When Montgomery County opened the door for students to transfer from 10 low-performing elementary schools into high-performing elementaries, more than 6,000 students were potentially eligible.
But by the application deadline, only 102 students had applied to transfer from the 10 low-performing schools into the 10 schools set as receiving schools.
On the other hand, fully a third of those students are set to come to Cold Spring Elementary in Potomac from Rosemont Elementary in Gaithersburg.
The low-performing schools, called Title I schools, have a high percentage of low-performing and low-income students and the schools have not demonstrated an increase in performance over the last two years.
Cold Spring was selected to be the receiving school for Rosemont for three reasons: its proximity to the Gaithersburg school, the fact that Cold Spring's student performance is well above the state average, and that Cold Spring's enrollment is under 95 percent capacity so there is room for transfer students. Cold Spring, which has a current enrollment of 370 and a capacity of 414, according to principal Martin Barnett, has a projected enrollment of 359 next school year, and so can.
"This is a caring community. … Whomever walks through the door, gets the best education they can," said Barnett, at a meeting on May 30 to give parents information about the program and offer them the opportunity to ask questions and raise their concerns.
THE PROGRAM was designed in response to a Federal mandate that no student should be stuck in a failing school. In particular, the program is meant to allow low-income and low-performing students the opportunity to attend a high-performing school. Only five of the 102 students who have applied for the transfer countywide are low-income or low-performing.
Of the 32 who have applied to tranfer to Cold Spring, only one is low-income or low-performing. Under the program, Cold Spring could have accommodated up to 44 students from Rosemont.
COLD SPRING’S PTA has set up a welcoming committee for students coming from Rosemont. Parents asked on May 30 what types of supports the school would receive in order to meet the additional responsibilities and to meet the needs of the incoming students.
Joseph I. Headman Jr., community superintendent with Montgomery County Schools in charge of Wootton cluster schools, said he would be working with Barnett in July to determine the needs of Cold Spring based on the number and needs of transfer students.
"This is our first time we are doing this," said Headman Jr. "We are about doing it right for our children."