- How is this different from a boundary change?
- Why is this Boundary Process happening in multiple phases? Wouldn’t it be easier to make boundary decisions concurrently with program changes?
- How can moving programs help with any of the challenges for the 2020 Boundary Change process?
- How does this process fit with APS long-term planning in the CIP?
- How did staff create these proposals?
- What are the two proposals?
- Are these the final proposals?
- How is demographics addressed in these proposals?
- Why are these the only two proposals being considered?
- Why is APS including option schools in this process?
- Will students be able to continue with their current neighborhood or option school if it moves?
- Why do we have option schools?
- What is the difference between neighborhood schools and option schools, and how does this affect how students at these schools use APS bus transportation services?
- Rather than moving an option school to a neighborhood school or a neighborhood school to an option school site, can we use the PreK-12 Instructional Program Pathways (IPP) to add an option school with neighborhood preference?
- Why is APS exploring ways to keep more students walking to neighborhood schools?
- Why not make Reed an option school?
- Is APS trying to get rid of Immersion?
- What is the percentage of Spanish speakers attending Immersion at Key? What is the percentage of Spanish speakers attending other schools?
- Does APS plan to shut down Arlington Traditional Elementary School?
- Why did the Representative Boundary Scenario map begin with the northwest corner of Arlington? It would look different if APS had started drawing the map from a different starting point. For example, if the work started with Key, Taylor or McKinley, perhaps we could be looking at a different school changing from a neighborhood to an option.
- When you move an option program, how many students will decide to stay at their neighborhood school?
- Can McKinley E.S. accommodate the number of buses required by an option school?
- How does Proposal 1 support the goal of meeting needs for more seats in Rosslyn-Ballston corridor (zone 2).
- How does proposal one support the goal of maintaining school communities?
- How does proposal one support the goal of using schools to maximum capacity?
- Has there been any study of the feasibility of building another elementary school at Key– either building up, or building on the field there?
- What are the code or other restrictions on placing younger grades on higher floors (e.g. can we build urban schools that are several stories high?
- What is the number of Spanish-speaking students who are enrolled at Key but come from outside of the ASFS attendance zone?
- What data is being used to make these decisions?
- Where can I find each school’s current walk zone?
- How many students attend neighborhood and option schools?
- How many students are on the option school wait lists?
- How many students can walk to Key and Campbell?
- How many buses are assigned to each school?
- How does APS know how many students walk to school, ride a bus or are driven to school?
- What percentage of elementary school students attend neighborhood schools and attend option schools?
- Where can I find the Planning Unit Level Data that maps to the 10-year projections developed in January of this year?
- What is the planning unit level data associated with the scenario and proposals?
- What is the planning unit level data associated with the walk zones in the scenario and proposals?
- What was the method used to calculate the predicted the Zone map seat differentials?
- When the zone maps be updated?
- Were Nottingham and Tuckahoe removed from consideration as option sites because of their walk zones?
- Current crossing guard assignments are based primarily on historical locations. Guards are not equitably distributed across school communities right now, and are not always deployed in a way that maximizes efficiency (i.e., are we placing crossing guards at locations in the county where we are getting the maximum number of kids across the street, and therefore minimizing bus costs to the fullest extent possible?). Will the APS Transportation Department consider doing an analysis of the current crossing guard deployment before making any school move decisions?
- How does APS continuously improve data?
- Does this process impact neighborhood schools?
- Will there be a public process to discuss program moves?
- How will the community be kept informed about this process and provide input?
- Will there be any School Board Actions?
The focus of this planning phase is to determine how moving some elementary schools can provide solutions in addressing the imbalance of neighborhood seats across the county and better use of resources, as we prepare for the 2020 boundary process. Back to Top
Q2: Why is this Boundary Process happening in multiple phases? Wouldn’t it be easier to make boundary decisions concurrently with program changes?
APS will develop new boundaries in Fall 2020. This is Phase I: Proposing School Moves. By taking a sequenced approach to planning the boundary changes, we can first focus on identifying if a site change makes sense, in the context of:
- Opening a new building
- Developing an adjusted neighborhood attendance zone around Arlington Science Focus (ASFS)
- Addressing urgent capacity needs that may narrow the list of competing priorities as we prepare for the upcoming Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) process
- A desire to look for operational efficiencies, so future budgets have some room to address direct student support.
The next three phases are:
- Phase 2: Planning Unit Data Review (April through May 2020)
- Phase 3: 2020 Boundary Change Process (September through December 2020)
- Phase 4: Implementation (Ongoing through June 2021)
Q3: How can moving programs help with any of the challenges for the 2020 Boundary Change process?
