Over the next few months, APS will develop a new version of its 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIP identifies capital improvement projects, estimates their cost, and proposes how to finance them. The School Board will adopt this CIP as student enrollment continues to grow at all levels of instruction. If the latest projections are right, APS enrollment will reach levels last seen in the mid-1960’s.
The table below displays the latest projections for Arlington’s current three comprehensive high schools:
These data–which exclude high school students who will attend HB Woodlawn and other alternative programs–present a strong case for beginning to plan now for a fourth comprehensive high school to open by 2022.
Arlington should cap enrollment at somewhere between 2,000 to 2,500 at each of its comprehensive high schools
There is an extensive body of educational research concluding that ideal high school enrollment is in a range from 600 to 900 students. That ideal goal obviously is not practical for comprehensive high schools in Arlington. However, that same body of educational research also concludes that there is a significant adverse impact on learning in those high schools that enroll more than 2,100 students.
Finally, the research demonstrates that the significant adverse educational impacts at the high schools that enroll more than 2,100 students fall disproportionately on those students of low socio-economic or minority status.
Specialized program high schools, like Arlington Tech, are not adequate substitutes for a fourth comprehensive high school
Whether because it underestimated the degree of high school enrollment growth in the last CIP, or because it did not choose to confront the challenges of siting and constructing a fourth comprehensive high school then, APS is two years behind schedule in planning for a fourth comprehensive high school. Over the long term, Arlington Tech is not the answer to Arlington’s projected high school enrollment surge.
Other considerations in planning for a fourth comprehensive high school
It is essential for APS to conduct a thorough and transparent process to choose a site for a fourth comprehensive high school in this CIP cycle.
One possible option is to turn Kenmore into a high school, and to build a new middle school at the Carlin Springs hospital site. Despite clear traffic issues, this location for the fourth comprehensive high school would enable substantial enrollment reductions at both Wakefield and Washington-Lee.
Even after the new elementary school opens at the Thomas Jefferson site, and the new middle school opens at the Stratford site (following HB Woodlawn’s relocation to the Wilson School site), Arlington will need to add thousands more seats at all grade levels. In addition to a fourth comprehensive high school, this probably means adding at least two more elementary schools and another middle school over the next 10-12 years.
A comprehensive public high school education lies at the core of APS’ mission because APS should assign priority to providing that opportunity before providing narrower program options.
A fourth comprehensive Arlington high school should be up and running within 5-6 years.
Arts Focus highlights LAC Studios craft show and sale this Saturday, December 3 where you can shop local for one-of-a-kind gifts.
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Grab some friends and sign up for Parks & Rec’s Eugene J. Green Memorial Winter Basketball League! Adults 18+ can register teams of up to 12 people for the ten-game season. Cost is $765 per team. Games are Mondays and/or Wednesdays at Arlington Mill Community Center starting the week of Jan. 4. Sign up here by Dec. 11.
Join us at Art House 7 this Saturday 4-7pm for our Annual Open House – Teacher and Student art show!
- Meet our teachers
- See student and teacher artwork
- Teacher’s paintings, ceramics, notecards will be for sale
- Enjoy beverages and light refreshments
- All attendees get a $20 gift certificate off a class
- 30% off everything in our Supply Store for holiday gifts
Sat. Dec. 3, 4-7pm
Art House 7
5537 Langston Blvd.
Arlington VA 22207
NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.
Outstanding Young Artist