Board Reviews New Procedures on Reporting Race and Ethnicity

September 9, 2008
Board of Education Discusses Opening of Schools, Reviews New State and Federal Procedures on Reporting Race and Ethnicity

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, September 9, and, among other items, discussed an update on the opening of schools, and reviewed new state and federal procedures on reporting of student race and ethnicity. The Board also received a briefing by the Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight regarding its projects that examine some of the programs of Montgomery County Public Schools. The Board also approved a resolution commemorating the 2008 observance of Hispanic Heritage Month, which will run from September 15 to October 15.

Update on the Opening of Schools

Members of the Board of Education discussed highlights of the first week of the academic year and received feedback from MCPS staff on school operations. Board members, the superintendent and senior staff visited schools throughout the county during the first week. Members and staff shared their observations on how well prepared the schools have been for the start of the school year, both in terms of teaching and learning, and in the conditions of the school buildings. Three principals—one each from a county elementary school, middle school and high school—gave brief reports about their schools' accomplishments, challenges, and key issues they are focusing on this year.

New Race Code Designations

The Board discussed the collection of student data on race and ethnicity following new guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The changes are designed to provide a more accurate picture of the nation’s diversity by enabling individuals to be identified in ethnic and racial classifications and in more than one racial category. The new data will be used in the same manner as the information that is currently used, such as in analyzing test results for the federal No Child Left Behind program.

Each school was provided with pre-printed forms containing students’ identification number, name, and address, with race and ethnicity information to be completed by parents or guardians by September 2, 2008. Once the forms are returned they will be scanned and the information transferred to a database. A comprehensive communications plan was implemented to inform both parents and staff about the changes in data collection.

County Office of Legislative Oversight Work Plan and Its MCPS Program Review

Members of the Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) were present at the Board meeting to provide an overview of how its annual work program is developed and adopted by the County Council, with a particular focus on its projects involving MCPS programs. A briefing was provided to the Board on OLO’s recently completed review of MCPS recycling practices in school buildings. OLO staff also addressed three of their MCPS-related program reviews that are part of their work program for the current fiscal year. These projects include the Costs and Results of MCPS’ High School Consortia, MCPS Workforce Readiness Programs, and Succession Planning in MCPS and the County Government.

Hispanic Heritage Month

The Board approved the observance of Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 through October 15, 2008, in recognition of the significant contributions to the community of the Hispanic American and Latino community. The Board resolution noted that, in 2006–2007, a record 1,238 Hispanic American or Latino students earned scores on Advanced Placement exams that were high enough to qualify for college credit.

Special Education Centers’ Representation in Facility Planning

The Board asked the Committee on Special Populations to provide a recommendation as to how to obtain comments and testimony during the capital improvement program process regarding facility-related interests of the school communities served by special education and alternative centers.

Report of Closed Session

The Board met with general counsel today concerning legal issues that have been raised in recent weeks concerning the establishment and implementation of various school fees. Counsel was asked for advice as part of a continuing effort to examine policy in this area. The Policy Committee will be meeting again tomorrow to review the monitoring process associated with current policy and procedures. In addition, the Board was informed that the superintendent has asked a staff committee to review existing practices regarding fees. The Board will continue to keep the community informed regarding this issue

Members of the Montgomery County Board of Education: Ms. 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 Ms. Quratul-Ann Malik, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617. 

<<Back to browse