Middle School Grade Level Configuration

Evaluating the grade level arrangement at Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe Middle Schools

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Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe Middle Schools are located in the Mason District of Fairfax County. They currently house sixth grade students, which is a different set-up from other middle schools in Fairfax County (which are 7-8), but is the same as neighboring school districts. During the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) process in February 2021, the School Board unanimously approved two follow-on motions to assess a reconfiguration of middle schools with a Grade 6-8 arrangement. Parent/caregiver engagement will be an important part of this evaluation.

Parent/Caregiver Engagement

View the Middle School Grade Configuration Engagement Report.

Engagement activities focused on parents/caregivers of students who currently attend Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe Middle Schools, and elementary students who feed into those three middle schools. This included students attending elementary feeder schools outside of the Mason District. A small number of elementary parents whose children attend specialized programs at a school other than their base school, that will likely have them attend Glasgow, Holmes, or Poe were also included. 

Engagement activities include:

  • Brief survey in Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. 
    • Sent out March 25 via email to parents/caregivers.
    • Survey closes April 15.
  • Parent meetings 
  • Focus groups 

Questions and Answers

Facilities Planning

Are changes being proposed?

No changes have been proposed. We are in the information gathering phase and getting feedback from Mason District parents about their thoughts and concerns, before making any decisions about next steps.

When do you anticipate having a decision about if the schools would change?

The School Board will make the decision on whether to move forward with any potential changes in middle school grade configuration. They will receive a report on the results of parent/caregiver engagement by April 30, which will help inform their decision on any next steps.

What is the standard across the country?

The 5-3-4 plan (Grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12) is the most common configuration presently being implemented in US school districts (Combs, 2011).

I'm interested in learning more about the research findings from that initial study. Are those publicly available?

Yes, the information is at the bottom of this webpage.

Will all of these sessions be available for the public to view? I'd love to hear other questions.

Yes. Recordings are posted on this page under Parent/Caregiver Meetings.

I think it would take too many resources, re-boundary-drawing, etc. to shift at this point. Are there research or other materials about the general benefits of configurations?

Educational research has not identified consensus on an ideal middle school grade configuration in terms of student achievement outcomes. Rather, research indicates that a high quality educational experience has a greater impact than any specific grade level configuration. For instance, a longitudinal, national data review, indicates no significant difference between attendance in K-8 schools as compared to 6-8 schools in relation to achievement in either reading or mathematics (Carolan and Chesky 2012).

Other than being different from the rest of the county, what - if any - are the downsides to the current Mason District grade alignment?

Arguments for and against keeping the current grade level configuration at Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe can be found in Grade 6 in Middle School Analysis on this webpage: https://www.fcps.edu/node/45445.

What were the reasons for shifting Mason District middle schools to a 6-8 model?

The Fairfax County School Board (FCSB), at the meeting held on March 22, 1990, voted to approve the implementation of the middle school philosophy and grade configuration (6-8) at Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe intermediate schools as a pilot program. For more information: https://insys.fcps.edu/schoolboardapps/ArchivedSBMinutes/1980-1989/1985-1989/1989/19900322r.pdf

Subsequently, at the meeting held on April 25, 1991, FCSB voted to adopt the incorporation of a middle school program for grades 6-8 into FCPS on a countywide basis consistent with the Virginia Department of Education plan for "Restructuring Education in the Middle School Grades." This action included a motion to conduct a detailed facilities study of the implications of relocating sixth grade students to the intermediate schools. For more information: https://insys.fcps.edu/schoolboardapps/ArchivedSBMinutes/1990-1999/1990- 1994/1990-1991/19910425r.pdf

It seems like the system is working well as is. what would the goal be of making a change?

If any changes were to be made, it would provide consistency among all of FCPS' middle schools. They would either be all grades 6-8 or all grades 7-8.

There are several different grade level configuration across the school division: preK-2 buildings, 3-6 building and several secondary schools. Is the school division looking at all of these configurations and if not, why? (Edited)

The school division is not looking at other grade configurations of other schools. At this time, the efforts for 6th grade in middle schools is consistent with two follow on motions approved by the School Board which state: 

  • I move that the School Board direct the Superintendent to conduct a program audit of middle schools with grade six to determine if the current grade level configuration offers the most efficient use of facilities and/or meets instructional best practices. 
  • I move that the School Board direct the Superintendent to engage the Mason District community to obtain parental perspective on the placement of grade six in middle school.

