New Strategic Planning Framework to be Presented to Board of Education

June 21, 2013
Framework built around knowledge and skills students need for success

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Joshua P. Starr will present a new Strategic Planning Framework to the Board of Education on Monday, June 24, that will guide the work of schools and offices in the coming years. The Board is expected to discuss and take action on the Framework at its meeting Monday night. 

The Strategic Planning Framework,
Building Our Future Together: Students, Staff, and Community, incorporates the three competencies that students need for success in the 21st century—academic excellence, creative problem solving, and social emotional learning—as well as a continued commitment to operational excellence.

Building Our Future Together Strategic Planning Framework is built around the skills and knowledge our students need for success in college and the workplace,” Dr. Starr said. “This framework will allow us to build on the unwavering commitment to equity and excellence that the Board of Education and MCPS employees have established over the past decade.”

The Framework includes Student Knowledge and Skills statements that describe what students should know and be able to do in the three competency areas. It also includes the expectation of specific actions that adults, including staff, parents, and community members, must take to support academic excellence, creative problem solving, and social emotional learning.

Success will be measured using five milestones that assess academic success, engagement, and well-being at important times during a student’s education.

Once approved by the Board of Education, the Framework will be rolled out during the 2013–2014 school year.

Creating the Framework

The new Framework is the culmination of a year-long process aimed at revamping and building on the success of the district’s existing strategic plan—Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence. In the summer and fall of 2012, the Board of Education drafted a new set of core values: Learning, Relationships, Respect, Excellence, and Equity. These five core values, officially adopted by the Board in April, drove the work of the strategic planning process. In addition, the Board adopted updated vision, mission, and core purpose statements that serve as the foundation of the new Strategic Planning Framework.

In the winter, MCPS solicited volunteers to participate in Strategic Planning Network Teams. There were 60 people chosen for the teams, including MCPS staff, parents, students and community members, who represented the diversity of Montgomery County. Network Team members included representatives from higher education, health and mental health services, county advocacy groups, community organizations, government agencies, and the sciences.

The Network Teams met throughout the winter and into the spring, and provided specific input into the development of the Strategic Planning Framework around the three competencies.

“The Montgomery County community cares deeply about its schools and provided input that was invaluable in developing the Strategic Planning Framework,” Dr. Starr said. “This Framework is built on a strong foundation of core values that reflect the Board of Education’s commitment to educational excellence for all students.”

Components of the Framework

Building Our Future Together is constructed around the three competencies that students need for success in the 21st century:

- Academic Excellence: Making sure MCPS students have access to curriculum and instruction that allows them to develop and apply strong academic knowledge
- Creative Problem Solving: Ensuring students have the skills that are vital in the 21
st century workplace, including the ability to collaborate, find creative solutions, analyze information, and communicate
- Social Emotional Learning: Helping students develop the ability to recognize and manage emotions, care about others, make good decisions, develop positive relationships, value diversity, and respect differences

The Framework also affirms the district’s commitment to organizational effectiveness. This includes having a strong infrastructure of business services that supports schools and ensures that students and staff have the resources, services, technology, and facilities they need to succeed. MCPS has a national reputation for operational excellence and was the recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest presidential honor given to American organizations for performance excellence.

Measuring Success

One of the ways that MCPS will measure its success as an organization and the success of its schools and offices is through five milestones that monitor how students are performing in foundational metrics at critical points in their education.

The milestones incorporate much of the data that the district has monitored through the “7 Keys to College and Career Readiness.” There is no longer a need for a math acceleration “key” because of the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. Additionally, early childhood reading measurements in kindergarten through Grade 2 will inform the first milestone of reading in Grade 3.

A variety of data will be used as part of the five milestones, including reading and mathematics performance on state assessments; hope, engagement, and well-being survey data; eligibility for extracurricular activities; course completion; Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and SAT/ACT performance; and graduation rate.

Data for these areas will be disaggregated—at the district and school level—by student demographics and service groups. The five milestones are:

Grade 3: Reading at the proficient and advanced levels
Grade 5: Reading and mathematics at the proficient and advanced levels; and hope, engagement, and well-being
Grade 8: Reading and mathematics at the proficient and advanced levels; Algebra 1 completion with a grade of C or higher; and hope, engagement, and well-being
Grade 9: English and mathematics course completion with a grade of C or higher; eligibility for extracurricular activities
Graduation—College and Career Ready: Algebra 2 completion with a grade of C or higher; at least one AP exam scoring a 3 or higher or one IB exam scoring a 4 or higher; hope, engagement, and well-being; on-time graduation

“We recognize that there is much more to a well-rounded education than these five measurement areas,” Dr. Starr said. “But like vital signs during a doctor’s visit, these milestones provide information about the overall health of our district and our schools at important checkpoints in a child’s educational journey. Schools will monitor additional detailed data, while the milestones will guide our larger conversations about how well we are serving our students.”

There also are measures that will be used to assess the district’s organizational effectiveness, including data from the MCPS Professional Growth Systems, office and department strategic plans, and employee engagement surveys.

Schools and offices will align their strategic and improvement plans with the Framework once it has been approved by the Board. They will monitor the data included in the milestones and other key indicators that inform the milestones. This data will be part of the School Support and Improvement Framework, which will be used to guide school improvement.

Strategic Planning Framework Rollout

The Strategic Planning Framework will be rolled out during the 2013–2014 school year. Every MCPS employee and parent will receive a copy of the Strategic Planning Framework brochure in the fall. A website is being developed and more information will be available there throughout the summer.  

The Montgomery County Board of Education will meet on Monday, June 24, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive, in Rockville. Public items begin at 6:30 p.m.

Read the Board of Education Report

Strategic Planning Framework Brochure

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