Sign our petition!

Hello MoCo! Montgomery County Public Schools has added 11,000 students in the past 10 years, but has never taken a comprehensive look at enrollment growth and school capacity. That’s why, for the first time in decades, MCPS is conducting a countywide school boundary analysis

The Board of Education has hired a consulting firm, WXY, to look at the way MCPS draws school boundaries, collect community feedback, and provide insights on how the school system could improve its boundary-drawing process. This analysis will provide an independent, data-driven look at some of the big issues affecting MCPS, such as:

  • How efficiently we’re using our school buildings. This year, 10,000 students attend classes in portables, while there are nearly 10,000 empty seats across the system. MCPS spends millions of dollars on new schools or additions when nearby schools have space.
  • How to reduce de facto segregation. Today, Black and Latino students, and students from low-income backgrounds are clustered in a handful of schools, which contributes to both opportunity and achievement gaps. MCPS has invested considerable resources to help students from all backgrounds succeed wherever they are, but studies show that students of all backgrounds perform best in diverse schools. 
  • How far students are traveling to school. As Montgomery County has grown, school boundaries haven’t caught up. As a result, more than a third of students aren’t attending the school closest to their home (not counting those in magnet or choice programs), which means more time and money spent traveling to and from school.

A group opposing the analysis has spread rumors that it will redraw school boundaries or bus students long distances. Neither is true. This analysis will not change school boundaries or even recommend any specific boundary changes.

If you agree that data-informed policy, equitable public education, and fiscal responsibility matter,  here are five things you can do:

Join hundreds of people who have signed our letter to Board of Education President Shebra Evans and Superintendent Jack Smith in support of the boundary analysis. (Click here for the sign-on letter)

Come to a meeting on the boundary analysis this winter, where you can learn about the process and give your feedback:

  • January 7, Walter Johnson High School, 7-9 p.m.
  • January 11, Montgomery Blair High School, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • January 14, Northwest High School, 7 p.m. -9 p.m.

Come hear the Board of Education discuss the analysis at their next meeting, January 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 pm. at the MCPS central office, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.

Share this with your friends, neighbors, PTSA, or anyone else who may be interested. Remember, strong schools benefit everyone, even those who don’t have kids in public schools!

Sign on!

Boundaries Education policy Montgomery County Uncategorized

Why should Montgomery County consider changes to school boundaries?

Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville.
  1. What’s wrong with the current setup of Montgomery County Public Schools? The current school boundaries are outdated and often illogical. They have led to wasteful spending to expand schools, often in the wealthiest areas of the county, while forcing older schools to wait many years for renovation or replacement.The last countywide boundary change happened in the 1980s, when MCPS closed more than 60 schools as enrollment dropped to about 90,000 and the county population was about 600,000. Today, the population is 1.2 million and growing. School enrollment has surged to more than 165,000, while boundaries remain largely unchanged. 
  2. Why shouldn’t we just spend money to fix aging schools? Our resources are not infinite. A school system with a growing population and serious crowding issues should not simultaneously have schools operating at well below capacity. But in recent years, boundaries have only been changed when new schools opened.  As a result, some schools are at more than 150 percent of capacity with up to 14 portable classrooms at a single school, even when there is space at nearby schools. Check out this interactive map to see for yourself.
  3. Why would we want to put more kids on buses? The status quo does not do a good job of providing walkable schools for our children. It results in many families being farther away from their children’s schools than they should be: Among non-magnet students, 37% of elementary students, 45% of middle school students and 38% of high school students do not attend the closest school, according to MCPS data. 
  4. Isn’t it expensive to make big changes to the system? A systematic boundary assessment is fiscally responsible. We simply do not have the wherewithal to avoid this study,  as the impact of avoiding a system-wide boundary assessment for more than 30 years has been a poor use of taxpayer dollars. MCPS houses 10,000 students in more than 400 portables, at a cost of $5 million per year. At the same time, MCPS has a $790 million backlog of systemwide repair and maintenance needs. Other school districts, such as neighboring Howard County, Fairfax County, and Baltimore County have performed boundary analyses as a matter of fiscal responsibility.  School officials have proposed $1.82 billion in capital improvements without a clear plan to raise the money. While the state has promised a big funding increase, any increase will need to be matched by Montgomery County. That means we need to use our money wisely.
  5. How big is this problem?  Our schools are overcrowded by nearly 11,000 students in about half the schools and face under-enrollment of more than 9,300 in the other half. The mismatch at the school level has been persistent for years. In some parts of the county, overcrowded schools have caused county planners to put a temporary hold on approving much-needed new housing, which puts further pressure on an already expensive and tight housing market.
  6. Why should we consider racial and socioeconomic diversity? Our schools are becoming more racially and socioeconomically segregated. Even when a school is integrated, programming, courses, and activities tend to be racially and socioeconomically segregated. 

