Board of Education Discusses First Day of School Preparations; Takes Action on Policy, and Discusses Code of Conduct

August 22, 2014
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Thursday, August 21, 2014, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board discussed preparations for the first day of school, took tentative action on Policy JGA, discussed the new Montgomery County Public Schools’ Code of Conduct and received an update on MCPS’ participation in the Harvard University Public Education Leadership Project program.  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.

First Day of School
The Board of Education heard a report from MCPS staff on preparations for the first day of school on August 25, 2014. More than 154,000 students are expected to attend classes on the first day. MCPS will open more than 200,000 square feet of new construction projects on the first day, including one new school, Wilson Wims Elementary School in Clarksburg; a newly revitalized and expanded school, Bel Pre Elementary in Silver Spring; and a large classroom addition at Waters Landing Elementary in Germantown. Among the new initiatives and programs this year:
- MCPS will launch a new technology initiative that will place about 40,000 Chromebooks and tablets in all MCPS schools. The rollout will begin with grades 3, 5, and 6, and with students in high school social studies classes
- New state assessments will be given to students in grades 3-8 and at the end of select high school classes. The new PARCC assessments will replace the Maryland School Assessments (MSA).
- MCPS will continue its environmental stewardship efforts, including the use of recycled paper trays in all cafeterias, replacing foam trays.

More information on summer work

Policy JGA, Student Discipline
The Board  took tentative action on Policy JGA, Student Discipline. The policy has been updated to align with new state regulations and affirm the Board’s commitment to a disciplined learning environment that is safe, positive, and respectful; increases student engagement; boosts student achievement; and, when possible, prevents student misbehavior before it occurs. Revisions to Policy JGA also align with guidelines recently released by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice regarding school discipline. The Board’s Policy Management Committee reviewed Policy JGA in May and July 2014, and the committee’s discussion and recommended edits focused on the following issues and their implications for student discipline: the increased use of restorative, rather than punitive, practices; and the development of an MCPS Code of Conduct that sets forth a framework for student discipline; student conduct off school grounds; age-appropriate discipline; in-school suspension or detention; classroom teachers and other school staff as integral partners in promoting student achievement; and outside factors that may impact student conduct within school. Policy JGA will now be distributed for public comment and will be considered for final approval at a future meeting.

See the changes in the policy

MCPS Code of Conduct
The Board also received a presentation from MCPS staff and held a discussion on the new MCPS Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct provides an overview of discipline procedures and protocols and the range of consequences students could face for violating various policies, regulations and rules. The guide also discusses MCPS philosophy regarding discipline and defines the various disciplinary responses. The Code of Conduct replaces certain portions of the MCPS Guide to Students’ Rights and Responsibilities, which provides an overview of the rights and responsibilities MCPS students have and a summary of the law and regulations that affect students. All MCPS families will receive a copy of the Students’ Rights and Responsibilities and the Code of Conduct.

Learn more

Update on Public Education Leadership Project
The Board received an update on MCPS’ participation in Harvard University’s Public Education Leadership Project (PELP). For the past several years, MCPS has been attending PELP to refine and improve its leadership and management practices in order to raise student achievement and make operations more efficient in the district. Each summer, MCPS and several other districts send teams of system leaders to participate in seminars taught by Harvard faculty as a part of professional development. PELP is a collaborative effort between the Harvard Business School and Harvard Graduate School of Education. This year, a team from MCPS focused on social emotional learning.

Administrative Appointment
The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointment:

Brenda M. Wilhelm, currently maintenance facility area manager, Division of Maintenance, as assistant director, Division of Maintenance

Facilities and School Construction
The Board approved the following items related to school construction projects and facilities:

Appointed architects for school addition projects at
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, and Diamond Elementary School

Appointed an architect for the
Richard Montgomery Elementary School #5 project

Future Meetings

The Board will meet on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, for its next regular business meeting. Public items will 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 Ms. Dahlia Huh, student member. Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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