The Alexandria City School Board has voted on a series of redistricting policies that include class sizes and the designation of educational programs.
The School Board deferred a vote on policies that will decide grandfathering until the Redistricting Review Committee has had a chance to work with the proposed outlines for them in the fall and assess whether they work. The Redistricting Review Committee will work with the proposed policies to redraw boundaries in the fall.
Under the newly approved policies, families may request to have their child enroll in a school other than their zoned school if they wish them to enroll in a specific educational program, and there is space in that program. Transfers into these programs will be known as programmatic transfers. The School Board voted to designate specific school programs eligible for programmatic transfers: Dual Language Program, the K-8 Program and the Modified Calendar Program.
Students will be allowed to opt in and out of the Dual Language Program and the Modified Calendar program. Elementary students attending a K-8 school may opt out at the beginning of grade 6, but not before. They can can opt in at any grade.
Students seeking admission to the Dual Language Program during grades 2-5 will be reviewed on a case by case basis to ensure the student can fully access and participate in the curriculum.
The newly approved policies allow siblings of students who have received programmatic transfers to attend the siblings’ school even if class size caps are exceeded.
Students who have received programmatic transfers may request to return to their boundary school at the start of the following school year. These requests will be granted if there is capacity at the requested grade level. Any request received during the school year will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
When a school is full, the Superintendent may limit the assignment of elementary students to a particular school or grade level based on capacity, and reassign the student to the school closest to the student’s residence. No student already enrolled in a school will be removed due to capacity. Siblings of current students will be allowed to enroll in the school that their sibling attends even if class size caps are exceeded.
Transportation will be provided for students opting in and out of designated educational programs and capacity reassignments.
The School Board also voted to maintain class cap sizes at 22 students for kindergarten, 24 students for grades one and two and 26 students for grades three, four and five. These will be reviewed and set annually by the School Board during the budget process. At the middle and high school levels, the Virginia Standards of Quality establishes student to teacher ratios instead of class size caps.
Because the Code of Virginia allows larger elementary class size caps than those established by ACPS, these caps may be exceeded slightly under special conditions that include allowing siblings to remain at the same school, placement of military children in a school that they have previously attended and student health, safety and security.
The Superintendent may authorize reductions in class sizes at individual schools based on school enrollment, programming needs and physical classroom capacity.
Watch a video about the redistricting policy changes: