APS Engagement


During the 2017-18 school year, Arlington County Public Schools (APS) will be working with the School Board on 13 separate projects and decisions to prepare for the projected enrollment growth across schools in Arlington. 

APS wants to keep all APS school communities informed and engaged during this process. Information about these issues will be posted here. In addition, our school “Ambassador” is Michelle Gentry. Her role is to be our liaison and share information and communications between APS central office team and the Patrick Henry community.  

More information will always be available on the “Engage with APS” web page (https://www.apsva.us/engage/). 

These projects and decisions include:

  1. Middle School Boundary Changes 
    • A sixth neighborhood middle school is opening at the Stratford site in Fall 2019.
    • Community engagement process will happen in Fall 2017 to reset all middle school boundaries.
    • New boundaries are needed to relieve crowding at some schools, notably Swanson and Williamsburg, and to balance enrollment across all six middle schools.
    • The new boundaries will go into effect for the 2019-20 school year.
    • Students currently in grades 4, 5 and 6 will be impacted. These students will be entering grades 6, 7 and 8 when the new boundaries take effect.
  2. Acceptable Use (Technology / 1:1 device)
    • The School Board requested that APS develop guidelines to guide how students use digital devices to support their learning.  A working group will research best practices used in other school districts, and propose Policy Implementation Procedure (PIP) that guides how digital devices support APS best instructional practices.
    • The community engagement process will take place in October and November. The School Board will make a decision in January.
  3. Career Center
    • On June 29, 2017 the School Board voted to renovate and add to the Career Center to provide 700-800+ high school seats.
    • Community engagement is planned for November.
    • The School Board also directed the Superintendent to make recommendations to the School Board regarding the following, no later than May 2018:
      • Program and instructional focus
      • High school boundary revisions, if applicable
      • Estimated total project cost, with low, middle and high cost alternatives, within funding limits approved by the School Board
      • A vision and plan for the Career Center site that could include further additions and renovations that might develop in phases into a comprehensive high school, and that includes Arlington Tech and existing programs. This will be developed through a community engagement process in concert with the County.
      • Options for common space, including recreation and performance spaces, that might also be shared with the community
      • Parking requirements including additional structured parking
      • Physical education programs and field space
      • Timelines and funding requirements
  4. Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
    • The CIP includes major capital projects as well as major maintenance and other infrastructure projects.
    • Staff analyzes enrollment projections to determine future capital needs. Every two years the School Board adopts a CIP addressing capital needs over the next ten years.
    • All Arlington voters are asked to support School Bonds in November referendum.
    • Timeline:
      • January 2018 – Staff analyzes needs and develops CIP framework
      • Spring – Community engagement process
      • June 2018 – School Board adopts CIP
      • November 2018 – Bond referendum on CIP projects
  5. Education Center
    • On June 29, 2017 the School Board voted to renovate the Education Center Building to provide approximately 500 – 600 high school seats.
    • Community engagement on instructional focus planned for October.
    • The School Board also directed the Superintendent to make recommendations to the School Board regarding the following, no later than December 2017:
      • Program and instructional focus
      • High school boundary revisions, if applicable
      • Estimated total project cost, with low, middle and high cost alternatives, within funding limits approved by the School Board
      • A community engagement process to develop a design concept for renovating the existing building that does not preclude a possible future addition or additions
      • Options for common space, including recreation and performance spaces, that might also be shared with the community
      • Parking requirements including additional structured parking
      • Physical education programs and field space
      • Timelines and funding requirements, with potential acceleration to complete the project before 2022
    • The BLPC/PFRC process for the project will not commence before the School Board has received and acted upon the Superintendent’s recommendations.
  6. Elementary Boundary Changes
    • Per School Board Policy, boundaries are revised when a new school opens. In 2019, our new elementary school, Alice W. Fleet, will open and Patrick Henry school will move to that location. The Montessori Program currently at Drew School will then move to the Henry ES site.
    • Those impacted include students currently attending Patrick Henry Elementary School and all students in the Drew ES Montessori.  Additional ES students may be impacted as result of the boundary changes and to better balance enrollment.
    • The community engagement process will begin in January 2018.
    • The new boundaries will take effect September 2019.
    • There will be a series of online and in-person opportunities for engagement.

     7. Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

Community Engagement begins in November. Go here for more information: https://www.apsva.us/budget-finance/.

     8. Inclusion

APS is reviewing policies related to Inclusion. “Through this work, we seek to support a diverse and inclusive school community, committed to academic excellence and integrity, by maximizing inclusive and effective instruction, intervention and support for all students, including those with special and dual needs.  This includes ensuring that, “Inclusive education is both a vision and a practice…of welcoming, valuing, empowering, and supporting the diverse academic, social/emotional, language, and communication learning of all students in shared environments and experiences for attaining the desired goals of education.  Inclusion is a belief that everyone belongs, regardless of need or perceived ability, and that all are valued and contributing members of the school community” (Villa and Thousand, 2016).” Community engagement process begins in January.

     9. Montessori Move

The Montessori program will move from its current location at Drew to the existing Patrick Henry building in 2019.  A planning group will advise help the Department of Teaching and Learning on the articulation for the APS Montessori program.   Learn more about their work at  https://www.apsva.us/engage/montessori/.

     10. Reed Building

The APS Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for FY 2017-26 includes up to $49 million for the Reed Building Expansion, creating 725+ elementary seats that will open for August 2021. Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) appointments are scheduled for September and October. For more information, go here: https://www.apsva.us/engage/reed-building/.

     11. Strategic Plan

APS will develop a new strategic plan and will further define its mission, vision and core values, and articulate goals and aspirations for students, staff,and APS as a whole. The community engagement process begins in November, and there will be opportunities to participate throughout the school year. For more information, go here: https://www.apsva.us/engage/strategic-plan/.