Board of Education Meets Virtually and Receives an Update on the District’s Ongoing Response to the COVID-19 Crisis and the Implementation of the Continuity of Learning Plan; Receives an Overview of Legislative Items; Approves Time-Sensitive Consent Items; and Makes Administrative Appointments

April 22, 2020

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a virtual business meeting on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.  All Board members participated remotely, given the current health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis.  The Board received an update on the district’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and the implementation of the Continuity of Learning Plan; received an update on legislative items; approved consent items that were time-sensitive; and made administrative appointments.

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

Listen to the audio recording of the April 21, 2020, meeting.

Update on COVID-19 and the implementation of the Continuity of Learning Plan
Superintendent Jack Smith provided Board members with Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) ongoing efforts and response to the COVID-19 health crisis.  Dr. Smith and staff members highlighted measures that the district is taking to meet the needs of families, engaging students through the implementation of the Continuity of Learning Plan.  The following information was shared and discussed among the superintendent, staff and Board members: 

  • operational efforts of MCPS staff to meet the urgent needs of students during, including districtwide meal distribution and site expansion;
  • Chromebook and MIFI distribution;
  • the launch of online learning and the implementation of Phase I of the Continuity of Learning from March 30 through April 17 for elementary and secondary level students;
  • support provided for special education and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students;
  • information about Phase II of the Continuity of Learning Plan from April 20 through May 15;
  • grading and reporting options for the fourth quarter and final semester of the 2019-2020 school year and the continuing stakeholder engagement around those options;
  • comparison of Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Code of Maryland (COMAR) and MCPS requirements for seniors;
  • the waiver of requirements for graduating seniors;
  • district approach to grading and Board Policy IKA:  Grading and Reporting and related MCPS Regulation IKA-RA; MCPS Regulation ISB-RA, High School Graduation Requirements; and Board Policy BFA: Policysetting;
  • implementation of a case management model to maximize student engagement during remote learning; and
  • possible make-up days and modifications to the 2019-2020 school year calendar relative to the MSDE’s waiver of the number of instructional days from 180 to 175 instructional days.

It was also noted that the grading framework for the fourth quarter (now a pass/incomplete model) was developed on the guiding principles of maximum flexibility, fairness and equity, holding students harmless, and policies and procedures that serve the best interests of all students. At the Board’s May 12, 2020, business meeting, Board members will continue this discussion and take action relative to the implementation of the pass/incomplete model for the fourth quarter and the pending decision for the final semester of the 2019-2020 school year.  The Board will also vote on and adopt a modified 2019-2020 school year calendar at its May 12 meeting, based on MSDE’s waiver on required instructional days.

View the Power Point presentation.

Please visit the Continuity of Learning webpage for updated information.

Legislative Update
Board staff provided a brief summary on this year’s close of the Maryland General Assembly’s legislative session, including information about the impact of the early closure of the session, due to COVID-19; the outcome of bills that were of particular interest and impact to  the Board  and MCPS; and bills that were set to come before the House and the Senate, but did not due to the early close of the session.  Staff also reviewed the passing of the Kirwan Commission legislation, or The Blueprint for Maryland's Future Act (House Bill 1300), and also provided an update on pending legislation awaiting  Governor Hogan’s  signature and the potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the funding of those bills.  A more comprehensive discussion about the Kirwan Commission legislation will  come before the Board at a future date.

Approval of a Land Acquisition Agreement with the City of Gaithersburg
MCPS staff members provided an overview of a resolution for the Gaithersburg Cluster Elementary School #8-City of Gaithersburg Land Acquisition Agreement.  The property transfer agreement transfers ownership of the 5.71-acre parcel of land from the City of Gaithersburg to the Board  for the purpose of constructing a new elementary school to address enrollment pressures in the Gaithersburg Cluster elementary schools.  After a brief presentation and discussion, the Board approved the resolution.

Read the resolution.

View the Power Point.

Consent Items, Including Facilities and School Construction
After brief discussion, Board members approved time-sensitive consent items, including the following appointment and construction projects:

Architectural Appointment—Poolesville High School Major Capital Project;

Architectural Appointment—Woodlin Elementary School Major Capital Project; and

Preconstruction/Construction Management Services—Northwood High School Addition/Facility Upgrades

Human Resources Appointments
The Board approved the following administrative appointments: 

Matthew T. Niper, currently acting principal, Redland Middle School, as principal, Redland Middle School

Kevin M. Burns, currently principal, Rock Creek Valley Elementary School, as principal, Wilson Wims Elementary School

Future Meetings
The Board of Education is scheduled to hold its next business meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.  The meeting format, including opportunities for public comment and participation, will be announced at a later date, and will depend on the status of the state of emergency and the  COVID-19 crisis.  Please check the Board of Education website and meeting calendar for the most up-to-date  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: Mrs. Shebra Evans, president; Ms. Brenda Wolff, vice president.  Members: Ms. Jeanette E. Dixon, Dr. Judith Docca, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Ms. Karla Silvestre, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Nathaniel Tinbite, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030. 










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