APS News Release

Superintendent Provides Update on Return-to-School Planning

Proposed Change to Barcroft Calendar Discussed

Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán provided an update on planning and community engagement activities for the return to school this fall, at the June 4 School Board meeting.

The Superintendent noted that reopening plans will be informed by local public health recommendations and state guidance, and that school divisions are awaiting guidance from Governor Northam, which is now anticipated to come next week. Key updates include:

  • Work Groups led by Executive Leadership Team (ELT) members and staff are planning in four core areas: Instruction, Operations, Activities and Communications. The work groups represent various departments and school-based staff working together to develop the plan.
  • APS is forming a stakeholder Task Force, chaired by the Superintendent, to ensure community input and buy-in are considered throughout planning. The Task Force will include ELT and principal chairs, school-based staff, and 7-10 teachers, 7-10 parents and 5-6 students selected through APS advisory committees. The Task Force is being finalized this week; it will be announced and begin meeting (weekly) next week.
  • APS will conduct a family survey on Monday, June 8 to gather parent feedback on distance learning during the closure, as well as possible scenarios for the return to school this fall. The survey will close on June 15 and results will be used to inform planning. Student and staff surveys are also being conducted from June 3-10. Community members can also provide feedback regularly using engage@apsva.us.

Additional updates will be provided next week once detailed guidance from the state is issued, and APS will present a final plan in late June or early July. The Superintendent will provide a Return to School Status Update as a Monitoring Item at each Board meeting, now through the fall.The Superintendent’s full presentation is available on BoardDocs.

Barcroft Calendar Proposal for the 2020-21 School
APS staff is recommending that for this year only, due to COVID-19, that Barcroft’s first day of school be Mon, Aug. 31 rather than Aug. 6. Specific concerns raised regarding an Aug. 6 start date include:

  • ​If starting Aug. 6 Barcroft will start with a distance learning model. In a distance learning model, there are ongoing issues with student access to devices and WiFi.​
  • An Aug. 6 start will not allow enough time for preparation of curriculum materials, and time to support teacher preparation in either distance learning or a hybrid opening model.
  • ​Maintaining engagement in a distance learning environment is challenging for young students and based on the past several months data engagement is more difficult if a student is the only one in the home doing school work. Barcroft middle and high school siblings will not be in classes by Aug. 6 which will impact engagement.
  • There are technical challenges to accessing technology resources as many programs and apps will not be ready to assign to new classes and students until the end of August.
  • Barcroft students should have access to summer academic support similar to the rest of APS students.

The School Board is expected to vote on the proposal at the June 25 meeting.  APS and the School Board still plan to engage the community and ​staff to solicit feedback ​before changes to the 2021-22 school calendar are determined. The full presentation is available online.

Monitoring Items
Staff provided updates on the following items.

  • FY 2020 3rd Quarter Fiscal Monitoring Report
  • Advisory Council on Instruction Annual Report
  • Internal Audit Annual Report

Information Items
The Board discussed the following items.

  • School Board’s Proposed Capital Improvement Plan
  • Approval of Wakefield High School Geothermal System Purging and Flushing Project
  • Updates to Select School Board Policies (SBP): J-3.5.30 Admissions and Placements and J-3.5.31 Options and Transfers
  • SBP M-12.4 Information Security

Action Item
The Board approved a roof replacement for Jefferson Middle School. The existing gymnasium roof is over 30 years old, in need of a replacement and is on the list of CIP projects for roof replacement. Infrastructure bond funding available for this project is $1,300,000. The replacement work will occur during the summer and fall of 2020. The contract has been awarded to Northeast Contracting Corporation in the amount of $1,116,854.More information on these items is available on BoardDocs.

Recognition
The School Board recognized 93 employees who are retiring. These retirees have served as teachers, instructional assistants, food service workers, bus drivers or departmental administrators, and have all been important in the education of our students. A video was presented of a few retirees describing their proudest moments at APS.  Take a look at what they had to say.

Next School Board Meeting:
The School Board will hold its next Regular Meeting (2110 Washington Blvd.) on Thu, June 25 at 7 p.m. The agenda will be posted one week before the meeting on BoardDocs.

For More Inforamtion:
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. 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.