Some challenges that program moves can help address include:
- Imbalance of elementary seats across the county (e.g., Rosslyn-Ballston corridor)
- Waitlists for option programs
- Placement of all neighborhood schools within attendance zone
- Minimized travel time for students to neighborhood schools
The Planning Process for the FY2021-30 Capital Improvement Plan is underway. On Nov. 6 at the School Board work session, APS will share an update of the lists for sites that address the needs presented in the Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP). Our review of the sites available for development show different solutions in the various planning corridors. Over the past several years, APS has prepared for elementary school enrollment growth by adding relocatable classrooms, moving PreK programs to where there was capacity, and preparing for several capital project changes in 2019-20. In developing the 2021-30 CIP, it is important to consider options that will increase elementary school capacity as soon as fiscally feasible, preferably around the 2024-25 school year.
APS is entering the 2021-30 CIP process with capacity plans to add additional elementary school capacity through two capital projects:
- A new elementary school opening in Fall 2021 at the Reed site, adding capacity for 725 students, and increasing capacity to 14,799 seats
- 725-750 new seats in an existing building at a site to be determined, opening in Sept. 2021
Projections indicate the following:
- In Fall 2023, it is expected that elementary school enrollment will increase by 10% to about 15,600 students (excluding 112 Dual Enrolled students for projection years 2019-20 to 2028-29), and capacity utilization to reach 105%
- In Fall 2028, anticipated enrollment will increase by an additional 10% since 2023 to more than 17,200 students
- While the trend for growth is expected to continue, it’s important to use caution in interpreting the long-term projections for future elementary school enrollment. Beginning in 2024-25 and through the remaining four years, elementary school projections are based entirely upon assumptions.
Neighborhood elementary schools are more sensitive to the impacts of housing growth.
- Single-family homes are the main driver of student enrollment growth.
- Arlington County’s population has increased along major transportation corridors and will continue to do so in these areas.
- The mid- and long-term projections for the elementary school enrollment forecast are affected by housing growth along the major transportation corridors including Rosslyn-Ballston, Columbia Pike and Route 1
- Please see Data Answer 12 below for additional information about the zones and seat differentials
The 2021-30 CIP will need to narrow the list of potential sites, identifying where it’s feasible to add capacity. For more information regarding sites in areas of growth visit:
- Sites in Areas of Growth to Review for 2021-30 CIP (expanded and updated list as of October 22, 2019)
- Sites in Areas of Growth to Review for 2021-30 CIP (original list shown at the Sept. 24, 2019 School Board Work Session)
Q5: How did staff create these proposals?
- Keeping as many students together in each school community as possible
- Walking to neighborhood schools as much as possible
- Addressing the need for neighborhood seats in Rosslyn-Ballston corridor
- Using schools to maximum capacity and find efficiencies and keep resources in the classroom
- Increasing access to options by utilizing a larger building or moving to a more central site
No. The community and APS staff can provide input that could result in another proposal(s). Back to Top
Q3: How is demographics addressed in these proposals?
Demographics are not addressed in these proposals. Demographics is a consideration in the School Board Boundary Policy (B-2.1) and will be addressed in the Fall 2020 Boundary Process. Staff is aware that there are significant challenges to achieve balanced diversity in APS schools given issues such as housing and desire for school proximity. In previous surveys, most elementary families told us that they value proximity for a variety of reasons.
School attendance is critical to student success and well-being, and for some families, going to a nearby school may be key to helping their students succeed. At the elementary level, we have prioritized the use of available resources to address the needs of students within a school, rather than using the resources to bus some students to a school for the sole purpose of balancing demographics.
Q4: Why are these the only two proposals being considered?
The proposals explore possible school moves that could help APS meet the need for neighborhood seats throughout the county and the need to balance capacity utilization. It is important for our community to discuss the challenges APS faces with the next boundary process and the potential impact posed by enrollment growth, budgetary constraints and the lack of APS-owned properties to build new schools.
The proposals were developed to focus community input on the challenges APS faces in preparing for 2021. Other viable proposals may take shape as the community reviews the current proposals and offers new ideas.
Q5: Why is APS including option schools in this process?
Typically, only neighborhood schools are involved in a boundary process and only neighborhood school students are required to move from one school to another. In this process, APS is exploring ways to keep more students together when developing new boundaries in 2020. One way to do that is by moving some schools, including option schools. Because option schools draw students from throughout the county and use a large number of buses, then these schools can thrive in any part of the county and can be moved in their entirety. This means that staff and teachers could move as a whole to another building and all students in that option school would have the opportunity to move with their option school and still receive APS bus transportation services to the new location. APS recognizes that some families may choose to keep their student at their neighborhood school instead of moving with the option school – families with students in option schools will consider what is best for their family and their student and can make the choice of whether to continue with an option school or enroll the student in their neighborhood school.
Q6: Will students be able to continue with their current neighborhood or option school if it moves?
Option school students can choose to move with their school if there is a move. If the move does not work for their families, they have the choice to attend their neighborhood schools instead. Neighborhood school students may be reassigned to another school according to boundary adjustments; any grandfathering decision would be part of the next boundary process.
Q7: Why do we have option schools?
The School Board is committed to providing a blend of neighborhood and option schools to ensure multiple pathways for student success. More information in the 2018-24 Strategic Plan.
