APS News Release

School Board Approves 2021-22 School Year Calendar

Adopts Elementary Boundaries

The School Board approved the 2021-22 school year calendar at its Dec. 3 meeting.The school year will start on Aug. 30, 2021 and ends on June 17, 2022; it will include four additional cultural/religious holidays; and it changes Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

Key dates include:

  • 19 – Staff return
  • 30 – First Day of School for K-12
  • 3-6 – Labor Day
  • 7 – Rosh Hashanah
  • 16 – Yom Kippur
  • 4 – Diwali
  • 11 – Veteran’s Day
  • 24-26 – Thanksgiving Break
  • 20-31 – Winter Break
  • April – 11-15 – Spring Break
  • May 3 – Eid Al-fitr
  • June 15 – High School Last Day
  • June 16 – Middle School Last Day
  • June 17 – Elementary Last Day

To see a complete list of dates and more, visit our website.The School Board also adopted an adjustment to this year’s calendar. Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2021 will now be a staff and student holiday.

Barcroft Calendar Realignment
The School Board approved realigning the Barcroft Elementary School calendar with the calendars of all other APS elementary schools, beginning in the 2021‐22 school year.Additional details are here.

Elementary Boundaries Adopted
The School Board approved elementary school boundary adjustments to create an attendance zone for the new neighborhood school at the Key site, place Arlington Science Focus School (ASFS) within its attendance zone, and create an adjusted attendance zone for McKinley Elementary School with most students moving with the school to the Reed site. The new boundaries will take effect in Fall 2021.

More details about the boundary changes are available here.

School Year 2020-21 Update
The Superintendent provided his regular update on health, safety and operational metrics. There continues to be a steady rise in the total number of new cases per 100,000 persons over the last 14 days will continue. Based on this data, Arlington is now in the highest risk category for that indicator.The Superintendent also noted that several of the secondary indicators continue to fluctuate but remain between high and moderate risk categories. Employee exclusion and student exclusion increased leading up to Thanksgiving break.

Instructional Update
The Superintendent shared the results of several staff focus groups as well as data from the recent Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) for grades K-2.

Six focus groups, facilitated by Department of Teaching (DTL) and Learning staff, met in mid-November to share their positive experiences and challenges with distance learning. These groups focused on PreK-1st grades, 2nd-5th grades, middle school, high school and CTE and included a variety of perspectives from students, teachers, ITC’s, assistants, administrators, instructional supervisors and specialists, counselors and Student Services staff, Arlington Special Education Advisory Council, Advisory Council for Teaching and Learning and other parents.

DTL has also worked to form a new Distance Learning Task Force, which will include representatives of these focus groups as well as advisory committees and community members. The Task Force will build on these outcomes to develop strategies to address concerns related to students’ academic performance and social-emotional growth during distance learning. The Task Force will begin meeting on Jan. 6 for one month of focused work on these topics.

The Superintendent provided scores from the recent PALS administration. PALS as a universal screener, a diagnostic assessment, and a progress monitoring tool for measuring the fundamental components of literacy. Dr. Durán noted that there is a continued downward trend with PALS results. The greatest area of concern is the performance of Black and Hispanic students as compared to their Asian, White and Other peers.

The full presentation is available online and you can watch the presentation and discussion here.

Action Items

  • The School Board approved revisions to School Board Policy F-1 Financial Management and F-5.7 Construction and Maintenance. Details on the revisions is available online.
  • Changes to School Board policy D-15, External Funding – The School Board directed the Superintendent to not consider childcare expenses as an extenuating circumstance for providing emergency relief for parents enrolled in our Pre-K programs. More details are here.

Information ItemsThe School Board discussed the following items:

  • In-House General Counsel – APS is exploring the possibility of creating an in-house counsel position. Additional information is here.
  • New Elementary School at Reed Project Changes Due to Phase 1 Stormwater Improvements – In collaboration with the County, APS is working to construct a large stormwater management facility under the playing fields at the new school. The school will open on schedule with access to the playground and courts. The fields will be available after the stormwater facility has been completed. Read more here
  • The Heights Schematic Design Studies Funding – Staff presented the proposed design studies funding for The Heights Building.

The School Board recognized School Bond co-chairs Lois Koontz and Miles Mason for their efforts to inform the community about the 2020 Bond.

For More Information:
Citizens who want to comment on any items discussed at the School Board meeting should email the Board at school.board@apsva.us or call 703-228-6015. Citizens may call 703-228-2400 on the Monday after the School Board meetings to listen to a meeting summary.

School Board meetings are also broadcast live on Comcast Cable Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41; live-streamed on the APS website, and re-broadcast on Fridays at 9 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the meeting. All materials and minutes will be posted to the website at aps2016.apsva.us/schoolboard upon School Board approval at a subsequent meeting.