Board of Education Discusses Career and Technology Education programs; Receives Update on Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs; Discusses Growth Management Plans; and Discusses Equal Opportunity Schools

September 14, 2017

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) met on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, at Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board held a discussion on the external review of Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS); received an update on the Study of Choice and other special academic programs; discussed Educational Cluster Facility and Growth Management Plan and discussed Equal Opportunity Schools.

The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.

Career and Technology Education Programs in MCPS

The Board received an update and held a discussion on the external study of CTE programs offered in MCPS. The study, conducted by the Education Strategy Group (ESG), was commissioned by the Board of Education in December 2016 to assess the district’s current programs and efforts to prepare all students for non-remedial postsecondary education and high-demand fields of employment.

ESG presented its five districtwide focus areas and recommendations to the Board. They include:

  • Vision and Systemic Priorities for Career Readiness

  • Employer Engagement

  • Quality and Rigor of CTE

  • Thomas Edison High School of Technology

  • Stakeholder Understanding

Over the next few months, MCPS staff will meet with stakeholders, including staff, parents and community members, to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations and will collaborate with them to map out a short- and long-term implementation strategy for the superintendent and Board’s consideration.

Read the news release

Read the report

Choice Study Update

The Board received an update from MCPS staff and held a discussion on the work MCPS has been engaged in to address the Metis Associated Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs recommendations, specifically an overview of the field testing for recruitment and selection for the middle school magnets.

The selective middle school magnets available include the Humanities and Communication Program at Roberto W. Clemente and Eastern middle schools, and the Mathematics, Science, Computer Science Program at Roberto W. Clemente and Takoma Park middle schools.

Creating expanded learning opportunities and access to enriched and accelerated curriculum, including access to the middle school magnet programs, is an important component of the district’s strategy to improve learning outcomes for all students. The focus of the middle school magnet programs builds on the talent development work at the elementary school level and the expansion of access to enriched and accelerated instruction at the upper elementary school grade levels. The Metis study recommended that the district implement modifications to the selection process for academically selective programs to focus on selecting equitably from applicants who demonstrate capacity to thrive, and ensure that any expansion is aligned with the district’s core values, including equity. From these recommendations, research, stakeholder outreach, external expert consultation, and lessons learned from the elementary school Centers for Enriched Studies field test, MCPS staff has designed a field test for the recruitment and selection process for the Middle School Magnets.

Read the memorandum

Education Cluster Facility and Growth Management Plan

The Board received an update and held a discussion on MCPS’ educational cluster facility and growth management plan. The district is working with consultants from the MGT Consulting Group to develop a process for making facility decisions beyond the current six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP). MGT sought feedback from a variety of internal and external stakeholders and proposed several recommendations to the Board including—enhancing planning coordination with other units of local government in the county; enhancing and streamlining stakeholder engagement in the MCPS facility planning process; and assigning school clusters to a scenario framework to guide future land acquisition decisions.  A final report will be presented to the Board in October.

Equal Opportunity Schools

The Board received an update on the Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) strategy that was implemented in 2016–2017 to support the strategic plan of MCPS, eliminate educational disparities, and create greater access to and success in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, especially for underrepresented student groups.

On July 14, 2016, MCPS entered into a partnership with EOS, an organization focused on closing the AP access gap for students not equitably represented in our AP courses via the Lead Higher initiative. The program, a statewide effort supported by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), focuses on working with selected schools to provide technical assistance toward reaching annual goals of growing all AP programs to reflect school diversity while raising performance in those courses. Selected high schools receive expert leadership coaching, data consulting, and capacity-building support to fully close AP and IB participation gaps and increase student success.

The district is working to increase access by closing the equity gaps in 10 MCPS high schools, working with EOS partners and school staff to identify approximately 1,400 underrepresented students across the 10 schools by spring 2018. Staff will work to build on existing supports for students in AP and IB classes, with an eye to enhancing the experience and achievement for underrepresented students, specifically. For the schools entering their second year in the pilot, the focus will center on examining data from exams and course grade analyses, student experience surveys, and focus groups to gain an accurate picture of supports and achievement for students, and adapt and add supports as needed.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Maryvale Elementary School/Carl Sandburg Learning Center Revitalization/Expansion Project

The Board approved the preliminary plans for the revitalization/expansion project for Maryvale Elementary School/Carl Sandburg Learning Center.   The Facility Advisory Committee for the project provided input for the proposed design based upon input from the community.  MCPS staff will continue to seek feedback from the community throughout the process and prior to the finalization of plans for the project.


The Board approved the following resolution:

·A resolution recognizing September 15, 2017, through October 15, 2017, as Hispanic Heritage Month in MCPS

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, September 25, 2017. Please check the Board of Education website and 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. Michael Durso, president; Dr. Judith Docca, vice president. Members: Ms. Jeanette E. Dixon, Mrs. Shebra L. Evans, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Ms. Jill Ortman-Fouse, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Matthew Post, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.


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