Superintendent’s March 22, 2023 Update

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Dear APS Families,

As a follow-up to last week’s math update, I want to provide a brief update on takeaways from our review of mid-year academic data for students with disabilities. I also have a reminder about Ramadan and an update on the relaunch of the APS website, including opportunities for families to provide input.

Special Education Update: As we reviewed mid-year assessment results in reading and math, we were encouraged to see some areas of growth for students with disabilities:

  • Since the beginning of the current school year, elementary and middle school Math Inventory assessments show an increase in students with disabilities achieving proficient and advanced levels, and a decrease in the percentage of students with disabilities performing below grade-level goals.
    • The percentage of elementary students scoring in the proficient and advanced range increased from 17.6% to 33% midyear. Middle school student percentages in the proficient and advanced range rose from 13% to 20%.
  • Three-year trends in elementary and middle school literacy (DIBELS) assessment results show an overall decrease in the percentage of students with disabilities receiving intensive support and an increase in the percentage of students with disabilities who are meeting grade-level reading goals in the regular classroom with core support.
  • Since the beginning of the current school year, elementary and middle school DIBELS shows a small increase in special education students at the intensive support level.

 While we were pleased to see growth, the data highlights key areas of need for our students with disabilities in reading and math:

  • There is a significant need to ensure that all students with disabilities in grades K-8 are reading at grade level. Part of the action plan to address this is ensuring that there are school-based special education teachers and student support coordinators who have received intensive training on specially designed instruction.
  • Three-year trends show an overall increase in students with disabilities falling below grade level on the Math Inventory. To close the gap, we must ensure that students who are still scoring in the below basic range make more than a year’s growth annually.
  • At midyear, staff reviewed every student who is falling below basic level and developed individual support and intervention plans. The Offices of Special Education and Math are working to ensure our math coaches and student support coordinators are part of regular data discussions to support and address specially designed instruction plans for our students with disabilities.

We will provide a full update on the data and our action plan at the April 13 School Board meeting, as the Office of Special Education presents their monitoring report. You can view student data on the Student Progress Dashboard.

Ramadan (March 22-April 21): The observance of Ramadan begins this evening, and we have shared guidance with schools on supporting our students who are participating in the month-long practice of prayer and fasting. 

APS Website User Testing: I am also pleased to share progress on the relaunch of our enhanced website which is coming in July 2023. Our developers are nearing the end of building the new functionality so that we can move into user testing. To that end, we need your help! If you would like to help us test the site, please fill out this form to sign up to be a website tester.

  • In-Person User Test: There will be an in-person event on Thu, April 13 at the Arlington Career Center. This is a drop-in event; you may come at any time from 4-7 p.m. to complete the approximately 15-minute user test.
  • Online User Test: The user test will also be available as an online activity from April 13-21, if you prefer to complete it at your convenience.

Enjoy the rest of the week and thank you for your partnership.


Dr. Francisco Durán
Arlington Public Schools