In the Options and Transfers Policy (J-5.3.31), the School Board affirms that, “APS provides a range of learning opportunities to respond to the interests and needs of all students through
- A blend of neighborhood and option schools/programs.
- Equitable access for all students.”
The PreK-Grade 12 Instructional Program Pathways shaped a definition for option schools. Later this school year, the School Board will consider adding the definition to the policy.
Q8: What is the difference between neighborhood schools and option schools, and how does this affect how students at these schools use APS bus transportation services?
Neighborhood schools have an attendance zones and will enroll any student who lives in a school’s attendance zone. These schools have some students who live in the APS-designated school walk zone (therefore, they are not eligible for APS bus transportation) and some students who live farther away and ride a bus to/from school.Option schools do not have attendance zones. Students at option schools come from throughout the County and can enroll in the option school if they are admitted to the school via a lottery application process. Option schools typically require the use of more buses to transport students to/from school than do neighborhood schools. Because these schools serve a countywide student body and already require many buses, they can be located anywhere in the county without affecting instruction or necessarily adding to yearly operating costs.
Q9: Rather than moving an option school to a neighborhood school or a neighborhood school to an option school site, can we use the PreK-12 Instructional Program Pathways (IPP) to add an option school with neighborhood preference?
Creating a hybrid school is not recommended at this time. APS is not considering changing the programming or number of options schools in this phase. Instructional leaders need time to refine the options presented in the IPP. Schools have some autonomy for addressing the instructional needs of their students through exemplary projects. More on the PreK-12 Instructional Program Pathways
Q10: Why is APS exploring ways to keep more students walking to neighborhood schools? Families value proximity and many want their students to walk to their neighborhood schools. It is good for our neighborhoods and roads—and our students! —when students walk and bike to school. Also, as APS develops its operating budget each year, there are often tough choices to be made about funding certain programs and services. Finding ways to reduce the growth in students who are eligible for bus transportation services can help APS manage its resources more effectively and keep as much funding as possible going to our instructional needs.
Q11: Why not make Reed an option school? At first glance, making Reed an option school appears to be the “easy” solution. This would allow all existing schools to remain in place. However, APS must also consider operational efficiencies. Reed has a highly walkable neighborhood, so an option school on this site would require transportation resources that could be used elsewhere within APS, given that we would need to:
- Bus out most students—currently 434 are in grades K-5–who live near Reed to other neighborhoods schools, and
- Bus in most students for a 725-seat option school program.
Reed sits in an outer corner of Tuckahoe’s boundaries, and is bordered by the McKinley boundaries to the east on McKinley Road and to the south on Washington Blvd. The new elementary school will open in 2021 in the middle of a highly walkable neighborhood. APS’ enrollment on Sept. 30, 2019 includes
- 434 students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 live in the walk zone for the new elementary school at Reed.
- 424 of those students currently attend one of three neighborhood schools
- 295 students currently go to McKinley, or 43% of McKinley’s capacity;
- 80 students currently go to Tuckahoe, or 16% of Tuckahoe’s capacity; and
- Less than ten students currently goes to Nottingham.
In comparison, 243 students are in the walk zone for McKinley, or 36% of McKinley’s capacity.Finally, the School Board voted to make this new elementary school a neighborhood school. More on the School Action to make the new elementary school at Reed a neighborhood school Below are breakdowns of the planning units and number of students within the new elementary school at Reed walk zone. All data is based on Sept. 30, 2019 Enrollment.
|Planning Units within the Walk Zone for Reed|
|Planning Units||No. of K-5 Students9/30/2019|
|Students Who Reside in Walk Zone for Reed but Attend Other Schools|
|School Attending||No. of K-5 Students9/30/2019||Bus eligible to school type|
|ATS||13||Bus Eligible, Option|
|Campbell||1||Bus Eligible, Option|
|Claremont||7||Bus Eligible, Option|
|McKinley||295||Bus Eligible, Neighborhood School|
|Montessori||6||Bus Eligible, Option|
|Nottingham||1||Bus Eligible, Neighborhood School|
|Tuckahoe||89||Bus Eligible, Neighborhood School|
|Students Who Reside in the Walk Zone for the new Elementary School at Reed|
|Attending Neighborhood Schools||No. of K-5 Students9/30/2019||School Capacity||% of School Capacity|
|Total Reed Walk Zone||424||725 (Reed)||58%|
The proposed school move proposals take a long-term view. The APS FY20 Budget process laid out some difficult choices, and the upcoming FY21 Budget appears to be on similar path. APS must find operational efficiencies in order to work within our existing budget. It is difficult to justify the costs of making Reed an option There would be increased, on-going transportation costs to
- bus 400+ students to three different schools instead of allowing them to walk to a school
- open a countywide option school in the middle of a highly-walkable neighborhood and provide transportation for most of the 725 students.
