APS News Release

APS Unveils Two Proposals that Explore Moving Some Elementary Schools in 2021-22

  • APS proposes moving some schools as part of strategic planning to meet projected enrollment growth at elementary school level
  • Decisions about the proposals will be made before the start of the Fall 2020 Elementary Boundary Process
  • Goals for this year’s planning and Fall 2020 Elementary Boundary Process are to:
    • Use all existing elementary schools to full capacity;
    • Meet needs for seats in high-growth areas;
    • Keep as many students together in each school community as possible;
    • Enable walking to neighborhood schools as much as possible;
    • Develop a plan that best utilizes existing school facilities located on available land in the County, which do not always match where neighborhood seats are needed for current and projected growth; and
    • Consider strategies that will best address recent student enrollment projections, which indicate that up to three new elementary schools may be needed in the next 10 years.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Today, Arlington Public Schools shared two proposals for relocating some elementary schools in advance of the Fall 2020 Elementary Boundary Process. The proposals are available online for community input and will be reviewed and potentially revised as APS gathers stakeholders’ ideas and suggestions. School Board action on a final proposal is scheduled for February 6, 2020. Changes take effect for the 2021-22 school year.

The proposals are a first step in a multi-phase elementary planning process that begins now through June 2021 to prepare for growing student enrollment, projected to exceed 30,000 in 2021. Decisions will help inform the boundary process that begins in September 2020 to create an attendance zone for the new elementary school at Reed and an adjusted attendance zone for Arlington Science Focus School (ASFS), as well as to address crowding in some schools.

Both proposals involve some school moves and take a countywide approach that will meet the goals of the planning process. In addition, focusing on providing neighborhood seats in the high-growth Rosslyn-Ballston area, will allow future capital planning to focus on the high-growth Columbia Pike area.

The two proposals explore moving the majority of McKinley students to the Reed site and moving two or more elementary schools, including Arlington Traditional (Proposal 1 and 2), Key Immersion (Proposal 1 and 2), Campbell Expeditionary Learning (Proposal 2) and Carlin Springs (Proposal 2), to other elementary school buildings in the County.

The proposals were developed after a representative boundaries-only scenario illustrated challenges with using the past approach of adjusting boundaries for neighborhood schools without considering some school moves first. Given the imbalance in where students live and where APS has neighborhood seats, this scenario would require reassigning nearly 40 percent of neighborhood school students; and adding more buses for neighborhood school students who live within one walk zone but would be assigned to another school.

“We recognize that change is hard, especially when our students are involved, but we are looking for ways to keep as many students together as possible by balancing the impact of the next boundary process across all of our elementary schools,” said Lisa Stengle, Executive Director, Department of Planning and Evaluation. “As APS enrollment continues to grow, we have to be strategic about planning for the future and using all of our schools to address our urgent needs.”

“We encourage community members to review our information online, attend a meeting and participate,” said Stengle. “We look forward to hearing the ideas and suggestions from community members, so we can understand how to make these proposals work for our students, schools, and school division as a whole. We are collaborating with our schools as we work to provide safe, healthy and supportive learning environments in which our students can learn and thrive.”

Community Engagement
Community engagement will take place in November 2019 through January 2020 and will include many opportunities for input on the proposals. Additional resources and a full list of meeting dates, times and locations, are available online at APS Engage. The community can learn more and get involved in many ways:

  • Visit apsva.us/engage to view the proposals, timeline, infographic, maps, handouts and other background information.
  • View an overview summarizing the proposals, challenges and opportunities
  • Share your input Nov. 5- 24, using an online questionnaire (available in English or Spanish) that will be posted on the APS home page and sent to all families via APS School Talk.
  • Send questions via engage@apsva.us or Twitter at #APSPlans2021.
  • View an Online Information Session starting Nov. 5 at APS Engage, Arlington Educational Television (AETV) or Facebook.
  • Participate in a community meeting in December, when updates and possible revisions will be provided along with a Q&A session.

School Board Action Timeline
APS staff will review and may revise proposals as APS gathers stakeholders’ ideas and suggestions. Staff will present final revised scenarios to the School Board for Information on Jan. 9, 2020, and a School Board Public Hearing on the final proposal(s) will be held on Jan. 30, 2020. The School Board is scheduled to make its decision on Feb. 6, 2020.

For more information, visit aps2016.apsva.us/engage/planning-for-2020-elementary-school-boundary-process/.