Sunday, October 16, 2016

Changes to Walter Johnson Cluster Schools

On October 13 Superintendent Jack Smith presented his recommendations for the Walter Johnson Cluster.

Read the entire recommendation here.


Enrollment growth and consequential space deficits in the Walter Johnson Cluster result from a combination of housing turnover and new development. At the high school level, Walter Johnson High School will face a deficit of nearly 700 seats by the 2022–2023 school year, and long-term projections indicate that high school enrollment could reach 3,600 students. At the middle school level, the approved Fiscal Year (FY) 2017–2022 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) addresses enrollment growth through the 2022–2023 school year, and long-term enrollment is projected to exceed capacity by approximately 100 students at each middle school. At the elementary school level, three schools have capacity needs not addressed by the current CIP: Ashburton, Farmland, and Garrett Park elementary schools.

 The Roundtable considered a wide range of approaches to address capacity needs that included classroom additions and the reopening of closed schools. The group also explored the possibility of new school construction, grade reorganizations, use of commercial buildings, and changes to school schedules. After careful consideration of the work and input from the Roundtable and feedback received from the wider community, I recommend that the Board of Education adopt the following course of action for the schools in the Walter Johnson Cluster:

 For Ashburton Elementary School, reduce the approved addition project scheduled for completion in August 2019 from 881 seats to 770 seats, relocate the four special education Preschool Education Program (PEP) classes to Bradley Hills and Luxmanor elementary schools beginning in the 2017–2018 school year, and construct a modular classroom addition to open in August 2019 that can be relocated in the future after a new school opens.

 Monitor the enrollment at Farmland Elementary School and consider the reassignment of students to Luxmanor Elementary School beginning in the 2020–2021 school year after completion of the revitalization/expansion project.

 Utilize space in the annex facility adjacent to Garrett Park Elementary School to address the capacity deficit at the school.

 Monitor enrollment in the cluster elementary schools and open a new school in the long term when the capacity deficit may support the need for the new school.

 Continue with the plans for the addition at North Bethesda Middle School scheduled to open in August 2018 with a capacity for 1,229 students and a master-planned addition for up to 1,500 students.

 Continue with the plans to revitalize/expand Tilden Middle School (and collocation with Rock Terrace School) with a capacity for 1,200 students and a master-planned addition for up to 1,500 students.

 Convene a roundtable discussion group to include representatives from the Downcounty Consortium high schools and Walter Johnson High School to study the following:

o Reopen the former Woodward High School to address the space deficits at Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, Walter Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Northwood high schools; and in addition

o Explore the possibility and develop a potential model approach to address space deficits at these high schools as well as others countywide, by offering alternative programmatic, career technology education, or other voluntary educational options for high school students through use of non-traditional facilities, including commercial space. 

 Planning and construction funds will be included for the high school solution as part of the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2019–2024 Capital Improvements Program in October 2017.


  1. "space deficit" "modular classroom" apparently Superintendent Smith has never read Orwell's 1984. What a role model for our children.

    1. The more things change the more they stay the same.It's back to the future of Dr. Wastes world.

  2. What happened to the new Elementary school we were promised as part of the White Flint Sector Plan? Anyone know?


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