The administration created more learning spaces to address growth in the student population
In 2017, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) added four portables to Blair. Due to the school's increasing student population in the 2019-20 school year, the MCPS Department of Facilities Management is introducing more portables adjacent to the current portables.
According to Principal Renay Johnson, approximately 200 more students will be attending Blair next year compared to the 2018-19 school year when Blair enrolled over 3,200 students. "Right now in the scheduling system, there's 3,375 [students], but you know what happens when school opens: people enroll," Johnson said.
It is likely that the student body will continue to grow, because more people are choosing to come to Blair. "Blair is a choice school. We are the number one chosen high school in the Down County Consortium because of the reputation of...the students and staff," Johnson said. To keep up with this upward trend, the administrators requested that MCPS provide Blair with more learning space.
Construction on the portables began on June 11 and will be completed by the start of the school year. "They will be ready by the end of July, because the contractors have to run the electricity, plumbing, and air conditioning," Johnson said.
The new portables will incorporate features similar to the current ones, including easy access to heating and air conditioning and an intercom system. The portables will include water fountains, along with extra security cameras and lighting to maintain student safety. Students will be permitted to enter the main building with a swipe card.
Due to limited funds, the new portables may not be equipped with Promethean boards. "Unfortunately, high school portables don't come with [Promethean boards]," Johnson said. "The ones that do have them, I've had to purchase using school funds. I don't know if we'll have enough school funds to get enough Promethean boards, because we have other priorities."
While most teachers enjoy the perks that come with using portables, some teachers prefer to teach in classrooms. "It's kind of hard on everybody when you're outside the building. It could be raining and students could be late," computer science teacher Elias Gonzalez said. "I would still prefer to be around other people inside the building." Some students, including rising junior Sam Lidz, agree. "I've heard that portables are nice classrooms, but it's a pain to go out in the rain," Lidz said. Nevertheless, as Blair's student population continues to increase, the four new portables are a welcome addition.
Boaz Yoo. I write for Silver Chips Online. More »