We just went through a redistricting due to overcrowded ES's. What impact will adding 6th grade back to those schools be?

 

Elementary Schools in the Justice HS Pyramid underwent a boundary adjustment. There is one elementary school in the Justice Pyramid that has capacity challenges without the addition of a 6th grade class: Parklawn ES. Parklawn ES receiving 6th grade would create a moderate to substantial capacity deficit. The extent of the capacity deficit at Parklawn ES is unknown due to ongoing phasing of recent boundary adjustments and in-migration. Capacity is being monitored until phasing will be complete in the 2025-26 school year. Additionally, Glasgow Middle School would be underutilized.

In looking at the data collected from neighboring school divisions all are 6-8 models so why would we be changing this model at these three schools and not look at expanding the model of 6-8 to all middle schools to be in alignment with what was approved

If any changes were to be made, it would provide consistency among all of FCPS' middle schools. They would either be all grades 6-8 or all grades 7-8.

In your assessment, will you take into consideration that Glasgow is the largest Middle School in VA? It has over 1900 students.

Yes, we will take that into account.

How will the factors be weighted in making decisions - facilities capacity, instructional best practices, etc.?

That decision will be up to the School Board. They will receive a report on the parent/caregiver engagement activities by April 30, which will help inform their decision on any next steps.

You mentioned this would not happen for next year. Would it possibly happen for the following year 2023-2024?

Since no changes have been proposed, we are unable to say when a potential change might occur. However, no changes would be able to occur prior to the 2023-24 school year.

Hello, can you explain why the proposed changes did not get implemented beyond the pilot schools in 1991?

Unfortunately, we do not know why the changes were not implemented.

Why did your analysis of Elementary capacity only include year 21-22 when there is currently a phased in re-adjustment for Glen Forest being undertaken? For instance, Sleepy Hollow in your report shows it being under capacity, but in 4-5 years it will be

As requested, the 5-year projection numbers adjusted for 6th grade in the elementary schools are now online.

Please provide the capacity projections for elementary schools...

Full Question: Please provide the public the capacity projections for elementary schools if 6th grade were to be brought back to the elementary level for the next 5 years as compared to the current draft CIP numbers.  If a space "use change" is proposed, please show the public exactly what use change is being proposed BEFORE public comment.  (Specifically, during the Glen Forest realignment, non-specific "use changes" were proposed for several schools.  It was only after the process ended that we learned those use changes were targeted at converting some IEP/special education pull-out rooms to be used as general education.  It must be made clear to the public of the intention to reduce/cut space for these services).

Answer:

As requested, the 5-year projection numbers adjusted for 6th grade in the elementary schools are now online.
 
Services are not reduced or cut as a result of space use changes. In fact, a school's administration may, and often do, change the uses of spaces within a school each year. Changes in uses of space may be recommended to maximize the time a space is used by students for instruction. An example may include using full-size classroom as a grade-level/core classroom and relocating small group instruction to a more appropriately sized space.

Given that the boundary change for elementary schools in the Justice HS Pyramid is phasing until the 2025-26 school year, use changes cannot be recommended at this time until all boundary change phasing is complete. 

Instructional Services

How would this impact the path to an IB diploma?

This would have no impact on the the path to an IB Diploma. The path does not begin until high school.

What would be the effect on local level 4 advanced academic programs?

If sixth grade students are reassigned to elementary schools, the Local Level IV progrms at those schools would be expanded to include grade 6.

How old are the oldest middle schoolers?

Typically, 8th graders are 13/14 years old.

What are the social, educational, and emotional differences between younger elementary children with 6th graders in their school versus without?

We are not aware of a study that examines the social, educational, and emotional impact on younger students when 6th graders are included in the elementary setting.

Do you have performance data on 6th graders located at elementary schools vs. this in middle schools?

There has been no division comparative analysis completed at this time.

What would happen to elective programming in middle schools? Would the reduced grade levels affect the number and quality of choices in the schools?

The three middle schools would maintain the standard elective course offerings.

Do we know how testing scores and behavior issues compare between the 6th graders in middle school and the 6th graders in elementary schools in FCPS?

