Sunday, October 31, 2010

Denied: Cell Tower Next to Cresthaven ES

October 28, 2010: Update on the application to put a Cell Tower on property next to Cresthaven Elementary School in Silver Spring.  

The application for a Cell Tower has been denied by the Montgomery County Board of Appeals. Read the decision here

Previous post on this application here and video of a cell tower falling over here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Seven Locks ES: 300-Linear Foot Retaining Wall up to 9 Feet in Height

It's the hottest thing in MCPS new school construction! It's the Retaining Wall! 

As Superintendent Jerry Weast supersizes schools in Montgomery County he is increasingly using Retaining Walls to push construction to the edges of existing school sites.

We have shown you the 7 (yes, now 7) Retaining Walls coming to McKenney Hills ES, the extensive concrete walls at Francis Scott Key MS (one shown to left), the Cabin John MS "Wall" that has now been cut down after community protest, the walls at Parkland MS, and now we see that the Mandatory Referral report for the Seven Locks ES modernization underway also shows a significant Retaining Wall.

The location of the Retaining Wall at Seven Locks ES is shown in red on the diagram below. The report states that the Retaining Wall at the Seven Locks ES site will be a 300-linear foot retaining wall up to 9 feet in height.

From the Mandatory Referral Report (page 8):

Huffington Post

 37 Chances to Reform U.S. Education
In a few days, voters will make a pilgrimage to their local school, firehouse or library, take up their civic duty and pull a lever (or hang a chad) for their candidates of choice, determining the directional future of the country for the next four years.
More importantly, though less often realized, the winners of 37 races for governor this year will determine the educational future of millions of students in their states...

PC Open Forum: Credit Reclamation

The Parents' Coalition received a comment about something called Credit Reclamation. Apparently, if a student fails a class they are permitted to petition to regain the credit without actually retaking the class. 

There does not seem to be a time limit on the petition and we have not found a MCPS policy on this practice. We do have a Loss of Credit Petition from one school, see below.

We are asking readers to weigh in. Tell us how this works. How long has this been an option in MCPS? Is it available at all schools? How often do students petition to reclaim credit? Is this available in other Maryland Counties? How about in other school districts? 

Is this a good option for students? What are your experiences with this option? 

Loss of Credit PDF

Friday, October 29, 2010

Race to Nowhere Screening At Magruder HS

What: Screening of the film, "Race to Nowhere" ( and facilitated discussion following the film

Who: students, parents, teachers, administrators - anyone concerned about kids
Where: Magruder HS, 5939 Muncaster Mill Rd, Rockville, MD
When: Thursday, November 4th at 7 PM

To purchase tickets ($10 in advance, $15 at the door, with proceeds going to Magruder's PTSA):

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gazette: Montgomery County school board election revolves around Weast, demographics and budget

Will strong showing of incumbents in primary carry over?
by Andrew Ujifusa | Staff Writer
...If Judith Docca (Dist. 1), O'Neill (Dist. 3), Michael A. Durso (Dist. 5), and Shirley Brandman (At large) are returned, the next superintendent is likely to share Weast's objectives, although recently Durso, who was appointed to the board last year, has challenged Weast publicly on how demographic changes should be discussed and handled...
...Challengers to the incumbents have criticized the school board on a variety of issues, although the overarching concern has dealt with budget handling and fiscal inefficiencies. Docca's opponent, Michael Ibanez, has said the board has an overly cozy relationship with the county teachers union and that classroom teaching methods are outdated. Lisa Lloyd, running against Brandman, has argued in favor of reducing the number of administrators when the next budget is drawn up while preserving teacher pay.
Both Schaerr and Smith, meanwhile, have focused their campaign rhetoric on struggling students and children in special education programs. They have argued that the school system, in its push to achieve higher test scores and greater college matriculation rates, has neglected the different education needs of some students...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Preparing Minority Students for College Entrance and Success: Nov. 17th, U of MD

Preparing Minority Students for College Entrance and Success:
National, State, and Local Models

MIMAUE Colloquium Series, Fall 2010

Session IV
Nov 17, 2010
Dr. Jerry Weast
Montgomery County Public Schools

Internationally, Dr. Weast has addressed members of the European Council of International Schools, has undertaken Fulbright-funded travel to Northern Ireland to consult with school administrators on school integration, has twice been invited
to the People’s Republic of China, has spoken to professional educators in several Near and Middle Eastern countries, and has been invited by Japan’s Ministry of Education to speak in Japan on the topic of school reform. Dr. Weast serves
on the boards of various policy, educational, business and community organizations, including the Committee for Economic Development, Peabody College (Vanderbilt University) National Ed.D. Advisory Board, and Junior Achievement Worldwide Education Group.