Montgomery County Public School Statistics

School NameUtilization (%)Excess Capacity (#Students)FARMS
Clarksburg ES201%-31313.6%
Luxmanor ES166%-26916.6%
William T. Page157%-22350.6%
Summit Hall ES154%-24581.7%
Mill Creek Towne ES151%-17149.9%
Highland View ES151%-14647.8%
Burnt Mills ES148%-18766.5%
Forest Knolls ES143%-22637.5%
Strawberry Knoll ES142%-19247.0%
Ronald McNair ES132%-20225.6%
Stonegate ES130%-11624.8%
South Lake ES129%-20385.5%
Rachel Carson ES129%-20120.5%
Bannockburn ES127%-971.7%
Oak View ES126%-8879.9%
Burning Tree ES124%-926.0%
Takoma Park MS124%-22324.7%
Burtonsville ES123%-11247.5%
JoAnn Leleck ES122%-15994.6%
Judith A. Resnik ES122%-10956.7%
Greencastle ES122%-13064.7%
Spark M. Matsunaga ES122%-12618.0%
Clarksburg HS122%-43829.5%
Lake Seneca ES121%-8954.8%
Quince Orchard HS121%-36922.4%
Parkland MS120%-19448.2%
Flower Valley ES120%-8328.6%
Northwood HS120%-30050.1%
Farmland ES120%-1427.2%
Thomas W. Pyle MS119%-2491.7%
Bethesda ES119%-1067.5%
Westover ES119%-5025.3%
Walter Johnson HS118%-4277.1%
Capt. James E. Daly ES118%-9571.3%
Gaithersburg ES118%-12983.7%
Ashburton ES117%-13411.6%
Diamond ES117%-11310.3%
Arcola ES115%-9874.0%
Northwest HS115%-33826.0%
A. Mario Loiederman MS115%-12862.3%
Winston Churchill HS115%-2894.0%
Argyle MS114%-12758.3%
Watkins Mill ES114%-9075.2%
Rock Creek Forest ES114%-9326.3%
Rosemont ES114%-7959.6%
Woodlin ES113%-6523.4%
Lucy V. Barnsley ES113%-8527.5%
Somerset ES113%-678.4%
Sargent Shriver ES113%-8481.2%
Olney ES113%-7719.3%
Thurgood Marshall ES113%-7030.7%
John T. Baker MS112%-8919.1%
Fields Road ES112%-5241.4%
Richard Montgomery HS112%-26618.4%
Albert Einstein HS112%-19143.7%
Montgomery Blair HS112%-33836.0%
Cresthaven ES111%-5176.3%
Cloverly ES111%-5022.8%
Strathmore ES110%-4461.1%
Walt Whitman HS110%-1832.2%
Benjamin Banneker MS110%-8150.9%
Meadow Hall ES109%-3453.4%
Oakland Terrace ES109%-4430.8%
Clopper Mill ES109%-4367.5%
Dr. Sally K. Ride ES107%-3549.4%
Germantown ES107%-2135.2%
Great Seneca Creek ES107%-3838.0%
Piney Branch ES106%-3933.5%
Rolling Terrace ES106%-4671.9%
Lakelands Park MS106%-7022.0%
Kemp Mill ES106%-2876.6%
Col. E. Brooke Lee MS106%-4465.6%
Earle B. Wood MS105%-5035.7%
Harmony Hills ES105%-3687.5%
Jackson Road ES105%-3377.5%
Roberto Clemente MS105%-5833.8%
Francis Scott Key MS105%-4470.3%
Silver Spring International MS104%-4642.2%
Cedar Grove ES104%-169.2%
Wilson Wims ES104%-2911.3%
Garrett Park ES103%-2616.3%
Ritchie Park ES103%-1321.9%
Poolesville HS103%-377.0%
Rock View ES103%-1949.5%
James H. Blake HS103%-5233.9%
Highland ES103%-1579.4%
Bells Mill ES103%-1611.0%
Galway ES103%-1960.1%
Fallsmead ES103%-148.3%
Sligo Creek ES102%-1613.4%
Pine Crest ES102%-946.0%
Little Bennett ES102%-1315.6%
John F. Kennedy HS102%-3648.6%
Damascus ES102%-726.6%
