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Proposal For Changes to Wheaton HS, Thomas Edison HS & Watkins Mill HS | Families

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Proposal For Changes to Wheaton HS, Thomas Edison HS & Watkins Mill HS
Families, News, Schools

The Parents' Coalition obtained a copy of a federal grant application submitted by MCPS to transform three local schools: Watkins Mill HS, Thomas Edison HS of Technology, and Wheaton HS. According to the grant abstract:

"Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Maryland is requesting federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) funds to transform two of its lowest performing, highest poverty high schools-Wheaton and Watkins Mill-into whole school magnets. Wheaton High School and the collocated half-day Thomas Edison High School of Technology career and technology education program will be transformed into the comprehensive Montgomery County High Tech High School (MCHTHS). Watkins Mill High School will become the International Baccalaureate School of Engineering, Digital Design, and Performing Arts (IBEDPA) at Watkins Mill."

"The proposed program of study at each school have a proven ability to attract a diverse population of students. The high tech high school to be established at Wheaton High School will be based on the nationally known model from San Diego that features hands-on, inquiry- and project-based instruction that meets the needs of students with a variety of learning styles."

"Student will be admitted to both schools by a race-neutral lottery system."

The complete grant application is several hundred pages, and includes letters of business community support by Lockheed Martin and Siemens, and signatures of some of the faculty and teaching staff of both Watkins Mill HS and Wheaton HS.

This grant application has some members of The Parents' Coalition displeased.  One member blogged:

1. When did the Board of Education direct the superintendent to apply for this grant?
2. When did the Board of Education vote to transform Wheaton High School and Watkins Mill HS?
3. When did MCPS propose telling the parent community about the proposed changes?
4. What's going to happen to the cosmetology, plumbing, and masonry programs at Edison?
5. Why is admission to the programs going to be based on a lottery system?
6. What is the plan for ensuring that students with disabilities have access to both programs?
7. Do all the organizations that sent letters of support know that the parent community has not been informed of the proposed changes?
8. Is this a "fait accompli" and will the Board of Education rubber stamp the proposal if the grant is awarded?
9. Does the grant money have to be appropriated by the County Council before it is spent? Has the Education Committee been informed about these fundamental program changes?
10. Will a community event be scheduled to discuss these proposed fundamental program alterations?

We'll continue to update you on the status of the application as the process moves forward.

Families, News, Schools