All colloquiums sessions are open to the public. Colloquium sessions are from 4:30 - 6:30 pm. Please note the new location for the colloquium -- Tydings Hall room 2109

Montgomery overhauls gifted-student program | Washington Examiner

Montgomery overhauls gifted-student program | Washington Examiner

"The enhanced tracking system found that in the current school year, 75 percent of black and Hispanic students recommended for above-level reading were enrolled in advanced courses, along with 73.1 percent of black students found fit for above-level math. Overall, 81.3 percent of students recommended for advanced reading and 87.6 percent recommended for advanced math were enrolled.

Spokesman Dana Tofig declined to explain why minority students were not placed in the correct classes. "This is an issue that practically every school system deals with and the causes are varied and complex," he said in an e-mail."

Read more at the Washington Examiner, HERE.

Retaining Walls at Key Middle School

On a previous post announcing the 6 surprise retaining walls planned for the McKenney Hills Elementary School site the Parents' Coalition received an anonymous tip that said, 

"MCPS was also not transparent in sharing its plans with the community to install the large retaining walls as part of the Key MS modernization. However, at Key there was a second issue of transparency: the reason for the retaining walls. 

At Key MCPS did not disclose its plan to make an extreme change in the school’s elevation and how this would impact the surrounding residents. Is this the case with the other MCPS schools that are getting retaining walls, too?"

Here are pictures of the retaining walls at Francis Scott Key Middle School in Silver Spring. And what incredible retaining walls these are! 

Take a good look at these walls at Key Middle School. This is what MCPS is now doing at school sites as the buildings are modernized. In addition to Key Middle School communities are seeing these massive retaining walls at Parkland Middle School, Cabin John Middle School, and in the plans for the McKenney Hills Elementary School. 

New School for Rockville?

Online Gazette, Wednesday, October 27, 2010. Staff writer.

During a tour of crowded schools with members of the Rockville City Council and Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio this morning, Montgomery public school officials distributed a press release announcing the school system would recommend studying building a new elementary school in the city.

The new school would be considered for a site on West Edmonston Drive, where Hungerford Elementary School once was located, and would be designed to relieve crowding at Beall, College Gardens, Ritchie Park and Twinbrook elementary schools.

To read the rest of this Gazette article, CLICK HERE.

Weast Ticked Off by Trailer Troubles

Below is the September 23, 2010, letter that Superintendent Jerry Weast sent to the City of Rockville announcing to them that he would be  placing two classroom trailers (shown in image to left) at College Gardens Elementary school despite the City's failure to issue a permit. The City of Rockville's response can be found in the Gazette article here. 

Weast letter to City of Rockville

Rockville Mayor and Council to Tour Overcrowded Elementary Schools with MCPS Officials

News Release

Marylou Berg, Communication Manager, 240-314-8105
Rockville Mayor and Council to Tour Overcrowded Elementary Schools with MCPS Officials

ROCKVILLE, Md., October 25, 2010 - The Rockville Mayor and Council will tour four elementary schools within the Montgomery County Public Schools system in Rockville, starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, at Ritchie Park Elementary School. The Mayor and Council will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Carver Educational Services Building, located at 850 Hungerford Drive. The following list outlines the schedule of events for the day:
  • 9-9:45 a.m., Ritchie Park Elementary School, 1514 Dunster Road
  • 10-10:45 a.m., Beall Elementary School, 451 Beall Ave.
  • 11-11:45 a.m., Twinbrook Elementary School, 5911 Ridgeway Ave.
  • Noon to 12:45 p.m., College Gardens Elementary School, 1700 Yale Place
In addition to the Rockville Mayor and Council, Board of Education member Laura Berthiaume (Dist. 2) of Rockville; James Song, director of MCPS Facilities; Bruce Crispell, MCPS Chief of Long Range Planning; and Kathy Steinberg, MCPS Intergovernmental Relations, will attend the tour. The Mayor and Council are going on the tour for a first-hand look at the overcrowding issues in Rockville, and to talk with principals about the challenges of overcrowding in their schools and what they are doing to manage it.

