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School Board Adopts Superintendent’s Recommendation to Move Schools

Next Phase in Process Will be Review of Planning Unit Data This Spring

At its Feb. 6 meeting, the Arlington School Board adopted, by a vote of 4-1, the Superintendent’s recommendation to move three schools as part of the Elementary School Planning Process for the 2021-22 school year. The adopted plan includes moving the majority of McKinley students to the new school at the Reed site; the Arlington Traditional School (ATS) program to the current McKinley building, and the Key Immersion program to the current ATS building. This recommendation will repurpose the current Key building into a new neighborhood school in a rapidly growing part of the county where APS needs more capacity for students.

These moves are in preparation for the Fall 2020 Elementary School Boundary Process, which will create an attendance zone for a new school at Reed and an adjusted neighborhood school attendance zone around Arlington Science Focus School (ASFS), and will adjust boundaries for most, if not all, APS elementary schools to relieve overcapacity at some schools. All school moves and boundary changes will go into effect for the 2021-22 school year.

“This was a complex but prudent step in planning for our future, preparing us for the upcoming countywide boundary process this fall and addressing the imbalance between where APS has seats and where students live across Arlington County,” said School Board Chair Tannia Talento. “We recognize how difficult these changes are for our community and we will work closely with the communities affected to support these transitions.  We thank the community for sharing their input with APS. The passion for schools and neighborhoods was evident over the past three months and speaks to the quality of our schools.”

“These school moves will open up neighborhood seats where these are needed and will lay the foundation for staff to create boundaries that alleviate crowding at schools across the county, keep together as many students as possible, and help us manage transportation services and costs,” said Lisa Stengle, Executive Director, Planning and Evaluation. “Over the next several months, APS will begin working with the schools involved in this move initiative to provide information to families ahead of the 2021-22 school year.”

Next steps include:

  • Providing support to the principals of the three schools in beginning to map out a plan for the transitions
  • Identifying areas of concerns/logistics raised by families, and working through solutions that might allow all families to continue in the option programs
  • Beginning the process to hire a principal for the new neighborhood school by July 1

The second phase of the process later this spring includes working with community members to review the planning unit data that will be the basis for the fall boundary processes for elementary and high school. In Phase 3 (Fall 2020), APS will adjust school boundaries to take effect in the 2021-22 school year.

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