Board Votes on LOU Redistricting

The Frederick County Board of Education voted on the Linganore-Oakdale-Urbana (LOU) redistricting recommendations Oct. 16, which established attendance areas for the new Sugarloaf and Blue Heron elementary schools and redistricted some students in the LOU feeder patterns to better balance school capacity and resources.

Community engagement on the redistricting study began in January 2019. In total, 18 elementary, middle and high schools were considered. Of approximately 20,000 students
in the three feeder areas, some 2,000 students have been redistricted to new schools.

The Board of Education voted to change the Superintendent’s Recommendation, which was made public in early September, and move Planning Block 56 (Whiskey Creek) back to the Urbana High attendance area from the Linganore High attendance area; this change affected six high school students. The Superintendent’s Recommendation for all other areas, including Landsdale, was implemented. Landsdale students move from Urbana to Linganore High School.

In total, at the high school level in the Urbana area, 193 students currently designated Urbana High are moved to Linganore High School. At the middle school level in the Urbana area, 122 students currently designated Windsor Knolls Middle School are moved to New Market Middle School. At the elementary level in the Urbana area, 299 students currently designated Centerville Elementary School are moved to Sugarloaf Elementary School, with another 162 students currently designated Centerville Elementary School moved to Urbana Elementary School; 150 students currently designated Green Valley Elementary School are moved to Twin Ridge Elementary School; and 285 students currently designated Urbana Elementary School are moved to Sugarloaf Elementary School.

Sugarloaf Elementary will open in 2020-21, concurrent with the re-opening of Urbana Elementary. All Urbana area redistricting implementation will happen for the 2020-21 school year. Students who will be in the 8th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade for the 2020-21 school year may continue at their current school (or opt to be “grandfathered”) if they have their own transportation; FCPS bus transportation will not be provided. FCPS will mail letters to students eligible for grandfathering by Oct. 28. Siblings of these students who are in different grades are not also eligible for grandfathering.

At the Oct. 16 Board of Education meeting, principals Tracy Hilliard (2020-21 Urbana Elementary), Tess Blumenthal (current Urbana Elementary at Sugarloaf; 2020-21 Sugarloaf Elementary) and Nancy Doll (Linganore High School) outlined the welcoming process for new students.

  • Each new student will receive a personal letter from their new school’s principal.
  • Families will be invited to a principal’s chat that will cover routines, the history of the school and its traditions before the 2020-21 school year begins.
  • Families will be invited to a “meet the principal” night held in collaboration with the school’s PTA or PTSA.
  • School visits for new students will be held while school is in session; FCPS will provide transportation.
  • New students will be invited to an open house at their new school before the regularly scheduled open house back-to-school nights.

“We want to make sure that every student feels valued and has a sense of belonging,” Doll said.

“This is what we do on a daily basis, we welcome students every day.” Hilliard said. “This is not going to be any different. It’s just going to be on a larger scale than what we do. … We’ll make sure every new student that’s coming to a new school will know that they are welcome and they will be a part of the school,” Hilliard noted.

At the close of the meeting, the Board of Education thanked parents for their advocacy. Board President Brad Young said of the redistricting motion, “We try to do everything we can to do what’s best to balance out enrollments and recognize the input that the communities had to the extent that we can accommodate that, so I’m comfortable with the motion.”

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