Board of Education Discusses High School Milestones; Receives Update on Rock Terrace School Work-Related Programs

January 16, 2014
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board discussed high school milestones aligned to the Strategic Planning Framework; approved the scope of an external audit of special education programs in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS); and received an update on Rock Terrace School work-related programs.  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.

High School Milestones
The Board of Education received an update and held a discussion on high school milestones that are a part of the district’s new Strategic Planning Framework—Building Our Future Together: Students, Staff, and Community. The Framework incorporates 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. A critical component of the framework is the process by which the district will measure the health of the school system and its efforts to close the achievement gap. Data will be monitored at five important milestones in a student’s educational journey, including two in high school. Performance targets are being set for these milestones and their corresponding data indicators to guide schools and departments in developing action plans to improve student achievement. Future discussions will be held on milestones for elementary schools, as well as ways in which the district will measure organizational effectiveness.

Read the Board memo

Audit of Special Education Processes in MCPS
At its March 21, 2013 meeting, the Board asked its Committee on Special Populations to develop recommendations that would guide a comprehensive review of MCPS special education programs and processes. This review will put specific focus on the development and implementation of Individualized Education Programs (IEP), and how disputes over IEPs are resolved. The external audit will include data from multiple sources, including parent surveys, principal feedback and stakeholder focus groups. MCPS will solicit proposals to find a firm or organization that can conduct the review in a way that meets the Board’s goals.  

Read the memo

Board Policy FAA, Long-Range Educational Facilities Planning (Tentative Action)
The Board of Education tentatively approved changes to Policy FAA, Long-Range Educational Facilities Planning. The policy guides the school facilities planning process. The process is designed to promote public understanding of planning for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and to ensure that there are sufficient opportunities for parents, students, staff, community members and organizations, local government agencies, and municipalities to identify and communicate their priorities and concerns to the superintendent and the Board. The policy revision aligns the processes for obtaining public input on matters relating to long-range facilities planning with Board Policy ABA, Community Involvement. 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

Provide input on the changes

Rock Terrace School Work-Related Programs
The Board received an update on work experience programs at Rock Terrace School, including a plan to address withdrawal of funds that some students received as part of their educational program. The Board had requested an update from Superintendent Joshua Starr after an MCPS investigation discovered poor oversight and management of the funds that were provided to students. The Board also asked that Dr. Starr and his staff develop a plan for addressing concerns about money that was withdrawn from student credit union accounts by staff without adequate documentation regarding use of the funds or an explanation to parents. After a lengthy discussion, the Board endorsed Dr. Starr’s plan.

Read the Board Memo about Dr. Starr’s plan

 Administrative Appointments

The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments:

- Joshua Ian Civin, currently Counsel to the Director of Litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, was appointed as the new In-House General Counsel for MCPS. In this newly created position, Mr. Civin will provide legal support and advice to the superintendent and the MCPS leadership team. He will also work with the leadership and staff of the Montgomery County Board of Education on various matters, including revising and developing policy.

-Kia Middleton-Murphy, currently assistant to the associate superintendent, Office of Special Education and Student Services, as supervisor, Department of Special Education Services, Office of Special Education and Student Services.

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

Approved preliminary plans for the new Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2
-Approved preliminary plans for the William H. Farquhar Middle School revitalization/expansion project

Resolution: The Board approved the following resolution:

A resolution declaring the month of February 2014 to be “African American History Month.”

Future Meetings

The Board will conduct two budget work sessions on Tuesday, Jan. 21 and Thursday, Jan. 23. These sessions are open to the public. The Board also will hold a closed session on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 5-6 p.m. to discuss collective bargaining.  The Board’s next regular business meeting will be held Tuesday, February 11, 2014, with public items scheduled to begin 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. Philip Kauffman, president; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Shirley Brandman, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, 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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