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RECOMMENDATION TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION

SCHOLARS K-8 CLOSURE


KAREN BLANNARD
Members of the Board, I am presenting this evening the superintendents
recommendation, in accordance with Board Policy 1290, to close Scholars K8 School.
In order to frame the superintendents recommendation, let me provide a
brief history for those members of the Board who may not be familiar with
the school.
Scholars K-8 was opened as Imagine Discovery Public Charter School in
2008. Imagine Discovery LLC voluntarily ended its charter at the end of
the 2013-2014 school year. As of the 2014-2015 school year, by action of the
Board, Imagine Discovery continued as a BCPS school and was renamed
Scholars K-8. As a result of parental input and in order to permit the
administration to continue to evaluate the programs viability, the Board
also extended the current facilitys lease for two years so that the students
would not be disrupted.
The lease of the current facility ends in June, 2016.
We have studied the factors required by COMAR 13A.02.09.01 and have
concluded the following:
1. CONCERNING THE AGE AND CONDITION OF THE SCHOOL
BUILDING. The facility is inadequate.
a. The building does not have a full-size cafeteria or a full-size
gymnasium, as do other BCPS elementary and middle schools.
Instead, the cafeteria and physical education occupy the same
space.
b. The building is located on a lot that measures less than three
acres; BCPS elementary and middle school campuses in our

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.

h.

system range in size from 15 to 35+ acres. The playground is


configured for primary use only.
The building does not have adequate space to support science
instruction at any grade level; therefore, the curriculum cannot
be implemented as intended or in the manner that it is taught at
other BCPS elementary and middle schools.
There are no rooms with ventilation to support the hands-on
science lab exercises in the grades 6-8 curriculum; students
currently use online curriculum that is intended to be used by
students on extended, but not permanent, absence from school.
Therefore, this curriculum does not meet the minimum
requirement for a comprehensive science instructional program.
There is no identified elementary science room with sinks,
storage, furniture, or fixtures comparable to other BPCS
elementary schools.
The library/media center is too small to serve the full K-8
population, and there is no computer lab space outside of the
library/media center space.
Classroom size and configuration are inconsistent, creating
difficulties in assigning classrooms for elementary grades and
scheduling classes for middle grades.
Classrooms range in size from approximately 650 square feet to
740 square feet for kindergarten, while classroom sizes in home
schools range in size from 750 to 850 square feet.

2. CONCERNING ENROLLMENT TRENDS. The enrollment is declining.


During the 2014-2015 school year, enrollment was projected at 550
students, with an actual enrollment of 414 students. Projected enrollment
for the 2015-2016 school year is 340 students, with an actual enrollment
count of 264 students as of August 24, 2015.
3. CONCERNING TRANSPORTATION.

a. Transportation will be arranged for students living more than


one mile from their neighborhood schools to attend home
schools without substantial disruption to existing bus routes.
4. CONCERNING STUDENT RELOCATION
a. Elementary and middle home schools can accommodate
Scholars students. The majority of Scholars students come from
the following schools:
i. ES Dogwood, Edmondson Heights, Featherbed Lane,
Johnnycake, Scotts Branch, Winfield, and Woodmoor
ii. MS Southwest Academy and Woodlawn
iii. All receiving schools will be able to accept students
5. CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
a. Middle grade students do not have access to the same offerings
as their peers at other BCPS schools. (Spanish/only foreign
language offering; no music, health, tech. ed., or
family/consumer science course offerings)
b. I have also addressed the concerns with the space constraints
and its effect on the instructional program.
6. CONCERNING THE IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
a. The community adjacent to Scholars is a business park.
7. CONCERNING FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS. BCPS will no longer
have to lease space for a school. Our annual rent for Year 2 is
$1,210,023.60.
8. RACIAL COMPOSITION OF THE STUDENT BODY. The racial
composition of Scholars K-8 is 97.5% Black/African American, 1.07% Two
or more Races, 0.71% Asian, 0.36% Hispanic, and 0.36% White. Most
schools in the area are predominantly minority. Therefore no students
will be further isolated on the basis of race.

Having reviewed all of requisite previous factors and having seriously


examined the educational benefit to students, the Superintendent hereby
recommends that the Board close Scholars K-8 at the end of the 2015-2016
school year. As required by Superintendents Rule 1290, the staff and the
PTA were informed on August 18th of the superintendents recommendation
and of this proposal.