A news roundup

Local Covid-19 Statistics

Courtesy of Delegate Marc Korman

4,800+ businesses, nonprofits apply for county COVID-19 emergency grants 

More than 4,800 small businesses and nonprofits had applied for emergency grants from Montgomery County‘s $20 million Public Health Emergency Grant Program. The county expects money will begin to go out to approved applicants towards the end of this week. The County Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow to add $5 million to the fund.
At a press conference on Friday, Governor Larry Hogan said that out of $9.3 million in a state Layoff Aversion Fund to help avoid job cuts at small businesses, $8 million had been distributed. He also reported that a $50 million grant fund for businesses and nonprofits had received more than 20,200 applications, and that a $75 million loan fund had received more than 9,100 applications. Both funds have stopped taking applications. More.

Walter Johnson ranked sixth best high school in Maryland and No. 344 in the country

Five Montgomery County High Schools are ranked among the top 10 public schools in the state according to a report released Monday. U.S. News and World Report ranked Poolesville High School as the best school in Maryland and 90th best school in the country.

Walt Whitman in Bethesda follows Poolesville as second best in the state and No. 105 in the country. Wootton High School in Rockville was ranked third best in the state and No. 128 in the country. Churchill High School in Potomac ranked fourth in the state and No. 133 in the country. Walter Johnson in Bethesda ranked sixth in the state and No. 344 in the country. Bethesda-Chevy Chase ranked No. 13 in the state and No. 567 nationally, while Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville ranked No. 14 in the state and No. 604 in the country. Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg ranked No. 20 in the state and No. 807 nationally.

No letter grades for fourth marking period 

Montgomery County Public Schools MCPS) said on its website yesterday that it won’t assign letter grades for the fourth marking period. However, grades for the third marking period, which ended on Friday, will be given using the traditional grading system. Report cards will be mailed home starting April 27. The last day of the school year is June 15. Currently, the state has closed all public school buildings through May 15. Today, April 20, was the first day of the next phase of the MCPS online learning plan. Read details about this and more on the MCPS website.

Explore Montgomery County from home   

From virtual events to online activities, there are a variety of ways to discover Montgomery County from the comfort of your own home via the internet. You and your family can go on a farm tour, participate in musical jam sessions, see art exhibits, visit a lockhouse, hear lectures, learn about nature and try fun new activities. Visit MoCo at Home to learn more.

White Flint ES sites remain in contention

From Bethesda Beat

Montgomery County Public Schools has narrowed a list of potential sites for a new elementary school in the Bethesda area to three.

The remaining three sites under consideration are:

  • WMAL on Greentree Road
  • Two White Flint properties that have been called White Flint North and White Flint South.

The three remaining possible locations are all on the same sites as other building projects, as the school district is pushing for more innovative school buildings that take advantage of compact sites.

White Flint sites remain in contention for new elementary school

From Bethesda Beat

Montgomery County Public Schools is studying where to open another elementary school in about six years to relieve crowding in the Walter Johnson and Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school clusters.

Seth Adams, the director of MCPS’ Department of Facilities Management, announced Tuesday at the start of a community meeting at North Bethesda Middle School that the list of 10 choices has been cut to six.

More than 100 people attended the meeting to hear the latest on the search for a school site.

The four sites being removed from the list are Ayrlawn Park on Oakmont Avenue, Alta Vista on Beech Avenue, Rocking Horse on Macon Road, and Montrose Center on Academy Way. Adams said there are challenges with those sites — particularly their current and future use.

The remaining sites under consideration (some of which have buildings now used for other reasons or unused) are:

Grosvenor Elementary School on Grosvenor Lane (a current holding facility for school construction projects)

Kensington Elementary School on Detrick Avenue

Lynnbrook Center on Lynnbrook Drive in East Bethesda (site of a former school)

WMAL on Greentree Road

Two White Flint properties. The last two properties have been called White Flint South and White Flint North, but there was some confusion at the end of Tuesday’s meeting about whether the correct address was considered for one of them. MCPS and DLR Group, a school design firm helping with the site selection, will work on preparing a summary of the correct site, if needed.

https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/bethesda/four-sites-dropped-from-consideration-for-new-bethesda-school/?utm_source=Bethesda+Magazine+Master+List&utm_campaign=32f53f9768-Beat-02.19.20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1bbe9df5d9-32f53f9768-104429903&mc_cid=32f53f9768&mc_eid=5825e45cb9

New sites proposed for elementary school in WJ-BCC Clusters

From Bethesda Beat

Montgomery County Public Schools has released an updated list of potential sites for a new elementary school in the Bethesda area. The recommendations are part of an elementary school capacity study for the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson high school clusters.

