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Friday, January 7, 2011

AHS Regional Planning Study Committee urges FCPS school board to consider non-boundary options

The committee exploring options for reducing overcrowding at Annandale High School and Poe Middle School puts forth several non-boundary options, as well as plans to shift the boundaries among area schools.

“The committee strongly believes that the non-boundary solutions present a new approach that will relieve the overcrowding at Annandale High School and future overcrowding at Poe Middle School while moving only a minimal number of students, yet retaining most of the middle school and high school structure within the Annandale High School pyramid intact,” the committee report states.

The committee is scheduled to present its report to the Fairfax County School Board Monday at 4 p.m. The final reports by the Annandale Regional Planning Study Committee—on addressing the boundary for the new elementary school at the Lacey site, as well as the overcrowding issues—are online. It is strongly recommended that you read the full reports, as they include a lot more details on the rationale for the committee's thinking and the pros and cons of each option. Community outreach meetings have been scheduled over the next couple of weeks.

The non-boundary options for dealing with overcrowding at Annandale (AHS) and Poe, include the following:

(1a) Reconfigure the pyramid structure.
  • Elementary schools in the AHS pyramid would retain the K-5 configuration.
  • All AHS-bound sixth and seventh-graders would attend Holmes Middle School.
  • All AHS-bound eighth and ninth-grade students would attend Poe (which could be renamed Poe Junior High School” or “Annandale Junior High School.”
  • 10th, 11th, and 12th-graders would attend “Annandale Senior High School.”
(1b) Reconfigure the pyramid structure for a 7-12 junior/senior high school.
  • Sixth-graders are moved back into their feeder elementary schools.
  • Poe and Holmes would become junior high schools with grades 7, 8, and 9.
  • AHS becomes a senior high school with grades 10, 11, and 12.
(1c) Reconfigure the pyramid structure to create middle schools with grades 7 and 8.
  • Sixth-graders are moved back into feeder elementary schools.
  • Poe and Holmes become 7-8 middle schools.
  • AHS remains a 9-12 high school.
  • An AAP (advanced academic programs) center would be installed at either Holmes or Poe.
(2) Create a small secondary school at Holmes.
  • Sixth-graders are moved back to feeder elementary schools.
  • Poe initially includes sixth-grade students from elementary schools without space and eventually becomes a 7-8 middle school with an AAP center.
  • A new boundary is drawn for Holmes to draw in enough 7-12 students from surrounding areas to make Homes the right size (1,000 to 2,000 students).
(3) Move the two center-based special education programs (serving students with severe intellectual disabilities and autism) at AHS to Stuart and/or Woodson high schools.

Boundary change options.

(1) Annandale Terrace ES/new school at the Lacey site—Move all Poe students who reside north of Route 236 to Jackson MS.

(2) Belvedere—Move all Poe students who come from Belvedere ES to Glasgow MS.

(3) Bren Mar Park ES (east)—Redistrict all AHS students who reside east of I-395 to Edison HS.

(4) Bren Mar Park (west)—Move all Bren Mar students who reside west of 1-395 and inside the beltway to Lee HS.

(5) North Springfield ES—Move all AHS students who reside outside the beltway in the North Springfield neighborhood to Lake Braddock Secondary School or Lee HS.

(6) Parklawn ES—Eliminate the split feeder at Parklawn ES. Parklawn students who go on to Holmes and AHS would attend Glasgow MS and Stuart HS.

(7) Wakefield Chapel—Move all AHS students who reside in Wakefield Chapel (west of I-495) to Woodson HS.

The committee also submitted a number of additional recommendations to the school board:
  • “It is important to maintain the strengths of diverse schools. The committee feels that this can best be accomplished for Annandale High School and its feeder middle schools by adopting a modified middle school/high school configuration as described in the non-boundary change options.”
  • If boundary changes do occur, all students who begin high school as freshmen at AHS should be permitted to finish at AHS.
  • All K-5 elementary schools should move to the K-6 model, beginning with Bren Mar Park and North Springfield.
  • The school board should determine the capital and program expenditures allocated to other parts of FCPS, such as the schools in the Southwest Boundary Study area, and ensure that similar financial resources are allocated to the Annandale Regional Planning Study area.
  • Switch the middle school feeders for North Springfield and Bren Mar Park elementaries. Move Bren Mar Park to Holmes MS, which is closer than Poe. Move North Springfield to Poe. If a sixth grade is added to North Springfield, North Springfield students should attend Poe at seventh grade, along with part of Wakefield Forest ES.
  • The retirement of AHS Principal John Ponton in June 2011 “represents a critical transition for the school and should be part of the school board’s considerations.”
  • The new school on the Lacey site should be K-6 and feed to Jackson MS and Falls Church HS.
  • Twain and Key middle schools should be included in any boundary study.

1 comment:

  1. Give some students to falls church and Woodson if you go with the choice to take everyone west of I-395