Saturday, June 4, 2011

"... these concerns ... are the product of many voices ..."

[From Ms. Sandra van Bochove]

I am the mother of a 2nd grader in Rosemary Hills primary school, headed next year to North Chevy Chase elementary school. I was invited to participate in the BCC elementary school boundary study that will be implemented in 2015-2016 at the earliest. The new middle school is scheduled to open during that time. When the new boundaries are implemented, it will affect Bethesda, Chevy Chase, North Chevy Chase, and Rosemary Hills elementary schools. Another boundary study will follow for the new middle school, to determine which elementary schools (with new boundaries) will feed into it. The committee raised the very same concerns recently raised here, though perhaps not in as passionate or colorful language, but nevertheless these concerns are valid, and are the product of many voices.

The size of the school drives the curriculum. However, the SSAC's top two sites were both much smaller than Westland's, thereby limiting the curriculum, afterschool programs, & athletic activities. Many parents I spoke with were concerned about the potential lack of parity that results when a smaller middle school is built, and the impact of that inequality on their children's education.

The location of the SSAC's top two sites were in the North and East of the BCC cluster – contrary to the "centralized" location that the Board had recommended. Of great concern by committee members, parents, and MCPS staff, was the potential unbalance along socio-economic factors that MPCS has worked hard for over 30 years to overcome. The location of either site, with respect to Westland's location in the South of the cluster, would inherently split the cluster into unequal sections along socio-economic factors.

Regardless of how you may feel about Rock Creek Hills Park as the location of the new middle school, I encourage you to participate in the upcoming "feasibility study" meetings to learn of the potential impact of this site, and the issues associated with a smaller middle school that have been identified, not just by our Rock Creek Hills community, but also by communities of Chevy Chase, North Chevy Chase, and Rosemary Hills. We all want a well balanced school for our children and for our cluster. This is your opportunity to pave the path of success for our children and our communities as a whole.

Thank you.

Sandra van Bochove
Kensington Maryland USA

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