Arlington Co. teacher shortage means fewer spots for summer school programs

A teacher shortage in Arlington County, Virginia, means fewer children will be able to attend summer school programs this year, according to a statement the school system issued Monday.

“Despite having offered financial incentives to teachers to teach summer school, there are fewer applicants than the number of students who are eligible for summer instruction at the elementary level, making it impossible for APS to offer summer strengthening support to all eligible elementary students,” Bridget Loft, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, said in a letter sent to parents.

According to the letter, elementary students in the following groups will be enrolled for full, in-person and full distance learning summer strengthening programs:

  • All prekindergarten students in their 4-year-old year (rising kindergarten) who received a summer school eligibility letter;
  • Students with disabilities who have Extended School Year (ESY) or Recovery Services on their IEP;
  • Students with disabilities who are enrolled in countywide special education programs (Pre-K Special Education Programs, MIPA, Life Skills, Interlude, Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Communication);
  • English Learners (EL) levels 1 and 2 and Temporary English Learners (TEL students who have not been assessed yet but are presumed English Learners).

Loft said enrollment was based on staffing availability.

“We understand that this decision is disappointing to families whose children will not be able to participate in summer school and regret that we are unable to serve all elementary students who met the initial eligibility standards as we cannot accommodate waitlists,” Loft said.

Arlington Public Schools will provide targeted instructional resources available through the summer via Lexia and Dreambox. Teachers will also assess whether accelerated learning support may be required at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.

Information for the school system’s secondary summer school program will be shared the week of May 17.

Two virtual town halls are also scheduled for May 17 and May 18 to answer any questions parents or guardians may have.

“Should you have questions or concerns, please plan to participate in a virtual town hall meeting focused on summer school on Monday, May 17 from 6-7 p.m.  A virtual town hall meeting specifically focused on the delivery of services during summer school for students with disabilities will be held on Tuesday, May 18 from 7-8 p.m. The meetings will be conducted via Microsoft Teams and you can find more information online,” Loft stated.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Glynis Kazanjian

Glynis Kazanjian has been a freelance writer covering Maryland politics and government on the local, state and federal levels for the last 11 years. Her work is published in Maryland Matters, the Baltimore Post Examiner, Bethesda Beat and Md. Reporter. She has also worked as a true crime researcher.

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