Superintendent Recommends New Facility Projects, Including a High School Consortium and the Reopening of Northwood High School

February 29, 2000
New facility projects including the initiation of a new signature school consortium involving Montgomery Blair, John F. Kennedy, and Albert Einstein high schools and the reopening of Northwood High School were recommended today [Tuesday, February 29] to the Board of Education by Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools.

The recommendations, which also include more relocatable classrooms, a new middle school, and the onsite modernization of an existing high school, are designed to address ongoing enrollment growth and the class size reduction initiatives planned for the upcoming school year.

The superintendent's recommendations include items that were deferred from the Board's initial action in November on the Fiscal Years 2001-2006 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and actions proposed in response to newly identified facility issues. The Board of Education will hold a work session on deferred projects on Tuesday, March 14. A decision on the new facility projects is expected on Monday, March 27, following a public hearing on Tuesday, March 21.

The major recommendation concerns the reopening of Northwood High School in Silver Spring to alleviate enrollment needs at both Montgomery Blair and Albert Einstein high schools. Northwood High School, which was closed in 1985 and has been used since 1989 then as a holding facility for students during high school modernization projects, would add room for 1,600 students. If approved, Northwood High School would reopen in September 2003.

Assignment of students to the reopened high school would be through a consortium model based on student selection of new and unique signature programs involving Northwood, Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, and John F. Kennedy high schools. The consortium model would be patterned after the current Northeast Consortium, in which students use a preferred choice process to select signature programs at James Hubert Blake, Paint Branch, and Springbrook high schools.

Development of potential signature programs for the new consortium would begin this spring and involve the participating school communities. Planning will include also the neighboring Wheaton High School and the Thomas A. Edison High School of Technology communities, which also would explore the same type of enhanced academic programs.

To offset the loss of the Northwood facility as a holding school, the superintendent has recommended several additional changes. First, the Woodward facility that currently houses Tilden Middle School would be converted to a new high school holding facility. Second, Tilden Middle School would be relocated to its former location at the current Tilden facility, which is used as a holding facility for middle school modernizations. A new middle school holding facility would be created by reopening the Edwin W. Broome facility in Rockville. All these changes would take effect September 2005.

The other recommendations proposed by Dr. Weast include:

  • a request for supplemental funding for additional relocatable classrooms needed to accommodate enrollment growth and class-size reduction initiatives for the 2000-01 school year

  • acceleration the implementation of Global Access, which that will take advantage of increased state aid

  • explore site options for a second middle school facility in the Quince Orchard cluster

  • discontinue plans to collocate Glen Haven Elementary School and Stephen Knolls Special Education Program, but continue to review other elementary school locations for collocation

  • modernize Richard Montgomery High School on site, through construction of a replacement high school, to be opened for the 2004-2005 school year

  • change the boundary line in the Richard Montgomery cluster to include the new Fallsgrove development as an attendance area for Ritchie Park Elementary School, Julius West Middle School, and Richard Montgomery High School.

  • maintain existing boundaries in the Albert Einstein and Walter Johnson clusters for the Town of Kensington school assignments.

    The complete set of documents detailing the superintendent's recommendations can be obtained in Adobe Acrobat PDF format from the Department of Facilities Planning and Capital Programming (see link below, then see "Community Advisory Committee Information"), or phone 301-279-3333.

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