The Mayor and Council plan to gather information that will help their efforts to lobby the Board of Education on school overcrowding in Rockville. The Rockville mayor and all four council members will be present at the tour; therefore, the tour is considered a public meeting and is subject to all provisions of the open meetings act. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gazette: Open forum: Lloyd responds to reader's questions

I appreciated reading the concerns of Patricia Downey ["Candidate leaves voters wanting more information," Sept. 29] about my candidacy for the at large seat on the Board of Education. I would like to reply to her concerns... continues HERE. 

National PTA picks Promethean!

Anyone ask the teachers if they want a "Promethean Board?" What about school districts that use a competitor's product? And let's not forget the maintenance and upkeep on these boards. The MCPS Board of Education just spent $202,300 on bulbs for the Promethean projectors and $253,606 on Promethean maintenance, data networks and upgrades.

What's in this "initiative" for National PTA?

PTA | For Immediate Release
National PTA and Promethean Announce
“Great School Fundraisers” Contest
Alexandria, VA (October 26, 2010) – National PTA and Promethean are launching a national initiative to help members “Fund their Dream ActivClassroom.”

As part of a new three-year sponsorship, Promethean, a global education company committed to supporting teaching and learning, will help local PTAs interested in adding interactive technologies into classrooms and investing in digital-age learning resources.

“Parents are important catalysts to change in thousands of schools around the country. We are delighted to be working hand-in-hand with them to strengthen and reinvest in schools. When we give our educators the tools and support they need to be successful, we build a stronger future for our children and our country,” says Mark Elliott, President, Promethean North America...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Century Foundation: Response to Jerry Weast and Valerie Strauss

"Economic school integration: A response to Valerie Strauss and Jerry Weast. The Answer Sheet Blog, The Washington Post, October 22, 2010
"This was written by Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. He is the author of "All Together Now: Creating Middle-Class Schools through Public School Choice," and he supervised the Century Foundation report, "Housing Policy is School Policy," written by Heather Schwartz."

"In this post, Kahlenberg makes strong arguments in a response to separate concerns that Montgomery County Public Schools Supt. Jerry Weast and [Valerie Strauss] raised about the report."

To read the complete response written by Richard D. Kahlenberg for The Answer Sheet Blog on the Washington Post website, CLICK HERE.

Building a Bigger Elementary School

According to what the public knows* now about the new school to be built on the McKenney Hills site in Silver Spring, the new building will be the 6th largest elementary school in MCPS by square footage and the
9th largest elementary school in State Rated Capacity out of 132 elementary schools countywide. (There are currently 131 elementary schools, McKenney Hills would make 132 elementary schools.)

Remember that the Board of Education no longer sets the size of elementary schools, now the decision as to how big to build school buildings is made solely by the the Superintendent.

MCPS Elementary Schools 
Square Footage 

Stedwick 109,677
Galway 103,170
Piney Branch 99,706
Sligo Creek 98,799
College Gardens 96,986
(McKenney Hills 95,475)

MCPS Elementary Schools
State Rated Capacity (How many seats in classrooms under State guidelines)

Galway 867
South Lake 838
Gaithersburg 827
Watkins Mill 803
Rolling Terrace 770
Broad Acres 748
Stedwick 747
Sargent Shriver 736
(McKenney Hills 734)

*Data from MCPS Facilities Data and State Rated Capacity for School Year 2009-10 for all school except McKenney Hills. McKenney Hills SF is from Forest Conservation Plan and State Rated Capacity is from room count. The document that would give more details on the Educational Specifications for McKenney Hills, the Feasibility Study, has not been made public by MCPS despite repeated requests for the document.

Patch: School Board Candidate Questions: Lisa Lloyd At-Large Challenger

Lisa Lloyd is a challenger for the at-large Board of Education seat.

