Some Washington Co. students will start the year in new schools

August 14, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • The new Antietam Academy under construction in Hagerstown is seen Wednesday.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Several Washington County elementary school students will walk in a different set of doors Wednesday as a result of months of work last school year concerning redistricting school district boundaries.

About half of the redistricting moves approved by the Board of Education in February go into effect this school year. The other redistricting changes kick in during August 2011, when Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School is scheduled to open.

About 400 children were expected to be affected by this school year's redistricting, said Boyd Michael, deputy schools superintendent. The number is expected to have fluctuated as families moved in and out of school districts this year.

Students entering the fifth grade this year, and whose families could provide transportation, automatically could stay at the school they attended last school year if the families wanted them to, Michael said. Some are staying and some will attend the school where redistricting sent them, he said.


The school system expects to have an estimated 22,115 students this school year compared with 21,950 on March 31, according to enrollment figures and projections.

The new Antietam Academy is on schedule to open in January, Michael said.

Until then, the academy's high school students will continue to attend classes in portable classrooms on the South Hagerstown High School campus, while the academy's middle school operates at Western Heights Middle School in Hagerstown's West End.

The middle school students will move into the new Antietam Academy building first, when school resumes Jan. 3 after winter break, Michael said. The high school students will move in with the change in semesters on Jan. 19, he said.

The new building is on West Oak Ridge Drive near E. Russell Hicks Middle and Washington County Technical High schools. The $13.9 million school will serve students who have had trouble in a regular school setting. It also will be used for the county's Evening High School program.

Most of the summer maintenance projects at the county's various public schools are expected to be complete before school begins, Michael said.

Window replacement projects at the Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education and Williamsport High School will continue into the school year, Michael said. Some classes might be held in different rooms while those projects are in progress, he said.

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, which opened in downtown Hagerstown last school year, is expected to have about 60 more students this school year, said Clyde Harrell, director for curriculum and instruction for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

The arts school, which opened a year ago, is phasing in its student population during a three-year period, Michael said. This year, the school will have full freshmen, sophomore and junior classes and some seniors, he said.

Harrell said Ingram had 145 students last June after some students moved or returned to their home schools because they decided the arts program wasn't a good fit for them. This year, it is anticipated that the school will have 205 students.

If you haven't done it yet ...

o Whether or not a student was redistricted, parents with children who ride the bus should call or visit their children's schools to find out where their bus stop will be this school year and what the bus number is, as these things can change from year to year, said Richard Wright, Washington County Public Schools' communications officer.

Bus routes are available online at

o Parents who want their child to be picked up and dropped off by the bus at an address other than the child's residence need to fill out a Transportation Location Change form. The pickup and drop-off spots, whether at a grandparent's home or a day care, should be consistent on a daily basis, school officials said. The school system allows a maximum of two morning pickup spots and two afternoon drop-off spots.

The form is available at schools, at the school board's central office on Commonwealth Avenue or online at

o Any Washington County child turning 5 on or before Sept. 1 must, by state law, be enrolled in kindergarten. Parents may request a waiver through Student Services by calling 301-766-2961, Wright said.

Children whose birthday falls between Sept. 2, 2004, and Sept. 1, 2005, are eligible to enter kindergarten this school year. Those whose children are not enrolled yet should call your neighborhood school as soon as possible. If you do not know which school your child would attend, call the public information office at 301-766-2996.

For more information about kindergarten enrollment, go online to

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