Many Silver Spring area schools welcomed more students to the first day of classes Monday, as Montgomery County’s school system notched its highest enrollment ever.
At Oak View Elementary on Wayne Avenue in eastern Silver Spring, student enrollment swelled to 385, some 30 more students than last school year, Principal Peggy Salazar said. The school has one portable building, though that is not used for regular classes, but for small-group studies, she said.
“The most we have in one class is 28 students, which is not too crowded,” Salazar said. “We aren’t at capacity — yet.”
More than 154,000 students are expected to attend the county’s public schools, an increase of about 2,800 from last school year.
The district opened the doors on several projects, including a new $28 million building at Bel Pre Elementary in northern Silver Spring. The new structure is about twice as large as the old one, with two floors; high-tech, interactive white boards; and technological projectors for classrooms.
“We are portable free,” Bel Pre Principal Carmen Van Zutphen said. “It was an awesome first day.”
Students had to attend classes at North Lake Center in Rockville for the past year and a half during construction. Bel Pre contains pre-kindergarten through second-grade students and is paired with nearby Strathmore Elementary, which has students in grades 3 through 5.
Other schools have more portable buildings, such as Woodlin Elementary in the Woodside neighborhood of Silver Spring, which now has nine portables.
Several Silver Spring-area high schools, including Kennedy, Northwood, Springbrook, Paint Branch and Wheaton, are seeing computer science classes expand through a new partnership with nonprofit Code.org. The classes will teach coding and other technological skills.
Northwood is also starting a program with Montgomery College that allows students the chance to earn credits in science technology, engineering and mathematics toward an associate’s degree.