Note: Patch appears to be releasing Board of Education Candidate interviews one at a time. As more Candidate interviews are released we will link to them. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Proposed School Boundary Area for McKenney Hills Elem. School Site

Here is the Proposed School Boundary Area for the McKenney Hills Elementary School/DCC#29 site that was used to calculate the Traffic Study posted here.

This is the type of information that can be found in the Exhibits to a Traffic Study for new school construction. 

Do parents and community members get to see this information before a new school construction project is approved by the Board of Education or the Montgomery County Planning Board? Only if they ask for it. 
Proposed Boundary for McKenney Hills School

326 Trips Past Your House Soon? Would You Want to Know?

If a new school building was coming to your neighborhood would you want to know what kind of traffic the new building would generate? What if the new building was going to be 3 times the size of the previous school building?  

Would you want to know that in the morning there could be 326 trips past your home when the new school opens? 

A Traffic Study analyzes the possible increases in traffic surrounding a new public school and is part of the MNCPPC planning process for school construction projects. If you live in Montgomery County you should know that the MCPS meetings with the Community, and the Board of Education vote to approve school construction can all take place BEFORE the release of the Traffic Study. 

There is no guarantee in the MCPS or County planning processes that neighbors to a school under construction will be shown the Traffic Study prior to the approval of the construction. 

If you live in the McKenney Hills neighborhood, or around the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Forest Glen Road in Silver Spring, here is what is coming to your area with the new school at the McKenney Hills School site.  See the March 3, 2010 Traffic Study below.

But it's just about too late for you to comment! The Board of Education approved the school on February 17, 2010 (the month before the Traffic Study was completed),  and the Montgomery County Planning Board will review the project in 4 days on October 28, 2010.

McKenney Hills Traffic Study

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weast: MCPS Doesn't Need To Comply with City of Rockville Law

Weast says Rockville law does not apply to county schools
Adds two portable classrooms at College Gardens without permission
by Sean Patrick Norris | Staff Writer Gazette, Wednesday Oct. 20, 2010

Public schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast told Rockville he is installing two portable classrooms at College Gardens Elementary School whether the city likes it or not.

In a letter sent Sept. 23 to the mayor and City Council, Weast said Montgomery County Public Schools is above Rockville law.

"MCPS is not obligated to comply with the regulations of a local jurisdiction, such as Rockville's APFO," Weast wrote, referring to the city's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. "Please be advised that we are exercising our right not to comply."
To read the rest of this article, CLICK HERE.

Board Never Discussed 6 Retaining Walls at McKenney Hills site

How could they? The 6 Retaining Walls 7 Retaining Walls going in at the McKenney Hills Elementary School site weren't shown on the artist's renderings that the Board of Education "voted" to approve on February 17, 2010. As MCPS Director James Song said at the Board table that day, those drawings were only the "preliminary, conceptual stage" of the design.

First, with apologies to ABC 7 who covered this story on Monday. There are now at least 6 Retaining Walls 7 Retaining Walls at the McKenney Hills site, not the 4 originally found. 2 new ones have been spotted. (We note that MCPS' public relations department apparently saw no need to correct the statement that there were 4 on the site.) No wonder the Planning Board staff report called these Retaining Walls "significant".

Second, we promised to tell you how we found the Retaining Walls at this site. 6 Retaining Walls 7 Retaining Walls can be seen on the Forest Conservation Plan that was submitted as part of the County's Mandatory Referral process. Here you go - see how many Retaining Walls YOU can spot on the Forest Conservation plan! (See image above.)

The Board of Education approved the preliminary plan for the McKenney Hills site in February 2010. They didn't get to see the Forest Conservation Plan with the 6 Retaining Walls 7 Retaining Walls that was submitted to the Planning Board after May 2010. 

Having trouble finding those 6 Retaining Walls 7 Retaining Walls on the Forest Conservation Plan? It takes some serious magnification (see image to left) of this document to read the fine print. Here's the drawing again with red lines for the location of the 6 Retaining Walls that have been found so far. We make no guarantee that this is a complete inventory of the Retaining Walls that will go on this site! And we have no idea how high these Retaining Walls will be! All we know is that the Planning Board staff calls them "significant!"

Update: October 28, 2010, MCPS announces to Planning Board that there will be 7 Retaining Walls at the McKenney Hills site. 

MCPS School Day Shorter Than Most Other MD Districts

Part 3:

Examining more data from the State Dept of Education website and saw some remarkable new information. All data is taken via downloads from

And finally I took a look at the length of the Instructional Day. (See previous posts Part 1 and Part 2)

Again MCPS ranked poorly compared to other Maryland school systems.

MCPS has an approximately 3/4 of an hour per day shorter school day then the four districts with the longest school day.

That is the equivalent of aproximately 20 additonal school days over the course of the 175 day school year.

Bob Astrove

County NameHours Per Day Average
Baltimore City7.0
Queen Anne's7.0
Saint Mary's6.9
Anne Arundel6.6
Baltimore County6.5
Prince George's6.1
All Public Schools


Re-testing: Does it penalize the kids who get it right the first time? Is school about learning well or testing well?

AJC: Get Schooled with Maureen Downey
I had an interesting conversation with a teacher I ran into last week at the store: Is the purpose of education to make sure kids learn — in which case testing should be diagnostic — or is it that they learn in a specific way at a specific time?
That question goes to the heart of an AJC news story today on a new retesting policy in Forsyth County where students re-take tests if they get a poor grade fail or perform poorly on the first attempt...
“As we roll out new practices across schools it takes time to define a consistent policy after sufficient analysis of the teaching and learning practices,” said Pijanowski of the program Forsyth modeled after the “reteaching/reassessment” program of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gwinnett County, Ga., Wins $1M Broad Prize

Gwinnett County, Ga., Wins $1M Broad Prize

There's always room for MCPS travel!

Superintendent Jerry Weast, Board of Education Vice-President Chris Barclay and MCEA President Doug Prouty in New York City today.

Yes, the presentation they are attending is being live streamed to a party at 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville but it's always more fun to be in NYC!

Update: Trip was for naught. MCPS did not win the 2010 Broad Prize. They get to try again next year. 

Being a Montgomery County crossing guard has its benefits - $40 per hour | Washington Examiner

Being a Montgomery County crossing guard has its benefits - $40 per hour | Washington Examiner
The county's 177 crossing guards are costing taxpayers $4.6 million this year — or about $26,000 each when benefits are included — amid drastic budget cuts to public safety departments and planned layoffs for about 100 firefighters, The Washington Examiner has learned.

The price driver: Crossing guards receive the same benefits packages as full-time employees, which means the county spends more on perks than wages for them.

Once considered the best-kept secret among a workforce of 30,000, the position has become one of the county's most popular, particularly among those seeking health care coverage for their families. The arrangement has been in place for more than a decade, and the wait list for the job is now a few hundred deep, police say.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Can a MCPS School Bus give drivers tickets? Check back next year!

WTOP:  External school bus cameras document unsafe motorists

WASHINGTON -- This bus stops bad drivers.

Montgomery County school buses are now equipped with external cameras, keeping an eye on surrounding drivers when the stop sign is out and the red lights are on.

The new safety enforcement tactic aims at documenting drivers who don't adhere to school bus safety procedures.

"It happens way too frequently, and each time it happens it's a potentially dangerous situation for kids," says Todd Watkins, director of transportation for Montgomery County schools.

Roughly 100 buses have had the cameras installed. While the footage they document can't yet lead to tickets for drivers, the school system remains vigilant.

"We will then find those spots on the video, and download those and keep those as part of our data gathering," Watkins says.

Legislation allowing for automated fines is set for consideration next year.


More on this from MCPS here.  The cameras cost $500 each and were installed on 96 buses. That was $48,000 that Superintendent Weast found for this project in this "bare-bones" budget. 

MCPS 18th on Class Size/Instructional Caseload

Examining more data from the State Dept of Education website and saw some remarkable new information. All data is taken via downloads from

Despite spending so much more per pupil (See Part 1) when we examine Instructional Staff per Thousand Pupils, or Pupils per Instructional Staff (two ways of showing the same thing) we see MCPS ranks very poorly compared to the rest of the State.

MCPS ranked 18th out of the 24 school systems in Maryland on this class size / instructional caseload measure.

