Elementary School

Elementary Frequently Asked Questions

All students will begin the school year in the full-time distance learning model.  We will continue to monitor the health data in September, with the goal of beginning to transition some staff and students to in-person instruction in early October, which is the mid-point in the first quarter of the school year. Our goal is to have hybrid in-person instruction in place for all families that have selected that model by the beginning of the second quarter, based on health data and in consultation with health officials.  

Elementary students in both the hybrid and full-time distance learning models will receive instruction in literacy, numeracy, science, social studies and specials (art, music and PE).

The full-time distance learning model and the hybrid model have similar structures to ensure a consistent learning experience across models. In both plans, teachers will use the same pacing to introduce new learning. Students will receive instruction, either synchronous (live) or asynchronous (recorded lessons, assignments, etc.), Tuesday-Friday. On Mondays, students in both models will engage in asynchronous learning, and teachers in both models will engage in collaborative planning and will provide small-group interventions, when needed. Below are schedules for distance learning days and in-person days (hybrid model only).

Full-Time Distance Model:

Distance learning model graphic

In this model, students in all grade levels would engage in both online, synchronous (live) and asynchronous (independent) learning 4 days per week, Tuesday through Friday. Mondays would give teachers time for planning and also for small-group interventions conducted synchronously, as necessary. All students will participate in independent/asynchronous learning on Monday.New instructional content will be offered to all students, attendance will be required, and student work will be graded.

  • Total direct/synchronous instruction time will be similar to the hybrid model
  • Additional instruction provided for English Learners, as required
  • Additional instruction and specialized services provided for Special Education students based on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Social-Emotional Learning will be provided weekly for all grades
  • Daily office hours with counselors, social workers and psychologists by appointment

K-5 Sample Daily Schedule – Full-Time Distance Model

MONDAYS K-2 TUES-FRI
(5 hrs 20 min/day)
GRADES 3-5 TUES-FRI
(5 hrs 20 min/day)
  • 2 hrs 40 min.
    asynchronous learning activities
  • +Additional synchronous
    small group instruction sessions
    for some students
  • TEACHER PLANNING
Morning Message (15 min) Morning Message (15 min)
Phonemic Awareness (10 min) Reading Instruction (15 min)
Reading Instruction (15 min) Independent Work Session (Literacy) (35 min)
Independent Work Session (Literacy) (30 min)
Movement Break (10 min) Movement Break (10 min)
Writing Instruction (15 min) Writing Instruction (15 min)
Independent Work Session (Literacy) (30 min) Independent Work Session (Literacy) (35 min)
Movement Break (10 min) Movement Break (10 min)
Math Workshop (60 min) Math Workshop (60 min)
Lunch & Recess Break (45 min) Lunch & Recess Break (45 min)
Content (Science or Social Studies) and/or SEL (30 min) Content (Science or Social Studies) and/or SEL (30 min)
Movement Break (10 min) Movement Break (10 min)
Specials (Art, Music, PE) (30 min) Specials (Art, Music, PE) (30 min)
Closing Reflection (10 min) Closing Reflection (10 min)

 PreK Sample Schedule

PREK
Mondays
PREK TUES-FRI
(5 hours, 20 minutes per day)
  • 1 hour asynchronous learning activities
  • +Additional synchronous
    small group instruction sessions
    for some students
  • TEACHER PLANNING
Morning Meeting (15 min)
Caring Connections/ SEL Learning (15 min)
Movement/SWPL/Music (10 min)
Snack & Chat (15 min)
Movement/ Community Building (5 min)
Mini Lesson (Language/Literacy and/or Math) (15 min)
Bathroom and Handwashing (10 min)
Independent Work Session/ Asynchronous Learning Activities and/or Individual Student Check-ins (30 min)
Small Group Instruction (30 min)
Independent Work Session/ Asynchronous Learning Activities (30 min)
Lunch (40 min)
Rest/Quiet Time/Reflection or Asynchronous Learning Activities (60 min)
Specials (Art, Music, PE) (30 min)
Closing Circle (15 min)

Students will start the year in this full-time distance model.

View the Elementary School Hybrid Model

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Elementary School

If you don’t see your question here, visit the FAQ page for more answers

Will APS provide childcare for families who need it?

