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.

SchoolJun 2020Sept 2020Change
Science Focus733643-90
Key678670-8
Taylor688613-75

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

High School Sports Season Delayed

High School Sports Season Delayed
The Virginia High School League voted to delay the start of the 2020-21 high school sports season. A compressed sports season will run from Dec 28 to June 26. The Winter season will start in late December, followed by Fall sports and Spring sports. More at VHSL

APS: Classes To Be Online From Home

APS: All Classes Online this Fall; School Starts Sept 8
The new Arlington Public Schools Superintendent, Francisco Durán, has decided to scrap the plan to teach students in classrooms two days per week. All classes will be offered using full-time distance learning. The School Board has approved his suggestion to start the new school year on Sept 8, a week later than originally planned. ARLnow

Go Fund Me: Lawsuit to Stop Key, ATS, McKinley School Moves

Go Fund Me: Lawsuit to Stop Key, ATS, McKinley School Moves
A suit, filed by Louisa Castillo, an Arlington resident and Key Elementary parent, claims the School Board violated a Virginia law “when it adopted a proposal to relocate thousands of Arlington County elementary school students… rather than engaging in the necessary process to enact a school boundary change.”

A GoFundMe campaign is raising donations toward a $20,000 goal in support of the lawsuit. Go Fund Me Page

Democrats Endorse Diaz-Torres & Priddy for School Board

Democrats Endorse Diaz-Torres & Priddy for School Board
Cristina Diaz-Torres and David Priddy have emerged on top of a five-candidate field for the Democratic school board endorsement. The mail-in ballot resulted in high voter turnout: “More than 5,700 ballots were cast, far exceeding the 1,994 ballots cast in the 2019 in-person School Board Caucus.” These candidates will compete in the Nov 3 general election against Independent candidate Symone Walker.

News Release

APS Changing Grab-and-Go Meal Schedule

APS Changing Grab-and-Go Meal Schedule
Effective immediately, Mon May 4, grab-and-go meals will be available only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The intent is to make meal pickup more convenient for families and to limit potential coronavirus exposure to families and staff.

In addition to meals, parents of children in second grade and below can pick up packets of teaching materials to use at home.
Click to Continue Reading…

Arlington Public Schools Adjust to New Situation

Arlington Public Schools Adjust to New Situation
APS continues to provide support to students at home for the remainder of the school year. No new material will be taught, but students are being provided with resources to review existing material.

Children in third grade and above have individual APS-issued devices and continue to use those to communicate with teachers. Children in second grade and below are being given packets of materials to help parents teach at home. The packets can be picked up during the APS meal distribution from 11 am to 1 pm Mon, Weds and Friday at Barrett, Campbell, Drew, Hoffman-Boston, Key, and Randolph elementary schools.

APS also continues to provide meal service (breakfast and lunch) for children on the free and reduce lunch program.

APS high schools are planning virtual graduation ceremonies for seniors.

School Board Candidate Websites

School Board Candidate Websites

There are two open seats. Election day is Nov 3.
Democratic Candidates
● Cristina Diaz-Torres website
● David Priddy website
● Sandy Munnell website
● Terron Sims website
● Steven Krieger website

Democrats will compete in a mail-in primary. All ballot requests, both online and mailed, must be received (not postmarked) by the Arlington Dems by May 7, 2020 (11:59 p.m. EDT). Filled-in ballots must be mailed back in the provided envelope in time to be received (not postmarked) by Arlington Dems by May 30. Arlington Dems expects to announce their endorsement by June 9.

Independent Candidate
● Symone Walker website