Good evening! We are eagerly anticipating Wednesday evening’s annual SEPTA Excellence in Special Education Awards at Wakefield High School (May 17th). Below please find an important message regarding the event. Hope to see you there!
Hello APS community and SEPTA members,
This is just a friendly reminder to celebrate and commemorate Arlington teachers, staff, volunteers, and students who passionately support all Arlington students in ways that help them thrive. The Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 17th takes place at Wakefield High School in the auditorium.
Many thanks to Wakefield High School for welcoming SEPTA to host this event in their school building. Some logistical planning is necessary due to various functions happening simultaneously at Wakefield in the evening on May 17th. Doors remain locked after hours so in order for easy access, SEPTA will have a volunteer to greet you at the exterior doors. Please be sure to use Door #1. A light reception will take place in the auditorium foyer at 6:30pm. The Awards Ceremony will kick off in the auditorium at 7:00pm. If it’s feasible for you to arrive by 6:45pm, that will ensure access and your timely navigation to the event space.
We are looking forward to this wonderful opportunity to recognize the highly skilled leaders within the APS Special Education community working with and/or on behalf of students with disabilities. See you soon!
Jenn Seiff and Cecilia Kline
Arlington Special Education PTA (SEPTA)
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental health is a broad area that encompasses social, emotional, and psychological development in children. Arlington Public Schools has taken a multi-faceted approach to meeting the mental health needs of its students. Strategies are implemented at the student, staff and community levels to provide prevention and intervention in the area of mental health. With the understanding that strengthening of mental health practices effects prevention of many secondary needs (such as substance abuse or depression), a comprehensive approach is deemed most effective. To learn more about APS programs and resources, please visit: https://aps2016.apsva.us/mental-health-services/
In Crisis? Need Help Now?
Youth Mental Health First Aid
This year, the Office of Student Services has invited parents/caregivers to participate in Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings. Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among children and adolescents ages 12-18. Participants will complete a 2-hour, self-paced online class, then participate in a 4- to 5-hour in-person training led by staff in the Office of Student Services. The final 2022-23 training is scheduled for May 26th. Register online at: Youth Mental Health First Aid registration link or call 703-228-6062 (Office of Student Services).
View flyer to learn more.
NAMI Arlington Parent Support Groups
We are very fortunate that three of our parent leaders, Michelle Best, Alisa Cowen and Naomi Verdugo, have been facilitating regular NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) parent support meetings in our community for many years. Thank you, Michelle, Alisa and Naomi for your advocacy, leadership and steadfast commitment to support families living with mental illness. Please find details about the support groups in our Events section below.
Finally, here are some resources from NAMI
- Proclamation on National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2023.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness resources.
- Suicide Among People with Disabilities Care Provider Bulletin.
- Get help in a crisis (call 911 for immediate help).
- Learn the warning signs of a mental illness.
- Suicide prevention lifeline.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – Mental Health Awareness Toolkit.
- Depression and Mental Health Signs and Self Survey.
K-12 Learning Acceleration Grants
To address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Virginia students’ educational progress and well-being, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced in March 2023 the availability of $30 million in Learning Acceleration Grants to be used for qualifying education services. VDOE is currently accepting applications from the following:
- Virginia parents of school-age children seeking grants to provide tutoring.
- Tutors and providers of assistive technologies and specialized educational therapy services and supports.
Grant Amounts & Awards
K-12 Learning Acceleration grants totaling $30 million — payments will be made directly to the selected provider — will be awarded as follows:
- $1,500 for each qualifying student. Qualifying students include any public, private, parochial or home-school student in grades K-12 residing in Virginia and meeting the school-age requirements in §22.1-1, Code of Virginia.
- $3,000 for each qualifying student whose family income is verified at 300% or less of the federal poverty level.
How Can the K-12 Learning Acceleration Grants Be Used?
If your student is eligible and receives a K-12 Learning Acceleration Grants award, you will be asked to create an online K-12 Learning Acceleration Grants account to gain access to the ClassWallet platform. You may then shop for approved services which are supported as qualified expenses on the ClassWallet’s platform. Qualified expenses include:
- Tutoring services – may be provided in-person, virtually, or hybrid, and in one-on-one, small group, or large-group settings.
- Specialized educational therapy services and supports – Speech and language therapy, specialized reading instruction, or other specific services provided by a licensed practitioner recognized by any state board or agency.
- Assistive Technology – assistive technology devices and services and augmentative communication devices to be used primarily in the home and community settings. Note: the amount of an awarded grant that may be used for qualifying assistive technology costs is limited to $750.
Note: To ensure students receive the earliest possible benefits of the K-12 Learning Acceleration Grants to combat learning loss, the first $750.00 of awarded grants must be spent by August 15, 2023, on the vetted and approved tutoring, assistive technology, or educational service providers.
For Parents Seeking K-12 Learning Acceleration Grants
Virginia parents are now able to access the K-12 Learning Acceleration grant application through a secure online portal. For assistance and additional information go to What documents do I need to apply? Once approved, parents will have access to a list of vetted, pre-approved tutoring services or providers of assistive technologies and may make their selection.
For questions regarding Virginia Department of Education K-12 Learning Acceleration Grants program policy, please contact VDOE at email@example.com.
$1,500 Standard Application
$3,000 Income-Qualified Application
Virginia Department of Education Service Provider Pre-Registration
Please visit the Parent Resource Center’s Events page at aps2016.apsva.us/prc-events for upcoming events.