MCPS conducted a boundary study earlier this year to address growing concern about the racial makeup of schools throughout the county. Tremendous growth and lack of boundary studies for decades led to substantial population disparity between schools.
One reason why it took so long to do a boundary study has to do with pushback from some families who didn’t want their children’s schools to change to a ‘less desirable’ one.
“I think it’s really weird that there are kids who practically drive past another high school to come here,” said social studies teacher Rachel Clements.
CHS had an addition built in 2015 but was projected to be 900 students over capacity over the six-year planning period. Redistricting to include the new Seneca Valley High School is meant to counter such issues, though it creates new problems for some families.
“I’ll be a senior next year, so I don’t have to go to Seneca Valley, but I won’t be getting a bus to go to Clarksburg High School,” said junior Tasnim Ullah. “Because both of my parents work, it will be hard for them to drop me off and pick me up, so that’s going to be a massive problem for rising juniors or seniors.”
Ullah also has a younger sister in eighth grade whom she will be separated from because of redistricting.
“She’s [going] to Seneca Valley, but she won’t have her friends going there. My sister’s been with the same group of people since elementary school and changing to a different high school is going to affect her,” said Ullah.
Mostly CHS students living in Germantown feel the effects of the study, which may make them anxious or stressed.
“The boundary study did scare me at first only because I live on the border of Germantown. I grew up in this school district my whole life and to hear that the district is going to be changed made me feel uneasy,” said junior Ashley Kharbanda.
The boundary study was created as a tool to inspect issues with the current distribution of students across the county, despite its problems, it is attempting to fix the racial population gaps and FARMS gaps, important issues that prompted the study in the first place.
“If there’s a diverse school, you get to learn about the cultures, religions, and you understand the real world,” said Ullah.
Some students and staff alike are critical about MCPS’s lack of boundary study and feel that such a study should be done more often. This would aid in preventing overpopulation and racial biases.
“If [MCPS] did an effective study every couple of years, then they wouldn’t have to do such a massive one with major change,” said Ullah.
The study has since been published and outlines the superintendent’s recommendation. Major changes to the Clarksburg Cluster boundary include residents in the newer Cabin Branch area near the outlet are being reassigned to Seneca Valley high school, while Neelsville Middle School will no longer feed into Clarksburg High School.
For more information, go here: http://gis.mcpsmd.org/boundarystudypdfs/SVHS_SupplementA.pdf