Stratford Program

Address: 1644 N. McKinley St., Arlington, VA 22205 (new location!)
Phone: 703-228-6440
Fax: 703-247-3162
Principal: Dr. Karen Gerry,

School hours:
Full Day – 9:24 to 4:06 p.m.
Early Release – 9:24 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)

Web Site:

The Stratford Program provides education for secondary-aged students ages 10 to 22 who require extensive program applications. As a program serving students with specialized educational needs, Stratford utilizes both classroom and community resources.

As part of Arlington’s commitment for a continuum of services, the program provides instruction to assist students with adult placement in the community. Parents and community agencies are an integral part of the planning and services. The school’s cooperative relationship is essential to student success.

Parents of Stratford students are an important part of the educational team. The Stratford Program is dedicated to working toward obtaining adult goals of maximum independence. We recognize the importance of maintaining common goals and providing the instruction to obtain the skills to reach these goals.

Students must grow in their skills to achieve the transition to being productive members of the community. A student government group assists students in their decision making skills for every day situations. Activities include regular meetings to discuss, plan and implement ideas to improve the school. The students plan special activities such as the prom, dances, community trips, fund raising and community volunteer work. Returning to help the community is emphasized along with making responsible decisions about daily issues.

Stratford Program students work in the community and frequently transition to work sites which may require further educational training for success. Transition plans start at age 14 but actual case management with adult services starts just prior to age 18.

Preparation for adult community living is the primary goal of the Stratford Program. In order to achieve this goal, a wide range of programs are developed to address each student’s needs. Areas of instruction are based on vocational skills, community skills, academics, communication, leisure and recreation and other independent skills. Several students participate in programs outside the school setting to provide real life experiences to develop skills.

To gain vocational skills, students participate at private and public work sites, the Career Center, in vocational assessments, complete workshop activities and transition placements for after graduation.

To acquire community skills, students are assessed for their skill in the home, school and possible work settings. Learning to take public transportation is a highly regarded skill because it greatly expands the opportunities for work, living and recreation.

Stratford students have a wide range of academic skills. In some areas, students participate in grade level instruction and may even attend regular education classes at other schools for part of the day. Any child who starts taking more than three classes outside of Stratford usually returns to his/her home school. Maximizing each child’s achievement in reading, math and other areas is important for his/her personal growth.

Learning to express one’s thoughts is essential to learning how to direct one’s life. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instruction is provided for several students. Multiple means of communication are needed by many Stratford students. These may include talking, written work, sign language, facilitated communication and other means which include the use of technology.

When it comes to leisure and recreation, students can participate in physical activities based on their needs at community sites such as Arlington Community Centers and Arlington swimming pools as well as participate in individual recreational activities.

Stratford enjoys working partnerships with several business and community agencies that are supportive of the program. Arlington Hospital has provided several work training areas for students both at the school and at the hospital since the 1960s. Work sites at the hospital have included the warehouse, fabric care, assembly of health packets, secretarial skills and food service. As part of the partnership, the hospital has recognized Stratford students’ efforts and contributed to various activities at the school.

Sunrise at Bluemont Park has provided a work training site since 1993. Work sites have been in the area of food service where students are provided the opportunity to learn how to work in the community. The Arlington County Treasurer’s and Personnel Offices have provided community sites for student training in the many aspects of office work and employment opportunities have resulted.

Staff, parents and students at Stratford form a successful partnership. All staff members work together to assist the students reach their goals. For this reason, staff assignments become integrated to maximize the instruction. Emphasis on communication skills, independent living, motor development and academic success are the responsibility of all. Involvement with parents provides the strongest resource to assist students in setting and reaching their own personal goals.

Stratford hosts several special events and programs. In Health class, each high school student develops a health history folder so he/she can begin to assume responsibility for his/her medical needs. As part of this program, the students have attended special lectures by pediatricians, pharmacists and a public health nurse.

The Special Olympic participants have a history of making the most of a small but enthusiastic team. Students placed third in the International 1995 Special Olympics Summer Games in basketball.

Students are taught to participate in their local government and many students are registered voters.

The school has hosted special events such as Parent Day, the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a jewelry making workshop; Kennedy Center visits; Careers in Government Day, Ellipse Art Center visits; and Black History Month speakers.