Updated May 2018: The content on this page does not reflect current policy.
The School Board approved the new Option and Transfers policy in June 2017 and it will be implemented for the 2018-2019 school year. For information about student registration and the new policy please click here.
Find answers to questions about the revisions, in the following categories:
Disclaimer: This document is a working draft and is provided for information and discussion only. The information contained herein is subject to change.
A: The revised policy will help to shape the elementary and middle school boundary processes in 2017-18.
A: The purpose of the revision is three-fold:
- To make it easier for families to understand the school options available and processes to apply;
- To align the structure of the policy and procedures with best practices; and
- To allow for flexibility in making adjustments in the future as we continue to address capacity.
A: 25-2.2 currently includes both the School Board policy and the procedures APS uses to implement the policy. The Enrollment and Transfers revisions include clarification of
- School Board governance and
- APS policy procedures implemented by staff, resulting in the creation of a PIP describing how admissions and transfers procedures are implemented.
A: Staff have proposed:
- Redefining transfers into two categories (options and neighborhood transfers)
- Defining who is responsible for student transportation
- Removing guarantee admission preferences (clusters/teams)
- Adjusting some details for sibling preference and twins
- Improving transparency and standardizing processes
|2017-18||Boundary process prepare for new schools opening at Stratford and Jefferson|
|2018-19||Revised Enrollment and Transfer policy implemented|
Open schools with adjusted boundaries
Boundary process prepare for opening of school at Reed
|2020-21||Boundary process (tentative) prepare for 1,300 seats|
|2021-22||Open school at Reed with adjusted boundaries|
|2022-23||Open new high school.|
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How are the Enrollment and Transfers policy revisions and the new high school instructional focus connected?
A: The Enrollment and Transfers policy revisions provide the administrative structure to support APS’ instructional focus.
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How has this information been shared with administrators, teachers, and PTAs?
A: Staff shared the initial proposal with principals and have since had several other conversations to include feedback. Additionally, staff will work with those schools impacted by revisions to reach out to the school PTAs to discuss the policy changes. Staff have also reached out to PTA presidents and offered to meet with PTA groups.
4: What is a “super lottery” and how does it work? Does it improve results for students?
What is the difference between a Policy and a PIP?
A: Policies are principles of action adopted by the School Board. The School Board governs through the policies it creates. Policy Implementation Procedures (PIPs) are the procedural steps that APS follows to implement School Board Policies. The Superintendent manages operations of the school system in accordance with School Board policies.
Why are Neighborhood and Option Schools defined in the PIP instead of the policy? (Updated 5/18/17)
The Elementary and Secondary Options and Transfers PIP:
- Identifies a list of Options schools in the PIP, and the elementary Options remain the same as Options in the existing policy.
- Removes guaranteed preferences (clusters, teams, etc.).
Note: this is where the current policy is confusing. Through the policy revision process, staff has learned that many families believe Science Focus is an Option school. Staff has tried to be clear in correcting this misperception.
- Key Immersion and Science Focus share boundaries, and families who live within those boundaries and have two schools from which to choose.
- Key and Science Focus are also part of the Team.
As you look at the unique preferences available to families in the Key/Science Focus boundaries and the Team schools (Key, Science Focus, Taylor and Jamestown), it’s easy to understand how families may have viewed Science Focus as an Option school.
In Fall 2017, staff will propose a definition for Option school and seek community input on the proposal. The School Board will consider acting on the definition, and at that time they will reconsider if the list should be moved from the PIP to the policy.
How is APS defining twins (multiples)? (Updated 4/14/17)
A: Based on community feedback, staff is proposing that twins (multiples) are defined as children in the same grade, residence, and parents/guardians.
What is a “super lottery” and how does it work? Does it improve results for students?
A: In general, a super lottery is where all the students in a district are placed into a lottery at a certain entry point (elementary, middle, or high) and their schools are assigned based on the drawing of the lottery. There are multiple iterations which include, for example, family rankings or prioritization of available schools as determined by the district and/or district determined demographic weighting.
The condensed response to the whether or not such lotteries achieve their goals and/or improve results for students is that the data is inconclusive. We commissioned Hanover Research to provide us with two reports, the first looking at transfers and lotteries across the country and the second a research brief on socioeconomic integration on academic achievement:
- Benchmarking School Choice and Intradistrict Transfer Policies
- Research Brief: Impact of Socioeconomic Integration on Academic Achievement
1: What is a neighborhood school vs an option school? (Updated 4/14/17)
5: Will students be grandfathered into their current school? (Updated 4/14/17)
What is a neighborhood school vs an option school? (Updated 4/14/17)
A: Neighborhood schools have an established boundary and a guaranteed seat for all students within that boundary area. Option schools are available to students across Arlington. Families must apply for admissions and lotteries if the request is greater than the number of seats available.
