Board Approves 2011–2012 Calendar, Discusses Math Work Group Report

November 9, 2010

   The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, Nov. 9, and, among other items, approved the calendar for the 2011–2012 school year and discussed an update on the K–12 Mathematics Work Group. The Board also approved a legislative platform for the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly. The Board recognized National Veterans Awareness Week, American Education Week, and School Psychology Awareness Week.

2011–12 School Calendar

   The Board of Education approved the calendar for the 2011–2012 school year. School will begin on Monday, August 29, 2011, and end for students on June 13, 2012. The 2012 spring break will begin on April 2. The school year will consist of 184 instructional days, including four contingency days for emergency closings. Teachers have 193 duty days, plus 16 hours of unscheduled professional time. The complete calendar and school contingency calendar will be posted on the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) website,

Update on the K–12 Mathematics Work Group

   The Board received and discussed an update on the K–12 Mathematics Work Group, which was convened in January 2009 to consider mathematics instruction in MCPS and to develop recommendations for improving the mathematics program. The work group consulted with experts, got feedback from a range of stakeholders, and considered the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education in making 26 recommendations in five areas.
   For example, in the area of written curriculum, recommendations include streamlining the curriculum with more in-depth study of content at each grade level, a focus on mastery of number concepts in elementary school, and mastery of algebraic concepts by the end of middle school. Recommendations in the area of implemented curriculum include development and use of an instructional practices rubric, and monitoring implementation of existing standards flexible grouping and regrouping to provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners. Recommendations in the area of assessed curriculum include revising the mathematics assessment program to align with the CCSS, and providing formative and summative assessments at teach grade level/course.
   In the area of mathematic targets and acceleration, the work group recommended eliminating the practice of having large numbers of student skipping grade levels in mathematics, ensuring that all students have access to in-depth content knowledge at each grade level/course, and continued programs and acceleration for students who demonstrate exceptional strength and proficiency in all mathematical strands. High quality professional development for all math teachers and leaders, including collaborative, job-embedded professional development, was recognized as essential. The report has been submitted to Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast, who will work with staff and stakeholders to study the impact, scope and cost of implementing the recommendations.

Legislative Platform

   The Board approved a legislative platform for the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly that summarizes the Board’s position on priority issues. The major recommendations fall within three categories:

- Funding/Accountability: Pension/retirement, maintenance of effort, school construction, operating budget, special education non-public tuition, public funding for private schools
- Local Board Authority: Curriculum, charter schools
- Students: Compulsory age of attendance, early childhood education, nutrition and health, school safety

  Similar to previous years, the 2011 document will be distributed to members of the General Assembly, partner organizations, and the community, and will be posted on the Board of Education's website.

Approval of Pilot Courses

   The Board discussed and approved development of pilot courses in secondary schools and designated as active those courses that have completed the pilot process successfully. The Board voted that two high school courses become active countywide: Ethnic Literature and Musical Theater A. The Board voted that seven courses be offered at authorized high schools with specialized programs: Aerospace Engineering, Human Body Systems, and Medical Interventions at Wheaton; Anatomy and Physiology for Health Professionals at Paint Branch and Kennedy; Foundations of Horticulture at Clarksburg, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Magruder, Rockville, Poolesville, Sherwood, Watkins Mill, and Wheaton; Radio Production at Paint Branch, Rockville, and Sherwood; and Travel Geography for Academy of Hospitality and Tourism at Sherwood and Thomas Edison High School of Technology. The Board also approved eight new high school pilot courses—five externally developed and three elective high school courses.

In Honor of Veterans

   The Board approved a resolution saluting the sacrifices of the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces. A U.S. Senate resolution has designated November 11–17 of each year as National Veterans Awareness Week. Veterans Day is November 11.

American Education Week

   The Board approved a resolution recognizing the observation of American Education Week in Montgomery County November 14–20. MCPS has high expectations for every child and is committed to creating a climate of respect that provides students access to opportunities to ensure academic success. Educators, school system staff, students, families, and community members are encouraged to take time to celebrate their accomplishments and reaffirm their commitment to ensuring a world-class education for all students.

School Psychology Awareness Week

   The Board proclaimed November 8–12, 2010, as School Psychology Awareness Week in Montgomery County Public Schools to highlight the vital role school psychologists play in the personal and academic development of students. In addition to assessing obstacles to learning and implementing research-driven prevention and intervention strategies, school psychologists facilitate collaboration that helps parents and educators identify and reduce risk factors, create safe schools, and access community resources.

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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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