There has been no division comparative analysis completed at this time.

Office of Communication and Community Relations

Will the answer document be shared directly with all schools in the Justice pyramid so that even those not signed up for Mason District emails can see what is going to impact them? I hope so, thank you!

The responses are not being emailed directly but are available to everyone on this website.

Have we talked with students to get their view point on being in 6th grade at the middle school versus a final year in ES?

As noted in the School Board's follow-on motion directing engagement around Mason District middle school grade configuration, only parents/caregivers are being asked for their perspective.

How are parents being chosen for the focus groups?

The Office of Communication and Community Relations arranged the focus groups which have now concluded.

How can we determine our preference or how important it is without understanding the issue? I thought this would be an educational session to explain.

Your email mentioned "numerous gaps which became evident during the planning of virtual learning and the subsequent phasing of in-person instruction." What gaps did you find?

We do not see that language in our emails regarding middle school grade level configuration. Please let us know to which email you are referring. 

What does this change in these grades refer to?

The meetings were in reference to the School Board's approval of two follow-on motions to assess a reconfiguration of middle schools with a Grade 6-8 arrangement: Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe. These middle schools are all in the Mason District of Fairfax County. During this meeting, we shared information about the grade level arrangement and engagement opportunities for parents who would be impacted by any changes to Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe.

Buenas noches ,en cuanto tiempo se tendria una respuesta si se llegase hacer el cambio de los grados 7-8. TRANSLATION: Good evening, how long it would take to get an answer if the change of grades 7-8 were to be made.

No changes are being proposed at this time.

Will the schools be directly polled, aside from the FCPS emails that are reaching community members signed up for those emails?

The follow-on motion directing this evaluation only addresses parent/caregiver engagement.

Human Resources

How would this impact staffing at middle and high schools? Would teachers in specific programs, such as Special Education or ESOL, be de-staffed or reassigned?

Staffing models would need to be reviewed in light of the movement of students from one school to another. This would likely result in destaffing in middle schools. Teacher endorsements differ for elementary and middle school teachers. This could require the School Board to begin a Reduction in Force (RIF) process for teachers who cannot be transferred to new teaching assignments.

Background

Grade 6 in the Middle School Executive Summary - January 2022

Instructional Impact

A review of recent research did not identify consensus on an ideal middle school grade level configuration in terms of student achievement or wellness outcomes. Rather, there are both advantages and disadvantages to placement of grade 6 in middle school. Therefore, staff does not recommend making a change to the three FCPS middle schools that currently house grade 6 students for the purpose of teaching and learning. The findings, including the best practices, have been summarized in the body of this report.

Facilities Impact

Elementary schools that feed into Poe, Holmes, and Glasgow Middle Schools are, in general, equipped to receive a 6th grade class. One elementary school, Parklawn ES, would have a moderate to substantial capacity deficit. The extent of that deficit is unknown due to the ongoing phasing of recent boundary adjustments. A trailer may need to be installed.

All three middle schools would have a substantial capacity surplus. Programming should be considered to effectively use this extra capacity

Human Resources Impact

Staffing models would need to be reviewed in light of the movement of students from one school to another. This would likely result in destaffing in middle schools. Teacher endorsements differ for elementary and middle school teachers. This could require the School Board to begin a Reduction in Force (RIF) process for teachers who cannot be transferred to new teaching assignments.

Transportation Impact

Newly eligible riders at the elementary level may increase current bus capacity.  Additional students will first be absorbed on ​some existing routes, ​however, additional buses may be required.  Buses assigned to middle school routes cannot be shifted to the additional elementary routes as those buses currently have an elementary assignment.  ​These potential additional routes could require additional driver positions, which due to the transportation driver shortage, will create a greater impact for the Office of Transportation Services. 

Community Engagement Plan

Community Engagement for the communities of Poe, Holmes, and Glasgow Middle Schools is proposed as follows:

  • Brief survey in all eight languages that is supported by Family Liaisons and captures the preferences of a majority of staff, student and parents within a +/-5% margin.
  • Community meeting (with interpretation options) to create a place where questions can be asked and clarity sought.
  • Focus groups that are balanced per the demographics of each school and serve as a sample surveying mechanism.