For these reasons, Reed should be a neighborhood school when it opens in 2021 and is in keeping with the School Board’s action to make it a neighborhood school.
Q12: Is APS trying to get rid of Immersion?
APS is committed to strengthening the dual-language Immersion K-12 pathway. As part of this process, APS will be considering concurrent opportunities to increase student access to Immersion that is not site specific. We hope that all students will continue with the Key Immersion program if it moves to another location. If the school moves to a smaller building, we can consider:
- Using relocatable classrooms to increase capacity as a temporary measure
- Consider locating the PreK classes at another nearby site
- Reducing the number of incoming Kindergarten classes (instead of offering 6, that number could go back to the 4 classes that the Immersion programs at Key and Claremont had for many years)
Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson opened Claremont Immersion school which was the second APS elementary immersion school. Claremont took shape from immersion classes that originated and grew within two other neighborhood schools, Abingdon and Oakridge. There are several APS neighborhood elementary schools that have higher proportions of Spanish-speaking students than either Key or Claremont. We are committed to exploring instructional options to expand immersion classes at other sites, starting in Kindergarten and complementing the immersion program. Table of Schools with a high percentage of Spanish-speaking Students
|School||% Spanish-speaking Students Fall Statistics SY 2017-18|
Q13: What is the percentage of Spanish speakers attending Immersion at Key? (Table 1) What is the percentage of Spanish speakers attending other schools? (Table 2)
Table 1. Spanish Speakers Attending Immersion at Key
Total No. of K-5 Students
|Percent of K-5 Enrolled at Key Students Language = Spanish|
*268 Spanish Speakers is 40% of 676 Total Students K-5 attending Key – 9/30/2019 Enrollment
Table 2. High Proportions of Spanish Speakers Attending Other Schools
|School||Total No. of K-5 Students||Percent of K-5 Enrolled Students Language = Spanish||Proximate to ATS|
|Carlin Springs||548||59%||Closer to ATS than Key|
|Barcroft||399||46%||Yes, along George Mason Drive|
|Barrett||501||45%||Yes, along George Mason Drive|
|Randolph||410||42%||Closer to ATS than Key|
|Drew||386||32%||Closer to Claremont|
Q14: Does APS plan to shut down Arlington Traditional Elementary School? No, APS has no plans to shut down Arlington Traditional School. The proposals in the Elementary School Planning process explore moving Arlington Traditional to another school building, and assume all instructional programs continue. This process will not result in any change to instruction at any school.
Q15 : Why did the Representative Boundary Scenario map begin with the northwest corner of Arlington? It would look different if APS had started drawing the map from a different starting point. For example, if the work started with Key, Taylor or McKinley, perhaps we could be looking at a different school changing from a neighborhood to an option.
In 2021, when the new elementary school at Reed opens the schools surrounding it – Ashlawn, Glebe, McKinley, Nottingham and Tuckahoe – will be the most impacted. Thus, it makes the most sense to start developing a scenario that first takes that impact into account.
We cannot say for certain how many students might continue with an option school when it moves to a different site, and how many will return to their neighborhood school. In 2019, two option programs moved to new buildings, including H-B Woodlawn and Montessori.
- H-B Woodlawn is a secondary program and families may be more comfortable with change for older students
- For this analysis were focusing on the Montessori move from Drew into former Patrick Henry building.
Montessori students had made up a large proportion of the Drew Model School Montessori program. As planning was underway for the move, some Montessori families who live in 2018-19 boundary for Drew suggested they would stay with the neighborhood school.
|Drew Model SchoolSept. 30, 2018 Enrollment||Total Enrollment||K-5 Students Who Live in the Drew Model Boundary and Attend the School|
In the 2018-19, 267 K-5 students lived in the Drew Model School boundary (planning units 36100, 36101, 36102, 36103, 36104, 48171, 48173, 48174, 48210). Of those who were enrolled in Montessori, 71% of them moved to the Montessori Public School of Arlington (MPSA).
|2018-19||2019-20||% of Returning Montessori|
|Not included in analysis|
|5||26||8||Now in MS|
Q17. Can McKinley E.S. accommodate the number of buses required by an option school?
Yes. During the summer school program at McKinley held in Summer 2019, the program used 22 buses daily for this program’s students. The McKinley site was able to accommodate these buses, far more than are used by any APS option school. Proposals 1 and 2 explore moving Arlington Traditional, a countywide option program, to the McKinley site. Arlington Traditional is currently served by 14 buses – 13 general education and one special education bus – which will not be a problem at McKinley.
APS transportation is currently phasing in the use of hub stops for countywide programs. This started last year at Montessori and HB Woodlawn. Hub stops are placed in central locations where students from several neighborhoods meet to catch the bus to their school. Thirty-seven hub stops throughout the County have been established to serve Countywide programs. Staff will be meeting with countywide schools this Winter and Spring to communicate the changes.
