APS sends the “APS Friday Five” each Friday to update the community on important news, events and highlights across the division.
Friday Five for October 15, 2021
APS and Amazon are launching a Think Big Space at Wakefield High School! This innovative educational space will provide interactive learning experiences, grounded in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and robotics, for students at Wakefield and across Arlington. Wakefield High School is the second AWS (Amazon Web Services) Think Big Space in Virginia. Construction has begun on the AWS Think Big Space and this new educational space for students is expected to launch by the end of the year. Learn more about the new space here.
APS is preparing for a limited boundary process to balance enrollment and utilize instructional spaces across neighboring school facilities. Adjustments will be made between Abingdon and Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary Schools, Gunston and Jefferson Middle Schools, and Wakefield and Washington-Liberty High Schools for the Fall of 2022. APS will hold Virtual Community Meetings beginning Sat, Oct. 16 for families starting at 11 a.m. For additional details and times, visit the Fall 2021 Boundary Process Engage webpage.
Check out the October Newsletter from the Office of Student Services here. In October, APS staff will continue to focus on the SEL theme of Relationship Skills through activities and lessons. We also recognize October as Bullying and Substance Abuse Prevention Month. We are offering several free trainings for parents to learn more about the new marijuana laws in Virginia, how to help prevent child abuse, and how to best support the mental health of youth.
This week was National School Lunch Week and the theme for this year is “Wild About School Lunch!” Students from across the district were featured on our social media platforms sharing their favorite school lunch meals. Students at our elementary schools report they love APS school lunch sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fresh fruit, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, apples, and more! APS serves well over 19,000 meals per day on average. To see more, follow APS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Cardinal Elementary School celebrated its ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 1! Students, staff and members of the APS community attended the event. Dr. Durán said during his remarks that the occasion marked more than just opening the building, rather it is the celebration of new beginnings for the students and staff at Cardinal. Students from each grade level performed chants and songs during the ceremony before the red ribbon was officially cut. Watch the event here.
Other News & Notes
- Celebrate Hispanic Heritage – Sat Oct 16 at Central Libray!
- Internet Service Assistance for APS Families
- School Board Appoints New Virtual Learning Program Principal
- School Board Member Reid Goldstein to Host Virtual Open Office Hours on Mon, Oct. 18
- 14 School Board Highlights
- Monday Parent Resource Center Message
- October is Bullying Prevention Month – Resources
Friday Five for October 8, 2021
1. This Week’s Crosswalk Feature: Empowering Global Citizens
This week, AETV launched Crosswalk, a new video series that features the great work schools are doing to support students and highlights connections across Arlington. This week’s video spotlights Ashlawn’s Global Citizenship Project and how it helps students develop skills in respecting different cultures, the environment, social justice and leadership. Watch the video here.
2. Bullying Prevention – Recognize, Report, Refuse!
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. APS teaches bullying prevention to educate and empower students to help create safe and supportive school communities. Throughout this month, counselors will engage in various bullying prevention efforts such as reinforcing the three Rs of bullying prevention, Recognize, Report and Refuse; participating in Wear Orange Unity Day (Oct. 20) to show unity for kindness, support, and inclusion; and spreading the Upstander Pledge, a commitment to standing up for others. Everyone can do something to help prevent bullying; individuals, schools, and communities each have an important role. Learn what you can do. APS provides a host of resources and helpful FAQs surrounding bullying. View this short video about our efforts. https://www.apsva.us/student-services/bully-prevention/
3. Middle School Information Night Set for Oct. 25
Attention 5th grade families! Middle School Information Night is set for Mon, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. The event will be virtual this year and families will be able to watch the event live on Livestream. Families unable to watch the event live will be able to view a recording after. Families of students entering middle school in the fall of 2022will learn about APS middle schools, school options, application deadlines and procedures, school-based information sessions, available student resources, and more. Families will hear an overview about APS middle schools, school options, application deadlines and procedures, school-based information sessions, available student resources, and more.
