The County’s spraygrounds close for the season on Labor Day, marking the unofficial end of another summer in Arlington. But with every ending comes a new beginning.
Arlington Public Schools (APS) is set to start a new year on Tuesday, Sept. 3, with over 28,000 students attending the top school district in Virginia. And in 2019, new is the operative word: APS has new schools, new names and a new Interim Superintendent in Cintia Johnson.
Whether you’re a parent, a teacher or a neighbor, a new school year is something that can affects the whole community.
Here’s a look at the homework that kept Arlington busy all summer long to make sure we’re ready for the morning bell (it’s important to show your work):
new school, who this?
APS is the opening the doors to five new schools this year, with several programs moving locations:
- Alice West Fleet Elementary School (take a video tour!)
- The Heights Building: A new building in Rosslyn (video tour) that is home to the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program (formerly the Stratford Program)
- Dorothy Hamm Middle School: Arlington’s newest middle school, opening and in the original Stratford building
- Montessori Public School of Arlington: The first standalone, countywide Montessori public school in the Commonwealth of Virginia opens in the former Patrick Henry Elementary School building. Drew Model School, which previously housed the Montessori program, is now named Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School.
Additionally, Washington-Lee High School is now known as Washington-Liberty, which went into effect on July 1, 2019.
New to Arlington and need information on school registration? Wondering which bus your child will take? Need to see the breakfast and lunch menus? The APS Back-to-School Quick Tips site has all these answers, and much, much more to help new and returning APS families get ready for the first day of school.
New schools and program moves mean change not just for students and teachers, but also for the nearby neighborhoods and Arlington’s commuters. APS has compiled a look at Transportation Changes to Watch Out for in the New School Year, including:
- 18th Street in Rosslyn will be closed to general traffic to allow buses to load and load in the morning and afternoon at The Heights Building
- New traffic patterns on Old Dominion Drive, new crosswalks at Lorcom Lane and Vacation Lane and an overall increase in students walking near Dorothy Hamm Middle School
- “See Me Flags” deployed at the intersection of Glebe and Walter Reed (Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School on 23rd St.) and at the intersections of the Dorothy Hamm Middle School
Familiarize yourself with the changes to student transportation in this APS video to help keep our roadways safe for everyone.
Back to school means more travelers on the roadways, including students commuting to class. The Arlington County Police Department remains committed to ensuring the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists in our neighborhoods. Help ACPD ensure the trip to school is a safe one by familiarizing yourself with the posted school zone signs along your commute, and always obeying the posted traffic signage. Officers will be conducting high visibility traffic enforcement in and around school zones throughout Arlington County starting on the first day of classes.
2019 Safety PSA from Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington County Police Department:
Additionally, ACPD’s School Resource Officers (SROs) are preparing for another safe and successful academic year. SROs are focused on developing positive relationships between law enforcement and the students of Arlington. They also work closely with school staff to promote public safety initiatives aimed at keeping our students safe in school, at home and in the community.
Watch here as Detective Brooks discusses how he’s building relationships within the school community to positively impact in the lives of APS students:
The Wheels on the Bus …
… go ’round and ’round. But only if they’ve met the strictest of maintenance checks. That’s where Arlington’s Equipment Division comes in. Throughout the year — whether school is in session or not — the County’s full-service vehicle maintenance and repair facility maintains the APS fleet, ensuring nearly 200 buses are up-to-date on all safety standards. Read more and go behind the scenes of school bus maintenance.
Arlington Transit — ART bus — supplements Metrobus with cross-County routes as well as neighborhood connections to Metrorail. And did you know students in Arlington can ride for just $1.00? The Student iRide SmarTrip Card allows discounted ART bus rides (and it works on Metrobus, Metrorail and other regional bus systems). Learn where and how to purchase the card.
After School Special
For many Arlington students, the final bell of the day doesn’t mean the fun and learning is over. The County’s Parks and Recreation Department offers many after-school options, for all ages. During the school year, they provide safe, fun and enriching programs for youth. And from Teen Clubs, to skate nights, to Teen Cafe, there are plenty of activities to keep teens busy.
APS’ Extended Day Program, which includes the middle school Check-In programs, plays a critical role in the development of young people’s social, emotional and academic skills.
Sharpen Those Pencils
After you’ve reviewed the School Supply List on the individual school’s website (find your school here), you can set out to fill backpacks with three-ring binders and notebooks. But keep in mind some easy Green Back-To-School Shopping Tips, put together by the Department of Environmental Services. The Arlington County Police Department recently held its annual Fill the Cruiser Back-to-School Drive, a chance for the community to donate new school supplies and other classroom materials. All donated supplies were then provided to Arlington schools for distribution to teachers and students.
The Arlington County Public Health Division offers vaccines required for entry into Arlington County Public schools, without charge, to all children, regardless of insurance status. And even though they’re almost grown up, pre-teens and adolescents need vaccines. Visit the Immunization Clinic’s page for more info, including hours and location.
And it doesn’t stop there: The School Health Bureau (SHB) — part of the Public Health Division of Arlington County Department of Human Services — includes 21 Public Health Nurses and 37 School Health Aides, but its work is not regulated to the clinic alone. Staff has been stocking medical supplies, equipment and emergency kits in each school building this summer — after all, the clinics saw more than 130,000 student visits last school year.
Study these tips, ideas and helpful reminders, and you’ll be ready to help make the new school year an A+.