At our most efficient, ATS might go from using today’s 13 general education buses to 10. Adding 100 students to the ATS enrollment could bring that number back up as much as two buses for a total of 12. Transportation believes this is manageable at the McKinley site.
APS transportation is currently phasing in the use of hub stops for countywide programs. This started last year at Montessori and HB Woodlawn. Hub stops are placed in central locations – such as a community center or school — where students from several neighborhoods meet to catch the bus to their school. Centralized stops allow us to fill more seats on a bus and reduce travel time to schools.
Q18: How does Proposal 1 support the goal of meeting needs for more seats in Rosslyn-Ballston corridor (zone 2).
Proposal 1 moves students from the Countywide immersion program who are currently in a neighborhood with a neighborhood school that sits west of its boundary to an area of the County (zone 1) where the opening of Reed will substantively impact school attendance zones and result in excess capacity in the immediate area.
We hear concerns about how many students will move with a program raised most often in relation to the Key Immersion Spanish community. We look forward to retaining all students who elect to continue with immersion. APS will engage the Key school community, the greater Rosslyn neighbors, and account for anticipated enrollment when drawing new boundaries.
Q19: How does Proposal 1 support the goal of maintaining school communities?
In some cases, Proposal 1 may result in changing the school of attendance of as many as 15% of the students. Keeping up to 85% of a student cohort together will maintain the majority of the existing community intact. There is no change which keeps 100% of the community as is.
In the school move proposals analysis, McKinley moving to Reed is counted in the same manner as ATS to McKinley because a significant majority of the students would be moving together. During a school move, VDOE accreditation follows the majority of students, therefore McKinley and ATS would be moving as a cohort into different buildings.
Q20: How does proposal one support the goal of using schools to maximum capacity?
The capacity utilization figures referenced by some community members are not planning unit projections and don’t include the placement of Pre-k. The planning unit data behind the proposals is a snapshot of today’s enrollment which will be updated this Spring. Adjusting boundaries of attendance zones is used to balance school utilization after taking into account placement of Pre-K and countywide SPED classes and estimates of students attending option programs. (Pre-K and Countywide SPED account for >7% of the total enrollment in APS elementary schools). Planning has started with elementary administrators to determine the number of classrooms that will be excluded from the “building capacity” used in the boundary process.
Q21: Has there been any study of the feasibility of building another elementary school at Key– either building up, or building on the field there?
Key Elementary School does not have any previous design studies nor was it selected by the School Board as a facility to receive a design study or updated design study for the upcoming FY 2021-30 CIP.
- Sept. 24, 2019 Work Session on the AFSAP included the possible use of the Key site for redevelopment: Sites in Areas of Growth to Review for 2021-30 CIP(original list shown at the Sept. 24, 2019 School Board Work Session)
- Key remained on the updated list published Oct. 33: Sites in Areas of Growth to Review for 2021-30 CIP (expanded and updated list as of October 22, 2019)
- At the Dec. 5 School Board meeting, the CIP direction was adopted. Key was removed from the list. The zoning around Key would make it impossible to develop any plan that fits into the current CIP. This could be studied in the future. https://go.boarddocs.com/vsba/arlington/Board.nsf/files/BJGHHK489469/$file/F-3%20FY21-30%20CIP%20Direction.pdf
- APS reviewed design, cost and feasibility studies undertaken between 2011 and 2017; complete information can be found in the appendices to the most recent AFSAP.P
Q22: What are the code or other restrictions on placing younger grades on higher floors (e.g. can we build urban schools that are several stories high?
The Virginia Dept. of Education guidelines emphasize that kindergarten and first grade are to be located on ground level; however, these are only recommendations, not requirements. Our practice has been to place kindergarten at ground level with direct access to outdoor play space.
Q23: What is the number of Spanish-speaking students who are enrolled at Key but come from outside of the ASFS attendance zone?
|Sept. 20 2019 Key Enrollment PreK-5 by Student Language||Total Key Enrollment||ASFS Boundary||Another Boundary|
|Languages other than Spanish||424||124||300|
|Sept. 20, 2019 PreK-3 Enrollment at Key, Students in ASFS Attendance Zone|
|Languages other than Spanish||96||24||20||22||18||12|
Q1: What data is being used to make these decisions?
The proposed solutions were developed using the following data:
- Sept. 30 2019 enrollment data
- Analysis of Walk Zones shows the number of students who can walk to neighborhood schools in 2019-20 and how those walkers would be impacted under the Representative Boundary Scenario and the two School Move Proposals. These proposals do not show actual or proposed boundary changes.
- Analysis of Students Moving shows the schools students attend in 2019-20 and where those students would attend under the Representative Boundary Scenario and the two School Move Proposals. These proposals do not show actual or proposed boundary changes.
- Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP)
- School Capacity (p.25) and Inventory of Relocatable Classrooms (p.56) in the 2019 AFSAP
- Pre-K & Elementary Options & Transfers Application Data School Year 2019-20
- Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP)
- Elementary School Expanded Walk Zones
- Transportation 101: Video Presentation on transportation system overview, ridership statistics and ongoing challenges (presentation in PDF)
- 2019-20 Bus Counts per School
- Current 2019-20 Elementary Boundaries
More information about walk zones is available here: www.apsva.us/transportation-services/bus-eligbility-zones/
Q3: How many students attend neighborhood and option schools?
According to the Sept. 30 2019 enrollment data, of the 13,264 K-5 students,
Q4: How many students are on the option school wait lists?
Q5: How many students can walk to Key and Campbell?
Campbell and Key are option schools and do not have an attendance zones but do have walk zones. Based on the number of resident students who live in those walk zones, there are 440 students in Campbell’s walk zone and 267 students in Key’s walk zone. Please note that these figures include students who may attend an other schools.
Q6: How many buses are assigned to each school?
Here is the Bus Count per facility for SY19-20.
Q7: How does APS know how many students walk to school, ride a bus or are driven to school?
APS collects data on student travel modes in two ways. Each Fall, as part of our Safe Routes to School Grant, APS conducts Student Tallies for grades K-10 on two Fall days, where students are asked how they arrived to school on the days of the counts. This data is then summarized at the school level. Every three years, APS conducts a larger transportation demand management (TDM) survey of families, staff and 11th & 12th grade students asking how they typically arrive to school. APS will conduct the next triennial survey in Spring 2020. See here www.apsva.us/aps-go/ for background on APS’ TDM plan (APSGo!) and previous survey results.
Q8: What percentage of elementary school students attend neighborhood schools and attend option schools?
On September 30, 2019, APS had a total of 13,264 elementary school students. Of these students, 10,563 attend neighborhood schools and 2,701 attend option schools/programs. There are 19 neighborhood elementary schools and 5 option elementary schools (Arlington Traditional, Campbell Expeditionary Learning, Claremont Immersion, Key Immersion, Montessori Public School of Arlington). Roughly 80% of elementary students are enrolled in a neighborhood school and about 20% are enrolled in an option school/program.
Q9: Where can I find the Planning Unit Level Data that maps to the 10-year projections developed in January of this year?
Please be aware that in the current Elementary School Planning for 2021 initiative, no enrollment projections are used. This process is relying on the Sept. 30, 2019 enrollment snapshot by planning unit. You can find out more about the data used in this initiative in the Resources section of this website, https://www.apsva.us/engage/planning-for-2020-elementary-school-boundary-process/.
For the Fall 2018 Elementary School Boundary Process, elementary enrollment projections were developed. But please be aware that planning unit projections are only developed by APS staff for purposes of boundary adjustment processes. The reason that planning unit enrollment projections are necessary for boundary adjustments, is to permit flexibility in combining different planning units to represent new boundary scenarios. The Fall 2018 Elementary School Boundary Process’ planning unit enrollment projections methodology is found here, https://www.apsva.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Elementary-2018-Boundary-Process-Methodology-Final.pdf.
Our yearly updated ten-year projections, https://www.apsva.us/statistics/enrollment-projections/, are not done at the planning unit level. Rather they are done school by school (or looking at each school’s population). Each school’s grade level population is transitioned or “aged” into the next grade based on historical trends. Importantly, assumptions are made about future births and the number of entering kindergarten students five years later, the students coming from new residential construction, and the anticipated enrollment that option schools can accommodate. When there are boundary adjustments, the projections methodology includes further assumptions for the impacted schools. The Fall ten-year projections for 2019 to 2028, notes the assumptions and methodology that were made for schools that did not experience a boundary adjustment, schools that experienced boundary adjustments, and options schools.
In anticipation of the upcoming Fall 2020 boundary process, APS staff will be developing updated planning unit projections using Sept. 30. 2019 student data. The planning unit level projections methodology will be revised in early 2020, and data willbe made available publicly for feedback by May 2020.
Q10: What is the planning unit level data associated with the scenario and proposals?
Planning Unit level data is being provided for:
- The representative boundary scenarios
- School Moves Proposal 1
- School Moves Proposal 2
The scenario and school move proposals were created to explore proposed school moves as APS plans strategically in managing change due to continued enrollment growth. APS will have a boundary process in the fall of 2020. Elementary boundaries are not being developed at this point. Factors that are a part of boundary process, such as capacity utilization or demographics are not a part of this planning phase. APS will consider the six School Board policy considerations in the Fall 2020 boundary process, which includes maximizing facility capacity utilization and using resources effectively.
Q11. What is the planning unit level data associated with the walk zones in the scenario and proposals?
The Analysis of Walkers and Bus Eligible Students by Proposals (formerly the Analysis of Walk Zones, revised Nov. 27, 2019). Provides information on panning units and walk zones including, number of potential walkers in the county; the walker/bus eligible totals for the Representative Scenario and each School Move Proposal; and a list of all planning units, indicating which are in a school walk zone by proposal.
Q12: What was the method used to calculate the predicted the Zone map seat differentials?