Grade 6 in the Middle School Analysis - November 2021

Review of Literature

Educational research has not identified consensus on an ideal middle school grade configuration in terms of student achievement outcomes. Rather, research indicates that a high quality educational experience has a greater impact than any specific grade level configuration. For instance, a longitudinal, national data review, indicates no significant difference between attendance in K-8 schools as compared to 6-8 schools in relation to achievement in either reading or mathematics (Carolan and Chesky 2012).

The  5-3-4  plan (Grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12) is the most common configuration presently being implemented in US school districts (Combs, 2011). This grade configuration supports research findings which show that students today enter adolescence much earlier than 50 years ago. Also, students’ ages (11-13) are nearly parallel in the period of human growth and development between childhood and adolescence.  A particular strength of the middle school model for sixth grade students is greater access to specialized teachers and programs.

However, one concern related to sixth graders in middle school is that of being exposed to older teens which may present a risk for negative peer influences by older students. In addition, research suggests that school divisions need to monitor data on discipline referrals and student achievement to ensure students are not negatively impacted by the model.  These concerns can be mitigated by the implementation of the best practices cited below.

Best Practices for Implementing Grade 6 in Middle Schools

 Large Size of Middle Schools

  •  Implement the teaming concept where one group of students has the same English, Mathematics, Science & Social Studies teachers.  The teaming concept allows for close planning between the teachers who have the same group of students.  This also builds a team (school within a school) atmosphere for students, having a team name and motto, supports building relationships with each other and their team of teachers.
  • Situate the classrooms of team teachers in a designated hall or area of the school building so that the team and 6th graders in general are clustered together and not in the middle of the 7th & 8th graders.
  • Assign a designated area or hall(s) in the building specifically for 6th graders.

Scheduling

  • Consider a different bell schedule for 6th graders. That could address needs such as longer blocks for Language Arts and Mathematics (staffing impact), lunch time, and recess
  • Hallway passing should be scheduled separately from grade 7 and 8 students

Fostering Relationship with Teachers/Social Emotional Learning

  • Teacher teaming allows a specific group of teachers to really get to know a specific group of students to which they are all assigned.  This gives 5 specific teachers that the entire team of students all have in common.
  • Provide an advisory period for SEL and the 6th grade teamed students would only be assigned one of their core team teachers.
  • Team meetings are also when the team can discuss and address any specific student needs and/or concerns.

Instruction

  • Teaming allows for co-planning among the teachers assigned to the team.
  • To facilitate the above mentioned planning, the team should be given common planning time so that this co-planning across disciplines can easily occur.

Citations

Carolan, B. V., & Chesky, N. Z. (2012). The relationship among grade configuration, school attachment, and achievement. Middle School Journal, 43(4), 32-39.

Chen, G. (2020, September 17). Should Sixth Grade Be in Elementary School or Middle School? | PublicSchoolReview.com. Public School Review. https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/should-sixth-grade-be-in-elementary-school-or-middle-school

Combs, H. Jurgen (2005, 2011). Choosing the Right Model: Defining Middle School

Cook, P. J., MacCoun, R., Muschkin, C., & Vigdor, J. (2007). The negative impacts of starting middle school in sixth grade. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(1), 104–121. https://doi.org/10.1002/pam.20309

Cromwell, S. (2019, November 19). Where Does Sixth Grade Belong? | Education World. Education World. https://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin060.shtml

Sharp Schools. (2018). Executive Summary of Research on Middle School Configuration. Edmunds School District, Washington State. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pvMDfi7eyLB3zfefYwIVT4F9E580op5g/view

Middle School Grade Configurations in other School Divisions

School District

Middle School Configuration

Alexandria City

6, 7 & 8

Arlington County

6, 7 & 8

Falls Church City

6, 7 & 8

Fauquier County

6, 7 & 8

Loudoun County

6, 7 & 8

Montgomery County

6, 7 & 8

Prince William County

6, 7 & 8

Virginia Beach

6, 7 & 8

Grade 6 Configuration in FCPS

In March 1990, the School Board voted to approve the implementation of the middle school model and the 6-8 grade configuration at Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe intermediate schools as a pilot program. Subsequently, in April 1991, the Board voted to adopt a middle school program for grades 6-8 into Fairfax County Public Schools on a countywide basis. Since that time, the 6-8 configuration in middle schools has not been expanded: Glasgow, Holmes and Poe remain the only middle schools with three grades.

