Wednesday, July 20, 2011

School Board Update

SPECIAL: Annandale/"Lacey" ES  
Staff Recommendations Posted
For School Board Work Session Monday

Dear Friends,

The staff recommendation for relieving overcrowding at Annandale High School and for creating a new elementary school at the Lacey Center site was posted yesterday, with maps and background information, in preparation for a School Board work session on Monday.  Here's the link to the Recommendation and Background:  
Considering the challenges involved, there is significant good news in the staff  proposal, much of this as a result of advocacy from the community.  The staff recommendation, which would go into effect in Fall 2012, includes:

  • Keeping the AAP Center at Glasgow MS
  • Full grandfathering at Annandale High School for all students who enter AHS by fall 2011, so no high school student would have to switch after making the transition to high school.  (High school changes would start with rising 9th graders in fall 2012.)
  • Full grandfathering for all middle school students who enter their middle school by fall 2011, so in fall 2012 both rising 7th and 8th graders at our 6-8 grade middle schools would remain at their current middle school. (Middle school changes would start with rising 6th graders in fall 2012.)
  • Grandfathering of elementary students who are entering the top grade at their school in fall 2012, allowing them to finish at their old school.
  • Continued transportation for grandfathered students.
  • Bren Mar Park ES will not have its own elementary school boundaries changed as part of this process, as was proposed in some earlier options.
  • The Sleepy Hollow Woods community will remain assigned to Glasgow MS and Stuart HS.
  • Beech Tree ES will remain at Glasgow/Stuart.
  • The Parklawn ES split feeder, one area identified by the Ad Hoc Study Committee and in staff options for potentially moving out of AHS, will remain at AHS.

At the same time, as with any boundary change, there will be disruption and disappointment for some under this recommendation, including but not limited to:
  • High school students who live in the Bren Mar Park ES area would be reassigned to Edison HS starting with rising 9th graders in fall 2012. I continue to work with this community on what options might be available to us to either modify the recommendation and/or to ease the transition to Edison.  The main concerns I'm hearing are not about Edison HS itself, which is a fine school completing a beautiful renovation, but about traffic and travel safety issues as well as going from inside to outside of the Beltway to go to school.
  • High school students in the Wakefield Forest ES area that now attend AHS would be reassigned to Woodson HS.  Many in Mason District who will continue at AHS fear that the loss of both this area and Bren Mar Park could impact the vibrancy and special character of the school in the future. I share those concerns.  
  • Likewise, the loss of neighborhoods from Belvedere ES, Beech Tree ES, Woodburn ES and Annandale Terrace ES raises issues about maintaining and enhancing the level of energy and volunteerism at those schools. Keeping these schools strong and vibrant in the future will be a paramount issue to consider as we continue this process.
  • The Annandale Terrace ES portion north of 236 would not only leave Annandale Terrace but would be split between the new school at Lacey and Woodburn ES, while all of the Woodburn island would be reassigned to "Lacey."

I'm looking at the possibility of amendments to the proposal to benefit Mason District families and schools, including of course AHS itself. In doing so, I appreciate the many emails I've received about the boundary issues as well as thoughtful conversations with community members and principals. In the next two weeks, I will be talking with other School Board members to determine what modifications to the staff recommendation are both desireable and feasible.

The School Board will hold its work session on the recommendations on Monday, July 18, at Gatehouse Administration Center, 8112 Gatehouse Rd., Falls Church, starting at about 11 am. This is open to the public but is not televised or recorded.  

The staff recommendation, background material and maps can be found at:

Of particular interest are the answers to questions posed by the public and School Board members:

As always, I welcome your views on these recommendations by writing to me at The School Board is scheduled to vote on the staff recommendations on July 28 at the regular Board meeting, which is televised on Channel 21.

PTA Presidents and Civic Associations, please help get this information to your members.

All the best,