Twinbrook ES102%-1066.1%
Briggs Chaney MS101%-1148.8%
Cashell ES101%-423.4%
Flora M. Singer ES100%-341.4%
Dr. Charles R. Drew ES100%-249.9%
Seven Locks ES100%-15.3%
Glenallan ES100%66.0%
North Bethesda MS100%5.9%
Maryvale ES100%142.0%
Eastern MS100%246.3%
Forest Oak MS99%558.5%
Brookhaven ES99%367.5%
Sherwood ES99%519.4%
Whetstone ES99%860.2%
Tilden MS99%1111.6%
Paint Branch HS99%2336.3%
Neelsville MS99%1167.0%
Thomas S. Wootton HS99%265.5%
Gaithersburg HS99%3142.5%
Chevy Chase ES99%717.7%
Cabin John MS98%177.7%
Wheaton HS98%4147.5%
New Hampshire Estates ES98%1192.5%
Takoma Park ES97%1635.9%
Weller Road ES97%2575.6%
Bayard Rustin ES97%25#N/A
Julius West MS97%5026.4%
Goshen ES96%2343.4%
Roscoe Nix ES96%2074.4%
Bel Pre ES96%2771.2%
Wyngate ES96%342.1%
Robert Frost MS95%555.8%
Silver Creek MS95%48#N/A
Rock Creek Valley ES95%2431.4%
Kingsview MS94%5818.1%
Rockville HS94%9333.1%
College Gardens ES94%4414.1%
Georgian Forest ES93%4477.8%
Woodfield ES93%2620.9%
Flower Hill ES93%3564.1%
Seneca Valley HS93%9838.4%
Fairland ES92%5257.1%
Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS92%19811.9%
Herbert Hoover MS92%944.1%
Clearspring ES92%5329.7%
Glen Haven ES92%4661.9%
Montgomery Village MS91%7466.0%
Rosemary Hills ES91%5827.8%
Poolesville ES91%5010.5%
Sherwood HS91%20617.1%
Rosa M. Parks MS90%939.7%
Carderock Springs ES90%402.2%
Fox Chapel ES90%7053.5%
Brooke Grove ES90%5422.5%
Wood Acres ES90%763.5%
Greenwood ES89%638.8%
Hallie Wells MS89%109#N/A
William H. Farquhar MS89%9012.4%
Potomac ES88%491.9%
Damascus HS88%18915.1%
Laytonsville ES88%5518.5%
Col. Zadok Magruder HS88%24133.6%
Montgomery Knolls ES88%6763.9%
Gaithersburg MS87%13248.1%
Rocky Hill MS87%13719.9%
William B. Gibbs, Jr. ES86%9834.8%
East Silver Spring ES86%7955.9%
Lois P. Rockwell ES86%7619.8%
Jones Lane ES86%7427.7%
Bradley Hills ES85%970.8%
White Oak MS85%14761.4%
Kensington-Parkwood ES85%1145.3%
Waters Landing ES85%11752.6%
Beverly Farms ES85%1046.2%
Stone Mill ES85%1069.2%
Brown Station ES84%12468.5%
Martin Luther King Jr. MS84%15047.9%
John Poole MS83%7811.1%
Snowden Farm ES83%130#N/A
Beall ES83%10827.2%
Redland MS83%13037.2%
Lakewood ES83%957.0%
Newport Mill MS83%14849.3%
Ridgeview MS82%17130.0%
Watkins Mill HS82%35050.8%
Belmont ES82%776.4%
Springbrook HS82%38744.1%
Cannon Road ES80%10667.4%
Viers Mill ES78%16166.6%
Stedwick ES78%15060.7%
Wayside ES77%1486.3%
Sligo MS77%21943.9%
Washington Grove ES75%15173.0%
Candlewood ES75%12822.8%
Darnestown ES75%1097.3%
Sequoyah ES74%13254.3%
DuFief ES74%11114.4%
Westland MS73%29710.5%
Cold Spring ES72%1261.2%
North Chevy Chase ES72%9912.5%
S. Christa McAuliffe ES72%21749.1%
Monocacy ES69%6818.8%
Shady Grove MS67%27940.3%
Wheaton Woods ES66%26282.7%
Travilah ES65%1856.2%
Westbrook ES62%2061.8%
Source : MCPS Actuals 2019-2020 (FY21 CIP)

