Arlington Public Schools is considering ending the school year a week early.
The proposal was announced at the School Board meeting Thursday night, in which APS also announced its new superintendent.
The plan, if approved at a May 21 School Board meeting, would set June 12 as the last day for all grade levels. The current 2019-2020 school calendar lists June 17 as the last day for high schools and June 19 as the last day for middle and elementary schools.
The plan also proposes virtual graduations for Arlington’s comprehensive high schools on Thursday, June 18.
APS has refrained from teaching new material since schools closed in mid-March and were later ordered closed through the end of the academic year. The use of online learning to reinforce existing material, rather than teach new material, has proven controversial.
In a press release, below, APS said the extra week of staff time would be used to prepare for an assumed resumption of in-person schooling in the fall. The press release also addresses the possibility of summer school classes being held online.
At last night’s School Board meeting, APS announced a proposed modification to the end of year calendar for 2019-20. The proposed last date is June 12. The School Board is expected to take action on May 21.
Ending instruction on June 12 will allow APS teachers and staff to engage in professional development during the week of June 15 to prepare for a strong re-entry to school in fall 2020. Required virtual staff training will focus on planning for the return to physical school with an emphasis on social emotional support for students; distance learning best practices; preparing to teach 4th quarter content and pacing the rest of the school year; and planning for the possible expansion of continuous learning in the event that schools cannot reopen.
Key dates for students and families:
- Friday, June 5 – Last day for Seniors (no change)
- Thursday, June 11 – Virtual Graduation for Arlington Career Center
- Friday, June 12 – Last day for Elementary, Middle and High School; Virtual Shriver Graduation
- Wednesday, June 17 – Virtual Middle School Promotions; H-B Woodlawn Virtual Graduation
- Thursday, June 18 – Virtual Graduation for Washington-Liberty, Wakefield and Yorktown
- Friday, June 19 – Virtual Graduation for Arlington Community High School and Langston High School Continuation
In June, staff and families will be given time to retrieve items from schools, and 5th, 8th and 12th grade students will be able to return devices. Additional end-of-year guidance for families will be shared soon.
Summer School Plans
APS is also currently developing contingency plans for Summer School based on multiple factors, including guidance from state officials. Plans under consideration include:
- In-person Summer School in August, if social distancing requirements have been lifted and schools can safely open; or
- Hybrid in-person and online Summer School in August, if schools can safely open with multiple contingencies to maintain social distancing (e.g. rotating live and online instruction, offering staggered morning and afternoon sessions, doubling sites to allow for social distancing); or
- Online Summer School in July, if stay-at-home orders persist or if conditions are still unclear in early June, when the decision needs to be made.
“We are committed to offering a modified summer school program for students who need it most, either in person or online,” said Bridget Loft, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.
At the elementary level, summer school would be available for students who are below grade level in reading or math. At the secondary level, summer school would available be for students who have a final grade of D or E in any class and a documented reason for not being able to access Canvas during the final quarter of the school year. Additionally, New Work for Credit courses would be offered for high school students.
Summer School would be free to those students who are recommended to take a course. Students taking New Work for Credit would pay for the class they enroll in.The School Board will take action on the school year calendar change at the May 21 School Board meeting. APS expects to make a final decision on Summer School in early June, based on guidance from state officials and the best available information at that time. Community members can submit questions regarding the calendar changes through APS Engage at [email protected].