MCPS Enrollment Grows by 2,500 Students

MCPS Enrollment Grows by 2,500 Students

Official number to be released later this year

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Students gather outside Quince Orchard High School on the first day of school in September.

File photo

The enrollment of Montgomery County Public Schools grew an estimated 2,520 students this academic year, according to school officials.

The county’s 207 public schools this year have about 165,200 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, MCPS spokesman Derek Turner said.

The state Department of Education conducts an official count of schools’ enrollment on the last day of September each year, but because MCPS did not have school on Monday, the Friday enrollment will be its official count. The state will release the official number in November.

The MCPS enrollment for the 2018-19 school year was 162,680 students.

The MCPS enrollment has grown by more than 11,000 students since 2010, solidifying the school district as one of the largest in the country. Students speak more than 150 different languages, according to the MCPS website.

“Montgomery County is a desirable place for families to live and students to learn, so we welcome all of our new students,” Turner said in an email. “We also believe that the more students we serve in our county with high a quality education, the more likely these students will be positive contributors to our county and will want to live here, work here and send their children to school here when they grow up. As a school system, it is better to have growth than declines in enrollment.”

MCPS, Maryland’s largest school district, has many schools grappling with how to balance the ballooning enrollment. Dozens of schools are overenrolled, exceeding their capacity, and use temporary classrooms outside of the main building as “overflow space.”

In June, the school system told three organizations it partners with to host exchange students that 18 of its 26 high schools would not be open to placements due to crowded buildings.

Due to “significant feedback” from community members, MCPS changed its position, instead opting to only restrict exchange students from a handful of schools that are severely crowded.

MCPS also put a cap on the number of exchange students accepted countywide at 50. No school will be allowed to have more than five exchange students for the 2019-2020 school year.

The school board has hired a firm to conduct a review of all of its school-attendance boundaries in an effort to relieve crowding issues. The final report will be presented in May.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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