4. Celebrate the Latino Experience in Arlington!
Come out on Sat, Oct. 16 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Barbara M. Donnellan Auditorium to celebrate the Latino experience in Arlington. Enjoy cultural expressions, food trucks and a moderated panel discussion featuring Latino Arlington Leaders and citizens. Registration is required for the panel discussion. The dance performances, exhibits by artisans and food trucks do not require advance registration to attend. Learn more and register for the panel discussion now.
5. Forty Schools in Thirty Days—Superintendent’s Recent School Visits
The first month of school was filled with great moments as students reconnected with friends and schools focused on instruction, student wellbeing, and health and safety. Dr. Durán visited every school to observe classes and meet staff and students. View the photo gallery featuring dozens of photos from across the schools. Be sure to follow Dr. Durán on Twitter to view highlights of these visits and his future visits to schools throughout the school year.
Other News & Notes
Friday 5 for October 1, 2021
APS On-Time Graduation Rate for Class of 2021 Highest EverThis week, Virginia released its On-Time Graduation (OGR) Rates for the Class of 2021. The APS OGR for the Class of 2021 was 94%, (1,648 students). This represents the highest OGR since Virginia began reporting this in 2008. In 2021, 70% of APS students who graduated earned an Advanced Studies or IB diploma, and 92% of graduates responding to a survey reported that they plan to continue their education with a post-secondary experience.
2. View the APS Quarantine Learning Plan
APS is committed to continuing instruction for students who are quarantined due to COVID-19. If the Arlington County Public Health Department requires a student to quarantine, APS will provide distance learning opportunities for students through limited livestreaming, recorded lessons and other methods. If a whole class quarantines, the class will engage in synchronous distance learning during the quarantine period. View the updated plan online.
3. It’s Official! Celebrating the Opening of Cardinal Elementary
Today, APS students, staff and families gathered outside at Cardinal Elementary School to mark the opening of the new school with a ribbon-cutting and back-to-school assembly. Students in each grade level performed songs and dances about safety, respect, friendship and community, concluding with a special rendition of the Cardinal School Song. The video of the event will be posted online next week.
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re honoring outstanding Latinx high school student leaders for their standout achievements. Students from each APS high school were nominated by their principals for accomplishments such as advocating for social justice, supporting classmates during the pandemic, and serving as role models and mentors. Read about these students on our Hispanic Heritage month webpage. They will be recognized at the October 14 School Board meeting.
5. Thank You to APS Custodians! Tomorrow, Oct. 2, is Custodian Appreciation Day! APS is thankful for the dedicated and hardworking individuals who help to keep our facilities clean and optimal for student learning. They have worked especially hard during the pandemic to maintain safe, healthy learning environments and to ensure all schools were ready to welcome back students and staff. Check out this photo gallery we’ve put together to honor these employees.
Other News & Notes
- Important Information for Families about TikTok Challenges
- Wakefield’s Tony Bentley Named Virginia Driver Education Behind the Wheel Teacher of the Year
- Share Your Input– Help Define the New Relationship Between Schools and Police
- 30 School Board Highlights
- School Board Appoints Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
- School Board Approves New Organizational Structure for Department of Human Resources
- Contact APS! Here’s How
- School Board Member Monique O’Grady to Host Virtual Open Office Hours on Mon, Oct. 4
- October Schedule of Board Meetings, Work Sessions, and Advisory Council and Committee Meetings
Friday 5 for Sept. 24, 2021
Arlington Public Schools ranked second best school division in Virginia in the 2022 Best Schools Report by Niche, a company specializing in K-12 school analysis and ranking. Arlington earned high marks for great schools, teachers, academics, health and safety, diversity and other categories. Niche also rated APS the number one place to teach and the second safest school district in Virginia. To learn more about Niche and read the full APS report card, visit our website.
Congratulations to Swanson eighth grader Henry Stievater and his teacher, Courtney Seavolt! Henry has been named one of the Top 300 MASTERS in the 2021 Broadcom MASTERS®, the premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) competition for middle school students. The program seeks to inspire young scientists, engineers and innovators to solve the grand challenges of the 21st century. The Top 300 MASTERS were selected from 1,841 students from 48 states, Washington, DC and three US territories.