Facilities Analysis

The Office of Facilities Planning conducted preliminary analyses of the impact on school enrollment of implementing a 6-8 middle school model countywide, along with the impact of moving 6th grade out of Glasgow, Holmes, and Poe Middle Schools.

Systematizing the Middle School (6-8) Model

The current and projected capacity utilization of middle schools is available on pages 96 and 97 of the Proposed FY 2023-27 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), and a summary of the capacity implications for receiving 6th grade is explained below.

Based on SY 2021-22 capacity utilization of middle schools that do not have 6th grade:

  • Two middle schools are considered to have a moderate capacity deficit (105% - 114% capacity utilization)
  • Four middle schools are approaching a capacity deficit or have a slight capacity deficit (95% to 104% capacity utilization)
  • Twelve middle schools have sufficient capacity for current programs and future growth (85% to 94% capacity utilization)
  • Five middle schools have surplus capacity (less than 85% capacity utilization)

Six middle schools would increase in capacity utilization by adding 6th grade. This would increase the space needs and likely further contribute to or create a capacity deficit at several schools.

Middle Schools Considered to have a Moderate Capacity Deficit (105% to 114% Capacity Utilization) in SY 2021-22

REGION

SCHOOL

WITH MODULAR

WITH MODULAR

WITHOUT MODULAR

WITHOUT MODULAR

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

4

Irving MS

106%

102%

106%

102%

3

Sandburg MS

105%

100%

105%

100%

 

Middle Schools Approaching a Capacity Deficit or Having a Slight Capacity Deficit (95 to 104% Capacity Utilization) in SY 2021-22

REGION

SCHOOL

WITH MODULAR

WITH MODULAR

WITHOUT MODULAR

WITHOUT MODULAR

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

5

Frost MS

100%

87%

124%

87%

3

Twain MS

100%

98%

100%

98%

1

Carson MS

98%

95%

98%

95%

1

Herndon MS

96%

92%

96%

92%

Twelve middle schools have sufficient capacity for current programs and future growth (85% - 94% capacity utilization). Half of these schools are at 90% capacity utilization, and increased student membership from adding 6th grade may contribute to space needs.

 

Middle Schools Considered to Have Sufficient Capacity for Current Programs and Future Growth (85% to 94% Capacity Utilization) in SY 2021-22

REGION

SCHOOL

WITH MODULAR

WITH MODULAR

WITHOUT MODULAR

WITHOUT MODULAR

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

4

Lake Braddock MS

94%

89%

94%

89%

1

Cooper MS

93%

93%

93%

93%

5

Katherine Johnson MS

93%

93%

93%

93%

2

Longfellow MS

92%

92%

92%

92%

2

Jackson MS

92%

86%

92%

86%

5

Franklin MS

91%

88%

91%

88%

2

Kilmer MS

89%

89%

113%

113%

1

Thoreau MS

89%

89%

89%

89%

4

Robinson MS

88%

83%

88%

83%

1

Hughes MS

88%

78%

88%

78%

3

Hayfield MS

87%

85%

87%

85%

4

South County MS

86%

83%

86%

83%

Five middle schools have sufficient capacity for current programs and future growth (85% - 94% capacity utilization).

 

Middle Schools Considered to Have Surplus Capacity (Less than 85% Capacity Utilization) in SY 2021-22

REGION

SCHOOL

WITH MODULAR

WITH MODULAR

WITHOUT MODULAR

WITHOUT MODULAR

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

SY 2021-22

SY 2026-27

4

Liberty MS

83%

80%

83%

80%

3

Whitman MS

79%

80%

79%

80%

3

Key MS

76%

76%

76%

76%

5

Rocky Run MS

76%

73%

76%

73%

5

Stone MS

75%

76%

75%

76%

In addition to middle school, over half the elementary schools (56% or 80 of 142) in the division have a capacity utilization of 85% or less. Systematizing the middle school model of 6-8 grades would decrease the capacity utilization increasing the number of schools with a capacity surplus.

