Boundary Changes for Silver Spring Elementary Schools Adopted
Students at Forest Knolls, Montgomery Knolls and Pine Crest affected
A map of proposed boundary changes for Forest Knolls, Montgomery Knolls and Pine Crest elementary schools.
Map via MCPS
School boundary changes adopted by the Montgomery County Board of Education last week will move some Silver Spring elementary students to new schools next year.
The school board began a boundary study for Forest Knolls, Montgomery Knolls and Pine Crest elementary schools last year to ease capacity problems at Forest Knolls, which is about 200 students over capacity this school year.
Montgomery Knolls enrolls students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Pine Crest enrolls students in third through fifth grade. Forest Knolls is a pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade school.
Both Montgomery Knolls and Pine Crest will have space for more than 200 students at the end of the school district’s six-year planning period, according to enrollment projections.
After a three-month examination of the schools’ boundaries, Superintendent Jack Smith recommended reassigning two groups of students who currently attend Forest Knolls to Montgomery Knolls and Pine Crest. The two groups, called “zones” by the school district, generally are students who live north of the Capital Beltway and south of Dennis Avenue, and east of Portland Road and west of Colesville Road.
None of the documents outlining the changes disclose how many students are affected, and a school spokesman did not respond on Monday to a request for comment.
The school board reviewed Smith’s recommended changes at multiple work sessions and public hearings, but did not make any substantial changes to the recommended plan.
Along with easing capacity issues, the boundary changes will “reduce the disparity” of the students eligible for free and reduced-price meals (FARMS) among the three schools, Smith wrote in his recommendation to the school board.
The FARMS rate would increase at Forest Knolls from 30.1% to 34.1% and decrease from 58.8% to 52.8% at Montgomery Knolls. The FARMS rate would also decrease at Pine Crest, from 47.4% to 42.7%.
Smith recommended that the pattern students take from the elementary schools to middle school remain the same. Students at Forest Knolls Elementary attend Silver Spring International Middle School, then Northwood High School. Montgomery Knolls and Pine Crest students attend Eastern Middle School, then Montgomery Blair High School.
In the 2020-21 school year, second-grade students at Forest Knolls in the zones slated for reassignment will remain at the school, while kindergarten and first-grade will be reassigned. Fifth-grade students at Forest Knolls will remain at the school in 2020, while third- and fourth-grade students are reassigned to Pine Crest. The changes will be fully implemented in the 2021-22 school year.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org