There are several ways to contact APS for help with your questions or to provide input. Who to call and how to engage depends on what you need.
- NEW Family Information Line (703-228-8000) – APS now has a central Family Information Line to assist families with questions concerning transportation, Virtual Learning Program, registration, Extended Day food services, technology, or general questions. This line is open on school days. Transportation will take calls from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you call and are sent to voicemail, leave a message and someone will respond to you within 24 hours.
- Engage with APS – email@example.com remains the contact for providing input on current APS initiatives.
- Contact Your School – For specific school-based issues or concerns regarding students, families are encouraged to contact their child’s school directly so the issue can be quickly resolved.
For more information on who to contact, please visit the Contact APS webpage.
On Wed, Oct. 6, all APS schools are taking part in the annual Walk, Bike and Roll to School Day, which teaches students about safe routes to school and the benefits of active transportation. APS has been taking part in this worldwide celebration for nearly two decades, as part of our commitment to sustainability. While this year’s event falls on Wed, Oct. 6, schools may host an event any day in October. Additional details are online.
APS is proud to participate in Blue Star Welcome Week, a nationwide initiative to build a better sense of belonging and community for military families. Blue Star Families empowers military families to thrive by connecting them with their civilian neighbors to create strong communities of mutual support. Join us next week as we celebrate the many military families and students in Arlington and help them feel welcome in our schools. APS will highlight Blue Star Families Welcome Week next week via our social media channels. Feel free to share your own welcome messages by replying to and retweeting APS posts. To support military and veteran families all year long, become a free Blue Star Neighbor member.
Other News & Notes
- Parent Guide for COVID-19 Response
- Help Keep Schools Safe! – Sign Up Now for Free Weekly COVID-19 Testing in School
- Coming Up – Custodial Appreciation Day is Oct. 2! Show Your Thanks for the Custodians in Your School
Friday 5 for September 17, 2021
This week kicks off the annual National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. View this kick-off video to learn why this month is so meaningful in APS. We honor our Latinx students and the many Hispanic Americans who have enriched and made a positive difference in our schools, community and culture. Each week, we will be celebrating two high school Latinx student leaders for their outstanding achievements. They will be featured on the APS website and on social media.
2. Twenty-One Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists
Earlier this week, the National Merit Scholarship Program announced that 21 Arlington students are semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Competition. These students will have the opportunity to compete for approximately 7,500 Merit Scholarship awards, totaling $30 million, that will be announced this spring. Congratulations to these Seniors!
3. Do Your Part to Keep Schools Safe!
It takes everyone to keep our schools safe and open. We ask everyone to take the daily health screening seriously, answer the questions honestly, keep students at home when they are ill and do not come to work or school if you are ill or have COVID-like symptoms. When there are confirmed COVID cases in schools, individuals identified as close contacts receive detailed instructions on quarantine procedures, and school-wide notices are sent to the school community. Thank you for doing your part. View some of the symptoms to look for and general health and safety information.
4. Mandatory Vaccinations for Student Athletes
APS will require all students participating in high school sports to be vaccinated, effective November 8 (start of Winter Season). Student athletes who cannot be vaccinated will be required to be tested daily. Additional information is available online, and APS will provide additional details about this requirement in the coming weeks. For additional information and to find a vaccination site, visit the Arlington County website.
Arlington Public Schools continues to provide the School Support Line at 833-Me-Cigna (833-632–4462) for crisis and referral support. It is available 24/7/365 to students, staff and parents. The Office of Student Services is also launching a monthly newsletter offering resources and information for social-emotional and mental health support. You can read the first issue on our website. In addition, APS offers helpful resources and local crisis links for parents on our In Crisis/Need Help Now? and mental health resources webpages. If you or someone you know is suicidal, get help immediately via 911, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or the Crisis Text Line (text “HOME” to 741741). View additional suicide prevention resources from the Virginia Department of Health.
