School Advocacy

Please show your support at our upcoming forums!

A huge area of concern for families within our Walter Johnson school cluster is the increase in residential development in the area and its future impact on our schools.  This includes Rock Spring, Grosvenor Heights, Toll Brothers WMAL radio tower site, Pike and Rose, and White Flint, in addition to the redevelopment trend of older homes in our area.  Take for example Ashburton Elementary school which has grown from 650 students in 2007 to over 900 this year representing a 57% increase.  The schools are bursting at the seams, with portables being added to handle the volume, and school additions in the works for many of the schools including a possible addition at Walter Johnson with the potential to reach its capacity closer to 3200 in the year 2020.

The Walter Johnson Cluster Roundtable Discussion group is in the process of considering facility options to address near-term and long-term enrollment increase in the Walter Johnson cluster.  NBMS, along with other schools in our cluster, has representatives that are participating in this roundtable.  Information on this roundtable, including background materials and a schedule of meetings, is available here at http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd/departments/planning/roundtable.aspx.  Please come and show your support for any of these upcoming meetings both at the above link.  All meetings are open to the public, and there will be time at the end of each meeting for questions from the public.


CLUSTER UPDATE 7/7/17:

On Tuesday February 7, 2017, the WJ Cluster testified in front of the County Council asking the County Council to fully fund the 2018 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan, including Supplement B, the Recommendation for the WJ Cluster.  The testimony addressed funding for facilities approved by the MCPS Board of Education ("BOE") within.  As a reminder, the BOE voted last November to move forward with various solutions in order to manage the overcrowding within the WJ cluster.  The BOE approved additions or rev/exes for Ashburton Elementary School, Kensington Parkwood Elementary School, Luxmanor Elementary School, North Bethesda Middle School, and Tilden Middle School. The BOE supported school reassignments within the cluster including possibly reassigning Farmland Elementary School children to Luxmanor Elementary School, and a growth management study to help identify a site for a potential 7th elementary school.  In addition, a decision to reopen the Woodward facility on Old Georgetown Road as a high school is in process to fully relieve overcrowding at Walter Johnson High School, and help reduce overcrowding at other county schools.  Finally, the BOE approved funds for the Woodward High School feasibility study.  The WJ Cluster is grateful to Dr. Smith and to the BOE because we believe they heard us when we gave them our opinion last year on overcrowding solutions.  The WJ Cluster asked members of the County Council to do the same as none of these actions can be accomplished without the full funding for these solutions that our communities desperately need.  Finally, our cluster also asked for support to help find ways to obtain reservations of land within ongoing development plans.  MCPS and Planning Department figures show that we will need 2 elementary schools and a future middle school within the cluster during the life of these plans.  We asked that the Council lend their voices to those within the WJ cluster as we seek reservations, dedications, and some supplemental appropriations for school sites within the Cluster.  You can also follow the MCC_PTA on Twitter.   

See bottom for more documents.


Upcoming Meetings

Several times a year, our cluster of PTAs asks parents and students to attend major hearings before the County Council or Board of Education. These hearings involve essential resources for our schools, our teachers, and ultimately our children. We've got an important hearing coming up, and we need you or your students to attend:

Please come to the November 6 Board of Education Meeting.  Support the Walter Johnson Cluster.  We will testify about the Superintendent’s Capital Improvement Plan.

November 6th at 6:30 pm at 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville MD - Logistics below.

Wear green, bring everyone you can - including and especially your kids. 

We need WJ cluster community turn out for this meeting! 

Why come?  THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UNCERTAIN

THE GOOD

After years of hard work, Woodward High School (the current Tilden Middle School) will be reopened as a new high school to address, among other issues, the overcrowding at Walter Johnson.  This is a major victory.

And, the Superintendent proposed $120 million to reopen Woodward.  That is another significant victory.

The WJ Community has spent years urging MCPS and the Board of Education to take this step.  And they have heard us! We need to support the good and say thank you.

THE BAD

We need a seventh elementary school in our area given all of the projected development. The Board of Education unanimously voted for the site selection process to happen (the beginning stage of getting that 7th elementary school open).  However, this was left out of the plan. We need to show up and fight to get it back in. 

THE UNCERTAIN

Does the $120 million account for a complete new school or an addition to the existing building? While we are optimistic the feasibility study and design process will result in a new building, we need your support to remind the Board of the need for a new building.  Due to the age of the existing Woodward building and to help support parity in building quality between WJ and Woodward, a new building is needed. We need to make it clear that the existing Woodward building is not acceptable.  MCPS needs to get it right the first time and build a new 21st century Woodward! 

Also, last year the Board of Education voted unanimously to reopen Woodward in order to solve Walter Johnson’s overcrowding, and then if there is space available that additional seats could help other Clusters in need.   However, the Capital Improvement Plan does not clearly reflect the Board’s action. 

WJ needs as much space as we can get due to the overcrowding that we’re already seeing from neighborhood turnover and from the almost 20,000 new units of housing permitted by the County Council and the Planning Board in our Cluster, much of which is yet to be built. While of course we want to help MCPS address overcrowding throughout the County, we need to also remind MCPS and the Board of Education that there is massive development scheduled for our Cluster and we will need space for the children we know are coming to the WJ Cluster.  We can’t repeat the mistakes of the last five to ten years and fail to plan for growth:  we have to be prepared. 

WRAP-UP AND LOGISTICS

In sum, with your support, we have achieved significant victories to solve overcrowding at Walter Johnson.  We need your continued support‑‑at the November 6 Board of Ed Meeting!

We suggest arriving around 6:10pm to get a seat in the room.  There is plenty of parking onsite.  Please look for the WJ cluster/PTA parents holding the green signs.  We will have plenty to hand out.  We anticipate the room is going to be packed.  If you arrive late, please simply try to maneuver your way into the room as we believe our testimony is on the earlier side

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Web Admin,
Sep 7, 2016, 9:22 AM