Keep Clarendon/Courthouse Neighborhood Together in the APS Middle School Boundary Change

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Arlington Public Schools current proposal to change middle school boundaries negatively impacts our children and community.  The proposal by APS does not align our planning units with the other planning units that also go to Arlington Science Focus/Key School.  While a majority of ASFS/Key School units are zoned for Stratford Middle School, our planning units - 24100 and 24111 -  are zoned for Swanson Middle School. This results not only in a small island going elsewhere but basically fragments our small neighborhood. For the reasons outlined below, we ask that these units be switched to Stratford Middle School.

Alignment - Stop the Islands:
Under the current proposals, students from our units are being separated in a small group from the rest of their peers at ASFS/Key. This time it is Swanson Middle School. In the past, it was Jefferson. Due to the increased emphasis on proximity and efficiency, most elementary schools feed directly into a single middle school and the splintering of the community is more the exception than the rule. As a result, the handful of students from these planning units will be separated from friends they have known since kindergarten and placed in a community where the majority of students have known each other for years.

Keep Rocky Run Park Together:
We live in an urban environment, we do not play in cul-de-sacs, instead the kids play at Rocky Run Park. All the kids surrounding the park go to school together (currently ASFS/Key) and they all know each other. We are in fact a small neighborhood community. Both proposal options A and B split a small group of students off from the rest of the ASFS/Key students and their neighbors in that community.

Increase Bus Transportation Efficiency:
The bus to Stratford will still be passing our neighborhood to pick up the students on the other side of Barton St N. So, an additional bus will likely not be needed for Stratford. In contrast, Swanson will require an additional bus. We are officially in a non-walking zone for all of the middle schools.

Change will cause a minimal Impact:
If you look at the data for these 2 planning units, the student numbers are small. Making this change will not create a significant impact on the numbers going to Stratford MS. In fact, each of these planning units is expected to generate <= 10 students per grade.

For these reasons, we ask that APS not divide our community and separate our children from their friends.  Please zone units 24100 and 24111 for Stratford Middle School to properly align us with our neighbors and friends at ASFS and in turn, increase efficiency.