Dear APS Families,
As we begin our second week back in school, I want to thank you again for your partnership, understanding, and for everything you are doing to help students navigate distance learning. I know the sacrifices families are making and the significant support required to help with this transition. We have outstanding teachers and staff committed to helping all students succeed, and we will continue working together, day by day, to overcome technology problems and to enhance the learning experience and support students in every way we can.
I know connection challenges have caused a lot of added frustration and stress, and I am committed to resolving them. To that end, below are additional updates on technology and other important reminders:
Technology Updates and Progress
Information Services provided an update last Friday, with information on progress to date. The major firewall-related hurdles with connectivity were addressed within the first few days of school, and by the end of last week we saw significant progress in the numbers of students connecting and engaging in synchronous learning using APS devices. We have more work to do to help teachers and students navigate Microsoft Teams and other applications more easily. We are working to address these challenges day by day, as quickly as possible.
I strongly urge all students to please use their APS-issued devices. These devices are set up with the applications needed for distance learning and configured in a certain way, making it easier for teachers to deliver instruction, support students and monitor their progress.
I provided a full update on the first day of school during the School Board meeting last week and you can watch that presentation here. Also, in case you missed it, AETV captured some of the many great back-to-school moments in this first day video.
Save the Date for Back-to-School Nights
I hope you will join your schools for virtual back-to-school-nights to engage with teachers and staff and discuss the year ahead. Below is a full list of dates. Check with your schools for specific details.
- 15: Arlington Community High School
- 16: Elementary Schools
- 22: Middle Schools
- 23: High Schools
- 24: H-B Woodlawn
- 30: Career Center/Arlington Tech
- 14: Langston High School Continuation Program
Meal Services for All Children
There has been some confusion about our meal services and who is eligible to receive them. The Summer Food Service Program has been extended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through Dec. 31. This means that ALL children ages 18 and under will continue to receive free meals at all sites, no student ID required. You can pick meals up at any of the 21 school sites or 10 delivery/drop-off locations, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hot meals are currently only being served at the school meal sites. For the full list of sites and other details, visit our website.
Planning for Returning to School In-Person
We continue to monitor COVID-19 metrics as we look ahead toward gradually returning in-person when possible, working in collaboration with state and local health officials. I am committed to protecting the health and safety of our students and staff, and to ensuring that our students with disabilities are the first to return in person once conditions are safe enough to begin this transition. I established a Working Group that has begun evaluating ways to bring back a small group of students with disabilities who need direct support to access their education. I will continue to keep you informed about this work.
We will also prioritize English Learners and PreK-3rd grade students, as we examine opportunities for phasing in hybrid, in-person instruction. Specific plans will be communicated well in advance and both families and staff will have an option to update the selections made mid-July, prior to any transitions. I will be sharing more details on our plans and specific timing next week during my monitoring report at the Thursday, September 24 School Board meeting.
Thank you for your support and we will continue to keep you informed.
Dr. Francisco Durán