Achievement gap Consortia Education policy School equity Uncategorized

It’s time to make MCPS choice programs more equitable, too

As Montgomery County’s schools resegregate by race and class, special “choice programs” (including magnets, language immersion programs, and the Northeast and Downcounty consortia) designed to create advanced learning opportunities and integrate schools aren’t working. That’s the message from a report MCPS released earlier this year, and it’s time for school officials to start making our choice programs more equitable. Here’s our full response:

One Montgomery encourages MCPS’ ongoing evaluation of its gifted and talented, consortia, and language immersion programs and their conformity with the school system’s Core Values. These programs are afflicted with access and equity problems, as noted in the MCPS Choice study report.

Montgomery County citizens have tolerated a system that exacerbates the achievement gap by offering to only some of our County students extraordinary programs and an excellent K-12 education. The remaining students, segregated by MCPS’ residence-based school assignment policy, are left with a separate and unequal education. Not only are those segregated students, families and neighborhoods injured, but the whole County suffers.

The County’s future is impaired when the public school system fails to prepare all County students to be productive members of our community. Instead of launching these students, college- and career-ready, to higher education or skilled careers to eventually participate as County taxpayers with stable, thriving families, too many of our students are consigned by failed MCPS education to struggle to find gainful employment or to pay for remedial classes to learn what they should have mastered in the public education system.

The data and analyses contained in the MCPS Choice Study make clear that MCPS is not serving all students equitably. The programs are too limited, information is available preferentially to parents who know how to go find it, and application processes are cumbersome, set up—whether intentional or not—to leave certain students out. As a result, students have very different educational opportunities and experiences within the same school system, and sometimes within the same school.

MCPS gives white and high SES students priority access to these special academic programs and minority and underserved students are left out. We ask: what child would not benefit from

  1. engaging, inquiry-based curricula
  2. mastery of a second language beginning in kindergarten
  3. highly-trained teaching staff
  4. exploration via high-impact field trips, and
  5. participating in regional and national competitions?

Why are these outstanding opportunities only available to a small segment of the student population?

