Board Reviews New Technology for Classrooms

January 9, 2008
Board Reviews Updates on New Classroom Technologies and MCPS/College Partnerships for Students

Pilot Artificial Turf Project for Richard Montgomery High School Approved

The Board of Education met on Tuesday, January 8, and among other items, reviewed updates on classroom technology and school system partnerships with local colleges. In addition, the Board approved a resolution to encourage 17-year-old students to vote, approved a resolution to send a letter to the State Board of Education regarding No Child Left Behind testing, and approved an artificial turf pilot project for Richard Montgomery High School. The Board also rescinded an out-of-date policy, approved preliminary plans for modernization of Carderock Springs Elementary School, approved the observance of African American History Month, and reviewed the monthly financial report.

Technology Update

The Board discussed an update on technology tools being integrated into instruction to more effectively engage students in the learning process and create a social network of learning in the classroom. The five schools participating in Phase I of middle school reform and other middle schools that have received technology modernization are providing students with an interactive learning process that is encouraging critical thinking and problem solving and is in sync with student learning styles. The interactive classroom model provides interactive whiteboards, projectors, student response systems, and other new audiovisual technologies. Professional staff development is ongoing to ensure that teachers are fully prepared to use these classroom tools. Continuing evaluation is planned to ensure that the use of technology is aligned with the curriculum and instructional program. Planning is under way to expand the number of "smart classrooms" and other learning tools using technology.

Update on MCPS/College Partnerships for Students

Partnerships programs with area colleges are enabling MCPS students to take college courses while they are still in high school. Students are earning college credit for courses taken on their high school campuses, for courses taken at a college, or through online courses. Others are participating in articulation agreements that award college credit for successful completion of high school course sequences, usually in the career and technology education clusters.

The Board of Education received an update and discussed some of the many new MCPS and college partnerships. The first partnership with Montgomery College was formed in 1996 and funded in 1999 through a joint request to the County Council by the college and MCPS. That partnership has since grown into more than 19 different initiatives that give students direct access to college courses and faculty, or to prepare them for college success. An agreement among the University of System of Maryland, Montgomery College and MCPS in October 2006 led to the creation of even more opportunities for MCPS students. Currently, MCPS has established student partnerships with Montgomery College (MC), University of Maryland (UM), University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), University of Maryland University College (UMUC), Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and National Labor College (NLC). Most recently, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Montgomery College and The Universities at Shady Grove that will allow Thomas S. Wootton High School students enrolled in Montgomery College’s College Institute program to take their college courses in the new Camille Kendall Academic Center at The Universities at Shady Grove. (See separate news release.) Discussions are under way to establish partnerships with Coppin State University and Towson University.

New Business Item—Student Voting

The Board approved a resolution to encourage high schools and their student government associations to disseminate information about the recent legal decision by the Maryland State Board of Elections allowing 17-year-olds (who will be 18 years of age by the general election) to register to vote, and to hold voter registration drives when possible.

Letter to the Maryland State Department of Education

The Board voted to send a letter to the Maryland State Department of Education encouraging the state to participate in the new growth model testing program offered as part of changes to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The letter also would reiterate the importance of developing an NCLB testing instrument adapted for ESOL and Special Education students.

Artificial Turf Pilot Project for Richard Montgomery High School

The Board voted to accept a $300,000 contribution from Maryland Soccer Enterprises under Policy CNE, Facility Improvements That Are Not Funded with Montgomery County Revenue, for the installation of an artificial turf field at Richard Montgomery High School. The installation provides an opportunity to pilot the possible use of artificial turf for the remaining 24 high school stadium fields in MCPS, as well as offer a durable playing field for student and community use. In exchange for the contribution, Maryland Soccer Enterprises will have preferred scheduling and use of the stadium subject to Board approval of an agreement negotiated with MCPS facilities staff. A Fiscal Year 2008 special appropriation of $775,000 will be requested from the County Council for the installation, which will encompass the approval of the Board's requested transfer of $475,000 in CIP Funds in addition to the $300,000 contribution.

Preliminary Plans Presentation—Carderock Springs Elementary School Modernization

The Board approved the preliminary plans report for the modernization of Carderock Springs Elementary School developed by BeeryRio Architecture + Interiors.

Rescission of Policy KMC, Services Provided to Non-Profit Private Organizations

The Board voted to rescind Policy KMC, Services Provided to Non-Profit Private Organizations, because it is no longer reflective of relationships that Montgomery County Public Schools has or intends to have in the near future. The rescission is a result of the ongoing review of policies by the Board Policy Committee and by the offices responsible for the content.

Monthly Financial Report

The Board reviewed the monthly financial report for MCPS as of November 30, 2007, and projections through June 30, 2008.The report includes comprehensive expenditure restrictions put in place in response to a county request for agencies to reduce tax-supported expenditures to address a countywide budget deficit.

African American History Month

The Board declared February 2008 as African American History Month in MCPS to actively honor the contributions of African Americans in Montgomery County, the state, and nation and to enhance the awareness of the impact of attitudes and expectations on the achievement of African Americans.

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