Board of Education Discusses Cultural Proficiency; Takes Action on Policies

October 27, 2015

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, October 26, 2015, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The Board received an update on the work that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff has been doing around cultural competency and proficiency; took final action on a new school calendar policy; and took tentative action on a workplace bullying policy. 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.

Cultural Proficiency

The Board received a presentation from MCPS staff and held a discussion on the work that MCPS has been doing around cultural proficiency and how this work is aligned with the district’s ongoing equity initiatives. MCPS is continuing its efforts to develop and implement the conditions for high expectations for student and adult performance that will eliminate racial inequities, raise the level of achievement for all students and close achievement gaps.

During the past two years, MCPS schools and offices were introduced to the Equity Framework, a tool that supports staff members’ efforts to examine current practices, procedures and learning to identify the next steps in deepening their work to eliminate predictability of student outcomes by race, culture and ethnicity, as well as creating an environment that is inclusive of all groups. Additionally, during the 2014–2015 school year, schools and central services offices, departments, and divisions began efforts to incorporate an equity focus into school improvement processes and strategic planning.

This year, the district will continue to engage in work that elevates equity, and each school is expected to identify strategic goals in the areas of math and literacy.  Additionally, they are expected to develop specific action plans that eliminate the predictability of student performance by race, culture and ethnicity. Further, schools and central offices, departments, and divisions will develop specific action plans that focus on building the cultural proficiency of MCPS’ workforce. 

Read the Memorandum

Policy IDA, School Year Calendar

The Board voted to adopt a new policy that guides procedures to develop, adopt, and disseminate a school year calendar. Policy IDA, School Year Calendar, will ensure that the MCPS calendar meets the educational and operational needs of the district and complies with all relevant state and federal laws. Among the items covered in the policy:

  • development, adoption, and dissemination of the school year calendar;
  • days on which there will be no school for students and/or staff, including state public school holidays and other days approved by the Board; and
  • the process for considering whether school should be closed on certain days because of operational impact, such as high absenteeism among students and staff.

On September 11, 2015, the Board tentatively approved the new policy and sent it out for public comment. The new policy comes as MCPS has worked to improve communication about this important issue, including a new calendar tool and guidelines for respecting religious diversity.

Read the Memorandum

Policy ACH, Workplace Bullying

The Board tentatively approved a new policy that will establish procedures to affirm its commitment to an organizational culture of respect in Montgomery County Public Schools. Policy ACH, Workplace Bullying, establishes a framework for preventing, intervening and correcting workplace bullying—with processes to prevent, identify, report, investigate, and resolve instances of bullying with corrective actions, as needed. The Board considers workplace bullying to be unacceptable and will not tolerate it under any circumstances.

Policy ACH will now be distributed for public comment and will be considered for final approval at a future meeting.

Read the Policy

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. The Board will hold a work session on the interim superintendent’s recommended Capital Improvements Program on November 5. 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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