Downcounty Consortium →About
About the Downcounty Consortium
The Downcounty Consortium (DCC) includes five high schools and their feeder middle and elementary schools—Blair, Einstein, Kennedy, Northwood, and Wheaton. Each DCC high school offers distinctive academy programs designed to capture students’ interest, incorporate rigorous academic course work, explore possible career pathways, and bring real world relevance to students’ education. Each year, all Grade 8 students who live in the DCC attendance area participate in the high school Choice process. Students who attend a DCC feeder middle school are also eligible to participate. Opportunities are available for parents and students to learn about the Choice process and investigate the unique academy offerings in the DCC.
A Lottery Snapshot: 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.
Goals and Objectives
- To address the unique needs of entering freshman, cause them to remain in school, and improve their post-secondary attainment levels by creating a system of programs, supports, and pathways within the freshman programs in each of these high schools that will:
- Increase the rate of student retention from grade 9 to grade 10
- Decrease the percentage of students losing credit and/or failing one or more courses during the freshman year
- Increase the average GPA of freshmen for each sub group of the population
- Increase the percentage of freshmen who pass the countywide end of course exam and/or the High School Assessment in English, Algebra 1, Biology, and NSL
- Increase the percentage of freshmen, which are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities while also increasing the participation levels in these activities.
- To provide students with the opportunity to choose an academic or career program that is based on their identified post-secondary aptitudes and interests by creating a system of themed academies within the high schools of this region that will:
- Increase the rate of student retention from grade 9 to 12 grade
- Improve the academic rigor rating of each high school with the goal of eliminating the category of "Minimally Prepared"
- Increase the percentage of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses in each consortium high school for each sub group of the population
- Increase the percentage of students earning college credit while in high school, through either Advanced Placement coursework or concurrent enrollment
- Increase the SAT score for each sub-group of the school population for the duration of this project with test participation rates also increasing.
- To support increased levels of student performance by creating and sustaining professional learning communities within and across the faculties of downcounty high schools that will:
- Create and support dedicated teaching teams in each high school that will support the freshman program and themed academies
- Demonstrate increased job satisfaction among teachers and staff who belong to these teams as measured by the annual survey of school climate
- Support the focused professional development of teachers within downcounty high schools
All five DCC high schools offer—
Academy programs that are designed around central themes of interest to help students make strong connections between their academics, their personal interests, and their plans for college and future careers.
ALL five DCC high schools have—
- Students from more than nine middle schools
- A comprehensive high school program of studies
- Numerous science, and math offerings
- Computer labs
- Foreign language classes
- Honors, Advanced Placement, and college level courses
- TV production
- Career pathway programs
- A college/career center
- Student service learning opportunities
- Art classes
- Special education programs
- ESOL classes
- Instrumental and vocal music programs
- School newspaper and yearbook
- Varsity and junior varsity sports teams
- Proms, pep rallies, homecoming events, and spirit week
- Theater, music, and dance performances
- Business partnerships
- A quality educational program that fulfills graduation requirements for a Maryland high school diploma