Elementary School Planning for 2021


The 2020 Elementary School Boundary Policy B-2.1-Boundaries outlines the conditions that require APS to adjust neighborhood school boundaries and create new attendance zones. These include when a new school opens and when a school building’s projected enrollment is expected to be significantly over capacity across projections. The policy explains the six policy considerations to be used in APS boundary processes: efficiency, proximity, stability, alignment, demographics and contiguity.The objectives of the 2020 Elementary School Boundary Process are to:

  • Create attendance zones for the new school at Reed and for Arlington Science Focus School to be situated within its boundaries
  • Address projected overcapacity at neighborhood schools
  • Maximize school building capacity to accommodate the growing need for seats at the elementary school level
  • Make efficient use of existing facilities and APS resources in meeting the growing student enrollment at the elementary school level

In addition to the six School Board policy considerations, the following guiding principles were developed with instructional leaders and other staff to shape the planning during the 2020 Elementary School Boundary Process:

  • Adhere to walk zones as much as possible
  • Balance demographics among schools when possible
  • Use existing space to maximum efficiency
  • Increase operational efficiencies to keep more resources in the classroom
  • Put instructional needs at the forefront to guide planning processes

This boundary process will be conducted in four phases from November 2019 through June 2021.


Phase 1: Planning Process (November 2019 through January 2020): 

On Feb. 6, 2020, the School Board adopted the Interim Superintendent’s recommendation to move three schools for the 2021-22 school year. The School Board adoption includes moving:

  • The majority of McKinley students to the new school at the Reed site
  • The Arlington Traditional School (ATS) program to the current McKinley site
  • The Key Immersion program to the current ATS site
    • Note: This recommendation will repurpose the Key site, which currently houses the Key Immersion school, into a new neighborhood school.

A cross-departmental team has begun planning for the school moves transition. All staff are dedicated to making these transitions as easy as possible for students and families. Throughout this school moves process, information will be shared about next steps. More information about the school moves transition is available at www.apsva.us/engage/elementary-school-planning-for-2021/planning-for-school-moves-2021/

Phase 2: Planning Unit Data Review  (April through May 2020): 

The second phase of the process is to ask neighborhoods to review enrollment projections for their planning units. In past processes, individuals who live in the neighborhoods have identified improvements. We’ll seek feedback from schools and civic associations on the:

  • New/planned housing development and
    • Details about the number of units, etc. align with the information understood by the neighborhoods
    • Geocoding places the property in the right locations
  • Confirm/verify our estimates of current students

This was last updated at the Planning-Unit level was done in the “Getting Started portion of the 2018 Elementary School Boundary Process.

Phase 3: 2020 Boundary Change Process (September through December 2020):

In Fall 2020, APS will develop new boundaries for elementary schools that will take effect in the 2021-22 school year. APS boundary processes follow School Board Policy B-2.1-Boundaries, which includes the policy considerations to guide the process. Community engagement for this phase will begin in September 2020 to inform families and gather their input as APS develops boundary scenarios to present to the School Board.

Phase 4: Implementation (ongoing through August 2021)

The final phase of this process will begin after the School Board adopts a new elementary school boundary map. APS will notify families of student reassignments through multiple communications methods, and will work with staff and families in scheduling school visits and making the transition a smooth one for all students. APS will hold Kindergarten Information Night in January 2021 to provide families with the information they need for the 2021-22 school year.