Monday, October 31, 2016

WUSA9 Live Video: Halloween party canceled at Cloverly Elementary School, so parents pull kids out and have their own.


Cloverly Parents Fight Back, Alternate Halloween Party to be Held Across from School at 1:30 PM

http://wjla.com/news/local/parents-angry-after-montgomery-co-school-cancels-halloween-festivities

Cloverly ES Principal Cancels Halloween to Keep Parents from Discussing Arrest of Long Time Teacher on Sexual Abuse Charges

Yes, you read that correctly.  Over the summer, a teacher who has been at Cloverly Elementary for decades was arrested on sexual abuse charges. 

http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/3rd-grade-silver-spring-teacher-arrested-for-alleged-sexual-offenses-with-students/257202294

That teacher's trial is scheduled for December.

It's important for the Board of Education to keep parents away from each other now.  The Board of Education doesn't want parents talking about what MCPS has or has not been doing over the last twenty years to keep students safe from sexual abuse by teachers and staff.

The Parents' Coalition has documented that the Board of Education has been allowing known sexual abusers of children to remain in classrooms for decades.  Was Cloverly Elementary another school where the known Board of Education practice of harboring known sexual abusers was going on?  

When someone is arrested for sexual abuse of a child and that person has been working with children for decades, the immediate question is are there other victims?  Montgomery County Police always ask for anyone that has any information about these arrests to contact them.

The Board of Education does not want parents to talk about the charges, other incidents, safety plans, or the Board of Education's inaction on this issue.

What to do?

Cancel Halloween and keep the parents away from each other.

And that's exactly what is happening at Cloverly Elementary School.



http://wjla.com/news/local/parents-angry-after-montgomery-co-school-cancels-halloween-festivities

Election Day - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Vote Election Day - November 8th
7:00am - 8:00pm

OR

Early Voting Has Started:
October 27th - November 3rd
8:00am - 8:00pm
Did you miss the voter registration deadline?
Only at Early Voting - you can now register or make updates.
Be sure to bring ID and verification of your address.

This election is not just about choosing a president.
Voters will decide on local and state candidates and issues.
 LWVMC Voters’ Guide

Where to get a Voters’ Guide?
*  Online Printable PDF - lwvmocomd.org  or 
*  Personalized Interactive - vote411.org  or   
*  Pick up at libraries or County Centers
Go to our YouTube site to learn why the Voters' Guide is important to everyone.

For more information contact the LWV of Montgomery County:
301-984-9585, lwvmc@erols.com, lwvmocomd.org

Anne Arundel Co. Schools Set To Go Along With Hogan Orders

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education next week is set to give its approval to a school calendar that complies with Gov. Larry Hogan's recently executive orders.
Students will start their next school year on Sept. 5, 2017, the day after Labor Day, and will wrap up on June 15, 2018, system officials said in a release. June 15 is the latest the school year can end without seeking a waiver under Hogan's executive orders.
Something had to give, however. Instead of a week, spring break is reduced to just a few days (March 29 to April 2), and only three days are built in for inclement weather (down from five). If the system needs a fourth day, officials say they'll seek a waiver to open on Easter Monday, when state law requires them to be closed.
Anne Arundel County is the second to release a calendar fully compliant with Hogan's orders. The first was Carroll County.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Potomac Almanac: Electing Members of the Board of Education

To the Editor:
When it comes to voting for members of the Board of Education there usually is a low vote count. Many people do not know who they are voting for and yet these seven elected officials control almost half of Montgomery’s county operating budget of $5.3 billion and the education of our children and the future impact that has on each student, our community, and society as a whole.

In the at-large election the choice is between Phil Kauffmann, the incumbent, and Jeanette Dixon. One of Jeanette Dixon’s priorities, right after her first priority of “providing a world class education for all of our students” is “operating the Board of Education (BOE) and Montgomery County School System (MCPS) in total transparency and responsiveness including the listing of the names of people who serve on all MCPS committees and interview panels and their affiliations.

