Board of Education Meets Virtually and Continues Its Discussion on the Recovery of Education Plan; Receives Information on the MCPS Anti-Racist System Audit; Discusses Human Capital Management; Approves a Resolution to Evaluate the Current ESOL Model; and Makes an Administrative Appointment

July 21, 2020

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a virtual business meeting on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.  All Board members participated remotely, given the current health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis.  During the meeting, the Board continued its discussion on the district’s draft Recovery of Education Plan; received information about the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Anti-Racist System Audit; discussed human capital management; approved a resolution directing the superintendent to evaluate the current English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) model; and made an administrative appointment. 

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

Watch the recording of the July 14, 2020, meeting.

Anti-Racist System Audit in MCPS

As an introduction to the continuing discussion on the district’s recovery of education plans, Superintendent Jack Smith and Deputy Superintendent Monifa McKnight provided an overview of a new system effort to combat racism. The Anti-Racist System Audit will focus on evaluating the current climate at MCPS, identifying the needs and recommending actions required to combat racism. Dr. McKnight reviewed specific components of the project, which include: conducting a workforce diversity analysis; evaluating work conditions and reviewing progress and barriers; reviewing the K–12 equity curriculum, the equity achievement framework and progress made in this area; focusing on community relations and engagement and evaluating school cultures. The audit also will include data analysis, an assessment of student learning, the impact of COVID-19, and the progress made with students of color and focus students.  MCPS leadership is committed to engaging the MCPS community, students, and staff to ensure that the action plan is both strategic and purposeful.  Ultimately, the audit will help inform a pathway to identify and address the concerns and issues in all of these areas. It is anticipated that the findings and recommendations will be presented to the Board in October 2020.

Recovery of Education Plan

As a continuation of the June 29, 2020, discussion of the Recovery of Education Plan, Dr. McKnight and staff presented to the Board guiding principles for reopening schools with the essential elements of ensuring the safety and wellness of students and staff; delivering high-quality instruction, regardless of which delivery model is used; ensuring there is equity for all students; optimizing the use of resources; and engaging the community and stakeholders throughout the development of the plan.  During the planning process, MCPS leadership will continue to follow Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) guidance and Maryland requirements for reopening schools.  Results from Fall Recovery Surveys, sent to both MCPS staff and parents, were also presented to the Board, with particular emphasis on the number of responses and feedback received on specific questions, such as preferences about returning for in-person instruction or in-person work, transportation needs, the availability of devices and reliable internet access, school scheduling, and safety considerations.

MCPS anticipates beginning the school year with virtual-only instruction with a phased in model in which students return to school on a rotating schedule, subject to public health conditions. The district will be prepared to move into a fully virtual-only learning model based on a state and/or local decision about closures as a result of an increase in COVID-19 spread.

Details were shared with the Board about the operational considerations such as health and safety measures; transportation; food services; physical distancing at school and professional development. Further discussion focused on, sample schedules for elementary, middle and high school levels; the work and curriculum for Be Well 365 Wellness, resources and supports available to students and staff; an overview of the communications plan to engage families; the proposed timeline of activities and the commitment to continue to engage the MCPS community and garner ongoing feedback.

Dr. Travis Gayles, chief health officer of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, gave an overview of trends and data in Maryland and Montgomery County, relative to MCPS’ reopening plan, challenges and concerns and the use of measures such as face coverings, washing hands, and physical distancing to reduce risks for the community. Dr. Gayles voiced his commitment to continue to work collaboratively with MCPS.

Work on the Recovery Plan will continue and an update will be presented to the Board at its next meeting on August 6, 2020. MCPS is set to post the Recovery of Education Plan on the website and will submit the plan to MSDE on August 14, 2020.

View the PowerPoint presentation.

Human Capital Management

The superintendent introduced the discussion on the MCPS vision for human capital management at MCPS.  He emphasized the very real need to have a workforce that represents the diversity of the MCPS student population. 

  • Essential to this work is reimagining the Office of Human Resources and Development (OHRD) and their commitment to attract, recruit, develop, recognize and retain a high-quality, diverse workforce to maximize organizational excellence designed to meet the needs of all students. MCPS leaders and OHRD presented four key bodies of work to dissect, identify areas of growth, and make recommendations for change to align with district needs and close gaps in opportunity and achievement for all students, specifically those in the targeted focus groups. Workgroups comprising a diverse group of stakeholders, who will focus on: talent acquisition and recruitment; onboarding and induction; talent development; and employee retention.  The important work of assessing current practices and structures through a lens of equity already has begun and will continue.  Workgroups will evaluate what is working, what needs to be enhanced, what should be added and what should be discontinued. MCPS leaders stressed the importance of engaging stakeholders in this important work. It is anticipated that findings and recommendations will be presented to Board in November 2020.

View the PowerPoint presentation.

New Business

The Board approved a resolution directing the superintendent to convene a commission of stakeholders to evaluate all aspects of the current model for ESOL at MCPS. Read the approved resolution.

Human Resources Appointment

The Board approved the following administrative appointment: 

Tomas Rivera-Figueroa, currently diversity recruitment executive coordinator, Prince George’s County Public Schools, as supervisor, Strategic Teacher Recruitment, Department of Certification and Staffing, Office of Human Resources and Development.

Facilities and School Construction

The Board approved a resolution for the Preconstruction/Construction Management Services for the Poolesville High School Major Capital Project.

Future Meetings

The Board of Education is scheduled to hold its next business meeting on Thursday, August 6, 2020.  The virtual format of this meeting will continue, given the current COVID-19 crisis.  The agenda is subject to change. 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: Mrs. Shebra L. 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. Nick Asante, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030. 


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