Like other top officials across metropolitan Washington, school superintendents say the area’s demographic changes and rapid population growth are among their top issues. When Chuck Bean, the Council of Governments Executive Director, addressed the school chiefs at a meeting on November 8, the group realized their schools are already building toward the additional 1.6 million residents predicted by Region Forward, the vision plan of COG’s 22 member governments for a more prosperous and livable metropolitan Washington.
“Schools in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland are experiencing population booms,” said Dr. Steven Walts, Prince William County’s superintendent and president of the Washington Area School Study Council.
A third of all kindergartners in Montgomery County public schools now are Latino, according to Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr. And public school systems in Northern Virginia also are among the most ethnically diverse in the region and the nation.
Region Forward goals include boosting graduation rates for all ethnic groups and preparing the region’s current residents for the workforce of the mid-21st century. Bean said COG looks forward to coordinating with the Study Council on new initiatives. He noted several opportunities to work together, including snow and emergency communication, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, green building strategies and cooperative purchasing.