MCPS Trying Saturday School Program at Elementary School in Aspen Hill

MCPS Trying Saturday School Program at Elementary School in Aspen Hill

Twelve locations served nearly 3,000 students last year

| Published:
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Strathmore Elementary School

Photo via MCPS

Montgomery County Public Schools this year is changing one of its Saturday school locations from John F. Kennedy High School to Strathmore Elementary School.

Khadija Barkley, who leads the MCPS Saturday school program, said 12 sites offer the program throughout the county. Each site, aside from Strathmore Elementary, is located at a high school.

However, some locations, like at Kennedy, attract mostly elementary school students. So, this year, MCPS has moved the Kennedy location to Strathmore Elementary in Aspen Hill to better serve the large number of elementary students who attend.

“What we’re trying to do as a pilot is to move the high school program to an elementary school, so we can delve deeper not only into the population of students at that school, but in surrounding elementary schools in the area,” Barkley said. “Talking to parents over the years, some don’t feel comfortable sending their younger children to a high school location.”

High school students are encouraged to attend the program at other locations, Barkley said.

If the pilot at Strathmore Elementary is determined to be beneficial and more efficient, Barkley said, MCPS will consider opening more elementary school locations throughout the county, focusing first in high-poverty areas.

The Saturday school program has an enrollment of 2,940 students who receive peer tutoring, English language learning support, math and science classes, SAT and ACT preparation, robotics programs and access to science, technology, engineering and math programs.

About half of the students who attend programs from the George B. Thomas Learning Center are eligible for free or reduced-priced meal programs and 76% are black or Hispanic.

Each Saturday session begins with students receiving breakfast, then a 25-minute “motivational session” featuring guest speakers. Then, students study English for one hour and math for one hour, with lessons that align with MCPS curriculum, Barkley said.

About 170 certified teachers and 350 volunteers help run the program each week.

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

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