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APS: Stratford Program May Temporarily Move to Yorktown HS

Arlington Public Schools is shooting down rumors that the Stratford Program is going to be “dismantled” while also announcing that a new, temporary location is under consideration.

Stratford serves secondary-level special education students and is currently co-located with the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program on Vacation Lane. Both programs are set to move to a new facility in Rosslyn for the 2019-2020 school year, but Stratford will be moving to a temporary home during the next school year to facilitate the renovation of its current building into a neighborhood middle school.

In a letter to parents today, Stratford principal Karen Gerry said that APS is now reconsidering a plan to house Stratford in the Reed School building in Westover for a year. For various reasons, APS says Yorktown High School may be a better temporary location, and the school system is kicking off a hurried outreach effort with parents to discuss the new option.

Gerry, in her letter, also acknowledges a false rumor that had been spreading via email that APS was planning to eliminate the Stratford Program.

“It seems that Arlington County has made a decision to dismantle the Stratford Program and that we will not be joining HB Woodlawn at the new site in Rosslyn, as planned,” said the email, which was sent by a parent and later obtained by ARLnow.com. “Several Stratford parents are concerned that this decision has been made without consultation with the wider Stratford community.”

“Over the last few days, there have been many community conversations, emails and statements posted about our plans for next year, and unfortunately, much of it has included misleading or incorrect information,” Gerry wrote. “We want to reassure you that regardless of the one-year location for Stratford students in the 2018-19 school year, the Stratford Program is not being dismantled and our plan to move to the new building on Wilson in the fall of 2019 has not changed.”

The full letter from Gerry to Stratford parents is after the jump.

Photo via Google Maps

Dear Stratford Families:

In the summer of 2018, our building here on Vacation Lane will begin the renovation process as it transitions to a neighborhood middle school. Because of the construction that will take place, Stratford students will no longer be able to access the entrances and classrooms previously available to support their learning. Therefore, for the 2018-19 school year, students will be moving to a new location within APS.

Over the last year or so, we have been working as a community to prepare our students to transition to the Reed building for one year, and then ultimately to the new building on Wilson Boulevard with the H-B Woodlawn Program. As we have been preparing for this move, APS staff has been working to ensure that Reed was the best location for our students for the 2018-19 school year. In analyzing Reed, another potential location — Yorktown High School — was suggested for consideration.  We understand that Yorktown was not an option that was previously discussed, but we believe it is worth exploring further for several important reasons. During this year of transition, we want to ensure that Stratford students have the opportunity to regularly interact with peers from outside of the program. We also want to be sure Stratford’s students have access to the resources that are available to all middle and high school students including the arts, music, and physical education (including swimming); breakfast and lunch in the school cafeteria with their peers; co-curricular activities; and other staffing and facility resources. Yorktown was suggested as a worthy alternative for consideration because none of these educational features and resources will be available next year for our students at the Reed building.

Because we want the Stratford families to help us consider all of the implications of the move for next year, we would like to invite you to join Paul Jamelske, Dr. Tara Nattrass, and me to discuss the Reed and Yorktown options for the 2018-19 school year. We will be hosting an Open House at Stratford from 5:00 until 8:30pm next Wednesday, May 16. You are welcome to drop in at any time during this window of time. We will meet individually or in small groups to discuss the benefits and concerns of both Reed and Yorktown High School as potential locations for our students.

Over the last few days, there have been many community conversations, emails and statements posted about our plans for next year, and unfortunately, much of it has included misleading or incorrect information. We want to reassure you that regardless of the one-year location for Stratford students in the 2018-19 school year, the Stratford Program is not being dismantled and our plan to move to the new building on Wilson in the fall of 2019 has not changed. We look forward to talking with you about next year and, most importantly, to work together with all of our Stratford community to find the best opportunity to serve our students’ personal and educational needs as we prepare to successfully transition to the new Wilson location in September 2019.

Warm regards,

Karen
Karen Gerry,
Principal

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