One of the reasons for this disparity is that politics drive decision-making about education, which rewards the “squeaky wheels” of politically-savvy, well-connected and often affluent parents- those families whose children already have distinct education advantages. We intend to add another voice to the conversation, perhaps one that has not been heard from . One Montgomery supports MCPS’ professed Vision, “We inspire learning by providing the greatest public education to each and every student.” We are committed to holding the Board of Education and MCPS leadership accountable to deliver on this promise.

It is incumbent upon the community and public services, including MCPS, to make up for various disadvantages faced by students, and that this is the only way to truly address the achievement gap.  In accord with the Metis Report findings, One Montgomery Leadership Team member Will Jawando, recently filed a civil action with the Office for Civil Rights charging that “MCPS has violated and continues to violate Title VI with respect to the manner in which it administers recruitment and selection of students for admission to its highly-popular, language immersion programs at the elementary school level.” He specifically argues that his child and other children of color are excluded from MCPS special programs. This civil rights charge makes clear that it is time for MCPS to take action on the MCPS Choice Study findings.

MCPS needs to expand the capacity of choice programs, both to meet growth in enrollment and demand, and to improve outreach to underserved communities. Our school system is the cornerstone of our county’s success, and it only works when all students have access to a high-quality education regardless of race or background.


2016 Elections Uncategorized

Sebastian Johnson for Board of Education at-large

March 30, 2016

Contact: Dan Reed
ph: 202/256-7238

One Montgomery endorses Sebastian Johnson for the Montgomery County, Maryland Board of Education at-large seat in the April 26 primary election.

one montgomery stickerOrganized in 2013, One Montgomery is a grassroots organization of parents, teachers, and community members in Montgomery County that is dedicated to public school improvement as a means for creating a stronger community. The group seeks a school system committed to school equity, transparency, collaboration, and accountability.

As a recent MCPS student, a former student member of the Board, and a former teacher in a high-needs school, Sebastian brings new, much-needed perspective and dedication to the Board of Education. His story illustrates how strong schools can help close the achievement gap for disadvantaged students and help them excel. He has a keen understanding of the challenges our school system faces. He is willing to work with all parties, from parents to Board colleagues and MCPS leaders to the County Council and state leaders, to make sure that MCPS is equipped and accountable to help every student, regardless of background or zip code.

Candidates endorsed by One Montgomery have records of community and political activism that prove their commitment to closing the achievement gap. This endorsement was made based on candidate questionnaires, interviews, and public statements.

A recent report on school performance by Montgomery County’s Office of Legislative Oversight shows that the achievement gap in county schools has grown in recent years, particularly between schools in the Northeast and Downcounty consortia and the Upcounty and schools in the more affluent western side of the county. Because geographical boundaries almost always determine school assignments, school quality is closely tied to neighborhood stability and the health of our local economy.

As a result, Montgomery County Public Schools needs to dedicate adequate staffing and implement programs for high-needs schools to ensure high-performance by schools in all parts of the county. We endorse Sebastian Johnson because he understands these needs and can be expected to hold MCPS accountable to address them. One Montgomery has produced a set of recommendations for ways MCPS can do that, using feedback from community workshops and education forums it has organized or participated in over the past two years.

For further information on One Montgomery, visit its website or Facebook page. Follow One Montgomery on Twitter @onemontschools, or join One Montgomery’s listserv. One Montgomery can be contacted at


Here are 13 questions for candidates to be the next MCPS superintendent

Attacking the Achievement Gap

MCPS is launching a national search for a new superintendent after Dr. Josh Starr stepped down last week. What kind of superintendent can lead MCPS in solving the challenges our school system faces? We sent the following letter to the Board of Education with questions we’d like them ask of candidates for superintendent, based on our six principles for school equity:

One Montgomery is a community organization focused on promoting equity in education for all students based on our belief that strong schools create strong communities resulting in a stronger local economy.

As you explore your options in hiring the next MCPS superintendent, we encourage you to carefully consider the following questions that align with One Montgomery’s six principles:

Equity: What is the candidate’s experience in leading a large, diverse school system that has many low-income and high need students that are geographically segregated, resulting (as the Office of Legislative Oversight says) in an “us vs. them debate”? How was success measured?