That language alone should tell you Jeanette Dixon knows how the MCPS system “really works.” She knows this because she has been a teacher in the MCPS, an assistant principal and principal in a middle school and high school for the last 16 years of her career. She has a long list of students she has taught and people she has hired who have gone on to become and still are school principals. See her resume at her website: www.jeanettedixon.org for names and details. One of those principals is the principal of the school two of my grandchildren attend.

Schools cricket expands again in Maryland

Schools cricket expands again in Maryland: Punjab News Express/Balbir SinghMARYLAND: With more and more children playing video games, and with the increase in childhood obesity in the USA, physical education teachers are always on the lookout for new, fun activities to get their students moving and staying active, according to a communication received from Maryland Youth Cricket Association president Jamie Harrison.

...Nine middle schools in Montgomery County were then approached to start cricket programs, and so far, four schools have responded positively: Shady Grove, Gaithersburg, Kingsview, and Roberto Clemente. Coach Milroy Don from Future Stars School of Cricket (FSSC) has volunteered to be the coach for the SGMS Cricket Club, and Coach Gaurav Desai has volunteered to be the coach for the KMS Cricket Club. Coach Milroy is one of the best youth cricket coaches in the USA. Some of his players have gone on to play for the USA National Cricket Team...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

School Overcrowding Dominates Discussion at Candidates Forum

School Overcrowding Dominates Discussion at Candidates Forum: Parents press four of six school board candidates
...Parent Ed Farber noted the MCPS budget of nearly $2.5 billion, which should mean the school system should have more long-range thinking. “Where will they be in five years? I don’t think we have that creativity,” he said...

Ban Sought in U.S. for YouTube Ads ‘Masquerading’ as Kids’ Shows

CCFC, Public Citizen, and Center for Digital Democracy: Protect Privacy Online are calling on the FTC to hold Google, Disney, Dreamworks, and other companies accountable for targeting kids with deceptive and unfair influencer advertising.

Host selling, when the host of a program endorses a product, is illegal on kids' TV--but not on kids' internet content. And as CCFC's Josh Golin explains, "It defies common sense that a harmful tactic which exploits children’s developmental vulnerabilities would be prohibited on one platform but allowed on another. We need the FTC to take decisive action so that children have the same protections when they’re watching YouTube as they do when they watch Nickelodeon.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-21/ban-sought-in-u-s-for-youtube-ads-masquerading-as-kids-shows

NBC4 Homeowners Oppose Cell Tower Proposal in Montgomery County #WatersLandingElementary #MCPS

Multiple citizens mentioned that a cell tower is also going in at Waters Landing Elementary School and, along with the front yard cell towers that are being planned, will add to the cell tower exposure in that neighborhood. When is the Board of Education voting on the Waters Landing Elementary School cell tower?
















http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Homeowners-Oppose-Cell-Tower-Proposal-in-Montgomery-County_Washington-DC-398806981.html



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MCPS: once nearly all-white school district has a new largest group: Hispanic students

Hispanic students for the first time outnumber their peers in other racial and ethnic groups in Montgomery County’s public schools, a milestone for diversity in a suburb long regarded as largely white and affluent.
The school district in 2016-2017 is 30 percent Hispanic, 29 percent white, 22 percent black and 14 percent Asian, according to school district data, a student body that would have been difficult to imagine five decades ago, when Montgomery’s enrollment was 94 percent white...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/a-once-nearly-all-white-district-now-has-a-new-largest-group-hispanic-students/2016/10/21/99501810-8efe-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Breaking: RMHS Field DOES NOT MEET REQUIREMENTS FOR PLAY! Concussion Risk On County Football Fields Confirmed

The Montgomery County Civic Federation, Inc.
For Immediate Release

Concussion Risk On County Football Fields Confirmed
Newly uncovered documents show school system knew synthetic turf fields were dangerous.

A June, 2016 independent testing report obtained by the Civic Federation earlier this month under the Maryland Public Information Act shows the synthetic turf field at Richard Montgomery High School failed to meet the minimum safety requirements set by FieldTurf - a manufacturer with contracts for all of the County's artificial turf fields.  The LDD Sports, LLC report verified the field:
"to be out of compliance and does not meet the requirements for play based on the specifications as referenced in ASTM F1936-10 with locations above the maximum allowable limit of 200."