Posted July 31 APS is working with the County and partners in the community to identify childcare availability for families. This may take some time because of the need for providers to meet licensing requirements. Possibilities may include facilities provided through local nonprofits such as the YMCA or private childcare centers.

Posted July 31

APS is working with the County and partners in the community to identify childcare availability for families. This may take some time because of the need for providers to meet licensing requirements. Possibilities may include facilities provided through local nonprofits such as the YMCA or private childcare centers.

How will APS provide meals to students when the school year begins with virtual learning?

Posted July 31 APS has provided a grab-n-go meals service to children throughout the summer. Once the summer meals program ends and the 2020-21 school year begins on September 8 with virtual learning for all students, the national school lunch program starts back up to provide free meals (breakfast and lunch) to APS students. As […]

Posted July 31

APS has provided a grab-n-go meals service to children throughout the summer. Once the summer meals program ends and the 2020-21 school year begins on September 8 with virtual learning for all students, the national school lunch program starts back up to provide free meals (breakfast and lunch) to APS students. As we continue to plan for the return to school, we will reassess students’ needs and school schedules, and consider adjustments such as expanding the number of meal distribution sites. More details will be shared in August.

Can elementary schools assign students based on pods that families have created?

Posted July 31 APS cannot assign or reassign students based on pods that have been created by families. Given the disproportionate staff and student preferences, among other planning factors which are unique to each student, program, and school, APS will not be able to accommodate pod requests.

Posted July 31

APS cannot assign or reassign students based on pods that have been created by families. Given the disproportionate staff and student preferences, among other planning factors which are unique to each student, program, and school, APS will not be able to accommodate pod requests.

What is the specific criteria that will be considered in making a decision to move to the hybrid learning instructional model?

Posted July 28 There is no single metric or data point, but rather a range of operational and health and safety criteria we evaluate daily. Those criteria include student instructional preference and employee work preference; global supply chain availability of essential health and safety equipment, including PPE and custodial supplies; local, regional and national COVID-19 […]

Posted July 28

There is no single metric or data point, but rather a range of operational and health and safety criteria we evaluate daily. Those criteria include student instructional preference and employee work preference; global supply chain availability of essential health and safety equipment, including PPE and custodial supplies; local, regional and national COVID-19 health metrics, including positive case rates, hospitalizations, and death rates; and local, state and federal health guidance.

Where can students and families get help with a technology question or the APS devices they need for the 2020-21 school year?

Updated July 31 Each school will share information with families about how the school will distribute devices to students who do not yet have these. For technical questions, the school’s Instructional Technology Coordinator (ITC) should be the first point of contact. You can find a list of ITC contact emails, as well as information on […]

Updated July 31

Each school will share information with families about how the school will distribute devices to students who do not yet have these. For technical questions, the school’s Instructional Technology Coordinator (ITC) should be the first point of contact. You can find a list of ITC contact emails, as well as information on devices, troubleshooting, internet access and more at: https://www.apsva.us/digital-learning/digital-learning-device-help/. For students who will begin in Grades 6 and 9 in September, please contact the ITC at your new school with technical questions.

Why did APS change the plan for the beginning of the year?

Updated July 22

APS has changed the start of the 2020-21 school year from August 31 to September 8, and will begin the year with all students in the full-time distance learning model, due to health and safety concerns and our monitoring of local and national trends in COVID-19 cases. APS is working closely with state health officials, the Arlington County Public Health Division, and neighboring Northern Virginia school divisions to use the most up-to-date information in planning for the return to school. Throughout our planning, the health and safety of our staff and students has been our top priority. Pausing the hybrid model and beginning the year with a virtual model allows us to continue to monitor the situation and devote all resources to strong full-time distance learning instruction for all students until we are confident it is safe to return. More information will be shared as details become available.

When will APS begin to transition students into school as part of the hybrid model?

Posted July 19

APS is committed to honoring the needs and preferences of families who have selected the hybrid instructional model for their students for 2020-21, when conditions allow students and staff to safely return to school facilities. We will continue to monitor the health data in September, with the goal of beginning to transition some staff and students to in-person instruction in early October, which is the mid-point in the first quarter of the school year. Our goal is to have hybrid in-person instruction in place for all families that have selected that model by the beginning of the second quarter, based on health data and in consultation with health officials.  APS is working closely with state health officials, the Arlington County Public Health Division and neighboring Northern Virginia school divisions to use the most up-to-date information in planning for the return to school.

