Join Club

APS Encourages More Parents to Enroll As It Prepares for Full-Time In-Person School

With one month to go before school starts, parents are being urged to enroll their kids in some Arlington public schools amid a continued drop in enrollment.

Screenshots and emails provided to ARLnow indicate some elementary schools, including Discovery and Jamestown, need just a few more kindergarteners before they can officially get one more kindergarten class. The correspondences say the extra class would reduce class sizes and keep teachers at the school they were teaching at last year.

“If you have a rising Kindergartener, please register your child ASAP!” one woman wrote on Nextdoor. “I heard through the grapevine that [Discovery is] 3 kids shy of a third class… which means they may have to let an amazing teacher and assistant go! Help spread the word to any new families in the neighborhood!”

An email to Jamestown families pleaded with families to “pretty, pretty please” register their children as soon as possible, as the elementary only needs 10 more students to add a fourth class.

School starts on Monday, Aug. 30 for most students. The vast majority will be in-person five days a week, though APS is offering a full-distance model this year for families still unsure about returning to school amid the pandemic, as cases rise and as the state recommends all students wear masks at the elementary level.

The encouragement to enroll comes on the heels of new enrollment numbers APS released earlier this month, showing a continued drop in APS students since the start of the pandemic. The new data indicates so far, there are 26,052 students registered for the fall. Of those, 891 will be full-time distance learning, and 25,161 students will be in-person full-time. In June of this year, there were 26,502 students enrolled, and in June 2020, 28,142 students were enrolled.

APS attributed the drop last year due to the pandemic, when many families decided to wait a year, homeschool their kids or switch to private and parochial schools. Since then, officials have said the schools should prepare for enrollment to bounce back.

Enrollment numbers will be made official in October. Lower summer numbers and encouragement to register are both annual phenomena, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said.

“Every year at this time, we encourage families to register as there are always families new to the area, rising kindergarten students, military and embassy families,” he said. “We typically see a large bump in registrations in August and even September.”

Two years ago, Ashlawn Elementary School was slightly below projections and then saw 49 students register on the Friday before school started, he said.

As for the emphasis on class sizes, that’s because APS had to increase class sizes at all levels due to budgetary decisions made earlier this year.

Enrollment is also fluid within APS’s two programs, in-person and fully virtual.

“The total enrollment in the Virtual Learning Program has decreased by more than 300 students since June, when we announced that virtual families can transition to in-person school at any time,” spokeswoman Catherine Ashby said.

Bellavia said teachers at schools that lose classes due to lower enrollment won’t lose jobs, but will instead be transferred to where they’re needed.

“We are committed to retaining the excellent teachers that we have, and look for opportunities in their current school or to re-assign teachers to school where enrollment requires additional teachers,” he said.

Former APS parent Todd Truitt ran the enrollment numbers himself and developed the following graph. He said enrollment between June 2020 and July 2021 dropped 7.4%, which is comparable to the drop seen in New York City Public Schools.

Enrollment analysis, assuming the current level of enrollment this fall (courtesy of Todd Truitt)

Truitt, who pulled his kids from APS this summer, began looking into the data after learning that the 2,000 who withdrew last year were largely planning to stay away. At the time, the news prompted questions about how the drop would impact APS’s budget.

But since that discussion, he said it’s been crickets.

“It wasn’t discussed at the year-end review meeting, and it seems to be something the school board and the County Board don’t want to discuss,” he said.

For the group Arlington Parents for Education, which has been vocal in its calls for a full, five-day school week since last year, the push to get kids in school and decrease class sizes — when class sizes increased because of the budget — is at odds with the estimated $10 million APS could spend on virtual learning.

[American Rescue Plan] funds are to be used for safe reopening of schools and to address student learning loss and support needs due to the pandemic,” the group said in a newsletter. “$10.95 million is 58.6% of APS’ entire ARP allotment. All of it is going to a new virtual school with 891 students.”

The estimated 111 full-time employees allotted to the virtual program represent all staff, not just teachers, and doesn’t take into account the 300-child drop in Virtual Learning Program attendees, Ashby said.

Recent Stories

Morning Notes

Rent Growth Slowed in 2022 — “Add together the past five years… and the Arlington apartment market has somewhat underperformed the nation as a whole, according to new data…  But…

Good Monday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 9202 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

A new coalition will tackle how Arlington nonprofits and county government distribute food and support people who are food insecure. The group held its kick-off meeting at Central Library last…

A Lunar New Year celebration is coming to the Pentagon City mall this weekend. On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is partnering with Asian American Chamber…

Need help dealing with anxiety, depression or stress?

If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety, depression or stress, our virtual psychotherapy services can help. We offer a confidential and convenient service that’s tailored to your needs.

In our practice, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is an important tool we use to provide effective relief for those facing anxiety and depression. We believe that cognitive change can be used to improve behaviors and emotions, thus allowing you to achieve mental wellness. By understanding the cognitive distortions that lead to negative thought patterns, we are able to create interventions tailored to each of our clients. This empowering approach can help you gain control of how your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors impact your experience. With CBT, our service provides an effective treatment that can bring long-term change and mental stability.

Book a free consultation today and see how we can help you live a happier and healthier life.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.

Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.

We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.

Submit your own Announcement here.

Almost, Maine

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, join us for a series of vignettes that revolve around the theme of love. Taking place in an almost-town called Almost, Maine, we will show you different, but important, facet of love in each

First-time Moms Meet & Greet

The truth, your first pregnancy and new mom months are full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and lots of questions! None of us really know the best way to do it – we just figure it out, together…

×

Subscribe to our mailing list