APS Updates


Check back here to stay informed and engaged about the latest happenings affecting our school and community.

Elementary School Planning Updates 

Bookmark this page to stay up-to-date on APS Elementary School Planning.


Ways to Engage - How parents can take action: 


Summary of Key Dates 

Click here to see a list of key dates for upcoming APS decisions, working groups, School Board meetings, etc. We will keep this list updated as information is released.


Family Support Resources

The Advisory Council on Instruction (ACI) recently held a mental health panel that included several APS staff and partners. Among the materials provided were the following documents, which include information on local support groups and organizations that are available to assist families with mental, physical, and emotional health concerns.

Arlington Partnership for Youth and Families

Parent Resource Center

Local Parent Support Groups


APS News & Updates


Elementary School Planning Process

On February 6, 2020, the School Board approved the Interim Superintendent’s recommendation to move three elementary schools as part of the planning and boundary process for 2021-22. The Key building will become a neighborhood school, which will greatly impact our community, as many of our planning units will likely be zoned to the new school. In the spring, APS staff will begin the second phase of the Elementary School Planning Process in preparation for the Fall boundary process. New school locations and new boundaries will take effect at the start of the 2021-22 school year. APS plans to have a principal hired for the new school by July 1, 2020. More information can be found here.

2020-21 School Year Calendar

The School Board approved the 2020-21 school year calendar, which can be found here. 

Highlights include:

  • First day for students: August 31, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Break: Wednesday-Friday, November 25-27, 2020 
  • Winter Break: December 21, 2020 – January 1, 2021
  • School WILL BE IN SESSION on January 20, 2021, Inauguration Day 
  • Spring Break:  March 29 – April 2, 2021
  • Last day of school for High School:  June 16, 2021
  • Last day of school for Elementary and Middle School: June 18, 2021

APS Budget Process

The Interim Superintendent presented her proposed budget for FY2021 to the School Board on February 27, 2020. APS faces a shortfall of $27.5 million - this is the gap between APS revenue and total projected expenditures. If APS does not receive more money from the county, many new requests will be eliminated from the budget, based on a tiering system. More information on Tier 1, 2, and 3 budget requests can be found here and the full budget document here.

Of particular interest to our community are the following:

  • The budget includes $212,000 for new playground equipment for ASFS.
  • FLES will be eliminated at all elementary schools. This reduction allows APS to meet the requirements of the DOJ settlement around English Learner supports by providing additional EL teachers across the district. This reduction will also provide each elementary school with additional “teachers for planning needs,” based on enrollment. ASFS is slated to receive 1.5 such teachers, in addition to another 1.5 EL teachers.


  • March 5 - Committee of the Whole Meeting on Budget
  • March 10 - Budget Work Session #2, 7pm (Meeting with Employee Advisory Groups, 5-6 pm)
  • March 17 - Budget Work Session #3, 6:30 p.m.
  • March 24 - Budget Work Session #4, 7 p.m.
  • March 25 - Public Hearing on the Superintendent’s Proposed FY 2021 Budget
  • March 31 - Budget Work Session #5, 7:30pm (Meeting BAC/FAC/ACI Chairs and Student Advisory Board, 6:30-7:30pm)
  • April 2 - School Board’s Proposed FY 2020 Budget (Action)
  • April 12 - School Board’s Budget Presentation to County Board
  • April 28 - Budget Work Session #6
  • April 30 - Public Hearing on School Board’s Proposed Budget
  • May 7 - School Board’s Adopted FY 2020 Budget



12/3 ASFS PTA Meeting -- powerpoint presentation used for discussion. 


Capital Improvement Planning

By June 2020, the School Board will adopt a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2021-2030. This will include major facilities and maintenance improvements, and major capital projects (such as new schools). This will be informed by the Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP), which was presented at a work session on September 24, 2019. As noted by the ASFAP, 2021-30 CIP needs to increase middle school and elementary capacity as soon as fiscally feasible, preferably for 2024-25. Key dates:

  • November 6, 2019 - School Board Work Session on CIP
  • November 7, 2019 - School Board Information Item on CIP
  • November 19, 2019 - School Board Action on CIP Direction

Boundary Process

The work on elementary school boundaries to accommodate the opening of a new school at Reed is underway. APS will be reviewing secondary boundaries as well, to accommodate for growing enrollment at Wakefield and for the opening of the repurposed Education Center. Boundaries will take effect in the 2021-22 school year.

