APS Updates

 

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

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.

*NEW* The County Board will vote to approve the County Manager's budget and the proposed property tax increase at the end of April. If the tax increase does not pass, the APS budget will be severely impacted, leading to Tier 2 or 3 cuts which will have a significant effect on all of our schools. Visit this page for more information regarding the County's budget process and to see how you can provide feedback both in person and via email. 

 


3-7-19

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.

 


2-15-19

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.

 


1-28-19

At the January 24th APS School Board meeting, staff announced a "pause" in the plans for an ASFS-Key swap as part of the Superintendent's Annual Update. Between April and December 2019, staff will reevaluate locations for elementary immersion programs. A decision on program locations will be made by December 2019 in preparation for the elementary boundary process that will begin in Spring 2020. At this time, it is unclear how ASFS will be impacted by this location review. The most updated information can be found here. The presentation to the APS School Board can be found here. The information on immersion program locations begins on slide 20.

 


12-9-18

On Thursday, December 6th, the APS School Board officially approved Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s recommendation for South Arlington elementary school boundaries. You can view the full presentation here, or you can watch the School Board Meeting here.

The School Board also voted on and approved a grandfathering policy for South Arlington. Under the policy, current 4th grade students (next year’s 5th graders) and concurrently enrolled younger siblings can remain in their current school for the 2019-20 school year, and transportation will be provided. However, once the 5th graders move to middle school, their siblings will have to attend their new school as defined by the new boundaries. School Board member Barbara Kanninen moved to amend the policy to extend grandfathering to rising 3rd and 4th graders and their concurrent siblings, allowing all students to remain at their current schools until they move to middle school; however, this motion failed at a 1-4 vote. Opposing board members sited cost, logistics, and community cohesion as reasons for their dissenting vote. The original motion, to grandfather rising 5th graders and their siblings for one year, passed unanimously.

In news related to our school, the School Board approved the contract with The Matthews Group for installation of the synthetic turf field at ASFS. Mrs. Begley will keep us informed as to the timeline of this work.

 


11-9-18

At the School Board meeting on 11-8-18, Superintendent Dr. Murphy provided the APS School Board with his proposal for South Arlington elementary school boundaries (more information is here). The School Board will vote on the proposal on December 6th, and the boundaries will take effect for the 2019-20 school year. At this time, we have no additional information on the ASFS/Key building swap, other than what has already been shared in our previous update below.

In the spring, it will be important that we pay attention to the APS budget process, as APS staff is predicting a substantial shortfall. Cutbacks could very well affect our community. We will continue to follow the process, and we will keep you updated here. For more information on the APS budget direction, click here.

 


9-20-18

Monique O'Grady (APS School Board Member), Lisa Stengle (Executive Director of APS Planning and Evaluation), and Meg Tuccillo (Consultant for APS Planning and Evaluation) met with ASFS parents in the library to answer some of our questions about the ASFS/Key swap on September 18th. Though no new information has been published at this time (see update from 9-11-18), we tried to seek clarity around a few key issues. Here are some of the highlights:

  • APS will release a timeline for community engagement in January 2019. Topics around which they will seek our feedback include:
    • The timing of the swap (2020 or 2021)
    • The impact on transfer students and their siblings
    • The impact of boundary changes, which would take place for the remaining APS elementary schools in 2021
    • What materials/structures are unique to ASFS that would need to be rebuilt in the new building, and how does this take place? (There are budget implications here, but no amount has been specified. The panel and our community noted that the amount quoted in the August 13th memo is a rough estimate based ONLY on materials and is likely not accurate.)
  • APS staff and the School Board are currently working on boundaries for elementary schools in south Arlington; thus, we shouldn't expect to hear more information regarding the swap until after the south Arlington boundary process is complete in January.
    • In the meantime, it is suggested that our community do some "internal work," such as creating lists of those structures that are unique to our program and researching the number of transfer students and siblings that will remain in our community over the next 2-3 years.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Kate Merrill or Dena Porter.

 


09-11-18

On August 28th, APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy announced that ASFS and Key will “swap” buildings in either Fall 2020 or Fall 2021. This removes our community from the Fall 2018 boundary process. This means that ASFS boundaries will not change in the 2019-20 school year. As this swap represents a programmatic switch and not a change in boundaries, Dr. Murphy does not need school board approval to make this decision.

APS staff has released additional information over the last week (see the overview posted here), including two memos exchanged between APS staff and the School Board prior to the work session. The August 13th Memo is particularly informative, as it provides thorough detail around the rationale for the swap (see pp. 2-4). The factors that led to the decision include the effort to maintain diversity and to minimize the impact to ASFS families by relocating the school to sit geographically within the current boundary. The memo also indicates that administrative transfers will be able to make the move to the new building once the swap is made (this is referenced on p. 2).

APS will release a timeline for community engagement related to the swap in January 2019. In the meantime, please continue to stay informed by:

  • Continuing to check the APS Updates page on our website
  • Monitoring APS Engage website, particularly the ASFS-Key School Building Swap page
  • Attending the Speaker Event at ASFS on September 18th at 7:00pm in the Library with Monique O’Grady (Arlington School Board member and ASFS School Board Liaison)

You are also always welcome to reach out to us with any questions. We will continue to engage with APS staff and school board members to ensure that the fidelity of our program is maintained and that the needs of our community are taken into consideration. We will continue to keep you informed of the latest updates as they are made available. Thank you for your support as we work together throughout this process.

 


08-29-18

APS held a work session on Tuesday, 8/28 to discuss the Elementary School boundary process. You can watch the meeting here, and view the full presentation here. At present, ASFS is no longer being considered in the Fall 2018 boundary process. Instead, ASFS and Key will swap buildings in either 2020 or 2021. This move may also include some boundary changes, but we do not have any other details at this time.  A timeline related to the swap will be published in January 2019. We will continue to update this page as more information become available.

Previous APS Updates.pdf

 


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.

 


Questions?

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