Board of Education Sets Calendar for 2014-2015; Takes Action on Policies, and Receives Update on Innovation Schools

November 13, 2013
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, November 12, 2013, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board set the school year calendar for 2014-2015, took action on Policy BLC and Policy JEE, and received an update on the Innovation Schools. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website. You can also watch the video of the meeting by clicking here.

2014-2015 School Year Calendar
The Board of Education adopted the calendar for the 2014-2015 school year. The school year will begin on Monday, August 25, 2014, and is scheduled to end on Friday, June 12, 2015. Spring break will be held April 6-10, 2015. The calendar was developed in partnership with the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, the school district’s three employee associations, and the Montgomery County Region of the Maryland Association of Student Councils, as well as other community members and school system leadership. Read the report to the Board.

View the adopted calendar online  

Final Action, Policy BLC, Procedures for Review and Resolution of Special Education Disputes
The Board of Education approved changes to Policy BLC, Procedures for Review and Resolution of Special Education Disputes. On April 23, 2013, the Board tentatively approved these changes and sent the revised policy out for public comment. This policy establishes and recognizes review and resolution options that permit cooperative problem solving of disputes regarding the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or provision of a free and appropriate public education for a student with a disability or suspected of having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The revisions were made to clarify that a child must be provided with a free and appropriate education; to specify staff members to participate in administrative review committees; and to inform the Board when the system appeals adverse decisions.

See the revised policy

Board Policy JEE, Student Transfers (Rescission)
The Board rescinded the Tentative Action taken on Policy JEE, Student Transfers. The Board tentatively adopted the policy on June 13, 2013. The policy was distributed for public comment and more than 220 comments were received. The Board Policy Management Committee further discussed Policy JEE on October 15, 2013, and recommended cancelling the Tentative Action that was taken by the Board. The Committee believed it was necessary for MCPS staff to conduct further analysis on the impact of the proposed changes on the Change of School Assignment (COSA) process and all MCPS Choice and Application programs. Once that analysis is completed, the Policy Management Committee will consider revisions to the policy. The Board emphasized that, in accordance with the current policy, it will enforce the April 1 deadline for all COSA applications.

Read the memo

Update on Innovation Schools
The Board received an update and held a discussion on the Innovation Schools. In May 2013, ten Innovation Schools were selected to receive intense support to design and implement innovative school improvement and professional learning plans to accelerate closing the achievement gap. The schools, Clopper Mill, Strathmore, and Watkins Mill elementary schools; Argyle, A. Mario Loiederman, and Montgomery Village middle schools; John F. Kennedy, Springbrook, and Watkins Mill high schools; and the alternative programs, were identified through an examination of a variety of student outcome data that spanned all grade levels. Each principal receives one-on-one coaching and support and the chief school improvement officer partners with the schools to develop high-performing leadership teams and enhance instructional programming. In addition, Innovation Schools are being prioritized in the provision of available resources and supports that will contribute to the acceleration of school improvement efforts. The supports include:

·  Additional professional development money
·  Hiring benefits
·  Comprehensive communication plans
·  Access to the Shared Leadership Training Institute (SLTI)
·  Partnership with the Panasonic Foundation

Evidence will be gathered in a variety of ways, including teacher and student survey results, classroom observations results, formative and summative assessments results and professional learning sessions. The information that is gathered will be used to plan next steps and assess progress across the Innovation Schools. Effective strategies employed by the Innovations Schools will be shared with other schools across the district.

Read the Board memo

Watch a video on the Innovations Schools

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

Awarded contracts for the Wheaton High School modernization project
-Appointed an architectural firm for the Julius West Middle School addition project

Resolutions: The Board approved the following resolutions:

A resolution in honor of veterans
-A resolution declaring Nov. 18-22 as American Education Week
-A resolution declaring Nov. 11-15 as School Psychology Awareness Week

Future Meetings

The Board of Education (Board) will hold a hearing on the six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) request on Thursday, November 14 at 7 p.m.  Individuals wishing to testify at the hearing must register by calling 301-279-3617. The Board will meet on Monday, November 18, at 6 p.m., to approve the CIP request.   The meeting will be live online and on MCPS TV (Comcast Channel 34). The Board’s next regular business meeting will be held Tuesday, December 10, with public items beginning at 10 a.m.

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. Justin Kim, student member. Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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