Board of Education Takes Action on Policies, Discusses School Support and Improvement Framework; and Discusses Legislative Stances

March 13, 2013
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board discussed MCPS’ school support and improvement framework; tentatively approved changes to the community involvement and alcohol and drug abuse policies; and discussed and approved its position on legislative issues. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.

School Support and Improvement Framework
The Board of Education received an update and held a wide-ranging discussion on the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) framework for school support and improvement. In December 2011, a process was launched to explore how the MCPS central office could more effectively serve and support principals and schools. The reorientation process included designing a central office theory of action, studying research on central office transformation, developing guiding principles, and creating the new Office of School Support and Improvement and the new Office of Teaching, Learning and Programs. Leaders in the Office of School Support and Improvement (OSSI) have worked over the last 15 months to better align their work to meet the goals of the reorientation process. The School Support and Improvement Framework (SSIF) is based on four categories of data:

·  Student outcomes—strategic targets including achievement, suspensions, eligibility, graduation rate, school performance index, annual measureable objectives;
·  Perceptual—stakeholder engagement data, such as employee, parent and teacher survey results;
·  Implementation—data on the extent to which Curriculum 2.0 and professional learning communities are being implemented; and
·  Leadership—leadership practices such as eliminating barriers to all students achieving at high levels, leading the school improvement planning process, building high-functioning teams;

School leaders are increasingly using SSIF to better understand their schools as complex entities. One of the next steps for OSSI will be identifying high-impact leadership practices. OSSI will partner with the MCPS Executive Leadership Team to clarify how central offices will continue to strengthen service and support and identify key data points that will guide next steps in coordinating that support.

Read the Board memo

Board Policy ABA, Community Involvement
The Board of Education tentatively approved changes to Policy ABA, Community Involvement. The policy revision reflects the Board’s commitment to fostering and supporting community interest and involvement in MCPS. Recommended updates include increasing public participation through expanded use of technology, especially the MCPS website, and utilizing appropriate methods of input, such as focus groups, task forces, work groups, advisory groups, or public forums. The revisions were developed after consideration of past MCPS practices concerning advisory committees and the feasibility of using Policy ABA as a governing policy for obtaining community input. The policy will now be distributed for public comment and will be considered for final approval at a future meeting.

See the changes in the policy  

Board Policy IGN, Combating Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
The Board also tentatively approved changes to Policy IGN, Combating Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. The policy, which will be sent out for public comment, provides a framework for creating and maintaining a safe environment for teaching, learning, and working within MCPS that is free of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, and other intoxicants. Recommendations for updates include working with community partners to increase access to prevention or treatment services; putting prevention and education first, followed by assistance, referrals, and counseling, and when necessary, enforcement of penalties for those who violate laws, Board of Education policies, and MCPS regulations.

See the changes in the policy

Examination of Policies and Procedures for Use of Board of Education Property
The Board of Education owns several properties throughout the county that can be used as future school sites. In some cases, the district allows these properties to be used by other agencies or private entities. Vice President Philip Kauffman introduced a resolution asking the Board’s Policy Committee to review policies that are related to the use, leasing or licensing of Board of Education property. The resolution passed and the Policy Committee will discuss the matter at a future meeting.

Read the resolution

Positions on Education Legislation
The Board discussed several pieces of legislation that are currently being considered by the Maryland General Assembly. The Board had a lengthy discussion about Senate Bill 691 and House Bill 1286, which would change the laws regarding who has the burden of proof in due process hearings related to special education. In the end, the Board did not take a position on the legislation, which would have shifted the burden from the parents to the school system. Among the legislation that the Board supports are: a bill that would regulate state education aid every year and would establish an annual goal of at least $350 million to fund school construction or capital improvement costs. The Board opposed other pieces of legislation, including those that would require boards to provide a report to the State Department of Education on per-student funding for certain students at each school, and would allow private school students to participate in extracurricular activities at Maryland public high schools.  

Read the Board positions

Other Action: The Board also took action on several items, including: 

Approved the preliminary plans for the new Clarksburg/Damascus middle school project

-Approved the preliminary plans report for the North Chevy Chase Elementary School addition project.

About the Board of Education

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.

Montgomery County Board of Education: Mr. Christopher Barclay, president; Mr. Philip Kauffman, vice president. Members: Ms. Shirley Brandman, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. John Mannes, student member. Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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