Board of Education Meets Virtually and Received an Update on Recovery of Education and Planning for In-Person Instruction; and Approved a Resolution Regarding Banning Symbols of Hatred and Intimidation.

November 4, 2020

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a virtual business meeting on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.  During the meeting, the Board received an update on remote learning and Recovery of Education, and approved a resolution regarding banning symbols of hatred and intimidation.

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

Watch the recording of the October 27, 2020, meeting.

Update:  Recovery of Education Plan and Planning for In-Person Instruction

The Board received an update and held a discussion on how Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students are progressing in the virtual model. This year, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) required all local school districts to administer a fall diagnostic assessment in math and literacy to students in grades Kindergarten through 12. Staff shared the results of those diagnostics for all student groups. MCPS recognizes that there are gaps in instruction and is taking a number of steps to address student achievement including: providing staff with additional professional development opportunities; modifying the curriculum to meet the needs of students; and providing before- and after-school tutoring support programs.

The Board also received an update regarding changes to the elementary schedule. These changes, which impact the Wednesday morning schedule for elementary students only, will take effect starting November 11, 2020 (the start of the second marking period). These changes were made in response to feedback the district has received from staff and families on screen time, instructional blocks, and teacher planning. The goal of this schedule revision is to reduce screen time, provide time for students to receive special education or related services, work on their own or in small groups, and complete assignments.

The changes are summarized below:

  • The revisions to the elementary schedule only affect the Wednesday morning. instructional block between 9-11:30 am. Wednesday afternoons are unchanged.
  •  All students will continue to log in each Wednesday at 9 a.m. and will meet with their teachers for a 30-minute class meeting. 
  • There will be two learning blocks on Wednesday mornings. Block #1 follows the class meeting and is from 9:30-10:15 a.m. During this time, students will work independently, with their teachers, or receive support or services.
  • At 10:15 a.m., students will reconnect with the entire class and teachers for closure, and will receive clarification on what they will be doing during Block #2.
  • Block #2 is from 10:30-11:30 a.m. During the second block, students will engage in work that is either self-guided or will include support from paraeducators and related service providers.
  • The lunch and wellness break will remain from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday morning blocks will no longer focus on instruction in Benchmark Literacy and Eureka Math. They will include opportunities for students to engage in related content support, review, and enrichment. 
  • Schedules for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, as well as Wednesday afternoons, will remain unchanged.

Staff reviewed health metrics and local data for both Montgomery County and Montgomery County Public Schools with Board members. MCPS has developed a health metrics grid for a phased-in return to in-person instruction. The grid is aligned with CDC guidelines and was developed in consultation with Montgomery County health officials. 

In July, MCPS staff and families were informed that the district would operate in a virtual-only model through the first semester and that the decision would be reassessed in November. MCPS staff will return to the Board of Education on November 6 and 10 to discuss and recommend a reopening plan for the second semester and any potential reopening before then that is aligned with health metrics. The proposed plans also will be shared with staff, parents, and students. 

Updates on technology and enrollment data also were shared with the Board. Regarding MCPS athletics and extra-curricular activities, staff reported the work being done by the COVID-19 Task Force for Athletics and gave an overview of recent actions taken by the state.

View the presentation.


The Board approved the resolution declaring the month of November 2020 to be Native American Heritage Month.

The Board approved the resolution declaring November 9–13, 2020, as National School Psychology Week to recognize the important work of school psychologists to support students’ learning and well-being.

New Business

The Board of Education approved a resolution regarding the banning of symbols of hatred and intimidation.  The Board further directed the superintendent of schools and staff to develop a direct message to be shared with students quickly regarding the inappropriateness of these symbols and activities.  The resolution also directs the superintendent of schools to review and revise Board of Education Policy ACA, Nondiscrimination, Equity and Cultural Proficiency, and all other related policies, regulations and handbooks, to incorporate the prohibition of images and symbols that may be reasonably perceived to promote hatred, intimidation or harassment, and to have staff make recommendations regarding such policy revisions to the Policy Management Committee no later than December 2020 and to the full Board no later than February 2, 2021.

Read the adopted resolution.

Future Meetings

The Board of Education is scheduled to hold its next business meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 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. Nicholas Asante, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030. 






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