Gunston Staff and Families,
We are writing you today with an important update regarding the Spanish Immersion Program at Gunston Middle School. After careful consideration and thoughtful planning, a recommendation is being made at the School Board Work Session tonight to relocate the Spanish Immersion Program to Kenmore Middle School for the start of the 2025-26 school year. Students who are enrolled in the program at that time will remain in the program and will be transferred to Kenmore when the program relocates to Kenmore.
The decision to relocate this program was driven by our commitment to provide the best possible educational experience for our students. We believe that by moving the program to a centrally located school, we will be able to enhance the program's offerings and create new opportunities for our students to flourish.
In an effort to accommodate students when the Spanish Immersion Program moves to Kenmore and to balance capacity at all middle schools across APS, there will be a middle school boundary process this fall that will go into effect for the 2025-26 school year, which is the same time we are proposing the relocate the Spanish Immersion program to Kenmore. The boundary process will also allow for additional student capacity at Gunston due to the projected student enrollment growth in coming years.
In support of our focus to facilitate a smooth transition, we will work closely with both our staff and families to address any questions or concerns you may have. In the coming months, the Planning & Evaluation Department will provide detailed information about the logistics, timelines, and any changes that may arise as a result of the relocation throughout this planning process.
To our Spanish Immersion Program families, we want to assure you that we remain fully committed to the success and well-being of your students. We will continue to provide ongoing communication and support throughout this planning process. We recognize the importance of a smooth transition for our students and will work closely with you to ensure their needs are met and their academic journey remains uninterrupted if the School Board moves forward with this proposed change.
To our dedicated staff members who have contributed to the success of the Spanish Immersion Program, we want to express our deepest gratitude for your tireless efforts and commitment to our students' language acquisition and cultural understanding. Your expertise and passion have played a significant role in shaping the program's success, and we look forward to the continued growth and development of our students with your continued support.
We believe that the relocation of the Spanish Immersion Program will open new doors of opportunity for our students, enabling them to broaden their language skills, embrace cultural diversity, and excel academically. We are confident that this move will further strengthen the foundations we have built at Gunston and enhance the overall educational experience for all our students.
In the fall, the Planning & Evaluation Department will host meetings for staff and families to share information about relocating this program and to answer any questions you may have.
You can watch tonight’s work session live online at 7 p.m. by visiting the following link: https://www.apsva.us/school-board-meetings/school-board-work-sessions-meetings. If you are unable to watch the work session live, you can visit the link at any time to watch the recording of the work session.
The School Board will make a final decision regarding relocating this program when they vote on it in December 2023. I encourage you to visit the 2023 Middle School Boundary Process & Spanish Immersion Program Relocation webpage for additional information about this process and for continued updates in the coming months.
If you have questions or need any additional information about this proposal, please contact Planning & Evaluation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Planning & Evaluation
My kid is a rising 6th grader going to Gunston next year. So this would be his 8th grade year. I feel like this school career is so full of disruptions. Now he has to transition to a new school right before he transitions to another new school for HS?
Anyway, it just kind of sucks.
Interesting that a comprehensive middle school boundary process is finally on the horizon. With TJ and Swanson also overcrowded and with plenty of space at Williamsburg and Dorothy Hamm, boundaries may shift north.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Boulevard Manor neighborhood supporting a re zoning to Swanson, since they are currently zoned Kenmore then Yorktown. That’s been a sore point for the community.
Rising eighth graders are usually grandfathered.
It specifically says students will be transferred to Kenmore. Although doesn't say anything about 8th grade specifically. But I don't image they have enough teachers that ONLY teach 8th grade in the immersion program. So I don't think its that simple.
I feel like this is being presented as a done deal without community input, which is a bit jarring. Apparently the initial discussions talked about moving it to TJ or Hamm.
|This is disappointing. There were whispers of this several years ago and I initially loved the idea of the program being closer to our house, but then I learned about how well Gunston had incorporated the program into its school and how hard it is to pull that off. This is a really hard change, even if Kenmore stands ready with talented administrators and teachers to keep the program at its current level.
Sad to see it leave Gunston, but Hamm makes sense if it had to move. The school has been under-enrolled and it is more centrally located. It’s not on the edge of the county like Kenmore.
|I feel a bit blindsided by this. There is already a recommendation before any community engagement? This should be part of any MS boundary process. The Montessori program is also at Gunston. I share the concerns already voiced about how well Gunston has integrated the immersion program into the school. Montessori is a stand alone program so if they need more space it would make more sense to me for that one to move.
You can't grandfather one part of a separate program. Unless they add one grade of immersion a year over the course of 3 years.....which I really don't think they will, nor should they, do.
Non-immersion kids, yes, likely grandfathered for their final year. But the younger siblings in 6th or 7th, probably not.
What "initial discussions"? I've never heard TJ or Hamm as possibilities; but over the past several years, have always heard rumors and community assumptions/predictions cite Kenmore as the potential relocation site for immersion.
Disagree entirely. More "central" to north/east Arlington, maybe; but not to the county as a whole. Hamm is not centrally-accessible like Kenmore is. Also, Kenmore area has a higher concentration of Spanish-speaking families than the Hamm area.
If there weren't a recommendation, there would be nothing for the community to discuss.
Gunston is overcrowded and is expected to become increasingly overcrowded. Moving Montessori will eventually happen (Montessori WANTS it to happen); but immersion is a much larger program and opens a lot more seats than Montessori. Relocating the program to a location more accessible by the north part of the County will also (1) encourage more families to continue from Key to middle school immersion and (2) test how popular the immersion program beyond elementary truly is.
|Will the Kenmore location help attract more native Spanish speakers to the program?
Do you happen to know know kenmore numbers? Won't they become overcrowded with the program.
Seems like an easy way to determine of folks will stay in Immersion and why is to poll folks about why they leave Immersion for a few years. Then make a decision on data vs assuming. If more key families leave Immersion than Claremont my guess is because they feel more comfortable with their MS then they do Gunston for reasons that have zero to do with distance and doubt Kenmore will change that. A lot of Claremont kids are at gunston regardless so the decision is easier for them.