Other News & Notes
Friday 5 for September 10, 2021
1. First Day of School Video
Last week, students returned to classrooms and normal school schedules and activities, greeted by warm welcomes from teachers, bus drivers, food service employees and all staff. AETV produced this video featuring Superintendent Dr. Durán and highlights from first-day arrivals across the school division.
2. COVID-19 Testing at School Starts Next Week!
Thank you to the nearly 5,000 students and families who opted in for weekly student COVID-19 testing. The schedule for each school’s allotted testing window is now posted online, along with more details on how the testing is conducted, which allows all opted-in students at each school to be tested weekly in a short timeframe. ResourcePath conducts this testing safely and efficiently and it is a crucial strategy for early detection and response to possible cases. Opt in today for weekly testing or sign up for a test following symptoms or exposure.
3. APS Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Join APS as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. We invite the community to follow us on social media as we celebrate generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively enriched our schools, culture and society. APS will highlight eight Latinx high school students chosen by their principals for their character, leadership and outstanding successes in school and life. More information will be posted online next week.
4. “Like” our New Spanish Facebook Page
A brand new Facebook page for Spanish-speaking families has launched! Visit facebook.com/APSenEspanol or search for Escuelas Públicas de Arlington directly on Facebook. The page features news and updates in Spanish, as well as a multitude of exclusive content and Q&A using the chat feature. Las Escuelas Públicas de Arlington ha lanzado una nueva página de Facebook en español: @APSenespanol
5. APS Families Invited to Watch Toni Stone at Nats Park
APS families are invited to watch a performance of the new hit play Toni Stone on the videoboard at Nats Park, on Sun, Sept. 26. Pioneer Toni Stone was the first woman to play baseball in the Negro Leagues, also making her the first woman to play professionally in a men’s league in the 1950s. Details on how to get tickets is available online.
Other News & Notes
Friday 5 for September 3, 2021
Thank you to everyone – staff, students and families – for helping to make this a great first week of school. Many of you sent us great photos of the first day and you can view them all on our website’s First Day Gallery. Stay tuned for a first day video capturing many touching moments. As a reminder, schools and offices are closed Sept. 3, 6 and 7 and classes resume Wed, Sept. 8.
Thank you to all the families that consistently completed the Qualtrics symptom screener on the honor system this week—we had a great response rate on the first two days of school. We kept the tool in place with a daily reminder to reinforce the importance of checking your student’s health and keeping students who are ill at home. There are symptoms to look for posted on our website.
Have you reviewed your information in ParentVUE as part of the Annual Online Verification Process (AOVP)? We need every family to verify the information we have is accurate and current. This requires you to log into ParentVUE. More information about the process, including videos and letters in English and Spanish, is available online. Contact your school for help accessing ParentVUE if you need it.
Thank you to everyone who volunteers in our schools. As part of our vaccination requirement for staff, COVID-19 vaccinations are now also required for those who want to volunteer in our schools. For those who were already approved to volunteer, you should have received a notice via email to renew your application and provide verification of your vaccination status. You can fill out the application online and find additional information regarding volunteering on the APS website.
Remember that school is closed tomorrow through next Tuesday in observance of Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah. See you back at school on Wed, September 8!
Friday 5 for August 27, 2021
1. Welcome Back! See You on Monday
Ready, set, learn! We can’t wait to see students back in the classroom this coming Monday, Aug. 30. Superintendent Dr. Durán and Chief of School Support Ms. Graves give us a glimpse of what to expect this school year and highlight the three top priorities for the upcoming school year. Families are encouraged to share photos of their students on the first day of school by uploading them here and use the hashtag #APSBack2School when posting to social media.
2. Apply for Meal Benefits – Free and Reduced Meal Applications
School meals are available at no cost to all students this school year. Even though meals are free, applying for meal benefits is still very important! By applying for meal benefits, families that qualify may be eligible for additional resources. Applications are available in ParentVUE, on the APS Food Services Webpage or online at myschoolapps.com.
