APS News Release

School Board Discusses SRO Work Group & Superintendent Recommendations

Approves “Escuela Key Elementary” as New Name for Key Elementary School
Appoints New Chief of School Support

At the June 3 School Board meeting, the School Board received the final report and recommendations from the School Resource Officers (SRO) Work Group. The 40-member SRO Work Group convened from December 2020 to May 2021 with the charge to review and reimagine the relationship between the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and APS, to best serve students, families, schools and Arlington County. The report from the SRO Work Group informed the Superintendent’s recommendations to the School Board, which they will vote on at the June 24 meeting.

The primary recommendation from the SRO Work Group is that SROs should not have permanent offices or a daily onsite presence in schools. The majority of the group believes ACPD can provide the necessary law enforcement related functions to APS without having officers stationed in schools. However, state law independently requires APS to include ACPD as part of its Threat Assessment Team, Safety Audit Committee, Emergency Procedures Review, and Physical Security Assessment, without SROs being assigned to schools.

The Work Group’s full report listing all recommendations is available online.

Superintendent’s Recommendations for SROs
The following is a summary of the Superintendent’s recommendations to the School Board based on input received from the community and the SRO Work Group. The Superintendent’s primary recommendation is to no longer have a daily SRO presence in schools and to redefine APS’ relationship with ACPD to ensure continued school safety.​

  1. APS will continue its longstanding relationship with ACPD.
  2. APS and ACPD will collaborate to determine the best method of providing law-enforcement services to schools. ACPD officers will be based at a location in close proximity to schools, but not located in schools.
  3. In the event of an emergency or for law-enforcement needs, ACPD will provide police services as needed.
  4. The services of SROs will be reimagined to meet the needs of students, staff, and the APS community.
  5. ACPD will continue to provide training to students and staff as needed to implement the recommendations of the SRO Work Group.
  6. The name of the SRO program will be changed to reflect the new support role they will be providing to students and staff. (e.g. Juvenile Response Group or Youth Resource Officer).

The Superintendent also recommended exploring the creation of a community advisory group to annually review and provide input on the relationship, and establishing a regular, transparent mechanism for collecting data regarding law-enforcement engagement in schools and reporting progress toward the agreed upon goals annually.

The Superintendent’s recommendations that were presented to the School Board are available online. The Superintendent’s full recommendations report is also posted online.

The School Board is scheduled to act on the Superintendent’s recommendations at the June 24 meeting.

Action Items
The School Board approved the following items:

  • Proposed Name for the Key Immersion Program at the ATS Site – The Board approved the committee’s recommendation to rename Key Elementary School “Escuela Key Elementary.” The name will take effect for the 2021-22 school year when the program relocates to its new building, the former Arlington Traditional School site.
  • Syphax Education Center Internal Modifications – The Board approved a recommendation to transfer $385,000 from the Capital Reserve for internal modifications at the Syphax Education Center.

Appointment
The School Board approved the appointment of Kimberley Graves, currently the principal of Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School, as the new Chief of School Support. The Chief of School Support is a new position that serves on the Superintendent’s Cabinet, overseeing both principals and Administrative Services as well as Student Services. The full release is available online.

Information Items
The Board discussed the following items:

  • School Board Proposed FY 2022 -2024 Capital Improvement Plan
  • Arlington Community High School Accreditation
  • Education Center Reuse Change to Construction Manager Advisor Contract

More information on these items is available on BoardDocs.

Monitoring Items
School Year 2020-2021 Update – The Superintendent presented the final SY 2020-21 Monitoring Report, highlighting changes to health and safety measures for summer and fall based on the Governor’s Order which went into effect May 28. Changes include adjustments to mask requirements to allow fully vaccinated individuals to remove masks while outside on school grounds. Masks are still required indoors in school buildings.The Superintendent also noted that the final enrollment report shows nearly 60 percent of APS students are attending in person at least two days a week – some for four days – the highest percentage of students among local school divisions, per The Washington Post’s recent report.The presentation can be read online or you can watch it here.

Third Quarter Fiscal Monitoring Report – The purpose of the third quarter revue is measure the financial progress of the current school year to ensure the current year’s budget accurately reflects the spending plan and to determine if adjustments to the current year’s budget may be necessary. Finally, it helps shape the development of next fiscal year’s budget.

Recognitions
The Board recognized APS staff who have retired this year or are retiring at the end of the year. The Board also honored National Latin Exam scholars as well as JROTC Cadets. Finally, the Student Advisory Board presented their year end report to the Board.

For More Information
Citizens who want to comment on any items discussed at the School Board meeting should email the Board at school.board@apsva.us or call 703-228-6015. Citizens may call 703-228-2400 on the Monday after the School Board meetings to listen to a meeting summary.

For more information on how to participate in School Board meetings in person, visit our website.

School Board meetings are also broadcast live on Comcast Cable Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41; live-streamed on the APS website, and re-broadcast on Fridays at 9 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the meeting. All materials and minutes will be posted to the website at www.apsva.us/schoolboard upon School Board approval at a subsequent meeting.