The zone map was developed as an alternative to a previous zone map that divided the County into four zones without regard to anticipated County-designated growth areas which takes place along transit corridors. So, the new map grouped schools to show those buildings that could (and generally do) serve the high-growth corridors.
The data we used came directly from the 10-year projection tables published in the Arlington Facilities Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP). https://www.apsva.us/engage/afsapreport/. We used the data for SY2023-24 because confidence levels in elementary projections are highest when we have some portion of the cohort already in the system. The 10-year projections are provided at the school level because Planning-Unit (PU) level projections are not updated as frequently.
The capacity includes the 725 seats at the new Reed School without showing any enrollment, because the assumption is that as a neighborhood school, it would draw from neighboring schools. We did also include the students at Reed’s integration station as capacity (54) and enrollment (78). This is effectively a placeholder for staffing and budget by the Teaching and Learning who must make special placements for the preschoolers as they are identified. The numbers are small and only show a differential of 25 in 2026. In practice these students will be enrolled in new PreK SPED classes, but this results in some possible variation in data. PU data updates are only prepared with the boundary process and are an opportunity to re-examine their boundaries and the local information that impact student estimates (e.g., new buildings, traffic pattern changes affecting walkability, etc.)
The projection zone map will be updated only after the next boundaries are defined for 2021-22 and in preparation for the 2023-2032 CIP. The shape of the zones will be altered to reflect new boundaries at that time. The zone map was devised as one way to anticipate capital needs for facilities in the out-years. The observations taken from the zone map are intended to be used in conversations with the County and JFAC. It is in effect outward-facing data using the “language” of County growth planning. This is why using the school-level projections to consider program and school moves is very different from a boundary process.
Q13: When the zone maps be updated?
Q14: Were Nottingham and Tuckahoe removed from consideration as option sites because of their walk zones?
Walk zone data is not a sole determining factor in consideration of proposed moves. In Spring 2018 the Task Groups were asked to be realistic when thinking through whether students would actually walk from an added planning unit. We would rather have 20 students in a bus than 20 vehicles dropping off at a school, which is why all schools received that direction and APS also is clear that once a PU is added to a walk zone, students lose their bus eligibility.
With regard to citizen data observations, since our last APSGo! survey was in 2016 and the number of respondents at each school was not terribly high, our team draws from two data sources – our Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) classroom tallies, which we conduct annually, and of course the APSGo! data, collected every 3 years. We also use a 3-yr average of our SRTS data as a QA/QC check to see if they are generally consistent from year to year, and if not, determine why not. Since both our data sets are self-reported, participation can vary and change over time, which is why the department uses them together to paint a more accurate on-the-ground transportation picture. The three-year SRTS average likely provides the best picture as it covers more total trips; however, the caveat is that the data are collected from the students themselves as ‘how did you get to school today’ versus APSGo!, which is directed to parents/guardians and asks how does your student typically get to school. Neither are perfect, but together they do offer some insights.
Generally speaking, APS’ transportation goals are to increase walking and biking, decrease single family vehicle trips to school and increase bus use for eligible students to ensure we are maximizing the use of our buses. Nottingham has both the highest share of walkers and the highest share of drivers; they have the lowest share of bus riders. They have just two buses. McKinley and Tuckahoe have similar profiles overall but both have high share of bus riders. Tuckahoe has five buses, McKinley has seven and both of their bus zones are fairly extensive. Each school offers something toward our overall transportation goals.
Because we worked with each school community one on one, and used their unique feedback via both the questionnaires they returned and our group conversations, each school was essentially reviewed in isolation. That said, each school did receive direction to be realistic and reminded that when a PU is added to a walk zone, bus eligibility for the entire PU is lost. What we did not ask at the time, and in hindsight, we should have, was whether the respondent was bus eligible, as that could have given us a better sense of who our respondents were. Having broad participation from both bus riders and non-bus riders helps us understand the broader needs.
Each of the PUs added for Tuckahoe received very high levels of interest from the community and we talked through each of them. Additionally, the ones on the other side of Williamsburg Blvd. were once part of the Tuckahoe boundary, but are now part of Nottingham’s, which may have contributed to the level of interest. Students there are currently bussed to Nottingham. At least two other PUs of interest – primarily from a proximity standpoint – were not added because it would have required crossing the Lee Hwy/Sycamore interchange. And while some families said they were crossing there, the intersection is difficult enough that we did not feel all families would feel safe doing so, therefore those PUs continue to be part of the bus eligibility zone. At Ashlawn the one PU added received the highest level of interest from the community and discussion suggested that families were walking now using the park.
For McKinley, we received some feedback from the community regarding identifying PUs 14040 and 14041 as walkable to McKinley – expanding over Rt 66. Out of about 153 responses to the question about expanding PUs, we had 19 that mentioned 14040 and 18 that mentioned 14041. By far, however, the greatest number of responses (46) said to add none. The I-66 crossing seemed to be a barrier to some, and is currently served by a bus. This year, about 50 students from those PUs are assigned to a bus.
