Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weast moving 5 yr olds to Middle School

Superintendent Jerry Weast has decided to move kindergarteners from Oakland Terrace Elementary School to Sligo Middle School for the next two years.
His full decision is here.

(No mention in the decision of using the closer Stephen Knolls school facility as an overflow for Oakland Terrace ES.)


  1. I am the Sligo PTSA President and the mom of a current 8th grader at Sligo. My son also went to Sligo, and both kids also attended Oakland Terrace. I wanted to comment briefly on the recommendation Mr. Weast has now sent to the Board to relieve overcrowding at Oakland Terrace. Based on attending all of the three community meetings held on the project, my review of the decision documents as well as informal discussions with parents and MCPS staff, I think this has been a carefully considered decision that addresses the truly significant issue at Oakland Terrace.

    There appears to be broad agreement that something need to be done urgently about overcrowding at Oakland Terrace (OT). In fact, I believe OT parents were key in getting the issue before the Board, which appropriately wanted to find a solution. During the community meetings, OT parents expressed a variety of appropriate and understandable concerns about the impact of the move of any OT students, particularly kindergarteners. Sligo parents also expressed appropriate concerns about impacts on Sligo, particularly that Sligo's progress over the last few years not be slowed by these changes. Additionally, parents asked what other options had been considered, and the MCPS planing staff discussed the reasons for the rejection of various alternatives including using other elementary schools, leasing space, and using other "closed school" space. I believe over the course of the three sessions most of the concerns for everyone involved were addressed. The Planning Grid, which is attached to Mr. Weast's recommendation, represents the quality of the dialogue that occurred and explains in some detail how the plan can work. I was particularly struck by the kindergarten teachers and Ms. Pulliam's support of the selection of kindergarteners as being the group to transfer. They expressed the view that there would be no negative impact instructionally, and that in fact, some features of the move such as a slightly later lunch for the kindergarteners, might actually improve instruction. I am also cautiously optimistic that Sligo will not be negatively impacted, and I think it is likely that opportunities for very positive and controlled interactions between the kindergarteners and middle schoolers will emerge over time (e.g., reading buddies, etc). I know we in the Sligo PTSA will continue to focus on providing any support we can to our teachers through this transition so that they can continue to focus on instruction. Bottom line, I think Ms. Pulliam and Mr. Rhodes have set a very good tone for working together in the interest of ALL of our kids, and I think that is really the key to making this work. This plan will do a lot of good for all the OT community who are living with a difficult situation now, and we should all commit ourselves to helping however we can to make further lemonade out of lemons by showing that this partnership of Sligo and OT can work and have a positive effect on our kids. Suzanne Milton

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    Your community is so far beyond what kindergarten used to be in Montgomery County. You are not even close to "lemonade", you lost that a long time ago.

    You have given up so much that used to be standard for a Montgomery County kindergarten including the in classroom water fountain and bathroom with the outside entrance to an enclosed play space.

    This wasn't an emergency situation, this was long term neglect and now your community is grabbing at anything.

    Imagine if there had been some long term planning involved in this situation? Why wasn't there? Why must Superintendent Weast be convinced that overcrowding is a problem?

    What about all of the other MCPS schools that have no solution to their overcrowding?

    If you wanted a positive effect on your kids you would have had a school system that planned in advance of a crisis and didn't have to be convinced that overcrowding was a problem.

    Nothing new happened at Oakland Terrace. This wasn't the first school to be this overcrowded, and it isn't the only school to have experienced this.

    If the only solution is to move kindergarteners to a facility that isn't equipped for them, then there is a serious problem with the long term planning being done by the Board of Education and the Superintendent.

    But we knew that when they gutted their Long Term Planning Policy five years ago.

  3. I neglected to remind readers that when Bells Mill Elementary complained about classroom trailers (specifically mold issues - like are experienced all over the county) that community had their modernization expeditied.

    Their position on the modernization schedule was traded with another facility and bumped up, I believe 2 years.

    That's lemonade.


If your comment does not appear in 24 hours, please send your comment directly to our e-mail address:
parentscoalitionmc AT