How will current option (formerly choice) schools be impacted? (Updated 4/14/17)
A: This process is focusing on simplifying and standardizing practices and procedures for all option schools, not on the actual schools themselves. Below is a chart of current elementary (K-5) schools.
|Neighborhood Only||Neighborhood/Options||Options(no neighborhood)|
Under the proposed revisions schools will be either a neighborhood school or an option school. See table below.
|Neighborhood School||Option School|
Why aren’t revisions being made to secondary schools’ enrollment and transfers?
At the January 9 Work Session, staff recommended delaying any revisions to secondary options pending completion of New High School Instructional Focus process. During the Phase 2 community meetings (Mar 30 and Apr 4) there will be a breakout session on the New High School Instructional Focus.
What will happen to each schools’ exemplary project?
A: The exemplary projects will remain unchanged. The curriculum at all elementary schools is the same and the exemplary projects are supplemental.
Will students be grandfathered into their current school? (Updated 4/4/17)
A: Staff proposes that:
- students enrolled in a school at the end of the 2017-18 school year not be impacted by these changes and may continue in their current schools with transportation (if currently provided) and
- the policy changes apply to any students submitting an application for an option school or a transfer to another neighborhood school for the 2018-19 school year and subsequent school years.
Why isn’t there an option for creating another H‐B Woodlawn style school for the 1,300 seat high school, based on the over‐subscription of applications at H‐B Woodlawn?
A: We are not proposing creating of any new countywide option at the elementary or secondary level because the data gathered from our recent feedback form, Community Feedback: School Options, as well as the review of current and past application and wait list data does not suggest a demand for another countywide option at either level.
Specifically to H‐B Woodlawn, we believe the ongoing work at the state and local level concerning the restructuring and redesign of high schools and graduation requirements will actually result in all of our high schools containing many of the key elements of H‐B Woodlawn.
Does the new high school already have an enrollment cap of 1,300 or can enrollment be increased if needed?
A: The 1,300 additional high school seats was approved in the November 2016 bond referendum as part of the FY2017-26 CIP. The Education Center, Career Center, and Kenmore Middle School are identified as possible site locations.
Whichever site is selected will have an impact on future expansion opportunities. The capacity of a school facility is directly related to the instructional program. The same site may have different capacities for different programs.
All new APS schools are designed to be adaptable to accommodate changing program needs and to accommodate future additions wherever possible. Therefore it is likely that any of the three locations could accommodate more students with or without additions or renovations.
Will APS consider opening a third elementary immersion school?
A: At this point we do not know if there is a need for a 3rd immersion school. Managing registration through a central office will allow us to monitor demand. If demand changes consideration will be given to future growth.
Will VPI be impacted by the policy revisions? (New)
A: VPI is not changing, we are just separating Preschool and K-12 into separate PIPs. VPI students enrolled in option schools will continue to matriculate into kindergarten at those schools. VPI students who are attending neighborhood schools outside of their attendance zone must return to their assigned neighborhood schools for kindergarten or apply for transfer to remain at that same school.
If students live within walking distance to an option school, will they get preference to attend?
Staff is not recommending having walk zones for option schools. Our analysis suggests that offering a neighborhood preference at an option school would limit access to students in other parts of the county and would not be equitable. Admission to all option all schools will be through lottery. However, all students are guaranteed a seat at their neighborhood schools.
Timeline and Next Steps
2: What is the timeline? (Updated 4/14/17)
3: Why aren’t the breakout sessions being live-streamed? (Updated 4/14/17)
When will the revisions be implemented?
The revised policy will be implemented in the 2018-19 school year. Note: This timeline applies to the policy 25.2-2. Decisions about the K12 Instructional Alignment will be shaped by community input and implemented over time, as we move on projects outlined in the 3-5 Year Action Plan. The School Board will make a decisions about the 1,300 high school seats in June 2017, and the building will open in September, 2022.
