How overcrowded could McLean High School be four years from now? The proposed Capital Improvement Program for Fairfax County Public Schools has an idea.
The draft CIP says that McLean High School is currently at 118% capacity, with projections showing the population increasing to 122% capacity in the 2024-2025 school year.
While the new projections are lower than previous ones — the last CIP expected McLean High School to reach 127% capacity by 2022 — the overcrowding has sparked vigorous debate on how to get students out of the trailers.
One idea that county officials are pursuing would shift students from McLean High School to nearby Langley High School.
Langley High School has a current capacity of 83%, which is projected to drop to 78% by 2024, according to the draft CIP.
Meetings in the fall solicited community input on the proposed boundary change and are expected to continue next year.
FCPS staff have said they want to implement a decision so that the change can impact the 2020-2021 school year.
Roughly 200 parents, stakeholders and politicians, including Providence District Supervisor-elect Dalia Palchik and several incoming Fairfax County School Board members, attended the meetings at Langley High School on Monday (Dec. 2) and McLean High School last night (Wednesday).
McLean High School, which was designed for a capacity of 1,993 students, currently has 2,350 students. Meanwhile, newly renovated Langley High School has 1,972 students and could have up to 2,370, according to the presentation from FCPS staff.
The proposed boundary change would move some students from McLean High School (1633 Davidson Road) to Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike) to address the overcrowding issue.
There are 18 trailers at McLean High School right now, Jane Strauss, the Dranesville District representative on the school board, said at the Monday night meeting.
“It would be unfair to not consider a boundary change,” Strauss said, adding that Fairfax County does not want to move juniors and seniors from the schools. “You want to keep large cohorts of kids together.”
Two meetings next week plan to gather community input on a proposed boundary change for McLean and Langley high schools in McLean.
In October, Fairfax County School Board approved an amendment to its Capital Improvement Program that kicks off a boundary study about moving some students from McLean High School (1633 Davidson Road) to Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike).
The meetings next week are meant to give locals a chance to provide feedback and talk to FCPS staff, according to a newsletter from McLean High Students, Parents and Community Expect Sensible School Size (McSPaCES).
The first meeting is set to take place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 2) at Langley’s cafeteria. The second meeting is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 4) at the cafeteria in McLean High School.
“McLean High is projected to have an enrollment of 2,500 by 2023 making it the most crowded of the 24 high schools in FCPS,” according to McSPaCES. “At least 500 students would need to be moved out of McLean High School for it to approach its building design capacity of 1,993 and not require trailer classes and/or modular class complex.”
Langley, which was recently renovated, has extra space to accommodate the students.
In a letter posted on McSPaCES from the assistant superintendents for the regions that include the two schools, they wrote that no decisions will be made at the meetings, which will include small group work and presentations from FCPS staff.
”The community feedback from the boundary scope meetings will be collected and used to develop options,” the superintendents wrote. “The options will be presented to the community at boundary study meetings in the spring.”
Some students at the overcrowded McLean High School may end up moving over to nearby Langley High School.
The Fairfax County School Board approved an amendment to its Capital Improvement Program that kicks off a boundary study about moving some students from McLean High School to Langley High School.
McLean High School is projected to go up to 127 percent capacity by the 2022 school year, according to the CIP.
Other possible ideas outlined in the CIP to address overcrowding at McLean High School include temporary classrooms and modular additions.
Jane Strauss, a school board member for the Dranesville District, said at the meeting that — if no changes are made — McLean High School will be the most overenrolled school by 2023.
While Strauss said that McLean High School is not the only overenrolled school in the county, she said that the other schools have a plan to address their crowding, while McLean High School does not.
“This fall, more trailers came into McLean which indicates that the overcrowding situation is continuing,” Strauss said.
The trailers are starting to get cramped on the constrained site, Strauss said. “Trailer villages — as we’ve all agreed — is not the solution.”
Langley, which was recently renovated, has extra space to accommodate the students.
“It’s unusual to have this much capacity in a neighboring school,” Strauss said about Langley.
