Dear APS Families,
This week I am pleased to share the highlights of our new literacy initiatives, and the strategies teachers are using to empower students to become skilled readers. I also have updates on vaccinations for students ages 5-11 and other reminders for the month ahead, as we get ready to begin the second quarter.
Spotlight on Literacy: The Science of Teaching Students to Read – Literacy is a division-wide priority, and I am so excited to see elementary and secondary teachers embracing new approaches to help our students become more proficient readers. The English Language Arts Department has shifted its model to teach foundational skills and phonics more explicitly and systematically. This video highlights literacy instruction and the strategies teachers are using to strengthen reading proficiency. Teaching students to read early and well is fundamental to a strong education and I believe we are going to see better outcomes for our students with this science-based approach.
Increasing Awareness about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) – This week, Oct. 25-29, APS is raising awareness of AAC, which focuses on assistive technologies and strategies being used to help students communicate using forms of communication other than speech. The Parent Resource Center has developed a new webpage highlighting AAC Awareness Week activities, including videos and resources for staff and families. Coming Soon: Vaccinations for Students Ages 5-11 – APS continues to work with the County on plans for rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to students ages 5-11 once it is approved, which we anticipate very soon. Once approved, we will inform the community about the availability of doses and how to schedule appointments. Arlington County Public Health anticipates holding clinics and scheduling vaccinations by appointment, hopefully by mid-November. We will keep families informed as new information is received.
Month Ahead – November – Here are some calendar reminders for November to help you plan. Note that there is no school for students on Tue, Nov. 2, which is a grade prep day for staff. Many staff will be working remotely on that day, so please be aware that responses to inquiries may be delayed.
- Mon, Nov. 1 – End of First Quarter
- Mon, Nov. 1 – High School Information Night
- Tues, Nov. 2 – No School – Election Day and Grade Prep (Most School Staff Working Remotely)
- Thu, Nov. 4 – Holiday – Diwali
- Tue, Nov. 9 – Report Cards (Grades 6-12)
- Thu, Nov. 11 – Holiday – Veterans Day
- Fri, Nov. 19 – Report Cards (Grades 1-5)
- Wed-Fri, Nov. 24-26 – Holiday – Thanksgiving Break
Have a great week!
Dr. Francisco Durán
Arlington Public Schools