Superintendent’s Oct. 20 Update: Share Your Input on the 2022-23 Draft School Calendar

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Dear APS Families,

Here are this week’s updates as we continue the fall season.

Share Your Input on the 2022-23 School Year Draft Calendars – Draft Calendars for the 2022-23 School Year are online for staff and family input—there are two options with the main difference being the start and end dates. Take a moment to complete the survey by Fri, Oct. 29. Your input will help shape the final calendar proposal to the School Board in early November. Take the survey and view details online.

Clarification on Testing Procedures for Student Illnesses – Health and safety remains a priority as we work to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our schools. If your student is out of school due to illness and exhibits any symptoms that could be a sign of COVID-19:

  • Parents/guardians must provide evidence of a negative PCR COVID-19 test OR an alternate diagnosis from a healthcare provider before returning to school.
  • PCR COVID-19 tests can be obtained at Kenmore, Courthouse Plaza, Arlington Mill, and many other local providers.
  • Families must submit the medical clearance or negative results to their school’s administrative team or School Health Clinic.
  • Families must receive notice in writing from the school, clearing the student to return before they can return to school.
  • Parents/guardians should not send their student back to school until they receive that written clearance from the school.
  • We understand that these test results sometimes take time, so we encourage families to get tested early and often.

View the quick guide online for families.

Office of Special Education Update on Inclusivity – Creating and supporting inclusive environments in our schools is a key priority for APS. We know from research that inclusivity benefits all learners, and improves academic, social, and emotional outcomes for students with disabilities. We also know that increasing inclusivity practices requires changing behaviors, habits and mindsets. How we are doing this now:

  • Every two weeks, school staff receive inclusivity tips for implementation and reflection from the Office of Special Education. The Parent Resource Center will also be sharing resources for families to support inclusion in the coming months.
  • Seven model sites receive a two-week schedule of steps to implement that build capacity and change mindsets. (These sites were selected intentionally to represent all three levels of school, a variety of demographics and diversity, and varying data points)
  • The Office of Special Education is working with those schools on professional learning and inclusive practices which will then serve as an exemplar for other schools.

Prioritizing inclusive practices is a key priority in our 5-Year Action Plan which is based on the APS Comprehensive Special Education Review conducted during the 2018-2019 school year.

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month – As part of our inclusivity work, APS is participating in Learning Disabilities Awareness Month in October to raise awareness about the one in five students who learn differently because they have Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or other learning issues. This is a time to understand how these disabilities impact students and their families, and to renew our commitment to creating a stronger future for them. Read more about Parent Resource Center resources and activities online.

Finally, as a reminder, virtual parent-teacher conferences are underway for elementary and middle schools. This Thursday is early release for elementary students. There is no school on Friday for elementary and middle schools to allow for conferences. Please be mindful that most school staff will be working remotely on Friday.   

Have a great week!

Dr. Francisco Durán
Arlington Public Schools