3. Opt-In for Free COVID-19 Testing at School
APS is partnering with Resource Path to provide both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at all school locations for the 2021-22 School Year. This is an expansion of the symptomatic testing APS provided last school year. Parents/guardians must complete the consent form online, per Virginia Code, for students to be included in weekly COVID-19 testing at their school. If you do not complete the form, your student will not receive testing.
4. Safe Dining and Outdoor Lunch Plans—Check Your School’s Website
We remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our students during lunchtime and throughout the day. All APS schools are providing partial or full outdoor lunch opportunities for students this school year. The plans for student lunch vary by school, so check your school’s website for details. APS is continuing to expand opportunities for outdoor lunch by providing additional staffing and working in partnership with Arlington County to obtain needed resources. Additionally, every school is implementing prevention measures during student dining to keep students as safe as possible. The FAQ on the APS website provides further information.
5. Upcoming Calendar Reminders & Back-to-School (BTS) Nights
Families are reminded of the following holidays and back-to-school nights:
–Fri, Sept. 3 and Mon, Sept. 6 Labor Day Holiday
–Tue, Sept. 7 Rosh Hashanah Holiday
–Thu, Sept. 9 BTS Elementary Schools
–Tue, Sept. 14 BTS Middle Schools
–Wed, Sept. 22 BTS High schools, except:
–Thu, Sept. 23 BTS H-B Woodlawn & Arlington Community High School
–Thu, Sept. 30 BTS Career Center/Arlington Tech
–Thu, Oct. 14 BTS Langston HSCP
The exact times of back-to-school nights vary by building.
Please check with your students’ school for an exact time. There will be no school for students or staff on Fri. Sept. 3 (Labor Day weekend), Mon. Sept. 6 (Labor Day) and Tue. Sept. 7 (Rosh Hashanah). School resumes on Wed. Sept. 8.
Other News & Notes:
Please check ParentVue over the weekend for some updates to bus assignments. Stop times may have minor schedule adjustments based on driver feedback from practice runs this week.
APS Friday 5 for August 20, 2021
1. Welcome Back! School Starts Mon, Aug. 30
The first day of school is just around the corner! Arlington Public Schools is excited to welcome teachers and staff back this week in preparation for students returning on Mon Aug. 30. School will be held in-person, five days a week. The 2021-22 school year calendar is available online. There will be no school for students and staff on Fri Sept. 3, Mon Sept. 6 (Labor Day) and Tue Sept. 7 (Rosh Hashanah). Learn more about the school year on our website.
2. Health and Safety Information
APS continues to make health and safety a top priority. Masks will be required for all students and staff in school buildings. Staff must be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Contract tracing and quarantine protocols are ready and there are plans in place to ensure that learning continues if a student is quarantined. More detailed information is available on the APS website.
3. Transportation Updates
Bus schedules will be posted in ParentVUE on Tue, Aug. 24, located in the Student Information Tab under instructional choice. APS will operate with normal bus capacity and follow normal procedures. Properly fitted masks are required for everyone on school buses and inside schools. Bus windows will be cracked as a health and safety measure. Important updates and reminders for families with bus-eligible students are posted online.
4. New Family Registration & AOVP Assistance Day Set for Aug. 25
APS is hosting a New Family Registration Day on Wed, Aug. 25, at all schools and the APS Welcome Center. In addition, both new and returning families can receive help accessing ParentVUE and completing the Annual Online Verification Process (AOVP), the annual verification of student information. At the Welcome Center, families and students 12 and older will be able receive a free COVID-19 vaccination through the Arlington County Health Department. Additional details on the Registration and AOVP Assistance Day are available online.
5. Visit APS at the Arlington County Fair!
The Arlington County Fair is back! While you’re at the fair, come in and say hi to APS administrators and staff, tonight through Sunday. APS will have back-to-school flyers, registration information and more available for families. The Fair is located at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School Community Center. Details online. See you there!
Other News & Notes:
APS Friday Five is sent via School Talk to all parents and staff, and community members who have signed up to receive APS School Talk.