"What-If" Boundary Scenario (described below in the 10-11-19 update)

This scenario presented several challenges. Approximately 38% of all neighborhood elementary students would be reassigned to a new school and nearly half of neighborhood schools would lose some of their walkable planning units. This would increase the number of students who live in walk zones that would now require bus transportation. Almost every boundary would change, and Carlin Springs would be located outside of its boundary. A good portion of ASFS students would move to other schools.

Proposed Elementary School Moves

On October 31st, APS released two proposals to move some elementary school programs. Both proposals will impact our ASFS community, as both include the transfer of the Immersion Program out of the Key Building. Key will then become a neighborhood school, likely serving much of our current community and thus addressing the projected increased need of elementary seats in the Rosslyn-Ballston area. 

  • Proposal 1: Majority of McKinley students move to the new school at Reed. Arlington Traditional moves to the McKinley building. Key Immersion moves to Arlington Traditional building, and the Key building becomes a neighborhood school.
  • Proposal 2: Majority of McKinley students move to the new school at Reed. Arlington Traditional moves to the McKinley building. Campbell Expeditionary Learning moves to the Arlington Traditional building. Key Immersion moves to Carlin Springs building, and the majority of Carlin Springs students move to Campbell. The Campbell building and the Key Building become a neighborhood schools.

These proposals will be presented for approval before the boundaries are redrawn. For more details and a full breakdown of the implications of each proposal, visit www.apsva.us/engage/planning-for-2020-elementary-school-boundary-process/


  • November 5, 2019 - Online information sessions available on APS Engage
  • November 6, 2019 - CIP Work Session, 7-9pm at Syphax
  • November 15, 22, and December 6, 2019 - Friday Facebook Live
  • December 9, 2019 - What We Heard Community meeting at Swanson, 7pm
  • December 10, 2019 - What We Heard Community meeting at Central Library, 6:30pm
  • December 13, 2019 - What We Heard Webinar, 12pm-1pm
  • December 16, 2019 - Spanish What We Heard Community Meeting at Kenmore, 7pm
  • January. 9, 2020 - Staff will present final revised scenarios to the School Board for Information
  • January. 30, 2020 - School Board Public Hearing on the final proposal(s)
  • February 6, 2020 - School Board is scheduled to take action on final proposal(s)
  • Fall/Winter 2019‐20 - High School Planning to prepare for 2021‐22
  • Spring 2020 - Community Engagement Phase 1 - Review planning unit projections which will shape the fall 2020 elementary school and high school boundary processes 
  • Summer/Fall 2020 - Middle School planning to prepare for 2022‐23 adjustments to Middle School boundaries  and alignment with IPP
  • Fall 2020 - Community Engagement Phase 2 - Elementary School and High School boundary processes


APS recently announced the start of the elementary school boundary revision process that will evaluate the locations of option schools and neighborhood schools and adjust the attendance boundaries of all elementary schools for the SY2021-22.  The boundaries are being adjusted to accommodate the new elementary school in Westover (aka the Reed School) that will open in 2021, and to balance enrollment across all APS schools.

APS’s stated objectives for the process include addressing overcapacity at neighborhood schools and creating attendance zones for Reed and for Arlington Science Focus School, which will be situated within its boundaries. 

APS’s School Boundary Policy B-2.1-Boundaries details the six policy considerations to be used in boundary processes: efficiency, proximity, stability, alignment, demographics and contiguity.

