Potential Oakridge Elementary School Boundary Changes

February 16, 2016 |

By 2025, Oakridge Elementary is estimated to have 50% more students than it was built for. One way the school board is likely to address this issue is through boundary changes. Students in our area could end up at Hoffman-Boston as they did in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

2001 Arlington elementary school boundaries

2001 school boundaries

For example, in 2001, the School Board set the boundary in the following, “first come first serve” manner: “The original attendance area which is currently shared by Hoffman-Boston and Oakridge will remain the same for now…. Students entering Arlington Public Schools for the first time in September 2001 and who live in this original shared attendance area may register at either school for next year, depending on the parents’ preference. Once capacity is reached at either school in any grade level or specific program, all new registrants must register and attend the other school in the shared area. Students who move into into the areas transferred from Long Branch and Henry to Hoffman-Boston will be assigned to Hoffman-Boston.” If history repeats itself, your neighbor’s kid might go to Oakridge and your kid might go to Hoffman-Boston or Drew.

Another potential way the School Board could deal with the capacity issue is through building new schools or expanding others. Our area needs to make our voices heard about how we want the School Board to address our concerns. The school board is in the process of formulating its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is the manner in which it decides where in Arlington it will spend money for construction and building improvements for the next 10 years. Without more community involvement, we will lose our voice in the decision-making process. We need to advocate now for money to be spent in our area for 2025 and beyond.

To ensure our community’s voices are heard, we need to reach out to the Arlington School Board, the Arlington County Board and the leadership of Arlington Public Schools now!

​Ways you can help:

  1. Attend a Community Stakeholder Meeting to voice your concerns. Meetings are at 7pm on February 17th at Wakefield HS and February 24th at Washington-Lee HS. IN-PERSON PARTICIPATION IS MOST VALUABLE! The School Board listens when there are members of the public participating in these meetings. If you would like a ride to these meetings, please e-mail Rob Sidman at recordingsecretary@aurorahighlands.org
  2. Complete the online APS Survey on the CIP found here no later than March 4, 2016 (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/APSCIP2017). Need help answering the questions?​​ The questions related to our elementary schools in the survey are Questions 11-13​.
    • Suggested answer for Question 11 regarding capital solutions: Our Aurora Highlands community and the surrounding areas east of I-395 are the fastest growing in the county. By 2026, Oakridge will account for 25% of the entire elementary school seat deficit in Arlington. To address these issues, we need a new elementary school in the current Oakridge Attendance Zone. The South Arlington Working Group found that the capacity crisis at Oakridge Elementary School will not be relieved by a new school at the Thomas Jefferson site. Based on all of the facts, the SAWG requested a second elementary school in the Pentagon City area post-2019. Please honor that request.
    • Suggested Answer for Question 12 regarding non-capital solutions: In the Oakridge attendance zone, APS should consider creating an early childhood education center which can house Pre-K programs as well as Oakridge’s Kindergarten program. APS should also consider the creation of a choice school or an upper/lower elementary school in the area.
    • Suggested Answer for Question 13: The two boards should work together with Aurora Highlands and surrounding communities to find a suitable site for a new school in the Pentagon City area as requested in the South Arlington Working Group’s Final Report. The School Board should, at a minimum, fund an appropriate study for this recommendation through the upcoming CIP.
  3. Email the County Board and School Board and ask them for their support. The County Board members can be reached at: lgarvey@arlingtonva.us, jfisette@arlingtonva.us, kcristol@arlingtonva.us, cdorsey@arlingtonva.us, and/or jvihstadt@arlingtonva.us. You can reach the School Board via school.board@apsva.us.​​A sample paragraph to send to our elected leaders is below: 

    Dear School and County Board Members,

    I am deeply concerned about the growing number of students in Aurora Highlands and the adjacent communities east of I-395 and, in particular, the absence of a long-term County and School Board plan to address this capacity crisis. Oakridge is already the largest elementary school in the county and by 2026 will be home to over 1,000 students (it will be 50% over capacity using more conservative estimates than in prior years). While a new school at the Thomas Jefferson site will provide limited relief beginning in 2019, it will not address the underlying problem. I fully support the South Arlington Working Group’s recommendation that County leadership and School Board leadership work together to identify a site for a new elementary school in the Pentagon City area. I am asking you today to move that recommendation forward and keep our communities intact by​ giving​ our neighborhood children the same access to a neighborhood school enjoyed across Arlington. I look forward to your response and to seeing progress on this issue.


    Your name and full address

Want to get more involved in school capacity issues? Please e-mail Rob Sidman at recordingsecretary@aurorahighlands.org.

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