Countywide Programs K-12

In Arlington Public Schools, the majority of students with disabilities will receive Individualized Education Programs (IEP’s) implemented within the student’s home school by school-based staff.  Each school is able to provide levels of service from “consult/monitor” through “self-contained.”  Determination of a student’s level of service is based on the number of hours of special education support provided to the student, regardless of setting.  Related service hours are not included in the determination as such services may be provided at any level or setting, based on the IEP team’s determination of what the student requires.

In order to most effectively meet the needs of students with specialized needs, APS has established a variety of countywide programs.  These programs allow APS to concentrate resources in order to provide intensified, high fidelity special education instruction in a continuous manner to students with similar needs.  Such programs allow students to benefit from specially-designed instruction with staff that have knowledge and skills specific to their individual disabilities.  Each program follows the standards of learning or the aligned standards of learning curriculum while providing specially designed instruction to address specific disability needs. Placement of a student into a countywide program is a carefully considered IEP team decision, since such programs represent a more restrictive placement.  Inclusion opportunities and experiences with non-disabled peers are expected for all students, regardless of placement.

Below are brief descriptions of current countywide programs.  Program classrooms are considered self-contained settings, although opportunities for inclusion are sought for each student.  All program classrooms are supervised by the principal of the building in which they are located, with support from the Office of Special Education.  Each program classroom has one teacher and one or two classroom assistants.  Each program is supported by additional staff from the Office of Special Education, to include related service providers, specialists, and special education coordinators.

Communications Classes (Elementary only)

The focus of the Communication classes is on increasing and enhancing expressive and receptive language skills.  Students who are receiving special education support due to significant language impairments which are not associated with significant cognitive impairments may be candidates for the Communications classes.  These classes use a total communication approach with access to assistive technology.  Instruction is based on grade-level standards, and does not include explicit instruction for adaptive skills, such as feeding or toileting skills.  The goal of the communication program is to determine the mode(s) of communication that will allow each student to achieve academic success.  Students are then given opportunities to practice the skills they have learned throughout the school day.  Once a student is able to successfully communicate using the skills they have learned, they can return to their previous school setting.

School School Phone Number Student Support Coordinator Student Support Coordinator Email
Alice West Fleet 703-228-5820 Donna Crawford-Townsend Donna Crawford-Townsend

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing program is designed for students with deafness or significant hearing impairment who require a specialized language rich program. It is taught by a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (TDHH) with support from a speech-language pathologist and audiologist.  The goal of the program is to improve the language and communication skills of students and provide full access to the general education curriculum. Sign Language, spoken English, and/or visual aids are used to support students in general education classes.  The program serves students Pre-K  through 8th grade. Preschool students attend Patrick Henry Elementary, where the elementary program is located.  The middle school location is at Thomas Jefferson Middle school. High school students are provided any necessary supports in the Arlington Public Schools school or program they choose to attend.

Location Phone Student Support Coordinator Student Support Coordinator Email
Alice West Fleet 703.228.5820 Donna Crawford-Townsend Donna Crawford-Townsend
Jefferson Middle School 703.228.5900 Shannon Sterling-Hunter shannon.hunter@apsva.us

Functional Life Skills Program (FLS)

Elementary:  The focus of the FLS program, elementary level, is on establishing basic academic skills, increasing daily living skills, communication, motor/mobility skills, and sensory development. Students who receive special education support due to cognitive or intellectual disabilities, sensory impairments, orthopedic impairments, or other health impairments, may be candidates for the Functional Life Skills program.  The program provides highly individualized educational programming with intensified related services. FLS, elementary level, utilizes a variety of research supported curricula and practices, such as the Unique Learning curriculum for academic and pre-vocational skills.  As one component of instruction, Unique Learning provides individualized assessment, monitoring, and lessons in the critical skill areas of reading, writing, math, science and social studies.  The team-oriented approach draws upon a variety of strategies and interventions to develop educational plans to serve the needs of the students.  Elementary FLS locations are Ashlawn, Barrett, and Discovery.

Location Phone Student Support Coordinator Student Support Coordinator Email
Ashlawn 703-228-5270 Alyssa D’Amore-Yarnall alyssa.damoreyarnall@apsva.us
Barrett 703.228.6288 Cynthia Evans cynthia.evans@apsva.us
Discovery 703.228.2685 Karin Bloss karin.bloss@apsva.us

Secondary:  The FLS program, secondary level, is designed to provide students with opportunities and experiences for developing and refining academic and adaptive skills as they move toward greater independence.  FLS, secondary level, utilizes a variety of instructional resources, including the Unique Learning curriculum for academic and vocational skills.  Unique Learning, for example, provides individualized assessment, monitoring, and lessons in the critical skill areas of reading, writing, math, science and social studies, as well as transition readiness preparation. In addition, FLS, secondary utilizes the Life Centered Career Education Curriculum, developed by the Council for Exceptional Children, and designed primarily for students with severe disabilities (i.e. cognitive disabilities, traumatic brain injury, multiple disabilities, severe and profound disabilities) who require specialized instruction in the following skill areas: self-help, personal/social, daily living, functional academics, and job/vocational.  The curriculum is designed to be used in natural settings with connections made for concrete applications of skill development.   Therefore, community-based experiences play a large role in the program as students practice skills in real life settings. Students in the FLS program usually participate in state-wide assessment via the Virginia Alternative Assessment Program (VAAP).  However, each student’s IEP team determines whether students participate in the Standards of Learning (SOL) curriculum or the Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOL) curriculum, as well as how the individual student will participate in state-wide assessments.  Each APS middle and high school, as well as the Shriver program, provides an FLS program


Interlude (Countywide at Elementary level only)

The focus of the Interlude program is on improving social and emotional functioning in students who have significant interfering behaviors due to psychological or behavioral disorders. Students who are receiving special education support due to an emotional disability or significant behavioral issues, but whose academic skills are at or near grade-level, may be candidates for Interlude. The program provides a therapeutic environment designed to foster increased self-regulation, improved self-concept, positive relationship skills, and academic success. Supplemental curriculum emphasizes resiliency, self-regulation, interpersonal and problem-solving skills. The team-oriented approach draws upon academic, therapeutic, family and interagency resources to develop educational plans to serve the needs of the students.  The Interlude Program is available at each of the middle and high schools.

School School Phone Number Student Support Coordinator Student Support Coordinator Email
Campbell 703.228.6770 Martha-Alice Rademacher m.rademacher@apsva.us

Multi-Intervention Program for Students with Autism (MIPA)

The focus of the MIPA program is on increasing communication, independent life skills, social skills, and academic performance.  Students who are receiving special education support due to autism may be candidates for the MIPA program.  The program provides a highly structured environment and research-based academic and behavioral interventions for autism. The program uses a variety of strategies to prepare students to transition to less restrictive settings.  Examples of curricula used in MIPA classes include the STAR Program (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research, Arick, Loos, Falco, Krug, 2004) and the Links Curriculum.

PreK Programs
(Mini MIP-A)
School Phone Number Student Support Coordinator Student Support Coordinator Email Address
Arlington Traditional School 703.228.6290 Sue Essman  Sue Essman
Barrett 703.228.6288 Cynthia Evans cynthia.evans@apsva.us
Hoffman-Boston 703.228.5845 Donna Townsend donna.townsend@apsva.us
Long Branch 703.228.4220 Kristen Shymoniak kristen.shymoniak@apsva.us
Oakridge 703.228.5840 Meggie Scogna meggie.scogna@apsva.us
Reed 703.228.5180 Sara Shaw Sara Shaw
Elementary Programs
Barrett (2 classes) 703.228.6288 Cynthia Evans cynthia.evans@apsva.us
Dr. Charles Drew
(2 classes)
703.228.5285 Carlette Bryan carlette.bryan@apsva.us
Hoffman-Boston 703.228.5845 Donna Townsend donna.townsend@apsva.us
Jamestown 703-228-5275 Karin Bloss karin.bloss@apsva.us
Long Branch 703-228-4220 Kristen Shymoniak kristen.shymoniak@apsva.us
McKinley 703-228-5280 Caroline Damren caroline.damren@apsva.us
Oakridge 703-228-5840 Meggie Scogna meggie.scogna@apsva.us
Taylor (2 classes) 703-228-6275 Caroline Damren caroline.damren@apsva.us
Secondary Programs
Kenmore (2 classes) 703-228-6800 Katelyn Gurgiolo Katelyn Gurgiolo
Wakefield 703-228-6700 Krystal Bujeiro-Hines krystal.hines@apsva.us

