Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ April 2019

Montgomery County Public Schools Kicks Off Public Outreach Sessions About School Boundary Study

By Sharon Canavan

On March 18th, staff from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Division of Capital Planning kicked off public input sessions as part of the process to study changes to the boundaries for local elementary and middle schools that serve the Four Corners area.  MCPS is evaluating how to alter school boundaries to address current and projected student overcrowding.  The elementary schools included in this study are Forest Knolls, Pinecrest, and Montgomery Knolls.  The study will also evaluate the boundaries for Eastern and Silver Spring International middle schools.

Presently, student enrollment at Forest Knolls Elementary is significantly over capacity.  MCPS staff estimates that changes to the Forest Knolls boundary could require shifting approximately 250 students.  Pinecrest and Montgomery Knolls are currently scheduled to be enlarged, but MCPS has determined that expansion is infeasible at the Forest Knolls site.

Before making recommendations for changing school boundaries, the study will look at a number of factors at each of the schools, including:  demographics, geography (e.g., local traffic patterns, barriers, such as the Beltway, etc.), stability of the school boundary over time, and utilization rates.

The first step that MCPS staff is taking in the boundary study process is holding public outreach sessions.  At the first meetings, which have already taken place, MCPS staff discussed the process steps for the boundary study.  At public outreach meetings at Forest Knolls on April 23rd and at Montgomery Knolls on April 24th, MCPS staff will present round one of the proposed options they have developed.

No boundary changes are being studied for Northwood High School, right, but the old facility will be undergoing a major renovation beginning in 2023.  NHS students will temporarily attend an alternative school during the two-year renovation.

In addition to feedback gathered at this outreach session, MCPS will develop an online survey to gather additional views.  MCPS will evaluate the public input from the meeting and surveys, and then will develop a second round of proposed options, if necessary.  Additional public outreach sessions will be conducted in mid-May and early June to discuss the public survey results and any changes to the options being considered.

MCPS staff will present the boundary study report to the Superintendent of Schools in July, who will issue a report on the recommended boundary changes by the early fall.  A public hearing and final decision by the Board of Education is expected by November.  Once adopted, changes to school boundaries will go into effect for the 2020–2021 school year.

MCPS has a dedicated webpage where information about the boundary study will be available as the process unfolds.  For more information go to:  www.montgomery

The current boundaries for Northwood and Montgomery Blair are not being studied.  Changes are afoot, however, for Northwood High School, which will be undergoing a major renovation beginning in 2023.  During the two-year renovation, Northwood students will temporarily attend an alternative school.   ■

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