County School System Begins Boundary-Drawing Process for New Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School

Monday’s first public meeting on process drew about 80 parents


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The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School cluster

MCPS

The Montgomery County school system has officially begun a 10-month boundary study process to figure out who will attend its new middle school set to open in August 2017 in Kensington.

The yet-to-be-named school, known for now as Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2, will be the second middle school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Cluster.

All students from the cluster’s seven elementary schools currently attend Westland Middle School on Massachusetts Avenue in Bethesda, which has grown by 225 students since 2007.

The new middle school, under construction at the site of a former park on Saul Road, will have a capacity of 930 students.

Bruce Crispell, director of the school system’s Division of Long-range Planning, hosted a boundary study kick-off meeting Monday night at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School that drew about 80 parents.

Over the next three months, Crispell will develop options for new middle school boundaries within the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster. He’ll get guidance from a committee of two PTA representatives from each elementary school, two parent representatives of the NAACP Parents’ Council, a parent representative of the Latino Student Achievement Action Group and three PTA cluster coordinators.

Crispell made it clear during the meeting Monday that no boundaries will change for the cluster’s elementary schools and that the cluster boundaries that dictate who goes to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School won’t change either.

In June, Crispell and the committee will send a report to the school system’s new superintendent, expected to be hired this spring, who will make his or her recommendation in mid-October to the Board of Education. After a work session and public hearing in November, the Board of Education is expected to make its decision on the boundaries in late November.

Crispell said Monday the board generally prefers to send rising sixth-graders from the same elementary school to the same middle school, what the school system calls “straight articulation.”

While it’s possible some of the boundary options will include splitting up elementary school areas, Crispell said the relative simplicity of this boundary-drawing process may not require that.

“I feel like we may not have to go there,” Crispell said.

MCPS will have to figure out where to send students who live in the Rosemary Hills Elementary School service area. The school serves only kindergarten through second grade. Students in third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades from the area head to either Chevy Chase, North Chevy Chase or Bethesda elementary schools.

With the opening of the new middle school, sixth-grade programs at Chevy Chase and North Chevy Chase elementary schools will discontinue. Middle schools in MCPS typically serve grades six through eight.

MCPS will update its boundary study web page with all presentations and options given to the committee. All meetings will be open to the public and the next meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 in the cafeteria of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

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