Facing increased enrollments, Montgomery County officially opened two new schools on Monday, including Flora M. Singer Elementary in Silver Spring, Md.
It was the first day of classes for students in Montgomery County. For one school in Silver Spring, it was the first day altogether.
Flora Singer Elementary opened its doors this morning for the first time. It's the only new traditional public school opening in the county this year, and it was needed to alleviate overcrowding at a neighboring school.
"We're only drawing from one school community. We're only drawing from Oakland Terrace, which was overloaded," says principal Kyle Heatwole. "They were well beyond capacity, to the point their kindergarten was being housed at a middle school."
Heatwole expects his school to be at capacity in just two years, showcasing the growth of student enrollment in Montgomery County, which is up over 10,000 students in the past decade.
"We're the first district in many ways to go the moon. Now, we have to think about what it will take to go to Mars," says superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr.
Education magazines routinely rank Montgomery County schools among the best in the nation, but Starr says there is still plenty to work on. He points to academic ineligibility rates for black and Latino students, which have fallen in the past four years.
"It's still five times higher than the ineligibility rate for our white and Asian students," says Starr. 'So, great progress, better than our peers and colleagues, however we can still do better."
The first public charter school in the county also opened this morning. Community Montessori Charter School in Kensington will serve 70 pre-kindergarten students.