How does the Full-Time Distance Learning model differ from the distance learning students received in the fourth quarter of the 2019-20 school year?

Updated July 15

The Full-Time Distance Learning model will be very different than what was offered in the spring. In this model in which all students will start the year:

  • Students will receive interactive, teacher-led/synchronous instruction four days per week, Tuesday through Friday. This means daily interaction with teachers.
  • Classes will follow a daily schedule similar to a normal school day.
  • New instructional content will be taught, work will be graded, and attendance will be taken.
  • Students will have opportunities for small-group work with teachers and peers.
  • All students in grades PreK-12 will be issued devices, and through our agreement with Comcast, the Comcast Essentials internet package is available to families who may not have had internet access.
  • Comprehensive specialized services for English Learners, Special Education and Gifted students will be provided, including robust special education services (counseling, speech, OT, PT).
  • Secondary students will have regular advisory periods (daily at middle school, weekly at high school).
  • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) will be delivered through synchronous interaction with teachers and counselors.
  • English Learner students will be able to engage in four language domains – speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • Parent Academies will be offered, with training and resources for parents to support learning at home.

What is the date of the start of the second quarter?

Posted July 14

The first quarter ends November 2, and the 3rd is a grade prep day. The second quarter is scheduled to start on November 4.

What will APS be doing during the time between August 24 and September 8?

Posted July 14

APS teachers and staff begin as planned on August 24 and will engage in continued professional learning and training during the two weeks leading up to the start of school, to further prepare for a strong full-distance learning start to the new school year.

What if COVID-19 cases in our area increase or other factors change?

Posted July 1

The plan for resuming in-person instruction assumes that Virginia will be in Phase 3 for the start of school. If there is a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus that requires a closure of schools or an individual school, all students would participate in full-time distance learning. APS will continue to follow CDC, Virginia Department of Health and Arlington County Public Health Division guidance to determine future changes that are necessary.

How will concepts that were not taught in the 4th quarter of 2019-20, due to school closures, be taught in the 2020-21 year?

Posted July 8

The essential content that was not covered during the fourth quarter in the spring will be incorporated throughout the 2020-21 school year for elementary school and secondary school sequential courses. (Sequential courses build from one course to the next, such as Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 or Algebra 2 to Precalculus.) Curriculum and pacing guides have been adjusted accordingly.

What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous instruction?

Posted July 1

Synchronous learning is interactive, two-way online or distance education that happens in real time with a teacher, whereas asynchronous learning occurs virtually online and through prepared resources, without real-time teacher-led interaction. Both instructional delivery models will incorporate a blend of these two delivery methods for distance learning.

How are student groups assigned in the hybrid model? Will siblings be paired together?

Posted July 1

Decisions regarding schedules and student group assignments for each school will be made centrally based on multiple factors. Siblings will be assigned to the same in-school schedule to simplify family arrangements, when possible. Details regarding student assignments and scheduling will be finalized and communicated in August once family selections are received and processed.

How can parents access ParentVue for rising Kindergarten students?

Posted July 7

All parents should have received a ParentVUE activation key from the school registrar at the time that they registered their student. If parents did not receive that activation key, they should contact the school’s registrar to get one.

Will families that register after July 20 be able to select their instructional delivery method?

Updated July 23

Families that register after the July 20 deadline will have the opportunity to select their instructional delivery method during the registration process. When school registrars conduct the registration interview, they will ask a family to select their instructional delivery method at that time. If families would like to change their instructional delivery method, there will be an opportunity to do so when the window reopens for families to reconfirm or change their selection before school buildings reopen for students.

What is included in the full-time distance learning model?

