Board Reviews Update on Grading and Reporting

September 12, 2007
The Board of Education met on Tuesday (September 11) and, among other items, reviewed an update on grading and reporting and engaged in an oral presentation on the opening of school. The Board approved an administrative appointment and recognized the observance of Hispanic Heritage Month. The Board also voted to create an ad hoc committee to draft a resolution regarding the Comprehensive Master Plan to be presented to the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.

Grading and Reporting

The Board discussed the implementation of revised Board of Education Policy IKA, Grading and Reporting. Expanded field testing and evaluation are taking place in 2007–2008, the fourth year of the phased-in implementation. This year’s implementation includes: 1. Field tests of electronic standards-based grading and reporting continue in first and second grade in 19 schools; 2. Grade 3 teachers will assign grades according to standards-based procedures, but traditional report cards will still be used; 3. All secondary schools will use the Online Achievement and Reporting System (OARS), which includes a grade book (Pinnacle) and a class-to-home communication system (Edline); and 4. Five elementary schools will field test a prototype of a web-based grading tool for elementary schools.
Evaluation activities will continue at all levels, including the publication of research briefs of staff and student surveys administered in spring 2007. An analysis of last year’s activities showed improved consistency in grading practices across schools and classrooms. Parents and staff said they have a clearer understanding that grades reflect the alignment of student performance to grade/subject or course expectations. More information is available on the web at

Oral Presentation on the Opening of School

Members of the Board, the superintendent of schools, and executive staff members visited elementary and secondary schools throughout Montgomery County Public Schools during the first week of the 2007–2008 school year. The Board members participated in a discussion of observations made during these visits. Approximately 150 construction projects were completed over the summer in time for the opening of school, including the new Arcola Elementary School and a modernized Parkland Middle School. Building service workers did an outstanding job in preparing the buildings for students and staff. School opened with 857 new teachers, following a summer of extensive staff development opportunities for new and returning staff. All bus driver positions were filled for the opening of school. Among the points of particular interest were the support being provided to special education students returning from Learning Centers to their home schools, the use of Performance Matters software to use data to plan and adjust instruction to improve student achievement, and aspects of phase one of Middle School Reform, including the new ActivClassrooms technology suites now in fourteen middle schools.


The Board approved the following administrative appointment:

Brian K. Edwards, currently director of public information, Department of Communications, as chief of staff, Office of the Superintendent of Schools

Hispanic Heritage Month

The Board declared the period September 15 to October 15, 2007, to be observed as Hispanic Heritage Month. The observance celebrates the continued successful educational efforts of Hispanic American or Latino students and partnerships with their parents, staff, and community members.

Resolution on the Comprehensive Master Plan

The Board voted to create an ad hoc committee to draft a resolution regarding the Comprehensive Master Plan that, in part, would require the state superintendent of schools to accept a local school system’s pre-existing strategic plan as the county board’s master plan, as long as it meets the state’s standards. The resolution will be presented at the October meeting of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education. The information also will be distributed to the Montgomery County Delegation to the General Assembly, the Governor, the Maryland State Board of Education, and the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. The intent of the resolution is to seek acceptance of an integrated strategic planning process that is not duplicative and burdensome to school systems.

Board of Education: Mrs. Nancy Navarro, president. Ms. Shirley Brandman, vice president. Members: Mr. Steve Abrams, Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Sharon Cox, Dr. Judy Docca, Mrs. Patricia B. O’Neill, and Mr. Ben Moskowitz, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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