New high school plans discussed by MCPS staff

Athena Hsueh, Staff Writer

With recent talk of new boundaries being drawn and schools being built in the upcoming years, students and parents are worried about where they fall within these boundaries.

The MCPS Board of Education proposed that, in order to close the achievement gaps and solve overcrowding in schools, new boundaries will be drawn and at least one new school, Crown High School, will be built.
Of the 2018-2019 school year, more than 160,000 attended public school in Montgomery County. “Over a 20-year period, student enrollment at MCPS has increased by more than 30,000 students. This growth has propelled MCPS into one of the largest and most diverse districts in the nations,” according to the Board of Education.

External consultants from WXY Architecture and Urban Design, a firm based out of New York City, are working on behalf of MCPS to analyze school facility utilization and capacity, student demographics, school assignment and travel patterns. There was also a community meeting to hear the voices of the community on Nov. 18 at Carver Educational Services Center. Additional regional meetings will be held beginning on Dec. 4, and will continue through mid-January.

Superintendent Dr. Jack R. Smith already made recommendations for other overcrowded parts of the county based on two boundary studies: One for Clarksburg, Northwest, and Seneca Valley clusters in Germantown and the other for Forest Knolls, Montgomery Knolls and Pinecrest Elementary Schools in Silver Spring. His recommendation for the overcrowding of Clarksburg and Northwest was to expand Seneca Valley to accommodate students from the two other high schools. For the Silver Spring schools, he recommends that two zones from Forest Knolls Elementary should be reassigned to Montgomery Knolls and Pine Crest.

With word getting around about Crown, panic has arisen. Students and parents are worried that they’ll be part of a different cluster. Crown is planned to open in September 2024. While it may not affect current high schoolers, it affects the students currently in elementary school. “I was nervous about it being built at first but by the time it is going to be finished, I’ll be in college. It doesn’t really affect us now, but for the students who would be living in places like Sawyer Flats, will most likely be going to that school because it’s being built directly across the street,” sophomore Carson Buchanan said.