Posted July 1

Students engage in synchronous, teacher-led instruction four times per week (Tuesday-Friday). Monday is designated for teacher planning and small group or individual interventions, which are provided synchronously. All students will participate in independent/asynchronous learning on Monday. Specific schedules for each grade level are in development and will be based on the input received during the family selection process taking place July 6-20. Learning opportunities by grade level include:

  • Elementary school: Teachers provide direct, synchronous instruction, in an amount similar to the hybrid model, in Language Arts, math, science, social studies, and specials (Art, Music, PE). Additional instruction will be provided for English Learners, as required. APS will provide additional support for Special Education students to meet IEP requirements. Students will also receive weekly Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons. Daily office hours with counselors, social workers and psychologists are available by appointment.
  • Middle school: Teachers provide direct, synchronous instruction, in an amount similar to the hybrid model. APS will provide specialized instruction for English Learners, as needed, and additional support to Special Education students to meet IEP requirements.
  • High school: High school students in this model will enroll in online courses taught by APS teachers and outside course providers. Instruction time will meet all VDOE graduation requirements. APS contracts multiple outside providers, such as Virtual Virginia and Edmentum, to broaden online learning opportunities for students. APS will provide accommodations for Students with Disabilities and 504 Plans. Special Education case carriers ensure accommodations are being provided. APS will provide specialized instruction for English Learners, as required. Designated APS teachers or site-based counselors will serve as course monitors to ensure appropriate pacing and assignment completion. Students receive weekly Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons, and daily office hours with counselors, social workers and psychologists will be available by appointment.

How will APS support our youngest learners in the full-time distance model?

Posted July 20

We recognize that the full distance learning model presents challenges for our youngest learners. The Department of Teaching & Learning’s Early Childhood team is working with school leadership to review national models and research into best practices for virtual learning for young learners and build a schedule based on the developmental needs of pre-k-2 learners. The draft schedule presented will likely be tweaked but some of the elements of online learning will include:

  • Community building with a focus on connection with peers and the teaching staff with social-emotional learning built into the framework.
  • A routine and consistent structure for synchronous learning. The morning will begin with a Morning Meeting at a consistent time each day. The day will also have built in breaks for students to take movement/gross motor breaks, snack, lunch.
  • Literacy and math mini-lessons as well as small group instruction in order to provide formative information about student learning and subsequent instruction. We recognize our kindergarteners will come to us with various levels of preparedness for kindergarten.
  • Content time to address social studies and science in a fun and engaging manner virtually.
  • Specials will be provided during the day giving students a balanced day during their virtual experience.
  • Specific lessons at the beginning of the school year designed to teach young learners about how to use the IPAD during Teams and Seesaw as well as proper etiquette while engaging online (muting mics, taking turns, etc.) with their classmates. It is our hope that by doing these lessons, it creates more independence so that parents and caregivers can attend to work or other needed tasks.

We are committed to providing a rich and engaging learning experience for our young learners as we return to school in the full distance learning model. A sample schedule is available online.

Will APS reduce tuition fees for Pre-K Montessori and CPP?

Posted July 23

Primary Montessori and CPP fees help fund staffing and student materials. Students enrolled in these programs will receive 5 hours and 20 minutes of synchronous and asynchronous instruction Tuesday through Friday, as well as one hour of instruction on Mondays. A sample schedule is available online.  Because students enrolled in these programs will receive the same amount of instruction as students in PreK-5, APS cannot reduce tuition fees.

Will students in the full-time distance learning program still be a part of the school they would normally attend?

Posted July 1

APS will make every effort to group students and teachers from their school of record. Final groupings and assignments will be based on available staff and student enrollment. For example, if a given school had only 5 staff elect to teach virtually, but a large group of students enrolled in full-time distance learning, staff from other schools may need to be assigned for some courses. More information will be available at the beginning of August, when we have student enrollment numbers and staffing selections, and can begin to create master schedules and student groupings.

How will immersion be handled via distance learning?

Posted July 11
  • Elementary school: In order to ensure that students are able to engage in the four domains of language learning -speaking, listening, reading and writing – the Dual Language Immersion learning and resources will be delivered by Claremont and Key teachers consistently via the two models – hybrid in-person and distance learning and full distance learning. This means that:
    • Teachers and students in both models will be able to access the same learning activities and resources via the same Canvas courses.
    • Students in the distance learning model will practice speaking and listening synchronously with their teachers just as students in the hybrid model will do so when they are in-person with their teachers.
    • Teachers in both models will plan with one another via Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs) so that their lessons, assessments and interventions will be similar.

