APS Considers Post-Pandemic Virtual Learning

APS Considers Post-Pandemic Virtual Learning
While some students have struggled during remote learning, APS has found that others are excelling. APS is therefore considering extending virtual and hybrid learning for secondary-level students beyond the pandemic.
  Virtual learning for some students could help relieve some school capacity pressures and leverage existing technology investments. Virtual learning would also let students to take additional classes and pursue other opportunities that accelerate their learning.
  A report will be presented to the School Board on Apr 8. If the School Board approves, virtual learning could be an option for middle- and high-school students as early as the 2022-23 school year. ARLnow

NoVa Children Got COVID at 2x Adult Rate

NoVa Children Got COVID at 2x Adult Rate
Children and adolescents were enrolled in a cross-sectional, observational study of SARS-CoV-2 prevalence from July-October 2020 in Northern Virginia. Contrary to prior reports, the study determined children shoulder a significant burden of COVID-19 infection. Their antibody positivity rate was 8.5%, double the adult rate in the same region at a similar time. 66% of COVID-19 positive children had no symptoms. Medrxiv Preprint Story at InsideNoVa

APS Plans Summer School

APS Plans Summer School
Arlington Public Schools plans to offer in-person and distance learning summer school for students.
Elementary Summer School (PreK-Grade 5) July 6-30
Students who are pre-identified as eligible will receive notification from their current school on April 16. Eligible students will be automatically registered by their schools. If a parent/guardian wishes to opt out, they must contact an administrator at their school no later than Apr 30.
Secondary Summer School July 6-Aug 6
Eligible students will be randomly assigned to a cohort and must participate fully in both the in-person and virtual sessions. Eligible students are those who have earned Ds or Es, EL students who have not demonstrated language growth, and students with a disability. Details at APS Website

Some Kids Returning to School Mar 2

Some Kids Returning to School Mar 2
Arlington Public Schools will begin a phased return to hybrid, in-person learning on Tue, March 2, starting with Pre-K through 2nd grade students. APS Announcement This is despite one Core Indicator and two Secondary Indicators on the APS COVID-19 Dashboard indicating “Highest Risk” and warnings from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky that “The latest data suggests that these declines may be stalling, potentially leveling off at still a very high number. We at CDC consider this a very concerning shift in the trajectory… Things are tenuous. Now is not the time to relax restrictions. We may be done with the virus, but clearly, the virus is not done with us.NPR Transcript

New Elementary School Boundaries Split LV

New Elementary School Boundaries Split LV
The School Board adopted a new set of elementary school boundaries on Dec 3. LV had been split between Arlington Science Focus and Taylor. Now, with the move of the Key Immersion program a new elementary school will be opening at the former Key site to serve the east side of LV. The west half of LV will attend Arlington Science Focus. The changes take effect in Fall 2021. For details about grandfathering, transfer students, and plans for managing enrollment across all the elementary schools see the APS Press Release.


The dividing line runs from Wilson along Fillmore St, then west on Franklin and finally north on Highland to Route 29. APS Map (PDF)

Key School Rename Committee Rejects People’s Choice

Key School Rename Committee Rejects People’s Choice
The controversial relocation of the Key School Spanish immersion program requires a new name for the remaining building, which will now be a neighborhood school. The school re-naming committee ran a public survey for a new name and then proceeded to reject the top choice among survey respondents. The top choice was Grace Hopper Elementary School, named for Naval Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, an Arlington resident, computer programming pioneer, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.
   Instead of recommending an inspirational person, the naming committee decided to propose two bland alternatives: Innovation Elementary School and Gateway Elementary School. The Arlington School Board will have its final say on March 11. Story at ARLnow To email the School Board

Preference Poll: New Key School Name

Preference Poll: New Key School Name
The naming committee for the new school at the Key site has narrowed down the recommended options to 5 names. To learn more and express your preference, please follow this link. The poll presents a ranked-choice among the 5 finalists. The poll will be open until Friday, Feb 5. APS Key School Rename Preference Poll

If you have further feedback, please contact LVCA’s representative on the naming committee: Elizabeth Ferrill.
Click to Continue Reading…

APS Report on COVID Cases

APS Report on COVID Cases
At the School Board meeting Thursday (Jan 21), APS reported that nearly 6% of staff and 5% of students who participated in in-person education have tested positive for COVID-19. APS declined to reveal building-level data and is unable to determine if COVID infections occurred inside or outside of school or how many were student-facing staff. More granular data is promised in the future.