This report appears to directly contradict earlier statements by Montgomery County Public Schools officials with regard to the safety of their synthetic turf fields.  The report also reveals that in at least one case - Richard Montgomery - the school system knew the field was dangerous, but still let the manufacturer's warranty expire.


With a G-MAX score of 253, Richard Montgomery now becomes the most unsafe field among MCPS synthetic turf fields with Walter Johnson a close second.  To put that in perspective, according to the Sports Turf Managers Association, a G-MAX score of 200 is qualified by OSHA as "Will Cause Death." G-MAX testing measures shock absorption and is therefore critical to the health and safety of children and adults using the field – the lower the number, the safer the student athlete.  Some professional sport teams limit the G-MAX scores to 120, and the NFL has set the maximum at 166.  WJHS tested as high as 194.5 just months ago due to its defective plastic carpeting - a disconcerting fact uncovered by the Civic Federation over the summer that garnered national media attention by Forbes Magazine and USA Today, as well as local television stations:


Made from plastics and pulverized used tires known as tire crumb rubber, these fields are failing to absorb impacts like a natural grass surface would.  Synthetic turf fields not only cost much more than natural grass turf, the tire crumb infill can accumulate dangerous pathogens and is known to contain twelve known human carcinogens.  Both the crumb rubber and plastic grass contain lead, as the FieldTurf Mid-Atlantic Sales representative had to admit under pressure from the House Ways and Means Committee in Annapolis earlier this year.

Synthetic turf problems are prompting lawsuits and early replacements at schools and universities around the nation, but in Montgomery County, it looks like MCPS allowed the Richard Montgomery field warranty to expire without challenge this August - after a July independent test by a different company, Athletic Field Consultants, Inc. showed that areas of the RMHS field G-MAX tested as high as 198.84.

The continued trickle of documents uncovered by the Civic Federation shows the school system's sole synthetic turf provider FieldTurf is having a hard time maintaining what appears to be the lowest standards in this loosely regulated industry, putting children's safety into question while MCPS looks the other way.

Members of the Civic Federation's Environment and Education Committees are crafting a resolution asking MCPS to explore all opportunities to join other educational institutions around the nation in legal action against FieldTurf, with proceeds used to purchase and maintain top-of-the-line natural grass fields that are safe and healthy for our children.





The Montgomery County Civic Federation's 880th general session will be held on November 14th, 7:45pm-9:45pm at the Lobby Level Auditorium of the Executive Office Building at 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, MD.

#   #   #
 General sessions are open to the public.
For more information, contact MCCF Recording Secretary Danila Sheveiko at   
The mission of the Montgomery County Civic Federation is to preserve and improve the quality of life for all current and future residents of Montgomery County, Maryland.  Since its founding in 1925, the volunteers of the MCCF have committed themselves to providing an effective citizen voice to government policy makers, both elected and appointed.  [Read more here.]


@MCPS Attempts to Whitewash Special Education Deficiencies at Martin Luther King Jr Middle School

As a refresher, the Maryland State Board of Education upheld the dismissal of a special education teacher at Martin Luther King Middle School.

You can read the State Board decision here, including the Administrative Law Judge's findings outlining alleged deficiencies.

Advocates contacted the General Counsel of the Montgomery County Board of Education and the Associate Superintendent for Special Education, inquiring what they planned to do to make up for the lost educational opportunities of the students in those classes. You can read that email here.

Unfortunately, the General Counsel to the Montgomery County Board of Education and the Associate Superintendent are attempting to whitewash the situation, and strain our credulity, by claiming that each and every one of those students received a Free and Appropriate Public Education. To refresh your recollection, the Administrative law judge found, among other things, that:

1. The new principal who arrived at MLKJMS determined that the special education students "were not making academic progress."

2. The general education teacher in the supposed "co-taught" class alleged that the lessons were not modified for students who needed it.

3. The IEPs were not individualized, not effective, and not flowing from the students' present levels of performance.

MCPS and the Board of Education has decided not to do anything about the losses these students incurred. They are not investigating whether these students lost more ground compared to their non-disabled peers. They have not reached out to the students' parents to determine if the students have gaps in their learning that needs to be remediated. In short, what we see from Joshua Civin and Chris Richardson is the classic denial, deflection, and obfuscation typical in correspondence from Montgomery County Public Schools.

