Board Reviews Reports on Reading Initiative, Discusses Countywide Final Exams, Appoints New Principal

September 15, 1999
The Board of Education met this week [Tuesday, September 14] and, among other items, discussed gains on the Reading Initiative for first and second grade students and reviewed a plan to develop countywide end-of-course examinations for high school students.

The Board also approved the appointment of an elementary school principal, amended Policy FAA, "Long-range Educational Facilities Planning" and approved a resolution on school safety. The Board also received an update on the Maryland Association of Boards of Education and approved the observance of Hispanic Heritage Month in Montgomery County Public Schools.

Report on Reading Initiative

The "Year 1 Report" to the Board on the new Reading Initiative in Grades 1 and 2 shows that second grade students in 18 schools substantially increased their reading fluency and comprehension between February and June of 1999. Fluency levels rose from 51 percent to 69 percent during that period. Partial and essential comprehension of reading materials, demonstrated by written answers to questions, rose from 50 percent to 72 percent.

Students from all racial and ethnic groups showed gains, with African American and Hispanic students demonstrating the most improvement in percentages of students reading at the fluent level. Despite these gains, however, the study shows a substantial gap between the fluency of these students on average than their White and Asian classmates.

Countywide Final Exams

The Board discussed development of countywide final exams that will help prepare students for the state's upcoming High School Assessments.

Students will be required to pass state end-of-course exams beginning in 2002 and countywide tests are currently under development for January 2001 to mirror the state effort and help prepare students for the new graduation exams.

Subjects include English 9, National, State and Local Government, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Biology. The local exams will replicate the state assessments in format and type of items, but will cover subject matter in addition to that required by the state. Countywide grading scales for all Algebra 1 tests will go into effect this year.

Personnel Appointment

The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointment:

Dr. Patricia A. Kelly, currently assistant principal at Judith A. Resnik Elementary School, as principal of Greenwood Elementary School.

Policy FAA, "Long-range Educational Facilities Planning"

The Board approved Policy FAA, "Long-range Educational Facilities Planning," that amends the boundary change process.

Resolution on School Safety

The Board voted to support a resolution before the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE). The resolution endorses specific efforts by a governor's task force and others to reduce handgun violence and death, especially among children.

MABE Update

Board member Bea Gordon, current president of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), provided an update about the association and the support it provides to local Boards of Education.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month will be celebrated in Montgomery County Public Schools from September 15 through October 15. Many members of the Hispanic community, along with Hispanic staff and students, were present at the Board ceremony to lend support to the importance of community and the school system working together for the benefit of students.

Board of Education: Mr. Reginald M. Felton, president; Mrs. Patricia O'Neill, vice president. Members: Mr. Steve Abrams, Mr. Kermit V. Burnett, Mrs. Beatrice Gordon, Ms. Nancy J. King, Ms. Mona M. Signer, and Ms. Laura Sampedro, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617

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