Board of Education Receives Update on Opening of Schools; Discusses FY 2016 Operating Budget Interests; and Cultural Competency and Proficiency

September 10, 2014
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board received an update on the opening of schools, discussed its Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget interests and received an update on the work that MCPS staff has been doing around cultural competency and proficiency.  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.

Opening of Schools
The Board of Education heard a report from MCPS staff on the opening of schools. MCPS welcomed more than 154,000 students on Monday, August 25, 2014, an increase of 2,800 students from 2013. The first day of school was highlighted by the opening of more than 200,000 square feet of new construction projects, including one new school, Wilson Wims Elementary 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.  MCPS hired more than 800 new teachers over the summer to support the district’s growing enrollment. The district also launched the first phase of its new technology initiative, in which nearly 40,000 Chromebook laptops will be distributed for students to use in grades 3, 5, and 6, and in high school social studies classes.

Fiscal Year 2016 Board Operating Budget Interests
The Board concluded the discussions of its Operating Budget interests and adopted the following top 12 interests for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016:
·  Provide multiple pathways enabling graduates to be globally competitive and college and career-ready.
·  Meet the needs of each individual child, including their health and social and emotional well-being, ensuring no child “falls through the cracks.”
·  Provide a strong start for all students before kindergarten and provide support for students who enroll in MCPS after kindergarten and are not performing on grade level to help them catch up.
·  Continue to reduce variability of performance/address student performance issues, and differentiate the allocation of resources based on the needs of schools and students.
·  Recruit and retain staff who are reflective of our student population, and support them to create the conditions that support schools and students.
·  Expand and support community engagement in our schools. Expand and deepen work to ensure that communities and families know what they need to do to support their children.
·  Maintain and improve our programs and processes for special education students and English language learners.
·  Promote instructional strategies and curriculum that engage students through innovative teaching practices and 21st century physical spaces.
·  Focus on all students and ensure all students have equity of access to appropriate and higher level courses so that outcomes are not predictable by race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status and all gaps in achievement are eliminated.
·  Ensure the budget is aligned and responsive to the Strategic Planning Framework and the five milestones.
·  Organize and optimize resources, including the implementation of the Strategic Technology Plan and the Environmental Sustainability Plan, while providing the highest quality business operations and support services that are essential to the educational success of all students.
·  Focus attention to improve teaching and learning in secondary schools, in particular middle schools, with special emphasis on mathematics and to facilitate implementation of the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards.

This is the fourth year that the Board has shared its budgetary interests with Dr. Starr as he begins the process of developing a budget recommendation for the next fiscal year. Dr. Starr will present his FY 2016 Operating Budget recommendation to the Board in December.

Read the Board memo

Cultural Competency and Proficiency
The Board also received a presentation from MCPS staff and held a discussion on the work that MCPS staff has been doing around cultural competency and proficiency and how this work is aligned with the district’s ongoing equity initiatives. MCPS is collaborating with multiple stakeholders to develop and implement a districtwide equity framework. The framework will help guide the work the district is doing to build the capacity of leaders throughout the school system to serve as leaders of equity; to connect its school improvement work directly to the elimination of the achievement gap; and to provide differentiated learning for principals, administrators, teachers and supporting services and central services staff members to build their knowledge and skills. The foundation for this work is the Board’s core value of Equity, which is defined as the belief “that each and every student matters; outcomes should not be predictable by race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status; equity demands the elimination of all gaps; and creating and maximizing future opportunities for students and staff is necessary.” The MCPS Strategic Planning Framework is grounded in the principles developed by the Board and articulates the district’s commitment to equity and excellence for all students.

Read the memo

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

Jeanette Y. Lee
, currently senior staff attorney, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, as assistant general counsel, Office of the Superintendent of Schools

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

Approval of Easements and Agreement for the
William H. Farquhar Middle School Revitalization/Expansion Project

Accepted the Gaithersburg High School Revitalization/Expansion Building and Stadium Field Project

Future Meetings

The Board will meet on Monday, September 22, 2014, for its next regular business meeting.
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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