Letter from HPOK to Arlington Public Schools regarding Reed Boundary Process
Dear Members of the School Board and Superintendent Durán, I am writing on behalf of the Highland Parks Overlee Knolls (HPOK) civic association regarding your boundary process for the new elementary school at the Reed site. The school is located within the boundaries of HPOK.
HPOK and the greater Westover community have faced a couple disappointments over Reed school. We lost our walkable school when it closed in 1984, and APS began bussing all the children to other schools. The community was again disappointed when APS built a childcare center at the site a decade ago rather than a school, while elementary school overcrowding was clearly on the rise. Several years ago, when the Reed site was again in play, the four civic associations surrounding Westover joined to advocate for it to open as a neighborhood elementary school.
Reed is unique because it is adjacent to Westover Village, a civic and commercial hub that includes a library, post office, bank, small park, many independently-owned businesses, a thriving farmers market, and–two blocks away–Swanson Middle School. Westover is a walking destination for thousands of people every day.
The community was thrilled when APS committed to making the planned new building a neighborhood school, but many were concerned about the potential negative effects on Westover from increased bussing and car traffic. The fact that Reed is walkable for almost an entire school population helped mitigate concerns.
HPOK rated walkability as the most valued aspect of the community, according to a survey of the greater Westover civic associations. HPOK members assisted APS in gathering information for the Reed School walk zone maps, and last year HPOK invited the APS Safe Routes to School coordinator to a meeting to help brainstorm ways to promote and ensure a walking culture for the school.
Neighbors have been watching the construction progress of their new school with great anticipation. We urge APS to look for ways to make Reed the walkable school it is suited to be, and to decrease unnecessary bussing both in and out of the community surrounding Reed.
President Highland Park Overlee Knolls Civic Association
From HPOK Civic Association Board: New school boundary proposals from APS. Arlington Public Schools (APS) is currently reviewing new boundary options for the Reed school under construction in our neighborhood. The initial boundary proposal presented on 5 of October zoned most of our civic association and surrounding walkable neighborhoods to the Reed school. APS is considering new boundary options that differ from the initial proposal. The HPOK board wants to make everyone aware of these discussions because the new school is right in our backyard, walkable from our homes, and will become a natural focal point for our community. Those within our civic association who are currently assigned to McKinely will move to the new Reed School no matter what option is chosen. One option APS is considering would mean a large portion of our civic association that directly borders the new Reed school will not be zoned to attend it. We know there are a variety of opinions in the neighborhood. If you want to voice your opinion here is an action you can take: 1) confirm your school boundary planning unit # https://gis.arlingtonva.us/Html5Viewer/Index.html?configBase=https://gis.arlingtonva.us/Geocortex/Essentials/REST/sites/APS_Attendance_Locator/viewers/APS_School_Boundary_Locator/virtualdirectory/Resources/Config/Default/ 2) review proposed boundary options here. Primarily slides 14-19 and slide 33, attached here. https://go.boarddocs.com/vsba/arlington/Board.nsf/files/BUUTEP7709E7/$file/Elementary%20School%20Boundary%20Process%2010-29-2020.pdf 3) address an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to voice support for your desired APS elementary boundary option. Recommend including your PU # and your reasoning in the email. – “Initial proposal” zones most of the walkable units in the surrounding civic associations to Reed. – “Plan A” zones most HPOK families to attend the new Reed School but leaves out other walkable units – “Plan B” zones a large portion of HPOK families who currently attend Tuckahoe to continue attending Tuckahoe and be bussed to the school. APS timeline for decision: Nov. 3: Superintendent’s recommendation will be posted on BoardDocs Nov. 5: Superintendent’s recommendation will be presented to School Board Dec. 1: Public Hearing on elementary school boundaries Dec. 3: School Board adoption of new boundaries for 2021-22 For more information: www.apsva.us/engage/fall2020elementaryboundaries/