Program for Employment Preparedness (PEP)

The Program for Employment Preparedness (PEP), launched in school year 2014-15 and located at the Arlington Career Center, is a job training and transition program.  This program is multi-tiered and creates a dynamic and targeted approach to meeting the transitional needs of students. PEP is based on specific competencies developed in consultation with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) using resources such as Virginia’s Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth. PEP provides students with experiences and learning opportunities based on current business trends and needs so that students may gain relevant skills for obtaining employment in today’s market, including the requisite social skills necessary to secure and maintain long-term, meaningful employment. The program is designed for students to receive internship and apprenticeship experiences, trade certifications, licenses, college credit and/or networking connections that may lead to employment directly upon graduation. Referrals should be made to PEP during the student’s final year of high school participation, with specific transition preparation programming to be determined subsequent to acceptance.  Student participation is individualized, according to needs, and if appropriate for the student, courses may simultaneously be taken for academic credit.Secondary students with disabilities accessing special education support for 50% or more of the school day as they exit high school may be candidates for PEP.  The program is non-categorical and students with various disabilities may be referred.

Location Phone Student Support Coordinator Student SupportCoordinator Email
Career Center 703-228-5800 Jenny York Jenny York

Secondary Program for Students with Autism (SPSA)

Students who are identified to receive special education services due to autism and who are working on grade-level (or higher) curriculum may access specially designed classes which address social skills and executive functioning.  This programming will focus on the development of interpersonal and organizational skills, while encouraging a challenging academic experience. Students will integrate into general education classes per services on their IEP’s and are instructed on grade-level SOL curriculum.  Supplemental curricula may include Unstuck and On-Target!:  An Executive Function Curriculum to Improve Flexibility for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and the PEERS Curriculum for School-Based Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Secondary Location Phone Student Support Coordinator Student Support Coordinator Email
Jefferson 703-228-5900 Shannon Sterling-Hunter shannon.hunter@apsva.us
HB Woodlawn 703-228-6363 Meg Davis meg.davis@apsva.us
Washington-Liberty 703-228-6200 Jennifer York jenny.york@apsva.us
Yorktown 703-228-5400 Carolyn Thiell carolyn.thiell@apsva.us

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program

The Shriver Program provides a highly individualized, supportive environment for students with significant disabilities within a smaller school setting with a low student-to-staff ratio throughout the program.  Students in the Shriver Program require intensive, explicit instruction in functional academic and vocational skills, as well as community-based educational program. Instruction is provided primarily in a self-contained special education setting with opportunities for inclusion and interaction with non-disabled peers on-site, at the H.B. Woodlawn Program. Specific classes within the Shriver Program follow the Functional Life Skills (FLS) or Multi-Intervention Program for Autism (MIPA) curricula.  Students who require FLS or MIPA in a small school setting with a low student-to-staff ratio, may receive those programs at Shriver. In addition to instruction in functional academics and adaptive skills, the Shriver Program provides specific training to prepare students for participation in post-secondary settings, such as sheltered workshops, semi-sheltered enclaves, supported work, and competitive job placement. Individual student programs are developed to achieve maximum social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth while acquiring the related skills necessary to function in the community as independently as possible. Students may participate in the Shriver Program up to age 22 (as of September 30).

Location Phone Student Support Coordinator Student Support Coordinator Email
Shriver Program 703-228-6440 Shirtona Horton Shirtona Horton


45-Day Program

Students who require an alternative program as a result of long-term suspension.