When buying a home, parents often spend hours researching school districts. In Arlington County, a variety of well-funded programs and paths at Arlington Public Schools (APS) assure prospective homebuyers that their children are in good hands, no matter their age or learning style.
Overall, parents are satisfied with the high quality of instruction at APS. In the most recent Community Satisfaction Survey, 94 percent of parents had positive views of their child’s school, and 92 percent had positive views on their child’s teacher.
The same survey found students to be happy with their school environment. The majority of students selected that they felt safe, welcome, and supported by adults at school.
Smaller Class Sizes
Small class sizes and individualized instruction lead elementary students to success. According to Arlington’s Class Size Report, the average class size in grades K-5 was just 21.5 students in 2019.
APS Makes the Grade
Arlington Public Schools are fully accredited, and their state test (SOL) scores show many positive trends. In five test subject areas and eight reporting groups, APS students met or exceeded the state average pass rate in 30 out of 40 reporting categories. Their test preparation for Students with Disabilities is especially strong, as those students met or exceeded pass rates in all five tested subject areas.
In a report on the best high schools in Virginia conducted by US News and World Report, all three of Arlington’s main high schools are high-achieving, ranking in the top 50 schools in the state (#14 for Yorktown, #28 for Washington-Liberty, and #44 for Wakefield). These three schools also boast a high graduation rate of over 90 percent.
The design of Arlington school buildings is state-of-the-art and award-winning in areas like Green School and Best Educational Design. APS constructs new schools and frequently renovates existing schools to reflect the growing needs of the county. Some of the latest exciting additions were Discovery Elementary School, the first net-zero school in Virginia, and a cyber cafe at Washington-Liberty.
APS offers Montessori preschool to all 3 to 5-year-olds using a sliding fee scale based on income. This county-funded program is a high-quality alternative to traditional private daycares and is a discovery-based approach that gives students the opportunity to learn more naturally.
Special Programs for Elementary
In elementary school, parents can send their children to their neighborhood school, or apply to send their child to a different school based on the programs it offers. Claremont and Key Elementary offer Spanish immersion programs. Campbell offers a student-centered expeditionary learning program, where much of the education takes place outdoors at neighboring Long Branch Nature Center.
Special Programs for Secondary
HB Woodlawn offers a liberal arts education with small class sizes and a focus on student freedom and choice for 6-12 graders.
The IB (International Baccalaureate) Program at Washington-Liberty made international news when they surpassed the worldwide pass rate of the IB diploma. While the average pass rate of this program is 79.1 percent, Washington-Liberty students achieved a 94.5 percent pass rate in 2020.
One thing that makes Arlington Public Schools unique is its inclusion of middle school students (grades 6-8) in its Interscholastic Sports program. While middle schools in many other counties only offer intramural after school programs, Arlington offers a fully-fledged program where students can compete against teams from other Arlington schools.
In addition to sports, there are several clubs and activities that give students even more opportunities to explore their interests. From drama to marching band to American Sign Language Club, there’s something to fuel every student’s passion.
How APS is responding to COVID-19
Arlington Public Schools will be starting the 2020-2021 school year online on September 8.
Arlington County ensured equity to its students by providing $500,000 worth of high-speed internet to students in need during the pandemic. The superintendent has stated that declining infection rates will inform the school system’s transition to in-person by October at the earliest.