A few school board members, including Elizabeth Schultz, who represents the Springfield District, and Thomas Wilson, who represents the Sully District, criticized the amendment, saying it lets McLean High School leapfrog more severely overcrowded schools in the county.
The school board voted 9-1 on the amendment — Wilson voted “no” while Schultz abstained — during the Sept. 26 meeting. Staff is expected to begin the scoping process this fall.
Strauss said that community members from Langley and McLean high schools will help decide the future decisions around the possible boundary change.
“It’s overdue for the McLean community,” Pat Hynes, the Hunter Mill District representative on the school board said.
Langley High School delayed students from leaving this afternoon while Fairfax County police responded to a report of a “suspicious man” in a nearby yard.
Sgt. James Curry, a police spokesman, told Tysons Reporter that police received a call at 2:16 p.m. about a man in someone’s yard in the 900 block of Ridge Drive.
Curry said that the man ran away when police arrived and has not been found.
The incident was not related to the school and does not appear to pose any threat to the school, Curry said.
The school was secured — which is different from a lockdown — because of the increased police activity in the area, Curry said.
Principal Kimberly Greer said in a letter to families that the school was secured around 2:50 p.m. “At this time, students (and buses) have been released,” Greer wrote.
More from Greer:
This letter is to inform you of an incident that occurred today. At approximately 2:50 p.m. the school was notified that there was an incident in the surrounding neighborhood with police involement. At that time we went into “Secure the Building” status. This means that all exterior doors are locked and students are to remain inside. Staff reacted swifty and appropriately, and our students behaved in an exemplary manner. At no time was anyone on school property.
Upon advisement from the Fairfax County Police Department, we ae no longer in “Secure the Building” status. At this time, students (and buses) have been released.
Map via Google Maps
Stormy Afternoon Ahead With Flash Flood Watch — The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Watch for today (Monday) for Fairfax County and surrounding areas from 3 p.m. through late tonight. Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall totaling 1-2 inches are expected. “Much of this rain may fall in short periods of time in any one given location, resulting in the risk for flash flooding this afternoon and tonight.” [NWS]
Georgetown Pike Now Open Again — All lanes of Georgetown Pike (Route 193) between Centrillion Drive and Georgetown Ridge Court in McLean closed for emergency road repairs on Sunday following a fallen tree and wires. The road reopened several hours later. [Twitter]
New Field in Tysons — “Quantum Field officially opened [earlier in July] and players will soon get the chance to enjoy this lighted, state-of-the-art synthetic turf rectangular field.” [Connection Newspapers]
Firefighters Fought Tysons Fire — Firefighters responded to a small fire on roof in the 8600 block of Westwood Center Drive in Tysons West on Sunday. [Twitter]
Langley High School Students Lauded — “Five local high-school students recently received the McLean Citizens Association’s 2019 Outstanding Teen Character Awards for their dedication to the community.” [Inside NoVa]
McLean Resident Lands Federal Agency Role — “The US Senate June 27 voted to confirm Aimee Jorjani as the first full-time chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.” Jorjani is a McLean resident. [Connection Newspapers]
Freddie Mac Expanding Tysons Footprint — “The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. has signed a full-building lease at 1550 Westbranch Drive, a six-story building Rubenstein Partners and Griffith Properties bought for $27.75 million in 2015, according to sources familiar with the deal.” [Washington Business Journal]
Hunter Mill Democrats Focus on Vienna — “Five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Hunter Mill District supervisor tried to differentiate themselves May 15 at a debate in Vienna… Several candidates said public officials should listen to residents’ concerns, a topic fresh on the minds of Vienna voters who on May 7 ousted a Town Council incumbent and voted in two development critics.” [Inside NoVa]
Vienna Crafter Makes Wigs for Cancer-Fighting Kids — Janet O’Grady, a crafter from Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna, helps knit Disney-inspired wigs for The Magic Yarn Project, which is based in Alaska. Kids fighting cancer receive the wigs for free. [The Arlington Catholic Herald]
