FAQs

Click to jump to a specific section: Boundary Process, Boundary Proposal, DataTransportation.

 

BOUNDARY PROCESS

Q – Can a planning unit be divided when part of it may be within walk zone and part not?

A – Yes, it is possible to split a planning unit if necessary. A decision to split a planning unit would be made by APS staff.

Q – What data will staff be using to create new elementary school boundaries?

A – Staff will use the considerations in School Board Policy 30.2.2 Boundaries, which include: efficiency, proximity, stability, alignment, demographics, and contiguity. The boundary process will begin in Fall 2018.

Q – Will the entire Henry school community move to Fleet?

A – As the Montessori program will move to the Henry site starting in the 2019-20 school year, the surrounding neighborhood will attend the Alice W. Fleet Elementary School. Henry will be an option school, available to students county-wide via the lottery application process, and Fleet will serve as a neighborhood school. Just like all neighborhood schools, Fleet will have a walk zone and an attendance zone with new boundaries. APS will use the policy considerations in developing the boundaries for Fleet, along with all neighborhood elementary schools.

BOUNDARY PROPOSAL

Q – Will the roads leading to Hoffman-Boston be able to handle the school-related traffic arising from the proposed boundaries? 

A – For the 2017-18 school year, seven buses served Hoffman Boston, for about 60% of the population. Because Hoffman Boston’s walk zone is rather constrained, most students receive bus transportation. The proposed boundary changes are not expected to change the current status significantly.

Q – Is it proper to “connect” a series of planning units using Planning Units that might have no school population?

A – Planning units are the building blocks used to define attendance boundaries for neighborhood schools. Planning units with no students are included in creating a contiguous boundary. Housing and development patterns can change over time. All planning units, with or without students, are necessary to create attendance boundaries. APS Planning Units have always included parks, golf courses, cemeteries and an airport. For the maps presented in this boundary process, we have highlighted the locations of these locations. The boundary policy consideration of contiguity states, “maintaining attendance zones that are contiguous and contain the school to which students are assigned.”

Q – What happens to children who attend Hoffman Boston, but their residence boundary is Drew? Will they now have to attend Drew?

A – Students whose boundary has been changed from Hoffman-Boston to Drew will attend their newly assigned school. “Grandfathering” may impact which grades move to their newly assigned school.

DATA

Q. How does APS project future enrollment?

A. To project future enrollment, APS uses three sets of statistics, which include the number of resident live births in Arlington County (for kindergarten projections only), the three-year history of enrollment change (i.e., cohort transition rate), and the anticipated yield from “future” housing units. For more details, go to the Annual APS Enrollment Projections Report.

Q – What are the differences in projections methodology between the Elementary and Middle School boundary processes?

A – Both processes performed projections at the Planning Unit level.  Where both approaches differ are in the data sources used and assumptions on how students transition from one grade to the next:

Consideration Elementary School Projections Middle School Projections
Enrollment Sources Used
  • Actual 2017-18, K-3 grade enrollment
  • Projected Kindergartens from 2018 and 2019
  • Actual 2016-17, 3-5 grade enrollment
  • Actual Kindergartners from 2016
Treatment of Option School Students
  • Excludes Option School and Montessori enrollees by Planning Unit from:
    • Actual 2017-18, K-3 grade enrollment[1]
    • Projected Kindergarten students[2]
  • Excluded H-B Woodlawn and Stratford Program enrollees
Cohort Transition Rate Assumption
  • Elementary School projections use three-year County-wide cohort transition rates applied by Planning Unit
  • Middle School projections use a cohort transition of 1.0 for all grade-levels that is applied by Planning Unit
Data Sources
  • September 2017-18, 2016-15, and 2015-14 actual enrollment
  • Fall 2017 Enrollment Projections
  • County forecasts on births and new construction
  • September 2016-17, 2015-14, and 2014-13 actual enrollment
  • Fall 2016 Enrollment Projections

[1] Five Options Schools enrollees based on actual enrollment.  Montessori enrollees drawn evenly from Planning Units.[2] Option and Montessori estimated enrollment drawn based on proportional resident enrollment.

Q. What are guidelines on posting student demographic data?

A. APS has been in contact with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to be in compliance with privacy and reporting standards. Race is not protected information; therefore actual numbers may be shown. Privacy must be maintained for students receiving Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL), English learners, and students with disabilities. This data is reported as the actual number if it is 10 or above, zero is reported if zero (0), and between 1 and 9 if the actual number is less than 10.