Nearly 1,800 APS employees received vaccine doses this past holiday weekend.

Both parents who want in-person classes to resume, and teachers and parents who want the opposite, have been holding demonstrations and protests. Last Saturday (Jan 16) more than 100 parents, school staff, and students rallied in favor of continued virtual learning. Next Saturday (Jan 23) parents who want in-person classes to resume plan to rally. ARLnow News Item

Most of the Health Metrics in the APS COVID-19 Dashboard exceed the threshold for high or highest risk. APS Slide Deck APS COVID-19 Dashboard

COVID Vaccination for Teachers

COVID Vaccination for Teachers
Arlington Public Schools announced that teacher vaccinations “will begin this weekend,” Sat, Jan 16. However, there are reports of computers crashing and appointment emails failing to arrive. ARLnow

New COVID Variants Are Scary

New COVID Variants Are Scary
The New York Times reports Scientists are still learning about new versions of the coronavirus, including variants that emerged in Britain, South Africa and Brazil. The evidence so far indicates that they “are much more infectious than the Italian strain, which has been circulating here since February,” my colleague Donald G. McNeil Jr. told me. “That’s a game changer.” Behavior that may once have been only moderately risky — say, airplane travel — may now be more so… New York Times

Arlington 7-day average new cases: 52 per 100,000 residents. NYT Interactive

Return-to-School Update: Jan 8 2021

APS Return-to-School Update Jan 8 2021
Superintendent Durán provided an update on APS return-to-school status & decisions.
● Teachers & staff will begin a phased return to school buildings in late Jan.
● No dates for students return; don’t want to give dates that get recinded.
● Health metrics are far from enabling students to return.
● Majority of teachers (61%) oppose students returning to school.
● Average number of student devices connecting to the network: 96%.
● Will launch a COVID-19 app for health screening of employees & families.
● Will publish COVID-19 statistics by building, facility, or division.
● K-12 teachers are included in the state’s second phase vaccine rollout.
● A distance learning task force has been established.
News Release Slide Deck

Parent to Sue School Board to Reopen Schools

Parent to Sue School Board to Reopen Schools
Parents group “Arlington Parents for Education” failed to get support from the County Board for getting schools reopened. An activist parent is planning to sue the School Board to re-open schools. Many APS COVID Dashboard indicators continue at "highest" or "higher" risk levels. Correction: APE says it is not a party to the suit. InsideNoVa WDVM APS COVID Dashboard Arlington Parents for Education

APS 1Q2020 Grade Report

APS 1Q2020 Grade Report
The report compares student grades in 1Q2019 (in-class education) to 1Q2020 (distance learning) for Middle School (MS) and High School (HS) students. Results are similar to APS previous report for K-2 students: significant disparities between economically disadvantaged and non-economically disadvantaged students.
 However, the APS report suggests that both economically disadvantaged and non-economically disadvantaged students who were already doing well in school, continue to do well. The decline in grades appears to be concentrated in economically disadvantaged students who were already not doing well in school. APS is developing programs to assist those whose grades declined.
Click to Continue Reading…

New Key School Name: Comments Sought

New Key School Name: Comments Sought
APS has started the process for naming the new elementary school on the current site of the Key Immersion program. In the brainstorming session, the naming committee came up the following list of names.
  We would like LV community feedback on these names. What do you like? What do you not like? Do you have any concerns about any of the names? Do you have any other suggestions?

Please send your thoughts to elizabeth.ferrill@gmail.com before Fri, Jan 8.
Click to Continue Reading…

APS Distance Learning Shows Mixed Results

APS Distance Learning Shows Mixed Results
Results of the Virginia PALS reading proficiency test for K-2 students were presented at the Nov 3 School Board Meeting. Results for most categories of students showed only a small decline from previous years. However significant declines were observed for beginning (Level 1-3) English learners, Black and Hispanic children. To remedy this disparity APS plans to target these groups with daily literacy activities and small group sessions. APS is planning a more comprehensive grades report later this month.