The sites are:

  • Alta Vista Elementary School — Proposed development includes a three-story addition to a school on an MCPS-owned lot. The school is a former school that is currently closed but still owned by MCPS. There is space for only 70 parking spaces and limited playground space. The small 3.53-acre property does not have space for a baseball field and could not accommodate additional expansions in the future. Address: 5615 Beech Ave.
  • Ayrlawn Elementary School & Local Park — Existing school that closed in 1982 and is still owned by MCPS. Proposed development includes using a “small portion” of the adjacent park for parking. There are two softball fields on the property and room for about 96 parking spaces. Address: 5650 Oakmont Ave.
  • Grosvenor Elementary School — Existing facility that is currently used as a temporary school while other schools undergo major renovations or expansions. The site can accommodate about 100 parking spaces and playground space. The biggest drawback, according to MCPS, is it would no longer be available as a “holding school.” Address: 5701 Grosvenor Lane.
  • Kensington Elementary School — The school would sit on a 4-acre lot on Detrick Avenue. The site has room for 110 parking spaces, but not for a baseball field or play areas. Address: 10400 Detrick Ave.
  • Lynnbrook Center — Existing facility that is currently closed, but is still owned by MCPS. A portion of the building could be used as a day care center and the current site has a softball field and tennis courts. Outdoor play spaces would have to be split between the two ends of the school. There would be about 110 parking spaces. Address: 8001 Lynnbrook Drive.
  • Montrose Center — Existing facility that is currently closed, but is still owned by MCPS. There is space to accommodate 100 parking spots, but not outdoor play spaces. Address: 12301 Academy Way. 
  • Rocking Horse Road Center — The 18.7-acre site is large enough to accommodate a multitude of building designs. There would be 92 parking spaces and a softball field. The center is used by MCPS central office staff. Address: 4910 Macon Road.
  • White Flint North Site — The site is a bit constrained, according to MCPS, and would not have adequate room for outdoor play spaces. There would be approximately 100 parking spaces and separated student drop-off loops for buses and vehicles. Address: 11410 Woodglen Drive.
  • White Flint South Site — Another small site, there would not be adequate room for parking and play spaces. The property “attempts to utilize some of the acreage that was once part of the mall that has been demolished,” MCPS documents say. Address: 11301 Rockville Pike.
  • WMAL — On Greentree Road, the 4-acre property would not have space for a softball diamond, but could accommodate up to 114 parking spaces. Address: 7115 Greentree Road.

Last Night’s MCPS Boundary Analysis Meeting at WJ

From Montgomery Community Media

SKEPTICAL CROWD FILLS TWO ROOMS FOR BOUNDARY ANALYSIS MEETING

Montgomery County Public Schools had its largest boundary analysis meeting yet on Thursday night at Walter Johnson High School. A spokesperson for MCPS told MyMCMedia that about 650 people showed up to the meeting.

There were so many people, that the group was split up into two rooms so that two boundary meetings were happening at the same time. One large group met in Walter Johnson’s gymnasium, the other group met in the cafeteria.

Like previous meetings, attendees were put in small groups and they heard from leaders of WXY Architecture, the contractors conducting the MCPS Boundary Analysis Study. Throughout the evening, people sat in small groups and were given opportunities to talk amongst themselves.

At the end of the meeting, attendees were polled about the information they learned that evening. The results of the polls indicate that many parents are still skeptical about MCPS’ boundary study.

In the gymnasium, 44% of people said that they were still skeptical about the information that was presented that evening. In the cafeteria, this was also the most common answer, receiving 61% of the votes.

When polled about their view on undertaking a boundary study, in the gymnasium the most common answer, receiving 49% of the votes was “I am still skeptical of this process and wonder whether it needs to be done at this time.” This was also the most popular choice for the large group in the cafeteria, receiving 68% of the votes.

