McLean High Boundary Change Down to the Wire

After the last public hearing, the School Board votes on Feb. 4.

The McLean/Langley High School Boundary Study is at the end of its multi-year process for the School Board to take action by vote and provide capacity relief, or not. On Thursday, Jan. 28, the School Board welcomed final testimony. Students and parents weighed in, each citing different concerns from different perspectives. One parent asked who she was addressing. “There doesn't seem to be a single school board member with their cameras on,” said Bonnie Arthur, a McLean parent.

Over the past 10 years, McLean HS has grown in student membership, increasing its capacity deficit to "substantial,” at 118 percent as reported in SY 2019-20.

FCPS implemented capacity solutions beginning in SY 2012-13 and continuing through SY 2020-21. FCPS installed twelve temporary classrooms, expanded the weight room; removed lockers from the hallways, converted two classrooms to Bio/Chem Labs, and installed a twelve classroom modular that replaced the twelve temporary classrooms. The solutions reportedly increased program capacity at McLean HS from 1,992 to 2,343, according to FCPS.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the boundary adjustment at its Feb. 4 business meeting. Information will be provided to the Board before the meeting.

Following community feedback to include middle schools to address split feeders at all levels and in accord with School Board Regulation 8130.9, at the January 21 School Board meeting, FCPS recommended the School Board approve a boundary adjustment of a portion of the Spring Hill Elementary split feeder area to feed from Longfellow Middle and McLean High to Cooper Middle and Langley High.

The Connection reported on the January 21 School Board meeting, noting that the approved boundary adjustment would not affect the elementary school boundary.

Students, Parents Weigh In

On Thursday, Jan. 28, the School Board welcomed the testimony of thirty-one individuals allotted 3 minutes each. The following are highlights of the testimonies:

I've made a few casual virtual friends, but they are not very meaningful friendships. I would not miss them if I moved to Cooper Middle for eighth grade. If I were grandfathered and stayed at Longfellow for eighth grade, I would gather friends next year while in person but have to say goodbye to them when I went off to Langley… It makes sense to resume rising eighth-graders from Longfellow to Cooper next year. – Ava Carter, resident at Wolf Trap Woods, seventh grader at Longfellow MS

I am wondering why and how Option C was proposed to the Board… Looking at the map, Colvin Run neighborhoods are closer to Cooper and Langley than Spring Hill was in Option C. I've also heard diversity. I do not care about the race factor in making this decision – Connor Chun, Longfellow MS student

In my school, almost all kids go to Cooper and Langley. Where I live, I'm the exception. I'm supposed to go to Longfellow and then McLean… During all my years at Colvin, I have developed relationships with people at this school… I'm asking the Board to fix this. – Sara Powell, sixth grader, Colvin Run ES

We've heard from the students so far tonight. It comes down to the fact that if you eliminate feeders at the elementary school level and make any boundary changes starting with rising seventh graders, you would address all the issues that you just heard from those very articulate kids. – John Callanan

I'm not sure who I'm addressing here since there doesn't seem to be a single school board member with their cameras on…Table this issue until the results of this disastrous year can be analyzed, and the resulting actual enrollment numbers can be used as a calculation for school boundaries. – Bonnie Arthur, McLean parent

I'm part of a small new neighborhood, Summer House Landing… We're currently assigned to Herndon High, while all of our surrounding neighborhoods are assigned to Langley. Under the Fairfax County Public Schools policy, 8130.7, the Board can adjust the boundary for various reasons, and my neighborhood clearly falls under three of these… My intent is not to detract from tonight's conversation. I just want to highlight that I think it's important for every student to be given the same thoughtful consideration. – Hana Kong

The bottom line of my remarks can be summarized through one question. Why would we, as a community, proceed with the boundary adjustment during a pandemic? I cannot stress enough that this is an increase in the stress of many students and my family, who are potentially on the chopping block during this long deliberative process. – Michael Wautlet

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