  Click to enlarge

Nov 3 School Board Meeting Video Slides Story at ARLnow

Online Learning Not So Bad

Online Learning Not So Bad
NWEA published a review of online learning based on test data covering 4.4 million US students in grades 3-8. It found the pandemic-driven jump to online learning produced steady gains in reading and modest setbacks in math. NWEA is a research-based, not-for-profit that creates academic assessments for pre-K-12 used by over 9500 schools & districts. NWEA Press Release Study Brief

Latest Elementary School Boundaries Split Lyon Village

Latest Elementary School Boundaries Split Lyon Village
On Tuesday, Nov 24, the Superintendent announced a third revision to the elementary school boundaries, scheduled to change for the Fall 2021 school year. In this newest proposal, APS proposes to split Lyon Village into two elementary schools, with the western half going to Science Focus and the eastern half going to the new school at Key. Revised Map Find Your Planning Unit

The Superintendent plans to make a formal proposal to the school board for a vote on Dec 3. The last opportunity for public comment will be on Dec 1 at a public hearing. Sign Up to Speak Sign-ups close at 5PM on Nov 27 (Friday).

APS Staff Worried About Unsafe School Reopenings

APS Staff Worried About Unsafe School Reopenings
APS, following its “Level One” plan, has reopened 33 schools for students with disabilities. While teachers remain remote, classroom assistants are helping students within school buildings. Some classroom assistants accuse APS of not following its safety protocols. According to the Arlington Education Association needed improvements include:
● Testing every room for adequate air transfers
● Providing information related to cases, hospitalizations and deaths
● Ensuring staff can stay distant while students eat
● Providing staff with four N95 masks a week.
APS responded that these concerns have or will be addressed.
Story at ARLnow

Nov 16: LVCA Special Meeting on Elementary School Boundary Changes

LVCA Special Meeting on
Elementary School Boundary Changes: Nov 16

When: Mon, Nov 16, 8PM Next Monday
Where: The meeting will be conducted online via Zoom.
A link to the meeting will be sent via the LVCA broadcast email on the day of the event (Nov 16).

MEETING IS ONLINE ONLY: There is no meeting at the Community House.

The LVCA is hosting a meeting on Mon, Nov 16 at 8 PM to discuss the APS Elementary School Boundary Changes.

The goal of the meeting is to determine if LVCA can develop a consensus position to advocate to APS.

All interested LV residents, particularly those with school aged children, are invited.

Boundary Update
The meeting will start with a brief update on the current status of the ever-changing boundary process.

The initial (Oct 5) boundary proposal redrew school boundaries across Arlington. The proposal divided LV students between Science Focus and the new Key school. New boundaries were proposed for Science Focus and Taylor. Parents across Arlington were not happy.

After community-wide feedback, an updated proposal was presented on Nov 5. Under the Nov 5 proposal LV will be split among 3 schools: Science Focus, Key, and Taylor. Some LV parents are not happy.

Resources
APS web page with links to the original proposal from Oct 5 and the current update from Nov 5 including presentations, maps and community feedback.
Fall 2020 Elementary School Boundary Process APS

Look up your Planning Unit and current school assignments.
Find Your Planning Unit

Initial Proposal for New Boundaries (Oct 5)

Nov 5 School Board Meeting Presentation

Boundry Map Presented on Nov 5

Initial Boundary Map Presented on Oct 5

Two Catholic Schools Halt In-Person Class

Two Catholic Schools Halt In-Person Class
Positive COVID-19 tests at Bishop O’Connell High School and St. Thomas More Cathedral School have forced a temporary halt to in-person classes.
● St. Thomas More Cathedral School hopes to resume in-person classes Nov 17.
● Bishop O’Connell High School hopes to resume in-person classes Dec 1.
Story at ARLnow

APS Scales Back Elementary School Boundary Changes

APS Scales Back Elementary School Boundary Changes
The Superintendent recommended changes to the 2021 school boundary changes. About 800 students in 22 planning units will be reassigned among Science Focus, Key, Ashlawn, McKinley, Taylor and Tuckahoe schools. This will increase the number of students who walk to school by 600. A separate countywide boundary process is still expected for the 2022 school year. Slides from Nov 5 School Board Meeting (scroll down to slide 24)
Revised Map

APS Enrollment Drops 4%

APS Enrollment Drops 4%
APS’ Sept 30 count of PreK-12 enrollment fell by 1,125 students (a 4% drop). Elementary schools in North Arlington: Ashlawn, McKinley & Jamestown have some of the biggest drops. Current planning anticipated a 4% increase. Current APS planning had anticipated a 4% increase.