Here is the recent correspondence from Joshua Civin and Chris Richardson:

2016 Civin to Astrove by Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland on Scribd






Fortunately, there remain other avenues of redress to ensure that these students will be made whole.

2016 Montgomery County Board of Education Candidates Forum


Texas the first state in the country to require cameras to be installed in self-contained special education classrooms at parent or teacher request

Terrence Rideau was a middle school student when his mother, Breggett Rideau, noticed his unexplained injuries at the end of the school day—a severe bruise on his head, a dislocated knee, a fractured thumb.
Now 21, Terrence has severe cognitive and physical disabilities and uses a wheelchair. He could not tell his parents what was happening in his classroom. But what the Keller, Texas, family learned over years of legal battles led to a $1 million jury verdict against the school district, and eventually to a law that makes Texas the first state in the country to require cameras to be installed in self-contained special education classrooms at parent or teacher request.
That law, which went into effect this school year, has raised complex questions about the cost to districts, student and teacher privacy, and even whether cameras will meet the goal of protecting children...

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/09/21/cameras-in-special-ed-classrooms-a-complex.html

Monday, October 24, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. MS and Special Education Students 2012-2014

ALERT: Parents of students who were supposed to receive Special Education Services at Martin Luther King Jr Middle School during school years 2012-2014.



This email was sent to Joshua Civin, General Counsel to the Montgomery County Board of Education and to Chris Richardson, MCPS Associate Superintendent on Friday September 30, 2016.

******************

From: Lyda Astrove [mailto:astrove@aol.com]
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2016 11:10 AM
To: joshua_i_civin@mcpsmd.org; chrisandra_richardson@mcpsmd.org
Subject: Martin Luther King Jr Middle School Special Education

Dear Josh:
I have attached a recent Maryland State Board of Education decision upholding the discharge of a special education teacher at Martin Luther King Jr Middle School.
As part of its decision, the Board attached a copy of the findings and decision from the Office of Administrative Hearings, which also had upheld the discharge. I am writing you because the findings in the ALJ's decision are so disturbing that I think MCPS owes it to the students involved to inform them that they did not receive appropriate special education services and offer them compensatory services.

Some of the findings:

1. When the new principal arrived at MLKJMS, she determined that the special education students "were not making academic progress." Page 14, ALJ opinion.

2. A general education teacher in the "co-taught" class testified that the lessons were not modified for students who needed it.

3. The special educator sometimes slept in class.

4. The general education teacher testified that the special educator was not really a co-teacher because he never led the class.

5. The IEPs were not individualized, not effective, and not flowing from the students' present levels of performance. (p. 18, ALJ opinion).

When the secondary learning centers were closed, the community was assured that the co-teaching model would be effectively implemented. As you can see, it has been years, and at least at MLKJMS, there have been students who did not get the special education services to which they were entitled. How many of these parents were notified that their child didn't have an individualized IEP? How many of these parents were told that the "co-taught" class really wasn't "co-taught" at all? How many children lost academic gains during this time because they didn't receive the proper support?

It shouldn't be the job of the parents to police the implementation of their child's IEP. And I'm sure that if any of these parents DID complain, MCPS would not have hesitated to falsely claim that the students were making "academic progress" and spend $6000 a day to prove it.

Where is the equity here? What, if anything, was done to make it right for these students?

Lyda Astrove

WTOP: MD Sen. Pres. Miller says Legislature could have passed School Start Date Change

...Maryland Senate President Mike Miller said Governor Larry Hogan didn’t have to do an end around the legislature to change the school calendar.
“The general assembly didn’t push back on it,” Miller said. “We could have gotten it passed if the governor had had his act together.”
A bill mandating the change stalled in Annapolis even after a state task force recommended the change...

http://wtop.com/maryland/2016/10/md-senate-president-condemns-gov-hogans-way-highway-approach/

Governor says he won’t change executive order because of complaints by school boards

...“If the Montgomery County school board goes against 75 percent of the people in Montgomery County, then they probably won’t be elected to the school board next time,” Hogan said...