The boundary process will be conducted in four phases from November 2019 through June 2021:

  • Phase I (November 2019 through January 2020): Community engagement begins.  Using a countywide perspective, APS will gather input and intends to take the needs of all students into account.  This could include program and option school moves that will take effect in in the 2021-22 school year.
  • Phase II (April through May 2020): The second phase of the process is to examine and update data at the planning-unit level before APS develops boundary scenarios. 
  • Phase III (September through December 2020): In Fall 2020, APS will develop new boundaries for elementary schools that will take effect in the 2021-22 school year.
  • Phase IV (December 2020 through June 2021): APS will notify families of student reassignments and work with staff and families in scheduling school visits.

To kick off Phase I, APS included in its announcement a “What-if” map for discussion purposes only.  The map is intended to demonstrate what boundaries could look like in 2021 if option schools and programs remain at their current location.  The map shows long, extended boundaries that may be required if APS continues to use existing option school locations.  Again, this map is for discussion purposes only during Phase I and is not intended to represent new boundaries for the 2021 school year.

Further information on the Elementary School Boundary Process can be found here.  We do not have precise information on how this process will affect our community, but it is possible the changes will be significant.  More information will be released by APS in the coming weeks.  


Superintendent Search - APS is conducting a nationwide search for a new superintendent. Cintia Johnson has been appointed interim superintendent until a permanent appointment is made. APS has developed an RFP for an executive search firm and will review proposals in September/October, with the hope of hiring  a search firm by the end of October. A community engagement and updated search timeline will be released in November. Virginia law requires that a superintendent be appointed within 180 days of a vacancy, with an opportunity for one extension.

FY 21 Budget - APS currently projects a $26.1M budget deficit for FY21, driven by projected enrollment growth, increased compensation, and the absence of the one-time revenue of $9.9M from the county. The budget process has already begun, and APS will rely upon budget studies and “strategic changes in service delivery” to reduce spending. In the fall, the Superintendent will present her budget direction to the School Board. The Superintendent will present a proposed budget to the School Board on February 27, 2020. Several work sessions will take place before the budget is adopted by the School Board in May 2020.

Boundary Process - The work on elementary school boundaries to accommodate the opening of a new school at Reed is underway. APS will be reviewing secondary boundaries as well, to accommodate for growing enrollment at Wakefield and for the opening of the repurposed Education Center. Boundaries will take effect in the 2021-22 school year. The following information was presented in the August 27th school board work session:

All elementary schools will be impacted by the 2020 boundary process:

  • Boundary changes without program moves will have a significant impact on most school communities
  • Planning with elementary administrators shaped guiding principles for boundary process
  • Looking at all schools together, not a specific focus on the ASFS/Key swap
  • PreK‐12 Instructional Program Pathways (IPP) framework keeps teaching and learning at the forefront of proposals for balancing capacity
  • School Board will host a public hearing to get commentary from community members

Elementary school planning – Guiding Principles for Boundary Process

  1. Focus on the following boundary policy considerations:
  • Balance demographics among schools when possible
  • Adhere to walk zones as much as possible
  • Use existing space to maximum efficiency
  • Increase operational efficiencies to keep more resources in the classroom
  1. Put instructional needs in the forefront to guide planning processes:

  • Consider site moves to balance demographics and support the instructional integrity of option programs
  • Locate PreK classes closer to where eligible students reside


  • Summer/Fall 2019 - Elementary School planning to prepare for 2021‐22
  • Late October/November 2019 (Tentative - Community conversations to gather input on elementary planning
  • December 2019/January 2020 - Identify possible elementary program moves to other buildings for 2021‐22; hold a public hearing for commentary from community members
  • Fall/Winter 2019‐20 - High School Planning to prepare for 2021‐22
  • Spring 2020 - Community Engagement Phase 1 - Review planning unit projections which will shape the fall 2020 elementary school and high school boundary processes 
  • Summer/Fall 2020 - Middle School planning to prepare for 2022‐23 adjustments to Middle School boundaries  and alignment with IPP
  • Fall 2020 - Community Engagement Phase 2 - Elementary School and High School boundary processes


The County Board adopted its budget on April 23rd, providing an additional $6,735,337 to APS. This closed the APS "funding gap." The School Board will vote to approve the APS budget on May 9th. See below for more information.