School Jun 2020 Sept 2020 Change
Science Focus 733 643 -90
Key 678 670 -8
Taylor 688 613 -75

More at ARLnow

APS Return-to-School On Hold

APS Return-to-School On Hold
UPDATE
Superintendent Durán announced that the planned “Level 2” return for younger and technical education students will be delayed until 2021 due to the increase in local coronavirus cases. However, the “Level 1” return for students with disabilities will proceed as planned on Wednesday Nov 4.
Nov 3 Superintendent’s Letter to Parents

The Arlington Public Schools Superintendent announced that: “health and safety metrics are not where they need to be to proceed with Level 2, Phase 1 Return on Nov. 12 for PreK, Kindergarten, and Career & Technical Education (CTE) students… Compared to Level 1 [for students with disabilities], Level 2 brings a significantly larger group of staff and students into our buildings and classrooms, and that is why the metrics are set to a more rigorous standard… To begin phasing in Level 2 students, we need to see further improvement in the metrics.”
Superintendent’s Letter to Parents APS COVID-19 Dashboard

APS Revises Plan for Hybrid/In-Person Classes

APS Revises Plan for Elementary School Hybrid/In-Person Classes
● No change for students enrolled in full-time distance learning.
● Elementary school students enrolled in the hybrid model will participate in:
  ● 2 consecutive in-person instruction days per week
  ● 2 consecutive days per week of distance learning
  ● Mondays will continue as at-home learning days
● Elementary students will be assigned by grade level:
  ● PreK, 1st, 3rd, 5th grades attend in-person on Tues & Wed
  ● Kindergarten, 2nd, 4th grades attend in-person on Thur & Fri
  ● Each class will be divided into 2 classrooms (to achieve physical distancing)
  ● An assistant will monitor students while they work
  ● The teacher will rotate from one classroom to the other
● The Middle and High School hybrid plan remains unchanged.
APS Letter to Parents

APS Elementary School Boundary Proposal 2021

APS Elementary School Boundary Proposal 2021
APS released its initial boundary proposal for school year 2021. About 1,400 elementary students would be reassigned to new school buildings next Fall. The plan incorporates school swaps for the new Reed School in Westover, the Key School near Courthouse becoming a neighborhood school, relocating the Key Spanish immersion program to the ATS building, and the ATS program to the McKinley building.

Most LV Elementary School Children Will Change SchoolsClick to Continue Reading…

APS Announces Return to School Timeline

APS Announces Return to School Timeline
APS is tentatively planning to bring students back to in-school instruction. If community health conditions worsen, APS, in consultation with the Arlington County Public Health Department, will pause at the current level, reverse, or suspend all in-person instruction. Concerned parents may opt out of in-school instruction
● Students with disabilities in mid-to-late October
● PreK-3, technical education and English learner students back in early-to-mid November
● All other students in early December for two days per week
APS Transition Plan
APS COVID-18 Dashboard

APS to Expand Elementary Walk Zones

APS to Expand Elementary Walk Zones
APS is greatly expanding the walk zones for 16 of its 24 elementary schools because buses must carry a maximum of 11 students due to the pandemic. APS will not provide bus service in these expanded walk zones. Some walk zones have tripled in size. The changes apply to: Abingdon, Ashlawn, Arlington Traditional School, Barcroft, Barrett, Claremont, Discovery, Drew, Hoffman Boston, Jamestown, Key, Long Branch, McKinley, Science Focus, Taylor, and Tuckahoe. APS Walk Zone Announcement
Expanded Walk Zone for Key ES
Expanded Walk Zone for Taylor ES
Expanded Walk Zone for Science Focus ES