WJ Cluster Updates

Walter Johnson Cluster Position on MCPS System-wide Boundary Analysis

Update as of 15 April 2019

The Montgomery County Public Schools Boundary Assessment Study of all current school boundaries “review” approved on Jan. 8, 2019, will examine ways in which any of MCPS's 206 school boundaries could potentially be moved to help ease overcrowding and increase socioeconomic and/or racial diversity at these schools. MCPS will hire a consultant to conduct the Review & they are scheduled to deliver the Review's findings/report to the School Board by Spring 2020.

The Review is NOT a "Boundary Study," (a different MCPS process that sets the boundaries of who will go to the school about a year before it opens). The entire WJ Cluster will undergo a Boundary Study a few years before Woodward High School is planned to reopen in 2025.

The WJ Cluster’s common position on the Review (which aligns with WJ Cluster advocacy over the past several years) includes (but is not limited to) the following three principles:

1) Any boundary changes must be predicated on accurate data. The WJ Cluster has expressed on several occasions, since the release of the most recent CIP, our belief that the numbers generated by MGT Consulting are seriously flawed. We have received no information that has allayed those concerns, in fact, what we have received from MCPS/MGT has only deepened our worries that flawed methodologies were used to make enrollment projections. Any Review on existing boundaries and their relevance for future enrollment growth and patterns should be based on the most accurate data available. Therefore, we urge this process to take a multi-faceted approach to data collection, working with M-NCPPC staff as well as MCPS and MGT staff, and to allow those in the community to have transparent access to the data. A failure to do so will lead to a lack of confidence in the result.

2) We continue to urge MCPS to sequence whatever changes which will flow from this Review of boundaries, including limited or wholesale boundary changes that will impact the Downcounty Consortium (DCC) area, with the reopening of Woodward High School and the new Northwood building in 2025. These are two major capital projects that will add thousands of seats in the southern part of the County. They could be the catalyst for a wholesale restructuring of boundaries, but the WJ Cluster would be gravely concerned about a significant boundary change in addition to the boundary changes when these two facilities open. Our community should not have to undergo these changes multiple times within the same few years.

3) We continue to respectfully request that students currently assigned to WJ be assigned to either WJ or Woodward. However, we continue to support the assignment of students to either the WJ or Woodward Clusters from areas currently outside the WJ catchment area.