If you live in Arlington County and have children, consider yourself lucky: Forbes magazine designated the Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA metro area as the best place in the nation to send your kid to school in 2007. Nothing has changed since then: Arlington still offers extremely high-quality public schools, ranging from Pre-K to grade 12.
In 2015, enrollment in Arlington County Schools was 25,678, including students from 120 countries. There were 2,166 teachers to correspond with this amount of students, which works out to a ratio of almost 1:12. According to Wikipedia, “In fiscal year 2009, Arlington transferred $350.1 million to the public school system. Less than 20% of school funding comes from sources outside Arlington. In fiscal year 2016, close to $557.5 million is budgeted.”
The mission statement of Arlington Public School is as follows: “Arlington Public Schools instills a love of learning in its students and prepares them to be responsible and productive global citizens.” Its vision, according to the school system’s website, is to promote a diverse and inclusive school environment that is caring, safe, and healthy. The system affirms its commitment to academic excellence and integrity. The student body of the APS is racially diverse: 48% white, 26% Latino, 13% black and 11% Asian.
There are over thirty schools in Arlington County, including special programs like “a Spanish-English partial immersion program at all grade levels, an International Baccalaureate Program, three countywide alternative schools offering education choice, and a career center providing advanced vocational and technical training.” One of Arlington’s elementary schools, Hoffman-Boston, was the first secondary school to be racially integrated in Virginia, in 1959. It was built in 1916 as a segregated black secondary school, and today is an integrated elementary school.
Another notable Arlington school is Washington-Lee High School, which in 2010 was named as #63 on Newsweek’s list of “America’s Best High Schools,” as well as being ranked third in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Named named after Generals George Washington and Robert E. Lee, Washington-Lee was remodeled between 2006 and 2009 to the tune of $100 million, one of the most expensive school construction projects in the United States. The new school is LEED-certified gold by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) rating system. With four stories, abundant athletic fields, and a ten-lane swimming pool, it is one of the highlights of the Arlington Public Schools.
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