TRANSPORTATION

Q. What has been the process for determining walk zones?

 A. APS created task groups for each elementary school to provide input on the current school walk zones and identify any potential areas of expansion. We recognize that Arlingtonians are committed to walkable communities and APS seeks to meet Whole Child initiatives on the benefits of walking to school, plus help mitigate increasing transportation costs. Task groups were comprised of members from the following groups: school PTA, local civic association, Advisory Committee on Transportation Choices (ACTC), Joint Committee on Transportation Choices (JCTC), Advisory Council on School Facilities and Capital Programs (FAC). Each task group was charged with identifying possible safe expansion to walk zones and to suggest any necessary modifications that would improve the safety of those walk zones (e.g., cross walks, make repairs, etc). Additional input was obtained via an online questionnaire. School specific information can be found at walk zone resources. After the final round of task group conversations and work sessions, recommendations for walk zone expansions that could be made at this time were provided as input to the elementary school location review analysis. Because APS does not control decision-making on safety mitigations (e.g., crossing guards, signals, signage, etc) and, therefore, could not promise safety mitigations in certain areas, many planning units that could potentially be added to walk zones were slated for further evaluation with County transportation staff. 

Q – Is APS revising the 1-mile bus eligibility policy for elementary schools?

A – No, Policy Implementation Procedure 50-5.1 Pupil Transportation remains in effect. However, the current walk zone for each elementary school may change as a result of this process, and it may be possible that some planning units currently eligible for bus transportation may be designated as part of the walk zone starting in September 2019.

Q – Are there any walk zone regulations that are required by code, policy, state or federal regulations?

A – APS follows School Board policies and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) guidelines.

  • Policy 50-5 Transportation states safe transportation to school will be provided at public expense to transport students pre-k through grade 12 living beyond a one mile walking distance from elementary schools and a 1.5 mile walking distance for middle schools and high schools.
  • PIP 50-5.1 Pupil Transportation states first grade or younger students will not be dropped off at a bus stop unless the parent or a designated escort is present. Such children will remain on the bus until the driver has completed the route, and will be returned to the school for pick-up by the parent.

Q – I’m outside of the walk zone, but my family walks. Why is my Planning Unit not in the walk zone?

A – The walk zones, in fact, define the edges of the bus eligibility zone; students in walk zones are not eligible for bus services.  Families living outside the walk zone always have the option to walk to school at their discretion; however, we also recognize that that not all families have the same comfort level traversing some of the heavier trafficked roads around our schools, or find the distances after a certain point too great to walk, so APS offers bus services as an option to the single-family vehicle.  It is our desire to facilitate as much walking as possible, but we also want to discourage single vehicle trips to schools in the mornings/afternoons as well.  The more vehicles around a school, the more potential there is for conflicts between cars and pedestrians. This is another dimension of the safety lens that comes into play as we look at the distances in particular.  As our schools have grown in numbers, we are seeing a lot more congestion during drop-off and pick up due to more students being driven to schools.  This is something else we are wrestling with and offering bus service helps address some of that issue. Data we collected about transportation habits from our 2016 APSGo! survey suggests that once the school bus is introduced we start to see car trips go down as bus trips go up.  It also shows that walking starts to drop off after one-half mile. District-wide mode share data by distance collected from the 2016 APSGo! survey data for all schools can be found here: https://www.apsva.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Getting-Started-Working-Session-Presentation_FINAL.pdf (see slide 12).  For information about mode share changes by distance for each school, see school level data found here: https://www.apsva.us/elementary-school-boundary-change-2/walk-zone-resources/

Q – Are off-street biking and walking trails considered walkable?

A – Yes, some trails were included in the GIS network analysis.

Q – How many buses does APS have currently?

A – The APS Transportation fleet for the 2017-18 school year consists of 178 total vehicles.

  • General education vehicles: 122
  • Special education vehicles: 50
  • MV-1 vehicles: 3
  • Micro buses: 3

Q – What are the legal requirements to provide student transportation?

A – Special needs students are required to receive transportation. The extent to which additional transportation is provided to students is at the discretion of the School Board. For additional information, please reference Virginia Code § 22.1-221 and § 22.1-176.

Q – How many elementary students are eligible to ride the bus and how many actually do ride?

A – The table below shows the number of buses for each elementary school for the 2017-18 school year as well as the number of eligible students and the actual number of AM and PM bus riders. The data in the table is only for regular education students. Extended Day does not have bus service.

Actual Load
School Number of Buses Eligible Students AM PM
ABINGDON 6 415 277 306
ASHLAWN 7 443 236 212
BARCROFT 3 179 90 90
BARRETT 2 54 31 29
CLAREMONT 8 640 333 327
DREW 9 437 253 267
DISCOVERY 4 370 199 188
LONG BRANCH 6 378 289 284
CAMPBELL 5 325 156 164
PATRICK HENRY 3 208 60 70
HOFFMAN-BOSTON 7 422 251 235
GLEBE 2 107 58 38
ARLINGTON TRADITIONAL 13 519 310 322
JAMESTOWN 7 439 214 312
CARLIN SPRINGS 7 564 365 381
MCKINLEY 7 552 326 336
KEY 12 580 377 352
NOTTINGHAM 2 135 104 86
OAKRIDGE 6 418 306 274
ARLINGTON SCIENCE FOCUS 10 652 372 387
RANDOLPH 0 0 0 0
TAYLOR 7 504 293 282
TUCKAHOE 5 339 187 184