wakefield with the AP Network program. Students from outside the attendance zone can access the program as space permits.

Role of Neighborhood Schools in the IPP

1)How will neighborhood schools benefit from the IPP? (added 3/23/21)

Nearly all of our neighborhood schools have a program and/or exemplary project. The IPP process seeks to improve instruction within those programs, strengthen existing pathways, and create new ones to achieve our goal of providing multiple pathways to student success.  As we identify program criteria and evaluate programs on a cycle, this data will aid in the decision-making process when considering whether to:

    • Expand current programs
    • Changes or modifications to existing programs
    • Create new programs
    • Move programs to new sites
    • Consolidate programs
    • Eliminate programs

 This process will lead to improved and expanded options for all APS students both in the neighborhood school and option schools.

2) Will the IPP include staff work for what is happening to improve instruction at neighborhood schools? Will there be a visioning process for aspects of instruction (reading instruction, math, etc.) at neighborhood schools? (added 3/23/21)

There are existing processes for the development, implementation and evaluation of our core instructional program (i.e. K-12 literacy instruction). The IPP focuses on instructional programs and pathways outside of our core instructional program. Many of our neighborhood schools do have programs outside of the core instructional program, so we do envision that the IPP work will improve instruction within those programs and pathways, though in some instances a program outside of our core instructional program could be recommended for consolidation or elimination if it no longer aligns with our mission, vision, strategic plan, equity policy, VA Profile of Graduate.

Career Center Visioning Process

1) Under next steps, you mentioned that the Career Center would be part of the next visioning process. Will the recommendations from the Career Center working group and BLPC be considered in this process? (added 3/23/21)

Yes, the prior work of the Career Center working group and BLPC will be considered and incorporated into the upcoming Career Center visioning process.

Dual Language Immersion Visioning Process

 APS is currently conducting a visioning process for the Dual Language Immersion program that  will conclude in Fall 2021. For more information and FAQ’s about that process, please click visit: