Middle School Magnet Consortium Meetings are Set

December 27, 2004
ROCKVILLE, MD - Beginning in fall 2005, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will open three new magnet middle schools to give parents and students more educational choices and opportunities. MCPS will hold several informational meetings in January so parents and students can learn more about the new programs.

The new Middle School Magnet Consortium (MSMC) is made up of three schools, each of which will offer an innovative and challenging magnet curriculum. The middle schools are:

- Argyle Magnet School for Information Technology
- Belt Magnet School for Creative and Performing Arts*
- Parkland Magnet School for Aerospace Technology

* Belt is the current name of what will be a newly opened middle school. A naming committee has been formed to finalize the name.

Each school will feature an accelerated core curriculum and specialty courses for the magnet instructional focus.

Parent Information Meetings

Interested parents are invited to attend one of five January information meetings to learn more about the three new magnet schools. The meetings will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 in the cafeteria of each of the following schools:

- January 10 Parkland Magnet School at 4610 West Frankfort Drive, Rockville.
- January 12 Argyle Magnet School at 2400 Bel Pre Road, Silver Spring.
- January 19 Rockville High School at 2100 Baltimore Road, Rockville.
- January 24 Walter Johnson High School at 6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda.
- January 26 Bethesda-Chevy Chase (BCC) High School at 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda.

At the Parkland and Argyle meetings, presentations will be held simultaneously in English and Spanish. In the event of school closings due to snow, meetings will be held on the following dates: Parkland, January 13; Argyle, February 2; BCC, Walter Johnson and Rockville, February 1 at BCC.

Application and Selection Process

Admission will be based on a Choice process open to all Montgomery County Grade 5 students. Families of students who reside in the Argyle, Belt, and Parkland feeder pattern will receive a Choice application through the mail. Those students must participate in the Choice process.

Choice applications for Grade 5 students who live outside the Consortium will be available on the Middle School Magnet Consortium website and at any MCPS elementary school, beginning in February.

Parents must complete and submit the Choice application by February 28, 2005. The application will provide parents the opportunity to select and rank the middle schools of their choice, based on the magnet programs of interest. Students will be notified of their school assignments by April 4, 2005.

Bus transportation will be provided to all students who reside within the Consortium attendance area, outside the designated walking distance of their assigned school. Students residing in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Walter Johnson, or Rockville high school clusters will be provided with bus transportation from central locations in their cluster. All other Montgomery County students accepted into a Consortium magnet middle school must provide their own transportation.

Belt Middle School will reopen in the fall as Belt Magnet School for Creative and Performing Arts with Grades 6, 7 and 8. Students entering Grade 6 will be assigned through the Choice process. Students who reside in the Consortium area and are entering Grades 7 and 8 will be assigned on the basis of temporary boundaries. Those boundaries were established to relieve overcrowding at Parkland. The temporary boundaries will be in effect for two years, as the Choice process phases in. For information on the Choice area and Belt temporary boundaries, see the link below.

The new MSMC is funded by a $7.2 million grant from the United States Department of Education to improve student performance, broaden student choices in middle school programs, and decrease socio-economic isolation in Consortium schools.

For further information, contact the MCPS Consortia Office at 301-649-8081.

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