How would the candidate lead existing MCPS staff to make changes in systems, processes and approaches to close opportunity gaps, going beyond words to measurable actions?

What is the best formula for allocating resources to ensure equity? Can the candidate provide specific examples of resource reallocation that achieved positive impact?

Leadership: What is the candidate’s plan for ensuring that all schools, but especially high-needs schools have skilled, effective leadership?

How does the candidate envision being able to provide necessary resources to address needs of under-performing students without negatively impacting high-performing students?

What is the candidate’s experience in managing a large organization with disparate, conflicting perspectives (i.e, principal, executive administration, unions, etc.)?

Access: What does the candidate believe are the value of mentoring and student support programs such as Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) in improving student achievement? Is he or she willing to make the investments necessary in this area?

Diversity: How will the candidate work to modify professional staffing to more closely reflect changing diversity of the county’s population, ensure greater language capabilities in schools to address community needs and prepare all students to be successful global citizens?

Community: How does candidate believe power and decision-making should be balanced between the local school communities and central MCPS administration? Can he or she speak from personal experience to different models and their results? How much autonomy should be given to individual school principals and the local community?

What is the candidate’s experience with community engagement and how would he or she involve parents and community members to understand local needs and support locally developed programs, policies and structures to improve student achievement and expand opportunity?

What is candidate’s commitment to accountability, transparency and results? Would candidate support the hiring of an inspector general for the school district?

Partnership: What is the candidate’s view on the correct balance between respecting teachers’ autonomy and professionalism vs. directed lesson plans, curriculum delivery and assessment timelines?

How would the candidate leverage untapped potential of partnerships with local business, government and community resources for the benefit of all students?

For each candidate, we urge that you look beyond his or her stated philosophy to find concrete examples from past work experience that show the candidate’s commitment to addressing issues of equity in education and proven leadership in achieving significant results.


One Montgomery core members:
Sharon Brown
Therese Gibson
Kathleen Indart
Will Jawando
Dan Reed
Michael Robinson
Frederick Stichnoth
Cori Vanchieri
Edward Wetzlar

Achievement gap Consortia Economic development Montgomery County School equity Uncategorized

Montgomery County schools are segregating, but Starr won’t admit it

A new report says that Montgomery County schools are becoming segregated by income, race, and ethnicity and that “white flight” is occurring in the system’s lowest-performing schools. But officials deny that it’s even happening.

Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville. A new study says that Montgomery County schools are becoming segregated by class and race.

This week, the county’s Office of Legislative Oversight released their findings on the achievement gap in Montgomery County Pubic Schools. Researchers note that low-income, black, and Latino students are still trailing their more affluent, white, and Asian peers, but even more so now that both groups are increasingly concentrated in different parts of the school system.

While MCPS as a whole is a majority-minority school system and has been for over a decade, most low-income, black, and Latino students attend one of 11 high schools, mostly in Silver Spring, Wheaton, and Gaithersburg. Meanwhile, higher-income students, as well as 80% of the school system’s white students and 67% of its Asian students, now cluster at schools on the western side of the county.


Introducing One Montgomery

one montgomery banner-01

We are a group of concerned parents and local citizens coming together to better understand, support and improve our schools, especially those that are failing to meet the high academic standards for which Montgomery County has traditionally been well known.

Schools are the centerpiece of a thriving community and are directly linked to the development of our children into contributing members of our community. The success and perception of our schools also affects our property values, safety and local economic development.

We are committed to understanding why our schools are struggling and informing our neighbors; we will volunteer to help our schools, their students and families; we will seek additional support for our struggling schools from the school system, County government, and legislative leaders; and we will work in coalition with all who share our concern and commitment.

If you share our concerns and would like to help us work toward achieving high academic performance and quality schools for all students of Montgomery County, contact:Ed Wetzlar,, or Fred Stichnoth,