Board of Education Discusses Student Instructional Program

October 26, 2010
ROCKVILLE, MD—The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, October 25, and, among other items, discussed the Student Instructional Program Planning and Implementation process. The Board also recognized Rockville High School Principal Debra Munk as this year’s winner of the Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award.

Student Instructional Program Planning and Implementation Update (SIPPI)
The Board of Education discussed an update on Student Instructional Program Planning and Implementation (SIPPI), a system-wide process that supports the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) goal of equitable preparation and access to a rigorous instructional program for every child. The SIPPI pilot was developed following a September 2009 Board update that showed African-American and Hispanic students, along with students from other subgroups, were less likely to be recommended for, and gain access to, accelerated and enriched instruction. In 2009–2010, the SIPPI process was piloted in 31 elementary schools for students transitioning from Grade 2 to Grade 3. Results show that in schools that used SIPPI in 2010, above-level reading recommendations nearly doubled for all racial/ethnic subgroups and recommendations for above-level mathematics instruction also increased in these groups. SIPPI will be rolled out to all MCPS elementary schools in winter and spring of the 2010–2011 school year, with anticipated development of the Grade 5/6 SIPPI in the 2011–2012 school year. “We are encouraged to see a tool like this being developed to support the work that MCPS has been doing to promote equity and excellence,” said Board of Education Vice President Chris Barclay.  “In particular, this tool gives parents and schools an opportunity to ensure that appropriate services are delivered to our children.”

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Expression of Concern Regarding Sale of Peary High School Site
The Board unanimously endorsed a letter from President Patricia B. O’Neill to the County Council expressing concern over the potential sale of the former Robert E. Peary High School in Rockville. The site is currently being leased by a private school, which is attempting to exercise an option to purchase the property. The purchase requires approval of the County Executive, the County Council and the Board of Public Works. The Board is concerned that the county is considering selling an existing school site when the enrollment in MCPS is growing so rapidly, especially in the Rockville area. "We will ruffle feathers when we send this letter, but we have an obligation to speak up on behalf of the needs of our students," said Ms. O'Neill. "The message is clear that we are concerned about the future needs for the county. The sale of this property would close the door to future needs; doors should not be closed to the future for our public school children.”

See the Board item

Superintendent’s Annual Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award
The Board recognized Dr. Debra Munk, principal of Rockville High School, as the 2010 winner of the Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award. During her tenure, Monk has taken an active role in closing the achievement gap, resulting in a 70 percent increase in African-American and Hispanic students passing the High School Assessments. The Mark Mann award is given every year to an administrator who has demonstrated an exceptional ability to encourage academic excellence, positive human relations, and strong community outreach.

Recommended Fiscal Year 2011 Supplemental Appropriation for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Project
The Board approved a resolution authorizing the superintendent to receive and expend—subject to County Council approval—a FY 2011 supplemental appropriation of almost $600,000 for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Education. The funds will be used to bring MCPS into compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Incident Management System (NIMS) guidelines. Although MCPS provides concrete steps for school officials to follow in emergencies, it is based on a two-tiered Code Red/Blue system rather than using plain language that would be easily understandable to collaborating agencies. NIMS guidelines will be used to develop new plain-language print and video training materials for use by staff, students, parents, and nonpublic school personnel.

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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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