Remember to fill out the Instructional Program Pathways survey by May 15th! The outcome of this work will affect the academic trajectory of all of our students! More information can be found here. Take the survey here.


On April 11th, the school board presented its proposed 19-20 budget. This budget includes updates to revenue and enrollment projections. The School Board presented and voted on five amendments that proposed a few new expenditures and a variety of additional cuts. Of these, only amendments 1, 2, and 5 passed. The School Board voted 4-0 to adopt the proposed budget, with Dr. Kanninen abstaining. You can view the full presentation, which includes the five proposed amendments here, and you can watch the video of the School Board meeting and discussion here. On April 12th, the proposed budget was presented to the Arlington County Board. Please note the relevant dates below:

  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019 – The County Board votes to approve the FY20 budget
  • Thursday, May 2, 2018 – School Board Work Session on the Budget
  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019 – Public Hearing on the School Board’s proposed APS Budget
  • Thursday, May 9, 2019 – School Board votes on the APS budget for 2019-20


The APS budget process is in full swing! Click here for more information or to view a pdf of the Superintendent's proposed budget.

At the PTA meeting on Tuesday, we distributed handouts that included an abbreviated version of the Superintendent's presentation to the School Board and information regarding the Instructional Program Pathways work. View those documents here:

Also, please note the new Extended Day registration process. Registration opens April 1st and closes May 15th. On May 15th, all registrants will be entered into a lottery. Students who are not selected in the lottery will be placed on a waitlist according to their lottery number. Enrollment is no longer first-come, first-served, which will have an impact on our community, as ASFS typically has a wait list for Extended Day.  APS sites equity as the rationale behind this move. The extended timeframe provides all families an equal opportunity to enroll, regardless of time of registration, access to computers, etc. Every registration is equally likely to be selected in the lottery. For more information, click here.


The ASFS/Key swap is officially on hold, though we are not sure if it’s off the table. From past school board meetings and the recent work session on Instructional Program Pathways, (IPP), we know that APS staff is reviewing programming and locations in order to optimize access for students and families who are interested in option schools, such as Key. The ASFS site might not be the best location for Key’s immersion program; however, enrollment data certainly indicates that the population in our area is growing and that we need more seats in neighborhood schools.

For now, we know that ASFS will be a part of the boundary process that will begin in Spring 2020, to take effect Fall 2021. The work of the IPP working group will inform this process. Slide 6 of the work session presentation lays this out very well. Decisions made in the IPP process will inform the need for new schools and boundary changes as location and need for neighborhood and option schools are weighed.

Slide 39 of the presentation linked above lays out the questions that the IPP working group will address, including “What programs should APS offer?” and “How might these school sites be determined?” In order to determine what programs should be offered, APS will rely both on community input and on the fundamental idea that the world is changing, and so to must education. Some of these shifts might include a heavier emphasis on project-based learning, modernizing classroom spaces, increasing focus on global citizenship, more meaningful integration of technology, or even rethinking calendars and scheduling. If you are interested in hearing more about these ideas, refer to slides 20-36.

As we move through the spring, everyone in our community should focus on the conversations happening as part of the IPP process. This process will inform critical decisions about educational offerings from K-12 that will impact the education of ALL of our students, regardless of boundary changes and locations swaps. If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to watch the video of the February 12 work session.


Stay Engaged

To stay engaged and informed of relevant APS initiatives, we encourage all parents to:

APS Ambassadors Program

APS Ambassadors is a new program established by Arlington Public Schools. ASFS has two representatives appointed by our ASFS Principal, Mary Begley, whose role is to communicate relevant information from APS to our school community as well as collect any feedback from ASFS parents, teachers, and staff to take back to APS. Please feel free to contact ASFS's two representatives with any questions or feedback related to APS:

See the complete List of APS Ambassadors by school, and visit the APS Ambassadors page for more information.


Please feel free to reach out to Kate Merrill (VP External Affairs) with any questions.