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Downcounty ConsortiumAbout → Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a child be expected to choose a career in Grade 8?

The Academies are a way of teaching the traditional high school curriculum in a fresh and interesting way that connects academic learning to real-life issues and problems. Some eighth graders may think they want a career in the arts, computers, engineering, health care, international business, law, or media, and these students will be able to pursue these interests in depth. Most students will probably change their minds about their career many times. Therefore, the curriculum at each campus is designed to prepare students for further education

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What if my child wants only the regular school program?

All five schools offer the regular comprehensive high school program. At each school students develop skills for success such as problem solving, communicating ideas, and collaborating in teams to produce a product.

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Will transportation be provided to each school?

All students within the Consortium attendance area who do not reside within walking distance of their assigned school—as defined by the Montgomery County Public Schools—are provided with bus transportation.
 

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Do all five schools have multiple-level courses?

All five schools offer a variety of Honors and Advanced Placement courses, on-level classes, and programs for special education and ESOL students.
 

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Why do they have academies?

 Each school is developing different academy programs designed to help students prepare for higher education and explore possible career pathways. The academies are designed to create smaller learning communities within our large high schools to ensure that each student is part of a safe, nurturing, and successful academy or program.
 

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Does each school offer athletics and other extracurricular activities?

All five schools offer athletic and extracurricular programs comparable to those available at all other Montgomery County high schools. In addition, each school offers extracurricular activities based on the academy programs and the special interests of students.
 

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What is a base area?

The base area is a geographic preference area that is based on a student’s home address. It provides students with a preference to attend a high school.
 

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Are students guaranteed their base schools?

No. Students are guaranteed their base school only if it is written as their first choice on their student Choice form, or if it is the second choice on the form AND their first choice is not available. All other student assignments are derived through a lottery process, based on student ranking of choices.
 

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Where can I get more information?

For specific questions or comments about specific course offerings, contact the academy coordinator at the high school.
 

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Will a school ever be closed to choice?

While every effort is made to assign students to their first choice, some students may be assigned to a school other than their first choice.

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What should I know about the lottery process?

The Choice process is a lottery school assignment process that considers students’ choice ranking, base school, sibling link, school capacity, and socioeconomic status. Students are guaranteed their base school when ranked first on the initial Choice form, or if it is marked second and their first choice is not available. For all students not requesting their base school or the same school as their older sibling,* school assignments are based on a combination of the aforementioned factors, and is not soley controlled by available space and the student’s preferred choice. Every effort is made to assign students to their first choice, however, students may be assigned to subsequent choices.
* The older sibling must be attending the requested school the following school year.
 

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