Board of Education Recommends New Elementary School Site

December 9, 2009
Board Discusses Update on Science Curriculum and Elects Officers

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, December 8, and, among other items, recommended an alternative site for a new elementary school in the White Flint Sector Plan. The Board also elected new officers and voted on appointments to Board committees, discussed the 2009 Annual Report on Our Call to Action, discussed updates on the science curriculum and university partnerships, and passed a resolution for National Inclusive Schools Week

Elementary School Site in the White Flint Sector Plan
The Board of Education passed a resolution that recommends locating an elementary school site in the White Flint Sector Plan at the White Flint Mall South site. The Board also recommended that the County Council consider three sites as possible backup sites to White Flint Mall South: Luttrell/Higgins, White Flint Park North, and the Maple Avenue sites. The White Flint Sector Plan envisions a community of up to 9,800 residential units that would generate approximately 410 elementary school students. The County Council, Planning Board, and Board of Education staff worked together to determine suitable alternative elementary school sites. A copy of the resolution will be forwarded to the County Council.

Election of Officers
Patricia O’Neill was unanimously elected president of the Montgomery County Board of Education, and Christopher Barclay was unanimously elected vice president. Both new officers will serve one-year terms. (A separate news release provides more details.)

Appointments to Board Committees
Christopher Barclay was appointed chair of the Board of Education’s Fiscal Management Committee, and Michael Durso was appointed to serve as a committee member. Judith Docca was appointed chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, and Patricia O’Neill was appointed to serve as a committee member. Shirley Brandman was appointed chair of the Policy Committee, and Patricia O’Neill will serve as a member. Judith Docca was appointed chair of the Communications and Public Engagement Committee, and Shirley Brandman and Tim Hwang will serve as members. Shirley Brandman was appointed as chair and member of the Committee on Special Populations.

2009 Annual Report on Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence
The Board discussed the 2009 Annual Report on Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence, the school system’s strategic plan. The report details the school system’s progress, using established milestones and data points, in fulfilling its commitment to giving every student the opportunity to learn at the highest levels and leave high school prepared for college. The report is a catalyst for continuous improvement and guides the work of the staff, students, parents, and the community. The June 2009 revision to the MCPS strategic plan incorporated the Seven Keys to College Readiness as the framework for preparing all students for postsecondary success.

Update on Science Curriculum
The Board discussed an update on the MCPS pre-K–12 science curriculum, which endeavors to build each student’s scientific literacy so that graduates can understand, evaluate, and use scientific information. As part of the Middle School Reform initiative, middle school science courses have been designed to engage students through a curriculum aligned with and extending beyond the state curriculum. These courses build on elementary instruction that introduces students to science inquiry and promotes understanding of science concepts and processes. The update included information about the structure of the curriculum partnerships, professional development, student participation and performance on external assessments, and challenges and considerations.

Goal 4: University Partnerships to Enhance Quality of Workforce
Building the capacity of the school system’s workforce is critical to promoting student success. The Board discussed MCPS partnerships with higher education agencies through the Higher Education Partnership Program. Over the last 15 years, the program has grown from four partnerships in 1995 to 32 partnerships in 2009. The number of Higher Education Partnership graduates also increased significantly, from 45 in 1995 to 316 in 2009. In addition to partnership programs culminating in a degree, the partnerships facilitate collaborative learning through 26 professional development schools, which provide opportunities for continuous professional development for school-based staff.

National Inclusive Schools Week
The Board joined the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative and Education Development Center, Inc. in declaring the week of December 7–11 as National Inclusive Schools Week in Montgomery County Public Schools. The week celebrates the theme “Inclusive Technologies.” MCPS recognizes the diversity among the school system’s many learners and strives to use instructional practices that promote equity, support differentiated instruction, and incorporate inclusive technologies to address the characteristics, strengths, and needs of all students.
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Montgomery County Board of Education: Mrs. Patricia B. O’Neill, president; Mr. Christopher Barclay, vice president. Members: Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Ms. Shirley Brandman, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mr. Phil Kauffman, and Mr. Timothy Hwang, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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