The Fairfax County School Board heard a proposal to establish a GT center at Luther Jackson Middle School at the board meeting Nov. 21. The center would draw many GT students who would otherwise attend centers at Kilmer and Frost middle schools. Public meetings between the school system's Office of Facilities Planning and the community regarding the proposed GT center boundary change have been well-attended and heated, but the proposal heard by the School Board last month was identical to the one originally brought before parents.
A public hearing with the School Board regarding this and two other proposed school boundary changes will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 8 and 9 at Luther Jackson Middle School.
"We realize there's a possibility that some of these students may choose to go back to their base schools like Thoreau and take advantage of that honors program," Gary Chevalier, director of the Office of Facilities Planning Services, told the board, assuring that the schools would be prepared for this eventuality. Many students who would have been relocated from Thoreau Middle School to attend GT classes at Kilmer would instead attend the new center at Luther Jackson, according to the proposal.
Chevalier also asserted that the new center could be up to parents' standards and fully prepared for its first seventh-grade class before next school year begins. The center would add eighth-grade classes the following year.
Following the public hearing, the School Board will hold a work session on the proposal Jan. 22 and is scheduled to vote on it Feb. 22.
Some School Board members, including Hunter Mill District representative Stuart Gibson and Providence representative Phil Niedzielski-Eichner, said that before they vote, they would like to hear the Facilities Planning Office address how they plan to have the center up and running before the next year begins and why the office rejected an alternate boundary change drawn up by members of the Louise Archer Elementary School PTA.
Members of the public can sign up for a three-minute time slot to speak at the public hearing at www.fcps.edu/schlbd/requestspeak.htm.
— Mike DiCicco