Elementary Schools with a Capacity Utilization of 85% or less: 

  1. Aldrin ES
  2. Armstrong ES
  3. Bailey's Upper ES
  4. Beech Tree ES
  5. Belle View ES
  6. Belvedere ES
  7. Brookfield ES
  8. Bucknell ES 
  9. Bull Run ES
  10. Bush Hill ES
  11. Cameron ES
  12. Centre Ridge ES
  13. Centreville ES
  14. Cherry Run ES
  15. Chesterbrook ES
  16. Churchill Road ES
  17. Clearview ES
  18. Colvin Run ES
  19. Crestwood ES
  20. Cunningham Park ES
  21. Deer Park ES
  22. Dogwood ES
  23. Dranesville ES
  24. Eagle View ES
  25. Fairfax Villa ES
  26. Floris ES
  27. Forest Edge ES
  28. Forestdale ES
  29. Forestville ES
  30. Fort Belvoir Upper ES
  31. Fort Hunt ES
  32. Fox Mill ES
  33. Franklin Sherman ES
  34. Freedom Hill ES
  35. Garfield ES
  36. Glen Forest ES
  37. Graham Road ES
  38. Great Falls ES
  39. Greenbriar West ES
  40. Halley ES
  41. Hayfield ES
  42. Herndon ES
  43. Hollin Meadows ES
  44. Hunt Valley ES
  45. Hunters Woods ES
  46. Island Creek ES
  47. Kings Glen ES
  48. Lake Anne ES
  49. Lane ES
  50. Lees Corner ES
  51. Lemon Road ES
  52. Little Run ES
  53. London Towne ES
  54. Lorton Station ES
  55. Louise Archer ES
  56. Lynbrook ES
  57. Marshall Road ES
  58. McNair ES
  59. McNair Upper ES
  60. Mount Eagle ES
  61. Mount Vernon Woods ES
  62. North Springfield ES
  63. Oak Hill ES
  64. Olde Creek ES
  65. Poplar Tree ES
  66. Powell ES
  67. Riverside ES
  68. Rose Hill ES
  69. Saratoga ES
  70. Springfield Estates ES
  71. Stratford Landing ES
  72. Sunrise Valley ES
  73. Terraset ES
  74. Timber Lane ES
  75. Vienna ES
  76. Westbriar ES
  77. Westgate ES
  78. Weyanoke ES
  79. Woodlawn ES
  80. Woodley Hills ES

Realigning to a Systemwide K-6 Model

Annandale Pyramid SY 2021-22

Elementary schools in the Annandale Pyramid are, in general, equipped to receive a 6th grade class. Three elementary schools would have a slight capacity deficit that could be accommodated. The middle schools, Holmes and Poe, would be severely underutilized. Programming would need to be considered to effectively use the extra capacity.

School

Design Capacity

Program Capacity

6th Grade Adjustment

Membership

Program Capacity Utilization

Holmes MS

1,176

1,064

-

910

86%

Poe MS

1,356

1,190

-

865

73%

Annandale Terrace ES

960

718

-

622

87%

Braddock ES

1,176/900

934

-

841

90%

Bren Mar Park ES

668

504

-

445

88%

Columbia ES

504

452

-

404

89%

North Springfield

782

625

-

452

72%

Weyanoke ES

828

663

-

539

81%

Adjusted for 6th Grade

Holmes MS

1,176

1,064

-284

626

59%

Poe MS

1,356

1,190

-310

555

47%

Annandale Terrace ES

960

718

+92

714

99%

Braddock ES

1,176/900

934

+127

968

104%

Bren Mar Park ES

668

504

+78

523

104%

Columbia ES

504

452

+62

466

103%

North Springfield

782

625

+61 (corrected)

513 (corrected)

82% (corrected)

Weyanoke ES

828

663

+82 (corrected)

621 (corrected) 

94% (corrected)

Sources:  Capacity and Membership: FCPS, Proposed FY 2023-27 Capital Improvement Program, December 2021; CPS, Certified Membership, September 2021.

Falls Church Pyramid SY 2021-22

Mason Crest is the only elementary school affected by this change. It would remain within an acceptable capacity with the addition of a 6th grade.

School

Design Capacity

Program Capacity

6th Grade Adjustment

Membership

Program Capacity Utilization

Mason Crest ES

1,064

694

-

608

88%

Adjusted for 6th Grade

Mason Crest ES

1,064

694

+67

675

97%

Sources:  Capacity and Membership: FCPS, Proposed FY 2023-27 Capital Improvement Program, December 2021; CPS, Certified Membership, September 2021.