Firefighters Mow Man’s Lawn in Vienna — Firefighters and medics responded to a report of a man feeling ill while mowing the lawn. After the medics took him to a nearby hospital, the firefighters “saw mowing not done so they finished up so he would not have to worry about it upon return home.” [Fairfax Fire and Rescue/Twitter]
Langley Student’s STEM Project Lauded — “Hana Abouelenein, a sophomore at Langley High School, has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the AAUW McLean area branch’s STEM Excellence Award, presented to a female student or team from a high school in the McLean area with an outstanding project in the field of Engineering presented at the Fairfax County Regional Science Fair.” [Inside NoVa]
Pool Party Season Almost Here — With Memorial Day weekend coming up, Patch has a list of when pools in the McLean area are open during the day. [McLean Patch]
Vienna MAC Project Moving Forward — “The Vienna Town Council on April 29 voted 5-2 set a June 3 public hearing to discuss town’s fifth MAC application, a proposal by Sunrise Development Inc. to build a senior-living center with ground-floor retail space at 100-112 Maple Ave., E.” [Inside NoVa]
Langley, McLean High School Students Lauded — “The Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce lauded stand-out students, teachers and support-staff members from Langley and McLean high schools May 1 at the organization’s 2019 Education Awards.” [Inside NoVa]
Q&A With Stomping Ground Owner — Nicole Jones shared why Tysons Galleria for her new second cafe — A Taste of Urbanspace. [Arlington Magazine]
Marshall High School Students Making News — Students’ films made the documentary and animation categories in the 2019 Virginia High School League Film Festival, which will be held June 1 in Charlottesville. The Marshall High Architecture, Construction, Engineering Mentor team took home the first place trophy for ACE DC Competition. [FCPS, FCPS]
Rankings Show Virginia Teacher Pay Needs Boost — “Teachers in the District of Columbia are among the best paid in the country, while Virginia teachers have plenty of ground to make up, according to a nationwide analysis published last week by one of the country’s largest education unions… Virginia teachers earned an average of $51,994 a year for 32nd among the states, while starting teacher pay is $40,453 annually, ranking the Commonwealth at 16th.”
Spotlight on Vienna’s Food Scene — “The upscale town of Vienna has become an international food scene–restaurants from Thai, Mexican, American, Japanese, British, and Indian to Chinese, Middle Eastern and Italian–provide a global culinary tapestry.” [Vienna Connection]
Several public high schools in the Tysons-area, including Langley and McLean high schools, made the cut for U.S. News and World Report’s annual roundup of best high schools on the state and national levels.
“Schools are ranked on their performance on state-required tests, graduation and how well they prepare students for college,” according to U.S. News and World Report.
Fairfax County Public Schools dominated U.S. News and World Report’s “Best High Schools in Virginia,” and five out of the eight Fairfax County schools included two in McLean, two in Vienna and one in Falls Church:
- Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology: Alexandria
- Langley High School: McLean
- McLean High School: McLean
- Oakton High School: Vienna
- Open High School: Richmond
- Marshall High: Falls Church
- Madison High: Vienna
- West Springfield High School: Springfield
- W.T. Woodson High School: Fairfax
- Deep Run High School: Glen Allen
The Tysons-area high schools bumped up a few spots for this year’s list. Last year, Langley ranked #3, McLean was #5, Oakton was #6 and Marshall was #8.
Their rankings on the national level hit the top 200 and 300 categories:
- Langley: #123
- McLean: #127
- Oakton: #173
- Marshall: #251
- Madison: #261
Image via Google Maps
The event, which is being held from 9 a.m. to noon, is timed to coincide with some key moments on the school calendar.
More from FCPD:
Prom and graduation season are quickly approaching, and we want to remind teens about the importance of being responsible at celebrations. We are partnering with Fairfax County Public Schools by hosting our Spring Drug and Alcohol Awareness Program.
Juniors and seniors at Langley High School will be given the opportunity to wear physical impairment goggles while being tested on both simple and complex tasks, such as driving a wheelchair through a cone course or going through a mock sobriety check with our officers. Students will also learn about Virginia’s underage drinking laws and the consequences for breaking them, as well as the physical and mental dangers that often come with underage drinking.