LEA NameIns. Staff /1000Pupil Per Instr. Staff
Baltimore County73.213.7
Baltimore City69.114.5
Queen Anne's68.214.7
Prince George's65.915.2
Anne Arundel65.315.3
Saint Mary's63.015.9

All MD Public Schools

Bob Astrove

"Significant Retaining Walls" at McKenney Hills school site

The Environmental Planning Division of the Montgomery County Planning Board has released their report on the McKenney Hills Elementary School site. On page 9 of the report is the following statement about the development of the site:

"Use of significant retaining walls to prevent grading from
 extending unnecessarily into forested lands."

Significant retaining walls? What does that mean? How many? Height? Length? How did the Planning Division come to this conclusion? Retaining walls aren't shown on the artist's renderings of the new school that were shown to the Board of Education.  

How is MCPS addressing the potential issues of safety, security and graffiti that come with "significant" retaining walls on a school site? 

Tonight - October 19, 2010 at the Sligo Middle School media center at 7 PM MCPS will be making a presentation about the McKenney Hills school site. Will the details of the "significant" retaining walls at this school site be revealed? 

Stay tuned.  A "significant" retaining wall could be coming to a school near you!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weast: "difficult site" in Silver Spring

At the February 17, 2010, Board of Education meeting, the Board was presented Superintendent Weast's plan to build a 640 capacity elementary school on a school site in a Silver Spring neighborhood.

Previously, the McKenney Hills Elementary School site held a 29,278 square foot school with 14 classrooms.

Superintendent Weast will be replacing that school with a 95,000 square foot school with 34 classrooms. The MCPS capacity of the new school will be 640 students. (That is different from the State rated capacity that puts the building at a size to hold over 700 students.) This site will be limited by only one entrance for cars, buses, service vehicles and that entrance will be shared with students walking to school. A survey of other 640+ sized elementary schools in MCPS appears to show that they have multiple entrances to separate cars from buses.

Here is the presentation (in 3 parts) that Superintendent Weast made to the Board on the plans for the new school at the McKenney Hills Elementary School site in Silver Spring, Maryland. 

Presentation of architect's plans including 3D overview (look for retaining walls- don't see them?)  (Part 1):

Discussion of Stormwater Management Plans, VOIP, green roofs (Part 2):

Discussion of Safe Access, students walking through woods, Weast says this a "difficult site" (Part 3):

Maryland School Board Race Heats UP

Maryland School Board Race Heats UP as reported on WAMU 88.5 FM Monday, October 18.

"(Pat) O'Neil is trying to fend off a challenge from Karen Smith who is an attorney and active PTA member. She says O'Neill has gotten too cozy.

"If you are going to agree with absolutely everything the superintendent comes up with or everything the teachers' union comes up with, then you're not really doing the job," says Smith."

MCPS 2nd in Per Pupil Spending in Maryland

Examining more data from the State Dept of Education website and saw some remarkable new information. All data is taken via downloads from

On the most recent reporting MCPS no longer spends the most per pupil on education. That title is now held by little Worchester County spending $15,498 per pupil. MCPS spends the second most, $800 more then Howard County, and over $3,000 more per pupil than the higher performing Frederick and Carroll County schools.

County Name Expenditures Per Pupil
Worcester 15498
Baltimore City14302
Prince George's13246
Baltimore County12236
Anne Arundel12178
Saint Mary's11387
Queen Anne's11273

All MD Public Schools

Bob Astrove

4 Retaining Walls for Silver Spring New School Site

Retaining walls are apparently in vogue in new school construction in Montgomery County. 

The design for the new 640 student 96,475 SF elementary school in Silver Spring contains at least 4 retaining walls. How high will those retaining walls be? 

Anybody's guess. Rumor has it that some will be 14 feet. 

Here is what the Board of Education saw at their meeting to approve the design. Can you see the retaining walls in the artist's renderings? No? 

As a reminder the image above was the surprise retaining wall that appeared at the Cabin John Middle School construction site. That wall has now been cut down and a second wall is to be added behind it. 

How do we know about the retaining walls at the Silver Spring site? Get a magnifying glass ready and we will show you later this week. 

UPDATE: It's 6 not 4 Retaining Walls! See the updated information and the location of the 6 known retaining walls at this school site here. At least 2 of the Retaining Walls are at the entrance to the McKinney Hills school site.