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42 students apply to attend Rockland Woods Elementary

June 02, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Forty-two students have applied to attend Rockland Woods Elementary even though they do not live in the attendance zone for Washington County's newest school.

"That is more than a typical school, as far as special permission requests," said Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Instruction Michael Markoe.

Other county schools average between 10 and 12 requests for students to attend a school out of their district.

Open enrollment was extended until Sunday, giving families additional time to apply. Markoe said the applications will be reviewed and a decision is expected by July 1.

The Washington County Board of Education decided to extend the deadline for open enrollment after redistricting efforts failed to push enrollment at Rockland Woods Elementary past 500 students. The 750-seat elementary school will open in August, along with larger replacement schools for Maugansville and Pangborn elementary schools.

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Students accepted through the special permission process will not receive transportation outside the school's attendance zone.

Markoe said officials will review applications and make decisions based on the relief it provides at the student's home school and how that student would affect class sizes at Rockland Woods.

"One of our primary goals at Rockland Woods is to keep class sizes low," he said.

Officials are hoping to keep class sizes between 21 and 24 students.

Applications also will be reviewed based on a student's home school and the enrollment there.

"What kind of relief does it give? Boonsboro (Elementary) and Greenbrier (Elementary) will be our first priority," he said.

Both schools are overcrowded and well over their state-rated capacity.

However, only eight of the applicants come from Boonsboro and Greenbrier, each of which had four students apply to enroll at Rockland Woods.

The schools with the most applicants were Emma K. Doub and Eastern elementary schools, with seven each, Markoe said.

Fountain Rock and Funkstown elementary schools each had four applicants.

Most applicants were incoming kindergartners (11). There were eight applicants from first, second and third grades, and five in fourth grade. One applicant was a fifth-grader.

Markoe said those numbers will be important when evaluating class sizes.

"Forty-two is a good number (of applicants)," he said. "That definitely demonstrates interest by parents to start (their children) out in a state-of-the-art school."

Parents listed several reasons for wanting their children to attend Rockland Woods Elementary, including child-care needs and smaller class sizes.

"There have been a range of reasons," Markoe said. "Some have mentioned their homes are actually closer to Rockland Woods."

If Rockland Woods opened with only students in its attendance zone, it would have a population of about 470 students. The $25 million school has a750-student capacity.

About 20 classroom teachers have been hired.

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