Board of Education Discusses Enrollment; Approves Comprehensive Master Plan; Receives Update on Special Education Processes and Services; and approved a Legislative Platform

October 14, 2015

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board received an update on enrollment and the Capital Improvements Program; gave final approval on the district’s Comprehensive Master Plan; and received a report on an external review of MCPS’ special education processes and services.  The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website. You also can watch the video of the meeting by clicking here.

MCPS Enrollment and Capital Improvements Program

The Board received its annual report on enrollment and demographic trends for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Preliminary enrollment in MCPS this year is 156,455, a one-year increase of approximately 2,500 students and an increase of 18,500 since 2007. Most of the enrollment increase since 2007 has occurred in elementary schools. This wave of elementary students is now moving into MCPS secondary schools, which will result in substantial increases in enrollment and space shortages over the next six years.  Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers will address the challenges of increasing enrollment, as well as other school system capital needs, in his recommended Fiscal Years (FY) 2017-2022 Capital Improvements Program that will be released on October 28, 2015.

Watch the presentation

External Review of Special Education Processes and Services

The Board received an update and held a discussion on the external review of special education processes and services provided by MCPS. The Board requested the special education review, which was conducted by WestEd, a non-profit educational research firm. WestEd worked with MCPS staff and stakeholders to conduct this review, gathering information in a variety of ways, including listening sessions with parents; focus groups with parents and staff; surveys of parents, staff, and students; staff interviews; school site visits; and a review of documents and data. The review centered around three key areas:

  • The development of Individualized Education Programs (IEP) for students who receive special education services;
  • The implementation of IEPs by the schools; and
  • The resolution of disputes between parents of special education students and the school system.

WestEd’s review finds that the district is complying with federal laws and expectations, but identifies areas where the district can improve its procedures to better serve students and collaborate with families. WestEd will work collaboratively with MCPS staff and stakeholders, including representatives from the Special Education Advisory Committee and the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, to develop an action plan over the next few months. The Board’s Special Population Committee will oversee the development and monitoring of that action plan.

Read WestEd’s Report

From the BOE Blog: Special Education Report Highlights Successes and Areas for Improvement

Comprehensive Master Plan

The Board of Education gave final approval to the district’s Comprehensive Master Plan (Master Plan). Under the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002, each school district in Maryland must submit a Master Plan that links school finance to decisions concerning school improvement. Bridge to Excellence requires the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to set academic content and student achievement standards and to ensure that schools and students have sufficient resources to meet those standards. By design, the legislation requires school systems to integrate state, federal and local funding and initiatives into the Master Plan. The Master Plan that MCPS will submit to MSDE this month marks the beginning of a new five-year period in which Maryland schools use the School Progress Index (SPI). Maryland adopted the SPI when it received a waiver from several No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements. SPI focuses on a school’s ability to close gaps between its highest and lowest performing student groups and for high schools to graduate students on time with college and career-readiness skills.

The Board also received an extensive presentation from staff regarding how MCPS invests greater resources and supports to schools with greater needs, including differentiated resource and staffing allocations, reduced class sizes, and a coordinated student services team.

View the Comprehensive Master Plan Executive Summary

2016 Legislative Platform

The Board of Education approved a Legislative Platform for the 2016 Maryland legislative session. The Platform represents the Board’s stance on overall legislative issues and specific legislative initiatives related to funding and accountability, local board authority, and student programs. The Board will continue to discuss legislative issues leading up to and during the 2016 session, which begins in January.

Read the Board’s draft legislative platform

Facilities and School Construction

The Board approved the following items related to school construction projects and facilities:


The Board approved the following resolutions:

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, October 26, 2015. Please check the Board of Education meeting calendar for further information

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: Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, president; Mr. Michael Durso, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Philip Kauffman, Ms. Jill Ortman-Fouse, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Eric Guerci, student member. Mr. Larry A. Bowers, interim superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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