Capacity Challenge at McLean ES Forces Boundary Changes

Capacity Challenge at McLean ES Forces Boundary Changes

Staff recommends Scenario B to school board.

Scenario B; this is what staff recommends to the school board.

Scenario B; this is what staff recommends to the school board.

Fairfax County Public School staff has recommended to the school board Scenario B for the boundary adjustment to provide capacity relief to Kent Gardens Elementary School in McLean. Thirteen temporary classrooms are currently in use at the school to accommodate program capacity utilization.

According to the posted Board Docs for the canceled Nov. 20 school board meeting, scenero B considers reassigning an estimated 380 students at five elementary schools and two Advanced Academic Program (AAP) centers. It eliminates the split feeder from Franklin Sherman Elementary to middle and high school.

Scenario B: 

* Kent Garden ES to Franklin Sherman ES, K-6: 190 students and to Haycock ES, K-6: 38 students.

* Franklin Sherman ES to Churchill Road ES, K-6: 40 students and to Chesterbrook ES, K-6: 112 students [15 students and 97 students].

Churchill Road Elementary and Haycock Elementary Advanced Academic Program (AAP) Level IV boundaries will also be adjusted under the posted recommendation to remain consistent with feeder school boundaries.

A public hearing is still scheduled for Nov. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by a vote by the school board on Dec. 4, although it is unknown if the canceled meeting for Nov. 20 might result in changes. Any approved boundary change would have no impact on the boundaries of the middle or high schools. Detailed information will be posted on the McLean Elementary Schools Capacity/Boundary Issue webpage after the School Board takes action. The new boundary effective date is anticipated for the 2024-25 school year.

The Kent Gardens Elementary School needs more space to accommodate the community's growth and high interest from out-of-boundary students. According to Fairfax County Public Schools, Kent Gardens' design capacity is 896 students, and the SY22-23 program membership is 1,023 or 121 percent, with 13 temporary classrooms. The school serves a diverse student population as it draws from within the local boundaries of a growing community.

It also incorporates students outside the boundary for the French Immersion program. As announced at the Sept. 19 and 27 community meetings, the French immersion program, predominantly attended by Kent Gardens base students, should remain. On Nov. 6, the division announced that the French Embassy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented Kent Gardens with the LabelFrancEducation Award. The recognition is for the delivery of an outstanding dual language program.

Among the online comments, one parent voiced, ”I bought my house in McLean so that our children could attend French Immersion at Kent Garden. Our eldest just started kindergarten, and I am appalled that our investment in the McLean community could be so easily disregarded.”

Another parent or caretaker wrote about the strengths of Scenario B, saying it balanced capacity across all schools with fewer students impacted than Scenario A

However, another wrote, “E is the only reasonable one helping to alleviate overcrowding at Kent Gardens ES and closing the split feed at Franklin ES without uprooting a huge number of students from Franklin Sherman.”

On Feb. 9, 2023, the school board approved an amendment brought forward by Dranesville District Representative Elaine Tholen. The amendment relocated Kent Gardens ES from Table 3: Monitoring Capacity Concerns by FCSB to Table 4: Priority Recommended Boundary/Capacity Adjustments, on pages 38 and 39 of the Proposed CIP, with a Scoping during Spring 2023. The board approval allowed staff to do a full scoping to determine if a boundary change, a program change, or both are good options to reduce the capacity issues at Kent Gardens. At the time, Tholen said, “This amendment is long overdue.”

Visit the McLean Elementary Schools Capacity/Boundary Issues | Fairfax County Public Schools website for more information at