    This will allow consistency of experience for students in each model.

  • Secondary school: Staff will be able to deliver learning experiences focused on student engagement by speaking, listening, reading and writing in Spanish via both the hybrid and distance learning models.

What specifically will be done for students in the full-time distance learning model to make and build connections in their school’s community, with their teachers, staff, and classmates?

Posted July 11

Each school will have orientation events for incoming students and families regardless of the model in which they are enrolled. Students in the full distance learning model will be enrolled in their school of record and will receive school-specific communications about upcoming events and activities – many of which may be virtual. As part of their back to school routine building, teachers will hep build community through morning meetings at the elementary level and through advisory periods at the middle and high school levels.

What is included in the hybrid model?

Posted July 1

Students return to school with physical distancing measures two days/week. Students engage in asynchronous, self-directed distance learning on the other three days. In the hybrid model, elementary students focus on literacy, numeracy, Social Studies, Science, specials (Art, Music, PE). Middle & high school students will participate in all courses which they selected in early spring via block schedule. Special education services will be provided in-person and virtually. English Learners will receive direct support in-person and virtually. Transportation will be provided with physical distancing.

How are student groups assigned in the hybrid model? Will siblings be paired together?

Updated July 24

Principals plan to group students via the model selected by their parents and with teachers who have selected the same model (there will be instances when this will not be possible given the disproportionate staff and student preferences). Principals will also work to group students heterogeneously by academic skill and social-emotional needs as they have in previous years, as this is best practice. Our first priority is to ensure that students have rich and supportive learning experiences no matter what model they choose.

What types of activities will students engage in while at home in the hybrid model?

Posted July 1

Distance learning complements in-school learning using online curriculum resources and instructional tasks assigned by teachers. Students will engage in assignments and activities that explore new content on both in-school and distance learning days. On distance learning days, students will engage in a variety of dynamic learning opportunities, such as small group work, viewing the video introduction of new content, independent practice and purposeful interaction with peers.

Will the in-school days still start and end at the regular times in the hybrid model?

Posted July 1

The instructional time for the hybrid model will be the same as a regular school day. However, distancing requirements on buses may require staggered start and end times, so the school day may start or end at different times than usual for some groups of students. More information will be available at the beginning of August, when we have enrollment numbers and can actually schedule the bus routes.

Will Extended Day operate as usual for the hybrid model?

Posted July 1

The APS Return-to-School Task Force is continuing to create detailed plans for a safe return to school, including considerations regarding Extended Day. But, at this time no decision has been made regarding the operation of Extended Day.

What is the maximum number of students in an in-person class, in the hybrid model?

Posted July 7

There is no set maximum number of students per classroom. Each classroom’s furniture will be set to maintain six-foot distances; due to variations in buildings and classrooms, some classrooms may have larger capacities than others.

How will PreK Montessori be structured in this new environment since it’s very tactile and hands-on? Will tuition be prorated to reflect 2 days a week of in-person instruction?

Posted July 7

PreK Montessori will focus on use of materials in the two days of in-person instruction. On distance learning days, students will have follow-up work that can be done with at-home tools they will be given. Students will participate in recess and specials during in-person learning days. There will be more information to follow on Montessori tuition.

Will face coverings (masks) be required?

Updated July 31

All APS employees and students will be required to wear a face covering (mask) while inside the building unless medically exempt. These face coverings will be reusable and should be washed before each use to remain effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Circumstances will exist (i.e., eating, drinking, etc.) where face coverings/masks may have to be removed for a limited time. Six-foot distances must be maintained during these exceptions.

What health screenings will be required?

Posted July 1

All employees and students will go through a daily health screening process, including temperature checks, before participating in any in-person activities at APS. This includes riding the bus, entering the school, or participating in a conditioning workout for VHSL sports. Employee screenings will be logged, using our visitor management system, and student attendance will be used as the log for students.

How is APS maintaining physical distancing requirements?

Posted July 1

Physical distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible. Furniture in classrooms will be set up to maintain ideal six-foot distances. On school buses, physical distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible and students will be seated one student per every other seat. APS will implement alternate school assembly methodology and other mass gatherings of non-school and school-based personnel (e.g., streaming, alternating groups). APS is taking measurements of each space now to determine capacities for each classroom and school based on physical distancing guidelines.