The final polling question asked attendees to rate on a 1 to 10 scale whether they agreed their concerns were adequately heard: in the gymnasium 30% voted “1,” meaning they didn’t agree at all.

This meeting was the last in a series of meetings MCPS organized about the boundary meeting as a part of the first phase of the analysis. The project will soon enter its second phase, and WXY Architecture will start testing ideas and metrics.

Tweet Recap of Walter Johnson Boundary Meeting

Here’s are some Tweets that recap what happened at Thursday night’s meeting:

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 13h

THREAD: I’m at the @MCPS boundary analysis meeting tonight at Walter Johnson High and there are hundreds of people here—so many that two meetings are happening: one in the cafeteria, the other in the gym. For now, I’m in the gym. There’s 35 tables filled with people in here.

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Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

Outside of the school I spoke to members of One Montgomery who are here as activists in support of the boundary analysis study.

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37:46 PM – Jan 23, 2020 · Walter Johnson High SchoolTwitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 13hReplying to @DeirdreByrneMCM

There were more signs left outside that were opposed to the boundary study.

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Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

The tables are currently discussing what they believe should be included in the analysis in regard to school utilization.

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7:54 PM – Jan 23, 2020 · Walter Johnson High SchoolTwitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 13hReplying to @DeirdreByrneMCM

I’m told by @MCPS officials that about 650 people are here tonight. There are more people in the gymnasium than the cafeteria.

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Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

Of all the boundary meetings @MCPS has had, this one is the largest.

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View image on Twitter
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8:19 PM – Jan 23, 2020 · Walter Johnson High SchoolTwitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 13hReplying to @DeirdreByrneMCM

The groups are now discussing ideas they have about how school proximity can fit into @MCPS’ boundary analysis study.

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Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

Here’s a look at the people in the cafeteria meeting. They are also currently talking about school proximity.

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View image on Twitter
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8:30 PM – Jan 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 12hReplying to @DeirdreByrneMCM

The polling part has started and 44% of the gym attendees say they are still skeptical of the boundary study.

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View image on Twitter
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Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

49% of people say they are skeptical of the boundary study.

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8:44 PM – Jan 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 12hReplying to @DeirdreByrneMCM

30% of people say they don’t agree with the study; 16% fully agree.

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Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

Now I’m back in the caf as this group is wrapping up discussion.

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8:49 PM – Jan 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 12hReplying to @DeirdreByrneMCM

61% of people in the caf say they are skeptical about what they learned.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

68% are still skeptical of the study. People cheered when the results when up.

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8:53 PM – Jan 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 12hReplying to @DeirdreByrneMCM

Here are people cheering at the polling result.

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

58% of people say they did not fee heard tonight in the caf.

View image on Twitter

18:55 PM – Jan 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

(Correction: The tweet above should say “feel heard” instead of “fee heard.” It should also say 57% instead of 58%.)

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM · 12hReplying to @DeirdreByrneMCM

Again the crowd cheered at this result.

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

Q and A has started in the gym. Here’s a question about title 1 schools.9:58 PM – Jan 23, 2020 · Walter Johnson High SchoolTwitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

Here’s a question that raises the idea of a lottery system for underperforming schools. This is an idea @MCPS is looking into.110:43 PM – Jan 23, 2020 · Walter Johnson High SchoolTwitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

Here’s a question that questions the use of Ever-Farms for looking at school diversity. @MCPS said they are looking at other data to measure diversity.310:44 PM – Jan 23, 2020 · Walter Johnson High SchoolTwitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

One man asks about @MCPS’ timeline for making a decision about changing boundaries. MCPS says WXY will submit their recommendation to @mocoboe in June and the School Board can make recommendations from there.110:45 PM – Jan 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

The crowd cheers when a student asks how this data will help her receive a better education.210:58 PM – Jan 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

One person asks how @MCPS is planning to hear from the voices of all students.10:59 PM – Jan 23, 2020 · Walter Johnson High SchoolTwitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

Deirdre Byrne@DeirdreByrneMCM

One man asks about how @MCPS / WXY can be sure that the data that they are looking at leads to the best outcomes.11:00 PM – Jan 23, 2020 · Walter Johnson High SchoolTwitter Ads info and privacySee Deirdre Byrne’s other Tweets

RELATED POST:

Curious about the re-opening of Woodward High School?

Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) Division of Construction is wrapping up the Schematic Design phase and beginning the Design Development phase for the reopening of Charles W. Woodward High School project.

In previous work sessions, in which the designs of building and site amenities were discussed, they received a lot of helpful feedback and input from various stakeholders and agencies. In an effort to continue community engagement, they will hold another community work session to share how the project is developing, and what has been discussed and considered with other agencies.

Reopening Project Community Work Session Date: Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 Time: 6:30 pm Location: Tilden Middle School Media Center 11211 Old Georgetown Road Rockville, Maryland 20852

If you have any questions regarding this process please contact Ms. Shiho Shibasaki, project manager, at 240-314-1000

MCPS Boundary Study

As you may have heard, MCPS has embarked on a boundary to study “how existing school and cluster boundaries support or impede the effective use of school facilities .” You can read all the MCPS information on this topic here. This document details the regulations they are using for the MCPS boundary study.

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 nation. Unfortunately, facility construction has not been able to keep pace with this significant growth.

External consultants from WXY, working on behalf of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), have launched the first phase of the Districtwide Boundary Analysis, an initiative designed to provide a comprehensive assessment of MCPS boundaries. WXY will analyze various data points, such as school facility utilization and capacity, student demographics, school assignment and travel patterns.

This comprehensive study is different from the boundary study that will need to be done in our area with Woodward High School opens.

Because school boundaries have impacts beyond where a child attends school, FOWF is letting you know about this study, in case you haven’t heard about it already.

MCPS is holding a series of public meetings on this topic, one of them at WJ High School.

Multiple Regional Open Meetings across the County – RSVP for one of the meetings

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Gaithersburg High School
101 Education Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Julius West Middle School
651 Great Falls Rd, Rockville, MD 20850

Saturday, December 14, 2019, 10:00am – 12:00pm
White Oak Middle School
12201 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20904

Tuesday, January 7, 2020, 7:00pm- 9:00pm
Walter Johnson High School
6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD 20814

Saturday, January 11, 2020, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Blair High School
51 University Blvd E, Silver Spring, MD 209010

Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Northwest High School
13501 Richter Farm Road, Germantown, MD 20874

Virtual Public Meeting (Dates and Locations Coming Soon)

More on Woodward

From Bethesda Beat

At a meeting on Monday, staff members showed updated plans for the roughly $120 million project that will serve about 2,700 students.

The new plans show two phases of construction. The first will include renovating the building for use as a temporary school for Northwood High School students from 2023 to 2025 as Northwood undergoes an extensive renovation. Then, in 2025, Woodward will reopen as a new MCPS high school, complete with athletic facilities.

The square building has a large central courtyard, to be used for performances, teaching and casual activities. Staff members are considering dividing the courtyard area into smaller sections, possibly including an amphitheater, a terrace and seating.

The school, proposed to include a performing arts magnet program, has arts space on all three floors.

Many of the classroom spaces will be “flexible,” with movable walls to create classrooms that “respond to the school’s needs.”

Read the rest of the article on Bethesda Beat.

WJ Moratorium Review at the Planning Board Thursday

The Planning Board will review the annual schools test next Thursday, which will determine if a school cluster (including the Walter Johnson cluster) would be placed in moratorium and if a Preliminary Plan of Subdivision could be submitted .

The staff report can be found here and recommends the Walter Johnson cluster be put in moratorium for one year because WJ is at 129.3% of capacity.

Architect Selected for Woodward High Renovation Project

From Bethesda Beat

The Montgomery school board plans to funnel $125 million into renovating the former Charles W. Woodward High School in Rockville and on Monday appointed a Calverton architectural firm to lead the design process.

Grimm and Parker Architecture Inc. was selected as the “most qualified firm to provide the necessary … services,” according to school board documents. The board will pay Grimm and Parker about $6.2 million for its services.

Known as a holding school, Woodward is next scheduled to house students from Northwood High School in Silver Spring, which is slated for a $123 million expansion to begin in 2023, and students will be moved off-site during construction.

Read the rest of the article at Bethesda Beat.