Staff Also Provides an Update on New High School Instructional Focus
At a work session on April 18, the School Board reviewed the responses from the community engagement meetings and other efforts that helped develop a new set of revisions for the Enrollment and Transfer Policy. APS held two final community meetings and distributed an online survey to gather additional feedback on proposed changes. All of the input was used to develop the final recommendations.
Staff emphasized that the policy changes will only apply to students enrolling or applying for transfers beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Students currently enrolled in a school or programs will not be affected by the proposed changes at their current school.
The proposed policy has been simplified while continuing to ensure that all students are guaranteed a seat at their neighborhood school and standardizes the process for admission to option schools and for transfers. Transfers would be for two reasons: to apply to “option” schools (countywide programs and immersion programs), or request a transfer to another neighborhood school that has seats available.
Additional policy recommendations include:
- Transportation would be provided to students who attend their neighborhood school or an option school, if admitted. Families would be responsible for transportation if a student transfers to another neighborhood school.
- Sibling preference is available at the elementary level only. Sibling preference would remain for concurrently enrolled students. Twins or students of multiple birth would be treated as “one” in any school lottery if they are in the same grade, have the same guardians and reside at the same address.
- Immersion is offered as an option school at the elementary level. The program would be available at Key and Claremont, and would strive to maintain a balance of 50 percent English-speaking students and 50 percent Spanish speaking students.
- Lottery distribution of slots for admission to H-B Woodlawn at the sixth grade level would be allocated to every APS school based on the grade 5 enrollment at that school. Home-schooled and private school applicants would apply through their neighborhood school, based on their home address.
APS has also been evaluating community feedback for a new, 1,300-seat high school that will open in the fall of 2022. After review of the feedback from the Facilities Advisory Council, the “Engage with APS” online feedback, and comments at community meetings for the three sites under consideration, staff shared the Strengths and Challenges for each site. Those options (in no particular order) are:
- Education Center, where a 9th grade academy (smaller learning environment) would be developed for Washington-Lee students, with expansion of the International Baccalaureate Program and creation of a World Languages site;
- Kenmore, where the current middle school would remain and adjacent property would be used to build a new high school; and
- Career Center, where Arlington Tech would be expanded and a 1,300 seat high school would be built. This option would allow for the repurposing of the Education Center.
The final Enrollment and Transfer Policy along with the corresponding Policy Implementation Procedures (PIPs) will be presented to the School Board on May 18. The policy is scheduled for adoption on June 1 and implementation in the 2018-19 school year.
Staff will continue to engage the community on the three high school options. Another School Board Work Session has been scheduled for Monday, May 15 at the Ed Center and the recommendations are slated to be presented to the Board for discussion and adoption in June.