On Dec. 3, the School Board approved elementary school boundary adjustments to create an attendance zone for the new neighborhood school at the Key site, place Arlington Science Focus School (ASFS) within its attendance zone, and create an adjusted attendance zone for McKinley Elementary School with most students moving with the school to the Reed site. The new boundaries will take effect in Fall 2021.
Due to the pandemic and stress on families, Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán narrowed the scope of this boundary process from the initial countywide approach involving most neighborhood elementary schools to one that made minimal reassignments needed to ensure use of all school facilities in 2021-22. The motion approved by the School Board included plans for a countywide process to manage elementary school enrollment in Fall 2022, to take effect in the 2023-24 school year.
“We know it has been challenging to conduct a boundary process at this time, and we appreciate the community members who shared their input and questions as we worked to balance the need to use all school facilities with the desire to impact as few students as possible,” said Arlington School Board Chair Monique O’Grady. “Thank you to Dr. Durán and his team for their outreach to the community and their work to narrow the scope of this initiative and preserve flexibility for the next countywide process in 2022. It is vital that we continue planning for the future of our school division and are ready to meet the needs of all students. This work will continue later this year with the next Capital Improvement Plan.”
“I echo the School Board’s appreciation of the community members who participated and engaged with us in this boundary process,” said Superintendent Dr. Durán. “We hear every day from families about the challenges they face, and it was clear that the unique circumstances of the pandemic meant we should only make minimal reassignments of students at this time. For those students reassigned to another school, please know that our principals, staff and teachers look forward to welcoming each and every one of you. Our school and central office staff are working to support all students and keep families informed about boundaries and many other issues during these difficult times.”
Planning Unit Adjustments
The boundary adjustments adopted by the School Board are for the new neighborhood school at the Key site and five current elementary schools: Ashlawn, ASFS, McKinley, Taylor and Tuckahoe. In this process, APS is reassigning 33 Planning Units and about 630 current students in Grades K-4 (based on September 30, 2020 enrollment) to other neighborhood elementary schools. The School Board also approved a grandfathering provision that provides more than 120 current Grade 4 students the option of remaining at their current school.
The following planning units have been reassigned for the 2021-22 school year as listed below:
- From Ashlawn to ASFS: 23220, 23230, 23231
- From ASFS to new school at Key site: 24050, 24051, 24060, 24070, 24071, 24130, 24031, 24030, 24033, 24032, 24090, 24040, 24041, 24042, 24043, 24081, 24082
- From ASFS to Taylor: 24010, 24011, 24020
- From McKinley to Ashlawn: 14100, 14101, 14110
- From Taylor to ASFS: 23170, 23190, 23180, 23200, 23210, 23211
- From Tuckahoe to McKinley at Reed site: 16061
Families of students who reside in Planning Units affected by the new boundaries will be notified via U.S. Postal Service and ParentVue this month. Families can use the APS online searchable boundary locator to find their Planning Units.
In addition, all Planning Units currently in the McKinley attendance zone—except for 14100, 14101, and 14110 , which are reassigned to Ashlawn as of Fall 2021—will move with the school and staff to the new building at the Reed site in 2021-22. Since these Planning Units are moving with the school, they are not considered to be reassigned in this boundary process.
The “grandfathering” provision approved by the School Board is available for students at all schools who are currently in Grade 4 and would like to remain at their current elementary schools for Grade 5 in 2021-22, and for current Grade K-4 students in Planning Unit 16061, which was reassigned to McKinley at the Reed site, who would like to continue at Tuckahoe through school year 2022-23. Students who are eligible to remain at their current school due to grandfathering would still have the option to attend their newly-assigned neighborhood school in 2021-2022. Transportation is not provided to students who elect to remain at their current schools under the grandfathering provision.
Students must be enrolled in APS as of Dec. 7, 2020 to be eligible for grandfathering. In addition to notifying current families in the Planning Units involved, APS will also reach out to families of Grade 4 students in the reassigned Planning Units who withdrew through Dec. 7, 2020 to confirm whether their student will reenroll for 2021-22 and if they want to be grandfathered with their current neighborhood school. Details about grandfathering will be sent to families of eligible students in December and are also available online at www.apsva.us/engage/fall2020elementaryboundaries/.
Current students in Grade 4 who are attending ASFS through Team and sibling transfers will be eligible to remain at ASFS for Grade 5 in the 2021-22 school year. All students attending Ashlawn, McKinley, Taylor and Tuckahoe through transfers can continue at their current schools.
Fall 2022 Process to Manage Elementary School Enrollment
The motion adopted by the School Board on Dec. 3 directed APS to conduct a countywide process in Fall 2022 to manage elementary school enrollment that will take effect in 2023-24. In 2022, Planning Units that are walkable to a school will be considered for reassignment to that school and all Planning Units that require transportation to their neighborhood school will be considered for reassignment to another nearby school.T While APS will seek to avoid reassigning Planning Units in the Fall 2022 process that were reassigned in the 2020 process, it is possible that any Planning Unit could be considered for reassignment.
For more information, visit www.apsva.us/engage/fall2020elementaryboundaries/.