APS School Changes Resources

Hi Friends,
I know, I said I wasn’t writing another update before Thanksgiving, but I realized that there is a huge amount of information and concern about the APS school change processes happening right now (and the “engagement” around those changes), so I want to share as many resources and information about this process as I can. Please share more information if I have missed anything!
First, a rundown of the many moving parts:
Elementary School Planning Process — this precedes the boundary process and proposes moving option programs from one school location to another.
- The community survey was open through November 24, but you can always email engage@apsva.us instead.
- It’s important to read the FAQ page (which they are adding to) for more information about why they are doing it this way and what it all means.
- The Online Information Session video from November 5 is also a helpful resource to watch (about 28 minutes).
- A November 22, 2019 APS Facebook Live session on Elementary Planning: Answering Common Questions (about 8.5 minutes long) — this addresses a lot of common questions I’ve been hearing families asking.
Fall 2020 Elementary School Boundary Process — this is what comes after the decisions about where the option programs should go. This page includes the overall timeline for the process, Phase I of which is the planning process above from November to January 2020.
PreK-12 Instructional Programs Pathway (IPP) — this is a framework (not a policy or procedure, but a guide).
- You can view the presentation on the IPP at a School Board Work Session from June 11, 2019 and the “final” document dated August 2019, which is called a Planning Document (and it’s still marked as a draft). Does anyone have a more recent or final version?
- This guide addresses the option programs APS would like to have available in its schools. The part of the timeline where we are now states: “December 2019 — The Superintendent will identify program changes and moves among current neighborhood and option school/program sites that would go into effect concurrently with new boundaries for Sept. 2021.”
- That new elementary boundary process will take place in Fall 2020. A middle school boundary process will take place the following year.
2021–2030 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), including the 2019 Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP) — the CIP includes investments needed for new schools and school additions, and major maintenance and minor construction projects (MCMM).
- This will be adopted in June 2020.
- Change is coming. It’s unavoidable. We need to advocate for action in the best interest of ALL of Arlington students. All of our students will be impacted by these changes, so let’s prepare them to be resilient and accepting of change, and show them how to advocate for our community as a whole and for actual, tangible, meaningful equity in our schools.
- The Fall 2020 boundary process is needed to create a boundary for the new Reed School. If the typical process is used, this will result in boundaries that include students who live outside the neighborhood walk zones, resulting in a move of more students and higher transportation costs and transit times for students. This would affect ALL but four ES boundaries.
- The demand for student seats is much higher in the south and east of the county, and much lower in the north and west of the county. This is why APS has two proposals to move programs from one school building to another, to create “new” neighborhood seats where option program seats are located currently.
- There are Community Meetings planned on December 9 and 10, an online webinar on December 13, and a Spanish Community Meeting on December 16. APS will present final revised scenarios to the School Board on January 9 and there will be a School Board Public Hearing on these options on January 30, 2020.
- Is the options/transfer policy going to change to ensure demographic balance/guaranteed access for students of color/economically disadvantaged students? If we move options programs out of south Arlington, they will become less physically accessible/less convenient for our lower income families to access, which means we need to ensure that intentional efforts are being made to welcome and include diverse families to all of our options programs. Otherwise, these proposals could create additional barriers for disadvantaged families and could further segregate our option programsThe Policy is currently due for School Board consideration on February 20, 2020 and SB action on March 12, 2020, which likely means that it is not a part of the conversation at this point.
- Some options programs (I’m thinking about Campbell because I’m more familiar with it, but there may be others) have invested significant financial and time resources into their physical spaces that directly contribute to the success of their programs, which means that there is additional cost to choosing to move those programs to another physical location.
Engagement efforts have been missing significant portions of our ES populations, particularly those school communities that include high percentages of economically disadvantaged students and families who do not speak English at home. Many of these families would be directly impacted by these proposals and the very fast timeline for engagement is not realistic given the communication barriers and other barriers to involvement these communities face. Many schools/PTAs are asking for more time to engage their families in a meaningful and respectful way about these proposals.
— — This matters because APS uses community engagement responses to make its proposals and decisions. In the response on the FAQ page to question #3, “How is demographics addressed in these proposals?” it states: “In previous surveys, most elementary families told us that they value proximity for a variety of reasons.” APS does not share how many families contributed that particular feedback, what schools they are associated with, and how representative of our students’ families those opinions might be. APS does not have a good track record of considering the perspectives and preferences of those populations NOT at the table. In order to move forward in this process in a way that takes an equity lens, we must allow time for meaningful engagement with all of our families.
What is actually preventing Spanish-speaking families from enrolling in Immersion programs? If one of the reasons for the option program moves is to have a larger native-Spanish speaking population to attain the 50/50 balance of native and non-native Spanish speakers in our Immersion programs, are we sure that proximity is the one barrier preventing Spanish-speaking families from enrolling their children in Immersion programs? Or might there be other reasons these families are not enrolling in immersion programs? We need to know this before we use the 50/50 balance as a reason for these program moves.
Also, please consider weighing in on this additional opportunity for feedback:
APS Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer position feedback is accepted until December 2, 2019. Scroll down for some helpful FAQ information before providing your feedback.
Some concerns to consider:
(1) How will this position be supported (staff, budget)?
(2) How will this person be set up for success (authority, access to information)?
(3) How will this person ensure an effective relationship with the Superintendent when a new Superintendent won’t be hired until after they start their position?
Thank you for engaging in this work.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.