http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Beat/Web-2016/Hogan-Shrugs-Off-Post-Labor-Day-School-Start-Critics/

State audit critical of Howard Co. schools’ contracting, finances [No Coverage Yet of MCPS Bad State Audit Yet]

Howard County Public Schools officials awarded nearly $13 million in contracts without a competitive bid, according to a report released Friday by the state Office of Legislative Audits.
The report found that while “the majority of procurements for goods and services…were handled appropriately,” at least 15 contracts were totaling $12.6 millions were doled out to sole bidders by senior management “without adequate justification,” according to the report.
Additionally, the auditor, in its 49-page review, reported that there was a lack of controls over personnel salaries, raising questions about the ability of employees to increase salaries without detection; that the system’s computer systems were not properly secured; and that the school system did not properly claim payments for employee and retiree health care costs...

http://thedailyrecord.com/2016/10/21/state-audit-critical-of-howard-co-schools-contracting-finances/

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Meeting on Floreen's Plan to Put a 300 lb+ Cell Tower in Your Front Yard #Fairland #LeisureWorld

Fairland (Silver Spring) and Leisure World, you are up next for cell towers in your front yards. Citizens in those neighborhoods should attend this meeting. Eventually, all neighborhoods in Montgomery County will be part of this plan. Everyone should attend to learn what is coming to your front yard.
New cell tower in MoCo

Montgomery County Council to hold meeting on cell antennas (300-900 lbs) and large poles in your front yard
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Ridgeview Middle School
16600 Raven Rock Drive
Gaithersburg
     7 PM

ROCKVILLE, Md., October 7, 2016—The Montgomery County Council from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, will hold an informational forum at Ridgeview Middle School in Gaithersburg on a proposal that would allow for the installation of small cell antennas and poles in public rights-of-way. The meeting will provide an opportunity to learn about pending telecommunication tower applications and to ask questions about existing and proposed County regulations.
Ridgeview Middle School is located at 16600 Raven Rock Dr. in Gaithersburg.

The meeting will be recorded by County Cable Montgomery (CCM) and broadcast numerous times on Cable Channels 996 (high-definition) and 6 (standard definition) on Comcast; Channels 1056 (HD) and 6 (SD) on RCN; and Channel 30 on Verizon. Times of the rebroadcasts have yet to be determined. The recording of the meeting also will be available via streaming through the Council web site at http://tinyurl.com/z9982v8 .

The Council is now considering proposed Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 16-05, sponsored by Council President Nancy Floreen, which would allow telecommunications poles no higher than 30 feet in various zones with standards for their construction. The Council held a public hearing on the proposal on July 19.

[Blatant marketing verbiage advocating for cell towers vendors has been deleted from this press release. The last time we checked, the Montgomery County Council was supposed to represent all citizens of Montgomery County, not just  three or four cell tower vendors.]

Light poles can not support 300 lb cell systems.  New poles must be built. Roads and sidewalks must be dug up to bury underground lines to connect these new front yard cell towers to each other.
 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Police Blotter: Teens arrested in cell phone thefts at Richard Montgomery High School

Police Blotter: Two Teens Arrested in Thefts at High School; Silver Spring Restaurant Burglarized: The following incidents were reported to Montgomery County or Rockville police from Oct. 3 to 12

Taxpayers League Mtg: Are Slow Reassessments hurting property tax revenues?

             Wednesday, October 26, 2016  -  7:00 - 9:00 pm
                                        6th Floor Conference Room, Council Office Building

                                              100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850

                                                                    Free and open to the public
                                                                       
Topic:   " Are Slow Reassessments hurting property tax revenues?"

