Board Approves Curriculum Framework, Discusses Annual Report

December 8, 2010
    The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, Dec. 7, and, among other items, selected a new president and vice president, approved a contract to hire executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to assist in the search for a new superintendent, and gave final approval to the Elementary Integrated Curriculum Framework. The Board took action on four policies, discussed the 2010 Annual Report on the MCPS strategic plan, and recognized December 6-10 as National Inclusive Schools Week.

Board of Education Selects New President and Vice President

   Christopher S. Barclay was unanimously selected by his colleagues as president of the Board, and Shirley Brandman was unanimously selected as vice president. Both officers will serve a one- year term. Mr. Barclay was elected to his first four-year term on November 4, 2008, after being appointed to the Board on December 9, 2006. He is currently serving as president of the Board. He is a member of the Fiscal Management Committee and a member of the Policy Committee.
   Shirley Brandman is serving her second four-year term as a member of the Board of Education. She has served one year as President and two years as vice president. She is chair of the
Committee on Special Populations. She also is a member of the Policy Committee and the Communications and Public Engagement Committee.
   Board members were also appointed to serve on the following Board Committees: Fiscal Management, Strategic Planning, Policy, Special Populations, and Communications and Public Engagement.

Award of Contract for Superintendent Search Firm
   The Board of Education approved a contract to hire the executive search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) to assist in the selection of a new superintendent for MCPS. HYA is one of the largest search firms in the country that serves public school districts and has conducted more than 800 searches for administrative leaders nationally and overseas.

Elementary Integrated Curriculum Framework
   The Board discussed and granted final approval to the Montgomery County Public Schools Elementary Integrated Curriculum (EIC) Framework, which combines existing elementary curriculum, Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and thinking and academic success skills as the foundation for the development of the EIC. The EIC Framework sets the expectations for student learning that will enable principals, teachers, students, and parents to understand what students are expected to know and be able to do in each discipline at each grade level or at the end of a course.
   Since 2007, staff members began a process of collecting feedback from teachers, principals, and parents through focus groups and established committees and advisory meetings. The Integrated Kindergarten Curriculum was developed in 2008 and piloted in 90 schools during the 2009-2010 school year. Feedback from teachers, parents, and administrators was incorporated in the EIC, which is being voluntarily implemented in kindergarten and Grade 1 in 112 elementary schools. Input and feedback, plus the current MCPS curriculum and the CCSS adopted by the Maryland State Department of Education, became the foundation of the EIC Framework in June 2010.
   The result is a curriculum that helps teachers plan more effectively and develops the critical and creative thinking and academic success skills that will help students interpret critical perspectives, analyze complex sets of data, solve problems collaboratively, and understand connections among complex ideas. The integration of thinking skills and integrated content allows teachers to creative authentic, engaging, and productive learning experiences for students.

2010 Annual Report on Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence

   The Board of Education discussed the 2010 Annual Report on the MCPS strategic plan, Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence, which details the school district’s progress in fulfilling its commitment to giving every student the opportunity to learn at the highest levels and graduate high school prepared for college and the world of work. Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence is the catalyst for continuous improvement and guides the work of staff members, students, parents, and the community. The annual report is the accountability document used to monitor progress toward attaining the Board’s strategic goals in favor major areas: ensuring success for every student, providing an effective instructional program, strengthening productive partnerships for education, creating a positive work environment in a self-renewing organization, and providing high-quality business services that are essential to the educational success of students.

Board Takes Final Action on Policy IED, Framework and Structure of High School Education
   Policy IED affirms the Board of Education’s commitment to high expectations for student achievement for all students and provides an environment supportive of the academic, social, emotional, and physical development of adolescents and young adults. This policy also sets forth guidelines to the staff and community for the organization of high schools and the delivery of engaging instructional programs that prepare all students to complete high school equipped for success in postsecondary education and the world of work. The updated Policy IED incorporated related language from Policy ISA, High School Graduation Requirements and Waiver of Four-Year Enrollment Requirement for Graduation and Policy IGA, High School Core Courses, so these two policies were rescinded.

Board Takes Final Action on Policy FKB, Modernization/Renovation
   The Board took final action on Policy FKB to set forth guidelines to establish a systematic approach for replacement of building systems and facilities for MCPS. The Board also renamed Policy FKB to “Sustaining and Modernizing Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Facilities” in order to more accurately reflect the contents of the policy.

Student Member of the Board Election Calendar
   The Board approved the calendar of major events for the election of the 34th student member of the Board of Education as proposed by the Montgomery County Region of the Maryland Association of Student Councils. 

Facilities Assessment with Criteria Testing (FACT)
   The Board reviewed the new Facilities Assessment with Criteria Testing (FACT), which is an objective methodology to assess the condition of each school to determine which schools to modernize. School assessments with be performed using the new FACT methodology in the coming year. 

National Inclusive Schools Week
   The Board of Education approved a resolution recognizing the observation of National Inclusive Schools Week in Montgomery County Public Schools December 6-10. MCPS educators recognize the diversity among their many learners and strive to provide equitable access to and appropriate pacing of instruction and levels of support necessary to increase academic achievement. The administrators, educators, staff members, and families of MCPS continue their collaborative efforts to ensure that teaching and learning holds to high standards and inclusive practices by developing seamless and systematic processes to prepare students for graduation and ensure that all students develop a strong foundation for college and career success. The Board also heard a presentation on a new website designed especially for the parents of students already receiving special education services in MCPS and those whose children may be eligible for such services.

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   Montgomery County Board of Education: Mr. Christopher Barclay, president; Ms. Shirley Brandman, vice president. Members: Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mr. Phil Kauffman, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill 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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