Justice Pyramid SY 2021-22

There is one elementary school in the Justice Pyramid that has capacity challenges without the addition of a 6th grade class: Parklawn ES. Parklawn ES receiving 6th grade would create a moderate to substantial capacity deficit.  The extent of the capacity deficit at Parklawn ES is unknown due to ongoing phasing of recent boundary adjustments and in-migration. Capacity is being monitored until phasing will be complete in the 2025-26 school year. A trailer may need to be installed. Additionally, Glasgow Middle School would be underutilized. Programming would need to be considered to effectively use the extra capacity.

School

Design Capacity

Program Capacity

6th Grade Adjustment

Membership

Program Capacity Utilization

Glasgow MS

1,959

1,907

--

1,832

96%

Glasgow MS

without Modular

1,689

1,667

--

1,832

110%

Bailey's Upper ES

1,360

707

--

519

73%

Beech Tree ES

592

492

--

362

74%

Belvedere ES

840

698

--

550

79%

Glen Forest ES

1,344

1,062

--

870

82%

Glen Forest ES

without Modular

924

748

--

870

116%

Parklawn ES

1,192

876

--

803

92%

Parklawn ES

without Modular

912

766

--

803

105%

Sleepy Hollow ES

594

506

--

436

86%

Adjusted for 6th Grade

Glasgow MS

1,959

1,907

-594

1,238

65%

Glasgow MS

without Modular

1,689

1,667

-594

1,238

74%

Bailey's Upper ES

1,360

707

+118

637

90%

Beech Tree ES

592

492

+41

403

82%

Belvedere ES

840

698

+169

719

103%

Glen Forest ES

1,344

1,062

+93

963

91%

Glen Forest ES

without Modular

924

748

+93

963

129%

Parklawn ES

1,192

876

+143

946

108%

Parklawn ES

without Modular

912

766

+143

946

123%

Sleepy Hollow ES

594

506

+55

491

97%

Sources:  Capacity and Membership: FCPS, Proposed FY 2023-27 Capital Improvement Program, December 2021; CPS, Certified Membership, September 2021.

Preliminary Analysis of Human Resources Considerations

The Departments of Human Resources and Financial Services preliminary analyses of the impact on licensure and staffing with the movement of 6th grade. While there would be a much greater system impact by systematizing the implementation of the middle school model, the challenges to the system remain the same.

Staffing models would need to be reviewed in light of the movement of students from one school to another. This would likely result in destaffing in middle schools. Teachers who teach 6th grade in the elementary school require an Elementary Ed PreK-6 endorsement. Middle school teachers may lack this endorsement, which would prohibit them from teaching in elementary schools. This could require the School Board to begin a Reduction in Force (RIF) process for teachers who cannot be transferred to new teaching assignments. For example, if each middle school employs teachers with the Middle Ed 6-8 Math endorsement, those teachers would not be able to transfer to an elementary school. The likelihood of enough middle school math positions opening to cover those vacancies is low. It may be less problematic from a licensure perspective to move teachers from elementary schools to middle schools provided the educational model precludes these teachers from providing instruction to 7th and 8th graders. Establishing the licensing requirements for all teachers currently teaching 6th grade would need to be undertaken.

Preliminary Analysis Transportation Considerations

Some students who are currently eligible for transportation services at the middle school level could reside in the walking boundary at the elementary level.

Additional eligible riders at the elementary level will increase current bus capacity.  Additional students would be absorbed on some existing routes, ​however, additional buses may be required.  The buses assigned to middle school routes cannot be shifted to the additional elementary routes as those buses currently have an elementary assignment.  ​These additional routes could require additional driver positions, which due to the transportation driver shortage, will create a greater impact for the OTS

Community Engagement Plan

Community Engagement is proposed as:

  • Brief survey in all eight languages that is supported by family liaisons and captures the preferences of a majority of parents within a +/-5% margin.
  • Parent meetings (with interpretation options) to create a place where questions can be asked and clarity sought.
  • Parent focus groups that are balanced per the demographics of each school and serve as a sample surveying mechanism.