Will parents be restricted from coming into the building and walking their children into their classrooms, the gym or the cafeteria?

Posted July 10

Yes. As a health and safety measure, all visitors are restricted to designated drop off and pick up areas until conditions relax further. Volunteer opportunities are also suspended.

How will APS support students’ mental health and well-being as they return to school in the fall?

Posted July 7

Supporting the mental health and well-being of all students, whether they are re-entering the classroom or learning at home full time, remains a priority as we plan for the fall. APS will provide weekly Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons for all grade levels and will offer daily office hours with counselors, social workers and psychologists by appointment.

What additional services can I expect to be offered if my student struggles with social-emotional concerns?

Posted July 7

A site-based mental health team is provided at each APS school. Members of that team can provide individual check-ins when referrals are made by students, parents, teachers and building administrators. These check-ins will be conducted by the individual on that team or by another person in the school who has skills to support the student’s need. These check-ins are arranged by appointment only unless an emergency situation occurs that requires an immediate response. Additional student support services are anticipated such as short-term individual and small group counseling, as well as Tier 2 intervention groups; these services are based on referrals with the understanding that the site based mental health team has limited capacity to provide all services that may be required. In that case parents will be provided with contacts for outside resources. For students who receive counseling as a related service, those services will continue as indicated in the student’s IEP and are provided by the school psychologist or school social worker.

Will APS provide transportation for in-school days in the hybrid model?

Posted July 1

Yes, APS will provide modified bus transportation to eligible students in the hybrid model. Bus service will look very different to accommodate reduced capacities to ensure social and physical distancing is maintained.

Because of limited bus capacity, will elementary walk zones be expanded, and what will that entail?

Posted July 8

Due to the limited carrying capacity of buses as a result of distancing guidelines, APS is working to reduce the loads on buses in areas closer to schools, so buses can focus on picking up students who live far from their school.

This map shows potential ES walk zone expansion areas. Some of these areas will require additional crossing support. APS is working with the Arlington County Police Dept. and Arlington County Dept. of Transportation to identify and prioritize these areas. APS is encouraging families to walk or bike with their students from these nearby areas, as it will help reduce vehicular congestion around schools. APS will support these activities through walking school buses and bicycle trains. Note: Planning unit 13050 is an expansion area for both Ashlawn ES & ATS.

With walk zones expanding, how will APS support students walking to school?

Posted July 20 In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, APS is encouraging walking and biking to school now more than ever, to support families in existing and expanded walk zones; help reduce demand on school buses; and discourage vehicular traffic around schools when in-school instruction resumes. Walking School Buses are one way to make walking […]

Posted July 20

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, APS is encouraging walking and biking to school now more than ever, to support families in existing and expanded walk zones; help reduce demand on school buses; and discourage vehicular traffic around schools when in-school instruction resumes. Walking School Buses are one way to make walking to school easier for families while maximizing the health benefits of walking for students and reducing congestion and pollution in neighborhoods around schools.  A Walking School Bus is defined as a group of students walking to school with one or more adults.

Learn more about Walking School Buses

What technology will be used to keep parents in the loop for full-time distance learners (e.g. will we still get ParentVUE updates)?

Posted July 8

APS students enrolled in distance learning courses with APS teachers will use the Synergy grade book and updates will be available to parents through ParentVUE just as they were when students attended in-person classes. In instances where courses are taught by outside providers, parents will be updated on their child’s progress through access to the provider’s grading platform and emails from teachers, as well as communications from their APS mentor (school counselor or designated APS teacher).

What is the best way to stay informed about reopening plans?

Posted July 1

Visit this website frequently for the latest information and updates on planning for reopening schools. The FAQ page will be continually updated with all the latest information and resources. Additionally, we will send School Talk weekly updates from Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán every Tuesday via email. (If you are not already receiving School Talk messages, please visit this page: apsva.us/schooltalk) Staff updates from the Superintendent will also be shared every Tuesday and posted on Staff Central. Follow APS on Twitter to receive notice when new updates are available.