Preserve AHS Student Population
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Petition for the Preservation of Atholton High School
Through the combined efforts of parents, students, staff, teachers and booster programs, Atholton High School has built up a reputation of excellence in science, engineering, technology, music and drama programs. In order to safeguard the level of excellence achieved, honor the efforts of the community which helped build the programs at AHS, support Vision 2018 “to build an educational program that is among the best in the world,” and to preserve a sense of community, we the undersigned, petition HCPSS to limit the transfer of students to and from AHS to not more than 10% of the total student body in its proposed redistricting effort.
HCPSS Policy 6010 (link) defines the conditions and process by which school attendance area adjustments are developed and adopted. The 2017 Feasibility Study recommendation for boundary adjustments to Atholton High School runs counter to several factors outlined in this policy. Specifically:
IV. B. 2. Community Stability
- Removing the Hunters Creek neighborhood (polygon 2011) from the Hammond Middle School to Atholton High School feed needlessly reduces this feed.
- The Hunters Creek neighborhood is one part of the contiguous community along Johns Hopkins Road/Gorman Road from Route 29 to Gorman Farm.
- Students in the Gorman Road community were affected by boundary adjustments at the elementary school level in 2012 and the middle school level in 2014; therefore, this proposal represents the third time that many of the students in our community would be adversely affected by boundary adjustments—once at each level of school.
IV. B. 3. Demographic Characteristics of Student Population
- The current racial/ethnic composition of the student population at Atholton High School is closely aligned with the countywide average for high schools. The proposed changes would create a racial/ethnic composition significantly different from this average. This is the most significant change to all the high schools impacted by this proposal.
- Academic performance as measured by standardized testing results is not provided at the school level in the Feasibility Study; however, using available data on AP testing and SAT scores found on the HCPSS website, the currently high-performing Atholton High School will move from the top third of HCPSS schools to close to the very bottom. Another significant negative impact on the demographic characteristics of the student population.
- Proposed adjustments to Atholton High School move 950 students out of the school. This represents 66% of the total student body. Additionally, the plan shifts 337 students from Atholton to Hammond (polygons 5,6,1005, 1006, 2005, 2010, and 2011), while simultaneously shifting 325 students from Hammond to Atholton (polygons 13, 26, 27, 48, 50, 57, 270, 1026, 1027, 1048, 1050, 1057, 2050, 2057, and 3048), nearly half of whom live in close proximity to the potential site of a new high school if built off Mission Road in Jessup. This petition proposes that these polygon feeds for Atholton and Hammond be left as they are currently designed. This plan also relocates 420 (37%) of Oakland Mills students to AHS. These numbers are far too high and adversely affect the other standards in Policy 6010.
Additionally, the planned opening of a new high school in 2021 or 2024 calls into question the need to enact such a large-scale, countywide boundary adjustment for 2018. A more targeted approach, with the supplemental use of relocatable classrooms appears much more reasonable for the next few years, followed up with boundary adjustments made in conjunction with the opening of the new high school.
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