Last week, The Washington Post reported that Joshua Starr, the new Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent, will enroll his school-aged children in Burning Tree Elementary School. Click here to read story.
Burning Tree Elementary School is located in Bethesda, on Beech Tree Road. The “Frogs” (school mascot) are part of the Walt Whitman High School Cluster (Thomas W. Pyle Middle School and Walt Whitman High School). To learn more about the school, click here.
For some (friends and colleagues), enrolling in Burning Tree Elementary means one becomes part of an affluent Bethesda neighborhood. That in itself communicates the wrong thing. I'm not sure what that wrong thing is, but I’m guessing that living in Bethesda means one is not keeping it real. After all, Bethesda is not diverse at all—there are very few kids of color leaping down the hallways of Burning Tree. (By the way, “Keeping It Real” is partly a reference to comedian Dave Chapelle’s TV skits about living in the ghetto and how keeping it real is not always the best life choice.)
Well, Starr’s move into a Burning Tree neighborhood is a move I cannot knock given that my children (grown now) attended Burning Tree Elementary School, Pyle Middle, and Whitman High. I have lived in the Cohasset subdivision of Bethesda since 1984, and have no plans to change that in the short-term. Keeping it real or not, I love Bethesda.
I will confess that there is lots of obvious wealth in the neighborhoods that surround Burning Tree Elementary—lots of McMansions and members only clubs. However, it is unfair to characterize all of these neighborhoods as a single collection of wealthy snobs. There are snobs, but those folks are way out-numbered by lots of down-to-earth people who march off to work each day. We aren’t all trust-fund babies.
It has been a while since my own children experienced Burning Tree Elementary. So, I have no current reliable insights into what is happening there. However, all I can say is my own children departed Burning Tree with the best MCPS has to offer. I loved Burning Tree, and I loved being a frog parent. If I had it to do over, I’d leap right back down to Beech Tree Road in a heartbeat.
I’m sure the Starr family will end up loving Burning Tree, and welcome to the neighborhood.