Speakers:  Alexandre Espinosa, Director, Department of Finance
Diane Schwartz Jones, Director, Department of Permitting Services

Questions sent to Speakers:
1.  What were some of the causes leading to this loss of property tax revenue?  Were there gaps in accountability?
2.  What is the annual budget for the Department of Permitting Services (DPS)?  How many inspectors are authorized in the DPS budget?  Have they increased or declined over the past 5 years? How are workloads projected for DPS inspectors?  Are there trade-offs between new vs improvements to properties?
3.  How are inspector backlogs managed to ensure timely and accurate assessments?  What incentives do inspectors have to reduce backlogs? 
4.  How are expired permits tracked and follow-up inspections performed?
5.  Why are the processes for controlling inspections and the interface with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) not automated?
6.  How do inspection backlog standards compare with those in Fairfax and Howard counties?
7.  How does the Department of Finance project revenues for new and improved properties?  How much revenue was not collected in FY 2016 and 2017 due to procedural weaknesses at DPS? at SDAT? 
8.  As a result of the Inspector General's report, when will corrective actions be implemented and how much will they cost?  How much in additional property taxes will the county regain in FY 2018, 2019 and 2020 as a result of corrective actions? What role will SDAT need to play to make DPS changes implementable?
9.  It is estimated that the county has lost $52 million a year in revenue through granting of Income Tax Offset Credits (ITOC) for non-owner occupied homes.  The county claims that it lacks the requisite State authority to remove these credits on failure to submit the form. But the county uses exactly the same qualifications to grant Homestead Credits. State law that authorizes ITOC directly references State law that authorizes homestead credits.  Why has the county not sought authority from the state to remove the ITOC from every property whose owner has not submitted a homestead credit verification form?  Can you justify this loss of revenue? 

NBC4: How did a teacher who pleaded Guilty to assaulting a student find a new teaching job and a new victim?



http://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/Teacher-Sexually-Assaulted-Student-Maryland-After-Prior-Guilty-Plea-Virginia-397830541.html

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Residents Skewer Bethesda Downtown Plan at Public Hearing

Residents Skewer Bethesda Downtown Plan at Public Hearing: Too few parks, too tall buildings, too little attention to schools, they say...

...Residents also asked for Montgomery County Public Schools to sign off on the plan, fearing that the number of new housing units allowed by the plan would stress already overcrowded schools...

MCPS asks to start school earlier

The Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education is asking Gov. Larry Hogan (R) for a waiver to start classes before Labor Day next year.
On Monday, school board members directed the superintendent to request a waiver from the governor’s executive order.
If the waiver is approved, classes would begin Aug. 28, 2017, the Monday before Labor Day and the last day of school for students would be June 14, 2018, according to Board member Rebecca Smondrowski (District 2)...


Monday, October 17, 2016

Board of Education Candidates Forum Oct 25 7-9pm

Board of Education Candidates Forum
Tuesday, October 25 
7-9 pm

Trinity Lutheran Church
11200 Old Georgetown Road
Rockville, MD

Hosted by Luxmanor Citizens Association
Co-sponsored by
Greater Farmland Civic Association and North Bethesda Neighborhoods Civic Association

At-Large
Jeanette Dixon
Phil Kauffman

District 2
Brandon Orman Rippeon
Rebecca Smondrowski

District 4
Shebra Evans
Anjali Reed Phukan

Family files wrongful death suit in Montgomery Co. stun gun death

The family of a Montgomery County man who died after police deployed stun guns to subdue him filed suit in federal court Thursday, alleging the officers acted improperly as part of a larger pattern of misuse of the weapon within the department.
Anthony Howard Sr. was dancing barefoot on top of a vehicle in Laytonsville while neighbors watched and laughed in April 2013 when police arrived on scene, according to the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court...

http://thedailyrecord.com/2016/10/14/montgomery-county-police-stun-gun-death/

MCPS Parents Split between calendar that started after Labor Day and the calendar the board supported.

Montgomery County’s school board voted to seek a waiver from Gov. Larry Hogan’s mandate that the school year begin after Labor Day, supporting Aug. 28 as the first day of classes.
The board on Monday unanimously backed a 2017-18 calendar that starts the school year a week before Labor Day, leaves spring break intact, builds in extra snow days and ends on June 14.
It also places a teacher work day on Sept. 1, when the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha may fall. This is the second year it has made such an accommodation, following years of requests for time off from Muslim community leaders...

...School district staff said community members had sent 320 recent emails on the topic, with views split between an option that started after Labor Day and the calendar the board supported...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/montgomery-county-seeks-waiver-from-hogan-order-to-start-school-after-labor-day/2016/10/10/d60547ec-8f05-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html

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.

Highlights:

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.