Board of Education Discusses Discipline Regulations and Suspensions and Names New Clarksburg Cluster Elementary School

March 25, 2014
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, March 24, 2014, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board selected a name for a new elementary school in the Clarksburg cluster, received an update on state regulations governing student discipline, and took action on the school assignment for the Naval Support Activity Bethesda area. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website. You can also watch the video of the meeting by clicking here.

State Discipline Regulations
The Board received an update and held a wide-ranging discussion on the changes to state regulations governing student discipline and MCPS’ work to reduce the total number and racial disparity of suspensions. Since 2012, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has been working to overhaul the state discipline regulations, concerned about the number of suspensions for nonviolent behaviors and the fact that African American and Hispanic students are suspended far more often than other students. As MSDE worked with stakeholders on the proposed discipline regulations, MCPS set up a project team to monitor the development of the regulations, as well as develop the regulatory and professional development implications. The new regulations require that by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, each local Board of Education must review and revise its student discipline policies and regulations with the goal of maintaining an environment of order, safety, and discipline necessary for effective learning. The Board also discussed the work of MCPS to reduce suspensions and where there has been success and where more work is left to be done.

Read the Board memo

Naming of Clarksburg Cluster Elementary School
The Board voted unanimously Monday night to name a new Clarksburg cluster elementary school after Wilson Wims, a civic and community leader who lived in Clarksburg his entire life. The naming process for the school began in February with the Board of Education suggesting four names. The Board asked that a School Naming Advisory Committee be formed to consider those names, as well as look at other suggestions from the community. The committee was chaired by Sean McGee, the principal of the new school, and included community members and parents of students who will attend the school. The School Naming Advisory Committee recommended six names, with Wilson Wims Elementary School as the top choice.  Other names considered by the advisory committee were Frederick Douglass, JoAnn (Jody) Leleck, Nelson Mandela, Snowden Farm, and Harriet Tubman. While the recommendation of the committee is taken very seriously, the final decision rests with the Board of Education. Wims, who died in February, owned a construction company in Clarksburg and was involved in many civic and community activities. He was a strong supporter of athletics in Clarksburg, and the baseball field at Clarksburg High School is named for him. Wilson Wims Elementary School will open in August.

Read the Board memo

Recommendation for Naval Support Activity Bethesda School Assignment
The Board approved the elementary school reassignment of the Naval Support Activity Bethesda area (NSAB) from Rosemary Hills and North Chevy Chase elementary schools to Bethesda Elementary School. Families in the Wounded Warriors Program reside at the NSAB while loved ones are in rehabilitation following combat. NSAB currently is assigned to Rosemary Hills Elementary School for Grades K—2 and North Chevy Chase Elementary School for Grades 3—6. A School Assignment Advisory Committee reviewed the assignment in December 2013 and January 2014 and submitted a report to the Board. Superintendent Starr presented his recommendation to the Board in February. Children residing at NSAB have been attending Bethesda Elementary School for many years and there was concern that disrupting this assignment would present a hardship for these families. A public hearing on this recommendation was held on March 11, 2014.

Read the Board item

Administrative Appointments

The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments:

Mary B. Dempsey, currently acting director, Appeals/Transfer Unit, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, as director, Appeals/Transfer Unit, Office of the Chief Operating Officer

Katherine W. Lertora, currently acting principal, Rock Terrace School, as principal, Rock Terrace School

Cynthia Eldridge, currently acting principal, Rocky Hill Middle School, as principal, Rocky Hill Middle School

Dorothea A. Fuller, currently acting principal, Galway Elementary School, as principal, Galway Elementary School

Donna E. Michela, currently acting principal, Wayside Elementary School, as principal, Wayside Elementary School

Kimberly D. Rogers, currently acting principal, Georgian Forest Elementary School, as principal, Georgian Forest Elementary School

Resolutions: The Board approved the following resolutions:

A resolution declaring the month of April 2014 as the Month of the Young Child
-A resolution declaring the month of April 2014 as National Autism Awareness Month
-A resolution declaring the month of April 2014 as Arab American Heritage Month
-A resolution declaring April 23, 2014 as Administrative Professionals Day and April 21, 2014 through April 25, 2014 as Administrative Professionals Week

Future Meetings

The Board’s Strategic Planning Committee will meet on Monday, March 31 at 2 p.m., and on Wednesday, April 23 at 1 p.m. The Board’s next regular business meeting will be held Tuesday, April 29 with public items scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.  
Please check the Board of Education meeting calendar for further information

About the Board of Education

The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.

Montgomery County Board of Education: Mr. Philip Kauffman, president; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Shirley Brandman, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Justin Kim, student member. Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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