Board of Education Discusses Enrollment, Approves Master Plan

October 13, 2010
ROCKVILLE, MD—The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, October 12, and, among other items, discussed an update on enrollment and the Capital Improvements Program and gave final approval to the Comprehensive Master Plan. The Board also discussed an update on activities in Montgomery County Public Schools that promote good health and well-being for students and staff. The Board kicked off the MCPS Charity Campaign, declared November to be American Indian Heritage Month and the day after Thanksgiving as American Indian Heritage Day, and proclaimed October 18–22 as National School Bus Safety Week.   

Update on Enrollment and Capital Improvements Program
The Board of Education discussed an update on school system enrollment and the Capital Improvements Program (CIP). For the third year in a row, MCPS enrollment has increased significantly. Official enrollment will not be available until the end of October, but the total estimated enrollment for FY 2010–2011 is 144,046, a 2,269 increase over FY 2009–2010 and a 6,301 increase over FY 2007–2008. This rapid enrollment growth is resulting in challenges in school facility planning. These challenges and recommendations will be addressed in the superintendent’s recommended FY 2012 Amendments to the FY 2011–2016 CIP, to be released on October 28.

Final Approval of the Comprehensive Master Plan
The Board approved an updated Part I and Part II of the MCPS Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act—Comprehensive Master Plan for 2010. The Act requires local school systems to submit annual updates of their five-year Comprehensive Master Plan to the Maryland State Department of Education by October 15 each year. The MCPS strategic plan—approved by the Board for 2010–2015 last June—is the cornerstone of the Comprehensive Master Plan. The strategic plan contains goals and strategies to promote academic excellence among all students and to eliminate performance gaps based on race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, language proficiency, or disability. See the Master Plan Update (Large file)

Wellness in MCPS
The Board discussed activities within MCPS that promote the good health and well-being of MCPS students and staff. In the last two decades, the number of overweight children and teens has more than tripled, and nationally, one in three children is either overweight or obese. MCPS continues to focus efforts on supporting a healthier population by providing nutrition education to students, staff, and parents. School meals, nutrition, and physical education programs are an integral part of the school day and have been recognized nationally. To focus on staff, MCPS and Kaiser Permanente have partnered to develop a 12-week health and fitness competition called MCPS on the Move. Beginning with employees in the 135 elementary schools and special schools, including bus drivers, the competition got under way October 4. The competition will be supported by health screenings, health awareness/education workshops, and weight management specialists. The plan is to expand the program throughout the school system. Read the Wellness Update to the Board

Montgomery County Public Schools Charity Campaign—“MCPS Cares”
The Board approved a resolution designating October 25–November 24, 2010, as the period for participation in this year’s MCPS Charity Campaign, “MCPS Cares.” The school system and  employee unions have partnered to provide employees the option of contributing through four charity partners—the United Way of the National Capital Area, the Union Community Fund, the Community Foundation of Montgomery County, and the Montgomery Alliance. A new website will make it easier for all employees to participate in the charity campaign. All MCPS employees are encouraged to donate to the campaign as a reflection of their commitment to addressing the needs of those in crisis or in need.

American Indian Heritage Month
The Board and superintendent declared the month of November to be observed in the school system as American Indian Heritage Month.  The Board also voted to recognize the day after Thanksgiving as American Indian Heritage Day, which is also recognized by the State of Maryland.  These observances recognize the numerous contributions, accomplishments, and sacrifices of American Indians during our country’s history.  The Board noted that American Indians are a thriving presence in Montgomery County and add to the cultural mosaic of the community.

National School Bus Safety Week
The Board proclaimed the week of October 18–22, 2010, as National School Bus Safety Week. The Board committed its continued support for the Ride by the Rules campaign, developed to ensure that each student riding a school bus should have a safe and secure environment that sets a positive tone for the day and fosters a high level of learning and success.

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Montgomery County Board of Education: Ms. Patricia 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. Alan Xie, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617. 
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.

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