A proposal to use vacant office space in downtown Silver Spring for a career and technical education-focused high school includes space for the Bethesda-based KID Museum.
In an effort to increase public schools students’ access to career-readiness programs, Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer has suggested locating the new high school with the KID Museum, a children’s museum that works closely with the school system and provides hands-on learning opportunities incorporating art, culture and science, technology, education and math skills.
“This school would meet the needs of students who might not excel in a traditional classroom setting, but our school system should be able to help them achieve their potential, nonetheless,” said Riemer, who identified a possible location in Silver Spring and pitched the idea to county leaders.
Although still in the conceptual phases, the school would serve about 800 students and likely offer technology, media, research and health-oriented programs.
The school system and KID Museum have built a partnership over the past four years to promote STEM classes at elementary and middle schools, emphasizing the importance of making such programs accessible to low-income and minority students.
County Executive Marc Elrich, school system officials and county government leaders have pledged support for the project, highlighting the importance of creating post-high school opportunities for county graduates.
County officials have been pushing for expanding technology-focused programs in recent years, opening Thomas Edison High School of Technology and pledging funds to expand Seneca Valley High School with space to accommodate career programs.
“I’m kind of excited about this idea,” Elrich said this week. “Realistically, you could do this in several areas of the county.”
In its current location at the Davis Library on Democracy Boulevard in Bethesda, the museum is limited to about 7,500 square feet of leased space.
The KID Museum is looking for a new location, according to a county government budget document, and is looking for about 50,000 square feet of space, which would allow the organization to increase the amount of students it serves annually from 55,000 to 250,000.
The county has allocated $7.5 million in its budget for design and renovation of a new KID Museum location; a potential Rockville location near the Twinbrook Metro station fell through last year, Riemer said.
“As a dynamic hub for informal learning and unique community gathering space for people from all walks-of-life, KID Museum will become a new kind of cultural anchor for Montgomery County that empowers youth from diverse backgrounds to become the innovators and change makers of the future,” the page says. “In so doing, the Project reflects Montgomery County’s deep commitment to education, innovation and diversity and will create a regional attraction that reinforces and elevates these core values.”
A spokesperson for the museum said its leaders are “exploring a range of options,” and a new location has not been finalized.
“We have a strong partnership with (county schools) and we are excited to bring our programming for them — and for the rest of the region — to scale in an expanded learning space,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org