MONITORING ENROLLMENT AND PROJECTIONS
Arlington Public Schools monitors student enrollment and assesses the need for capacity in our schools on an ongoing basis. Several APS reports are produced annually to provide an estimate of student enrollment and insight into capacity needs for the future. The process of projecting student enrollment is fluid and dynamic, reflecting changes in County birth rates, housing development, migration, and other criteria that factor into the projections process. The enrollment and projection reports are used for planning purposes to ensure sufficient capacity, budget, staffing, and other resources to meet student needs.
APS produces reports throughout the year to monitor our evolving enrollment and capacity needs; the table below lists these reports and provides a timeline.
Planning Tools for Student Enrollment, Projection and Capacity
|Report Name||Report Content||Primary Uses||Most Recent|
|Fall Ten-Year Enrollment Projections||
||Fall Ten-Year Enrollment Projections Report (January 2019 for 2019-2028)|
|Superintendent’s Annual Update||The details in this report are framed around the following tools that APS uses to address near-term capacity changes:
||Superintendent’s 2019 Annual Update|
|Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP)||
||Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (March 2018)|
|September Enrollment Report||
||September Enrollment Report (Fall 2018)|
|Spring 1-Year Projection Update||
Spring 1-Year Projections Update for the 2019-20 School Year will be updated April 2019.
|10-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)||
||10-Year Capital Improvement Plan|
ANALYZING ENROLLMENT AND PROJECTIONS
This report was published in January 2019. The Annual Enrollment Projections Report:
- includes the Fall 10-Year Projection Tables;
- explains data collection and related assumptions used to produce the projections, and provides a detailed methodology which was updated since the Fall 2017 projections to incorporate assumptions provided by Arlington County government, including, birth rates, committed affordable housing, and the timing of residential construction; and
- includes alternative projections scenarios developed together by APS and Arlington County staff in fall 2018 that show a range for projecting APS enrollment from low to medium to high enrollment possibilities.
The Superintendent’s 2019 Annual Update:
- focuses on addressing near-term capacity needs
- provides a one-stop resource that communicates what is in place currently to address enrollment growth
- plans for continuous improvements to the process for addressing near-term capacity needs
This report was published in March 2018. The AFSAP:
- offers an overview of projected enrollment by school level
- compares current and planned capacity with enrollment projections
- used to inform the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
This report was published January 2019 for the 2019-2028 school years. The Fall 10-Year Projection Tables:
- use data from the September Enrollment Report;
- provide one table for each of the next 10 school years that shows annual projected enrollment by grade within existing schools; and
- reflect, unless otherwise noted:
- existing school facilities in the September Enrollment Report, and
- boundary and other policy changes completed during the previous school year
- among the other data used in the enrollment projections are Student Generation Rates (see page 35 of report), which are calculated yearly
This report was most recently published in Fall 2018. Every month, APS produces an enrollment report that provides a snapshot of the official headcount of students on the last day of that month throughout the school year. The September Enrollment Report:
- provides the official count of students enrolled in APS as of the last school day in September; and
- is the main data source for enrollment projections.
Spring 1-Year Projections Update for the 2019-20 School Year will be updated March 2019.
This report was most recently published April 2018, for the 2018-19 school year. The Spring 1-Year Projection Update:
- uses the January enrollment report to update the projections for the next school year;
- is used to prepare the budget for the next fiscal year; and
- helps APS more accurately allocate staffing and other resources for the next fiscal year’s budget.
MANAGING ENROLLMENT GROWTH AND PROJECTIONS
Several tools help APS meet the short- and long-term needs of enrollment growth. These include:
- Short-term capacity adjustments (Relocatable classrooms)
- Program Moves
- Boundary Changes
- Annual Update
- 10-Year Capital Improvement Plan (updated every two years)
Note: Capital Improvement Projects that are under construction or are in the planning process to add seats at all school levels in the next decade are not reflected in the enrollment projections. Those reports reflect only enrollment and capacity use of existing facilities.
Q – Claremont’s numbers continue to increase, despite the new admissions policy put in place that would presumably result in a reduction of entering K students once grandfathering is no longer in place.
A – With the opening of new seats, plans to provide relief to option schools included reducing the number of K classes from six to four at Claremont and Key in 2019-20. Reviews with elementary school principals of PreK program moves, building capacity and 2019-20 enrollment estimates led to a recommendation to maintain six K classes at both schools. This recommendation to maintain six K classes was shaped by conversations in the immersion community. APS is committed to immersion and seeks to ensure there are sufficient students to progress through Grade 5 and grow the program, as well as potentially identify a third immersion site in the future, per a statement in the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget.
APS has been upgrading the projections process, which are documented here: apsva.us/statistics/enrollment-projections/
- The same number of option school entry classes/seats are assumed in the ten-year projections as exist in the current school year.
- The Superintendent’s Annual Update details the PreK program moves and the number of option school entry classes/seats, which were informed by a review with principals and central administrators in December.
- The community can learn about adjustments to projections via APS communications provided, for example, at Kindergarten Information Night and in the Spring update to projections for the next school year (published in April).
Q – Abingdon’s projected enrollments are significantly lower than the numbers used during the fall boundary process even when taking into account the estimated 27 students that will leave the school next year and attend Drew as a result of the new boundaries.Can someone explain the dramatic differential in projections?
A – The difference in projections can be explained by:
- The enrollment data used in each projection comes from different years, which resulted in different numbers of incoming K students estimated to attend their neighborhood schools. Projections are based on the most current enrollment data available at the time.
- Fall 2018 Boundary Process Projections: This boundary process began in Summer 2018 and based projections on Sept. 30, 2017 enrollment data (the most current available)
- Ten-year Enrollment Projections: These projections were published in January 2019 and based projections on Sept. 30, 2018 enrollment data (the most current available)
- APS took into account that the K students in September 2019 were the first to be admitted under the revised Options & Transfer policy, which affected incoming projections as well as estimates for how students transition to the next grade level.
- Fall 2018 Boundary Process Projections: With no student enrollment data available under the new policy, a conservative formula was used to calculate neighborhood seats and ensure the boundary process would not overcrowd a school.
- Ten-year Enrollment Projections: Student enrollment information was available on the first K cohort entering school under the adjusted policy and this was used for the January 2019 ten-year enrollment projections.
Q – Will there be another projection revision prior to the 2020 boundary process?
A – Yes, Planning &Evaluation updates the projections annually and expects additional improvements in the process each year: apsva.us/statistics/enrollment-projections/. The 2020 Boundary Process will again use Planning Unit (PU)-based enrollment projection estimates. Data will reflect actual enrollment patterns under the revised Option & Transfer policy, replacing estimates used in 2018.