As a member of the Woodward Class of 79, I (Amy Ginsburg, FOWF Executive Director) am personally cheered by the news that Woodward may once again be home to a high school.
A just released and quite lengthy report included the discussions and options that the Walter Johnson Cluster Roundtable came up with to deal with overcrowded schools. (As you may remember, we blogged about the various secondary and primary options earlier.)
The report also included feedback from cluster representatives on the various options. Re-opening Woodward as a high school for grades 9 to 12 was the overwhelming favorite option. The report said, “This approach received the most support from the Walter Johnson PTSA as a solution for the high school. The cluster would have two high schools that meet the state and MCPS guidelines for recommended maximum enrollment. The Woodward site has the space to accommodate a high school. And the high school experience for students could be a more personal experience. The PTSA notes that this approach would require redistricting within the WJHS school cluster, and the new high school would be expected to meet WJHS’s excellent standards and environment.”
Option #9, collocating a new high school and middle school on the Woodward site, was the second of the more favored approaches of the WJ PTSA. The WJ PTSA is also very supportive of the construction of a new high school and middle school within the cluster, Option #8. Both Option #8 and #9 would provide two smaller high schools and three smaller middle schools.
The North Bethesda Middle School PTSA noted that reopening Woodward was “The ONLY VIABLE OPTION, which has support from all 9 PTAs in the cluster and the only HS approach supported by a majority of the families from 9 schools in the cluster.” North Bethesda MS added, It is the “only long-term solution for over-crowded down-county high schools that keeps the High Schools within MCPS guidelines for size; takes future capacity into consideration; maximizes use of existing property within the cluster; more opportunities for students in terms of participating in their HS community (sports teams, music, drama, etc.), which will lead to additional opportunities for college scholarships; more access to faculty, administration and counselors; maintains sense of community within the WJ Cluster; reasonable school size Is better for students with IEPs (ADHD, anxiety, depression, etc.) to navigate; won’t compromise student safety because hallways and buildings won’t be overcrowded, nor will parking lots and drop-off and pick-up points for teen pedestrians and drivers; the community streets and thoroughfares can support the traffic at the two different locations; opportunity to help relieve overcrowding at some of our neighboring clusters (BCC and Whitman). ”
Luxmanor PTSA said reeopening Woodward as a 9 to 12 high school “approach is ranked highest and is the preferred high school approach for Luxmanor and all 9 schools within the cluster. When limited to the scope of the round table (with all neighborhoods within the cluster being districted within the current boundary area) this approach is ranked 1st for Luxmanor with approximately 80% of the families supporting this approach. While this approach divides the WJ cluster into WJHS and Woodward, it does result in two high schools that meet the county guideline for high school size. This option also gives MCPS more flexibility in programing and frees up space for specialty academies or programs. Finally, while the short term costs are higher, it fixes a long term problem and the cost per student is comparable. This is the most fiscally prudent, long term option.”