Regarding Nottingham’s walk zone, PU17032 already existed as part of the Nottingham walk zone, which was drawn several years ago. For that reason, there was not much conversation about it – though we did receive one comment that it needs sidewalk connections. In fact, most of the feedback from the Nottingham community (about 47 response out of 83) from the survey suggested that no PUs be added. In the end, no planning units were added to Nottingham as ‘walkable.’ See final map here https://www.apsva.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ES_Nottingham_WZ_Policy_Final.pdf – so its existing walk zone remained in place.
Many schools include planning units in their walks zones that are beyond the ½ mile because the actual policy distance to determine bus eligibility for elementary students is 1 mile. However, when APS attempted to enforce that distance at the start of school in 2012, there was a great outcry that the 1 mile distance required crossing of many major roads with little or no supports AND that many students within the 1 mile had been using the bus. After that, APS reviewed all the 1 mile policy distances for schools and revised the zones to account for the major crossings and distance inspired bus usage.
Q15: Current crossing guard assignments are based primarily on historical locations. Guards are not equitably distributed across school communities right now, and are not always deployed in a way that maximizes efficiency (i.e., are we placing crossing guards at locations in the county where we are getting the maximum number of kids across the street, and therefore minimizing bus costs to the fullest extent possible?). Will the APS Transportation Department consider doing an analysis of the current crossing guard deployment before making any school move decisions?
Crossing guards are hired, funded and deployed through ACPD. Last year a few guards retired, therefore, this past summer, APS & ACPD did in fact review all current guard locations and reassigned some guards from some long-standing locations based on criteria such as number of students crossing and available infrastructure crossing supports (e.g., signals/stop signs). APS continues to work with ACPD to recruit for the positions, but it is a difficult position to hire for as a guard may not get more than 4 hours per day in total (and that is doing two schools), and a guard cannot be assured of working in their neighborhood (or school of choice). We will continue to work with ACPD to post guards in the areas most in need of their support. In the meantime, through our Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant, we are also deploying pedestrian safety measures to help increase visibility at crossings (SeeMeFlags.com) and working with schools to establish walking school buses and/or apply for SRTS mini-grants to support pedestrian safety activities.
Q16: How does APS continuously improve data?
APS takes numerous steps to continuously improve data. These steps are detailed the Arlington Public Schools 2019 10‐Year Projections Report,
Enrollment Projections (p.19)
To validate the enrollment projections, an internal review committee met during the enrollment projection process to discuss assumptions, technical issues that arose, and review projection results. This process was put in place to allow various perspectives and expertise to assist with decision‐making on assumptions. The stakeholders from APS included staff from the departments of Planning and Evaluation (P&E), Facilities and Operations, and Finance and Management Services. In addition, external experts from Arlington County Government, CPHD and Dr. Richard Grip from Statistical Forecasting LLC also offered perspectives.
APS and ACG Forecast and Projections Methodology (pgs.35-37)
APS also collaborates with the County on data sharing. The 2015 Community Facilities Study (CFS) came out of concerns about the accuracy of the County’s and Schools’ forecasts and projections, given the significant growth in school enrollment in recent years and projections indicating that the pace of growth would continue over the next decade. The County and Schools brought in consultants from Statistical Forecasting and RLS Demographics to review and evaluate the County’s and Schools’ methodologies.
- The consultants concluded that the forecast and projection methodologies employed by the County and Schools are valid and appropriate for Arlington.
- The consultants also determined that two different datasets and methodologies are necessary to meet different purposes.
- While the consultants validated the forecast and projection methodologies, they recommended steps that could be taken to further improve accuracy.
Q1: Does this process impact neighborhood schools?
Yes. The outcome of this process will help to shape the 2020 Elementary School Boundary Process, which involves neighborhood schools. Families with students in neighborhood schools are encouraged to engage in this process. Back to Top
Q2: Will there be a public process to discuss program moves?
Yes. Throughout this planning process, the community will learn about and provide input on the rationales for the proposed program moves. There will be a School Board Public Hearing on Jan. 30, 2020. Back to Top
Q3: How will the community be kept informed about this process and provide input?
There are numerous opportunities for engagement.
- የAPS የኃላፊ የውሳኔ ሃሳብ የረጅም ጊዜ ዕቅድ እና የውሳኔ ሃሳብ (Common Questions and Long-term Planning:Amharic)
- ሓፈሻዊ መግለጺ ናይ APS ናይ ነዊሕ እዋን ውጥን ከምኡ ድማ ናይቲ ዋና ተቖጻጻሪ ለበዋ (Common Questions and Long-term Planning: Tigrinya)
- Jan. 9, 2020: Staff will present final revised scenarios to the School Board for Information E
- Jan. 30, 2020: School Board Public Hearing on the final proposal(s)
- Feb. 6, 2020: School Board is scheduled to take act action on final proposal(s)