What is the timeline? (Updated 4/4/17)
|Jan 9||SB Work Session|
|Feb 6||SB Work Session|
|Completed||Getting Started meetings with SB Advisory Committees|
|Feb 8||Policy posted|
|Feb 9||PIP posted|
|Feb 22||“Getting Started” Community Meeting at Washington-Lee @ 7pm|
|Mar 2||“Getting Started” Community Meeting at Wakefield @ 7pm|
|Mar 10||2nd round of policy revisions published|
|Mar 15||SB Work Session @ 7:30pm|
|Mar 30||“Review, Respond, Refine” Community Meeting at Wakefield @ 7pm|
|Apr 4||“Review, Respond, Refine” Community Meeting Community Meeting at Yorktown @ 7pm|
|Apr 18||SB Work Session @ 7:30pm|
|Apr||Final policy published|
|May 4||Superintendent proposes policy revisions at SB Information Session|
|May 18||Public Hearing|
|June 1||School Board Action|
Why aren’t the breakout sessions being live-streamed? (Updated 4/14/17)
A: The format of the breakouts is not conducive to live-streaming because there are multiple small groups. However, because all of the discussion questions used in the breakouts are the same questions asked on the feedback form, you do not need to present in order to provide your feedback. Click here to see the main presentations for the Getting Started and Review, Revise, Refine Community meetings.
APS Next Steps to Implement the Policy 25-2.2, Options and Transfers (New)
APS is beginning to consider how the policy will be implemented as students enroll for 2018-19 and beyond. Over the summer, APS will take the following steps.
- A cross-departmental implementation team will be charged with the following tasks along with other tasks that arise as the changes are put into practice:
- Revamp the application process and the data captured about our students and their siblings in the student information system.
- Define and implement consistent processes for admission to all Option schools, and ensure that lotteries, waitlists and other practices are clear, transparent and fair.
- Revise APS communications and outreach about Neighborhood and Option schools/programs, with the goal of ensuring that students and their families know about the opportunities and how to apply.
This team will stay in place for at least a year, and will continue to address the concerns until APS can demonstrate that the implementation of the policy changes is fully operational. The cross-departmental implementation team will include staff from Administrative Services, Instruction, Student Services, School & Community Relations, Information Services, and possibly others.
- A cross-departmental planning team will be charged with the following tasks, along with other tasks that arise:
- Analyze current and projected enrollment levels at each school and program, and reflect adjusted projections for schools and programs impacted by the policy revisions. The analysis will include low, medium and high scenarios
- Identify the number of seats available for lotteries at option schools/programs, and neighborhood schools that can accept transfers
- The annual update will address projected growth and make recommendations to accommodate additional students. Some examples of the recommendations might include:
- Program moves to schools that have space.
- Targeted incentives for transfers to a neighborhood school that is accepting transfers. Preferences may be given to students at highly-utilized schools, and paired with transportation.
- Boundary refinements.
- Adjustments to the number of lottery slots offered at Option schools to fully utilize staffing allocations that grow with the addition of siblings.
- APS recommendations will err on the side of caution while we learn how to implement and use the new information that responds to the policy changes. Progress on implementation will be addressed in the annual update until the changes are fully operational.
The cross-departmental planning team will include staff from Instruction, Administrative Services Facilities & Operations, Finance, Information Services, and possibly others.
7: What is the potential impact on enrollment at Arlington Science Focus, now that families will need to lottery into Key immersion? What other concerns need to be considered during implementation? (Updated 5/30/17)
Where can I find supporting documents?
A: Click on the links below to access supporting documents:
- Capital Improvement Plan
- Advisory Council on School Facilities and Capital Programs 1,300 HS Seat Scenario Report and Table
- Current and Projected Capacity Utilization for School Years 2016-17 through 2026-27
- Master Planning Committee Report
- Students Per Planning Unit Grades Pre-K to 12
- Students Per Planning Unit Grades K to 12
What is the impact if neighborhood preference was given to students who live near option schools?
A: Providing preference to students who live near option schools could potentially turn some of the option schools into de-facto neighborhood schools. The table below shows September 2016 capacity at each school and number of students living within 0.5 miles and 1 mile of the elementary option schools. Using the half mile radius,Campbell and Key would be filled at or above 100% capacity utilization, while ATS and Claremont are filled at 80 and 85%. All schools are filled well beyond 100% capacity utilization when looking at students within a 1.5 mile radius.
However, there are differences to consider at immersion schools. Key shares a boundary with Arlington Science Focus, and over the past three years approximately one third of the students who live in the Key/ASF attendance area attended Key and students in the attendance area account for 43% of the students enrolled at Key.
|K-5 Students within 1/2 Mile Radius||K-5 Students within 1 Mile Radius|
|No.||% Capacity||No.||% Capacity|
What are the 3 year trends for transfers by school?
