April 20, 2024

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Boundary changes recommended for Bethesda-area elementary schools

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A map of proposed boundary alterations for Bethesda-space elementary educational facilities.

As the university district prepares for an addition project at Westbrook Elementary, Interim Superintendent Monifa McKnight this week launched advised boundary variations to move college students from nearby Bethesda and Somerset elementary universities.

In whole, about 225 college students would be reassigned in the analyze.

About 125 college students would transfer from Bethesda Elementary to Somerset Elementary, and about 100 learners from Somerset Elementary to Westbrook, according to district officers.

Only pre-kindergarten via fourth-grade students would be reassigned in the subsequent college yr. Fifth-grade pupils would be additional in the 2023-24 university calendar year, in accordance to the recommendation. This is to avoid going fifth-quality students in their past calendar year of elementary university.

The boundary research approach commenced in 2019, when MCPS began exploring approaches to relieve crowding at Somerset.

MCPS planned to build a classroom addition at nearby Westbrook Elementary Faculty in Bethesda and carry out a boundary review to transfer some college students from Somerset to Westbrook.

Individually, the district also planned a $16.7 million addition at Bethesda Elementary in 2025 to offset crowding there.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, straining local and point out budgets, then-Superintendent Jack Smith directed MCPS to forgo the Bethesda Elementary undertaking, but retain the $4.4 million addition at Westbrook. Smith also advisable restarting the boundary examine to figure out how to reassign learners from Bethesda and Somerset to Westbrook.

Westbrook has house for about 222 college students. The addition will make room for about 70 additional students.

The addition at Westbrook is predicted to be completed by September 2023.

Somerset, on Warwick Place, is projected to have about 80 additional students than its optimum ability by 2026. Because it is on a 3.7-acre web-site, which is regarded tiny, there is little area for the school district to location non permanent lecture rooms to accommodate the crowding.

According to MCPS information, Bethesda Elementary has an enrollment of about 670 students and is designed to keep 560.

McKnight wrote that her proposed changes would decrease the disparity between bundled universities in the percentage of pupils eligible for cost-free and lessened-price tag meals, which MCPS uses as an indicator of poverty. It also minimizes the disparity in the range of college students in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses.

At Westbrook, for case in point, the proportion of students in ESOL systems would improve from 3.6{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf} to 19.5{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf}, and lessen at Somerset from 28.2{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf} to 18.6{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf}.

The suggested alterations would shift Somerset and Westbrook enrollment into the “desired range of 80-100{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf}” of their capacity.

Bethesda Elementary will not be within just the wanted enrollment assortment, McKnight wrote, but the crowding will be minimized “significantly” and there are options for a creating venture in the future.

Bethesda Elementary’s enrollment is envisioned to be 603 college students (108{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf} utilization) in the 2027-28 faculty calendar year, if the modifications are carried out. It would be 743 students (144{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf}) with out the alterations, in accordance to McKnight’s advice.

No middle or substantial faculties have been bundled in the boundary analyze.

A map of the advised boundary alterations can be identified in this article.

Caitlynn Peetz can be arrived at at [email protected]

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