Fairfax County Public Schools presented three possible options and a no change option for capacity relief at McLean High School during a virtual community meeting held Mon., Dec. 7. One hundred eighty people tuned in at the start of the presentation to learn more about the adjustment process to move students from McLean High School to Langley High School. In her welcome, Eileen Tholen, School Board Member Dranesville District said they were continuing the boundary process now "in preparation for the fall." Overcrowding has remained an ongoing issue at McLean for the past decade, even with mitigation measures.
School officials emphasized that the presentation of Options A, B, and C was step two of a five-step boundary adjustment process. There would be no vote that evening. The School Board would vote to approve the boundary adjustment at a later date, proposed to be Spring 2021.
FCPS Assistant Superintendent, Region 2, Fabio Zuluaga, said that staff included feeder middle school information in the evening's presentation based on input collected during earlier boundary scope meetings. That included information on Longfellow Middle School feeding into McLean and Cooper Middle School feeding into Langley.
"The bottom line here is we are overcapacity at Mclean High School," said Zuluaga. McLean currently has a population of more than 2,350 students in a school designed for a capacity of 1,993 students. In comparison, Langley High School has 1,972 students and completed a recent renovation to accommodate 2,370 students.
Zuluaga said the School Board makes boundary changes based on one important policy, School Board Policy 8130. "The school board makes boundary adjustments based on what is the effectiveness in how we are using our buildings, how the boundary change would improve instruction, safety and security for the schools that are involved and what are also the implications... for families and students moving from one school to another school," he said
FCPS Facilities Special Projects Administrator Jessica Gillis said that over the past decade, McLean increased its capacity deficit from "slight" in SY 2009-10 to "substantial" in SY019-20, increasing membership by 487 students. Even with Schools adding temporary classrooms, removing hallway lockers to reduce crowding, and installing a modular 12-classroom unit to replace some property trailers, overcrowding continues and is expected to increase.
"It is important to recognize that our current enrollment at Longfellow Middle School is 1,334, and the school was designed for 1,374. We all know that Cooper is going to be renovated...The current enrollment for Cooper is 992 students, and the renovation (to be completed around 2023) will design the school for 1,120 kids," said Zuluaga.
Gillis presented three possible boundary options using estimated SY 2019-20 student numbers. She emphasized enrollment estimates did not show phasing/grandfathering and no current students attending Longfellow/Cooper or McLean/Langley would be reassigned.
- Option A - Reassigns 131 students from McLean to Langley and 53 students from Longfellow to Cooper in the Colvin Run ES split feeder area and a portion of Westbriar ES.
- Option B - Reassigns 190 students from McLean to Langley and 78 students from Longfellow to Cooper in the Colvin Run ES split feeder area, a portion of the Spring Hill ES split feeder area and a portion of Westbriar ES.
- Option C - Reassigns 240 students from McLean to Langley and 113 from Longfellow to Cooper in the Spring Hill ES split feeder area.
No Boundary Change Option. Projections showed a five-year capacity increase at McLean and Longfellow while Langley's student enrollment decreased from 1,972 to 1,855.
"At the end of the day the School Board will decide, any other phasing plans, other than attrition," Gillis said. The next steps in the boundary process are the evaluation of comments through Dec. 2020. Dates will be determined for staff recommendation to the School Board, School Board Public Hearing, and School Board Action. The anticipated effective date of the boundary adjustment is SY 2021-22.
A small group discussion followed with feedback posted anonymously on the website. It will be shared with the school board.
For more information about the McLean High School boundary adjustment process, visit Information on the Mclean High School Boundary Adjustment and Feedback on the Dec. 7 meeting found online.
Online Comment: Great Falls Citizens Association: “Members of the GFCA Special Committee on Schools (SCS) submitted feedback during the meeting in favor of Option A, if a boundary adjustment is to proceed at all. Importantly, SCS members shared feedback that any boundary change plan should be accompanied with a commitment by FCPS school board to start the process for a long-overdue physical expansion of (McLean) MHS. Boundary change Option A includes students from the Colvin Run ES split feeder area. This option offers some relief to MHS, solves a split feeder situation at Colvin Run ES, and leaves room for growth at Cooper MS and Langley HS. Leaving capacity room for growth is important because of concerns about the negative student growth forecasts by FCPS for the Langley pyramid. Those forecasts seem inconsistent with Fairfax County analysis that forecast about 4,000 additional households by year 2025 for zip codes 22102 and 22066 which feed schools in the Langley pyramid.”
Online comments: Dec. 4 Feedback on Proposed Boundary Adjustment for McLean HS
Those who live directly off Dolly Madison Blvd. (to go to LHS) and off of Kirby Road North and East of Old Dominion.
Moving both Colvin Run and Spring Hill was preferred by Colvin Run parents to help with carpooling and so there is not an isolated pocket far out still going to McLean.
Option 1 is the best option as it fully relieves overcrowding at MHS.
Scenario B makes most sense.
Consider other options that include neighborhoods near/closer to Langley HS.