On Thursday night I went to hear the Annandale Study Committee present their report to an interested audience of parents. Jennifer McGarey and Emily Slough presented several different options the Committee recommended to Fairfax County School Board to address the overcrowding at Annandale High School. This was only half of the study. Another group of parents addressed the boundary changes at the elementary levels now that a new elementary school is being built in Annandale.
The overcrowding at Annandale is complicated by the fact that the elementary schools in the Annandale pyramid are K-5, where most of Fairfax County is K-6. Both Poe and Holmes middle schools are grades 6-8 to accomodate this model, but it makes moving boundaries even harder.
I was impressed with Jennifer and Emily. They were very knowledgeable about the numbers of children affected by each boundary option discussed and gracious to those who didn’t agree with them. The committee was challenged to “think outside the box.” That is what they did. Several of the options included keeping the boundaries, but having Annandale High School be 10-12 grade. This would be accomplished in one of two ways. One option would be to make Homes 6-7 and Poe 8-9. Another option would be to make both middle schools 7-9 and adding 6th grade to all the elementary schools. One mother commented, “I wouldn’t mind my 14 year old waiting a year to be around 18 year olds.” As always there are 2 sides and there were some who thought that boundary options were the best solution.
What stood out to me was the complexity of the problem and the effort by all to work together. Everyone was so cooperateive! People at the meeting showed a lot of trust in the School Board. Both School Board members in attendance, Sandy Evans and Tessie Wilson, seemed impressed with the committee and its work.
To view and comment on the report go to Fairfax County Public Schools.
Sherell Williams from the Annandale Patch has written some insightful news articles on this subject I recommend reading.
The strongest sentiment at the meeting from parents was that those kids who start at Annandale High School should be allowed to graduate from Annandale. The School Board will now take the Committees suggestions and ask staff to prepare a feasibility study. The Board is scheduled to vote on this in July.
Tiffany Royce is a REALTOR licensed in the state of Virginia and an agent for Frankly Real Estate, Inc. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.