A: This table shows the last 3 years of transfers by school.
Each school has a green table that shows the “Enrollment School by Neighborhood School Attendance Zone”. This reflects students living in the attendance zone, and where they actually go to school.
Schools with attendance zones also have a blue table that shows “Neighborhood School Attendance Zone by Enrollment School.” This table reflects students enrolled at the school and where they live. ATS, Campbell, Claremont and H‐B Woodlawn do not have attendance zone and do not have a blue table. ASF and Key share boundaries, and Key has the blue table for the attendance zone.
How many twins are there and how many more twins would be included if the definition was expanded?
A: Staff limited this review to current students Kindergarten and Grade 6, the entry points for countywide schools and programs. APS does not capture information on twins (multiples), so for this question, the estimate reflects the following based on data available in the student information system
- Biological twins – students who live in the same residence, with the same legal guardians and the same or similar birth dates
- Same grade siblings – students who live in the same residence, with the same legal guardians and will be concurrently enrolled in the same grade.
Overall the change in the number of students estimated as twins is small. Twins are admitted as 2, but counted as 1 so it does not advantage families of twins over other families.
What is the impact on schools in the teams/clusters if the guaranteed admission preferences are removed?
A: Removing the guaranteed admission preferences will potentially increase enrollment at some schools, particularly with the removal of the preference for Immersion programs.To estimate the impact staff reviewed the following information for schools with guaranteed admissions preference:
- Focuses on K‐5 students in September 30, 2016 enrollment and capacity utilization.
- Transfer data for the last 3 years.
- Uses current school boundaries and program locations.
- Assumes that all students would attend their neighborhood attendance zone school
- Does not account for students who might attend option schools.
This analysis does NOT calculate NEW projections to reflect the proposed policy revisions.Once the School Board adopts the policy, staff will begin to review and plan for all the changes adopted by the School Board in June, 2017. The plan will be part of the Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP), and include:
- A comprehensive review of all the changes and how they impact capacity over time,
- Decision points and the options/tools for addressing areas of concern. and
- A timeline for addressing the decision points as we prepare for implementation of the policy for 2018‐19.
Please click here for additional analysis.
How many students live within a half mile and one mile radius of Arlington Science Focus,Arlington Traditional, Campbell, Claremont, Key, and the Reed building?
A: The attached maps show the number of students in Grades K-5 who resided within a half mileand a one mile radius each school on September 30, 2016.
Staff is beginning to examine the potential impact of the policy change on schools and programs. This memo addresses the impact on capacity by changing the Key/Science Focus attendance zone to Science Focus only, grandfathering and the boundary for Science Focus. More analysis will be done over the summer once the policy and grandfathering information is clear.
3. Will the younger siblings of “grandfathered students” receive transportation? (Updated 5/18/17)
How is sibling preference currently applied?
Current policy allows for sibling preference if both siblings will be concurrently attending the requested school. This procedure is in place to recognize families with elementary age children having the opportunity to attend the same school at the same time.
How will extending sibling preference to the secondary level impact the lottery for option schools? (Updated 5/18/17)
Draft 9 of the policy states, “Siblings who will be concurrently enrolled at the same school will receive priority in admission.” Siblings have always been accommodated at neighborhood schools. This extends this practice to secondary Option schools. Currently, the Superintendent determines the enrollment levels at the Option schools. In implementing this policy of keeping families together and providing sibling preference in admissions to option schools, the Superintendent will:
- Adjust enrollment to accommodate siblings as additions to enrollment, not allocating existing lottery slots to siblings.
- Ensure existing slots for Option schools continue at the current level.
- Monitor enrollment levels at the Option Schools through the Annual Update.
- Review the enrollment at Option schools in the Annual Update, as stated in policy.
- This accommodation of siblings will be done “within financial constraints and capacity limits” as stated in the Option and Transfers policy.
Will the younger siblings of “grandfathered students” receive transportation? (Updated 5/18/17)
Yes. The siblings of “grandfathered students’” are eligible for transportation as long as the older grandfathered student who was enrolled at the school/program prior to 2018-19 remains at the school.
A: The attached memo provides analysis and an estimate that is based upon the 2017 applicants to the H‐B Woodlawn grade 6 lottery. (The H‐B Woodlawn lottery applicant pool was previously collected for a different purpose). However, this proposed change would apply to all secondary option programs. Over the summer, staff will conduct a more extensive analysis once the policy and grandfathering information is clear.