Board of Education Discusses School Design Options; Receives Update on PARCC Assessments and Systemwide Partnerships

January 13, 2016

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The Board held a discussion on school design options; received an update on MCPS’ PARCC test results as well as the district’s development and implementation of a plan for partnerships; and discussed its position on legislative issues. 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.

School Design Options
The Board heard a presentation from MCPS staff and held a discussion on school design options. In 2015, MCPS convened a cross-agency work group to examine school design options. The work group considered the benefits and drawbacks of school design for small sites and for repurposed commercial buildings as part of its analysis. The Report of the Cross-agency Work Group on School Design Options highlights MCPS’ ongoing need to expand its innovative practices to adjust to the challenges of additional growth. A wide range of strategies has been necessary for the district to accommodate the 65,000-student increase it has experienced since 1983. There is a sizable inventory of future school sites—14 in Board ownership and 13 identified in master plans or titled to other public agencies with reclamation provisions. In addition, MCPS has the ability to reopen former operating schools—13 in Board ownership and 19 in county ownership with reclamation provisions. However, MCPS is experiencing enrollment increases in nearly all parts of the county with enrollment projected to increase by another 11,500 students by 2020. As the county continues to develop, obtaining school sites will be more challenging.

Read the Report

MCPS Partnerships
The Board received an update and held a discussion on MCPS’ development and implementation of a systemwide strategic plan for partnerships. Montgomery County has had a long history of multisector commitment to support the education of MCPS education. An array of organizations have partnered with the school system to ensure that the district can provide every student with a world class education. As MCPS continues to face challenges as a result of growing enrollment; significantly increased poverty; greatly increased racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity among its students and families; and a persistent academic achievement gap, the school system must continue to partner with local government, business, nonprofit, and faith community partners in order to meet all of the needs of our students and their families.

As a part of the continuing effort to establish and operationalize a framework for effective partnerships in accordance with the MCPS District Implementation Plan, the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships has engaged in a process to define, quantify, and establish procedures for facilitating partnerships that benefits students and support schools. While this process is not yet complete, the goal of this framework is to create a strategic approach that leverages the full collaborative power of all sectors of the Montgomery County community to remove both the academic and social barriers to learning and promote the acceleration of achievement for all students.

Read the memorandum

Positions on Education Legislation
The Board discussed several pieces of legislation that will be considered by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2016 Maryland legislative session. The Board voted to support a bill that would expand the Montgomery County Student Member of the Board’s (SMOB’s) authority to vote on matters relating to collective bargaining, capital and operating budgets, as well as school closings, reopenings, and boundaries. The Board also voted to support a bill that would create the Montgomery County Student Loan Refinancing Authority for the purpose of financing postsecondary education for Montgomery County residents. The Board opposed other pieces of legislation.

Read the recommended Board positions (NOTE: Actual Board votes on these pieces of legislation may differ from staff recommendations.)  

Supplement to the Recommended Positions

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Test Results
The Board received an update on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test results in MCPS. The PARCC assessments are designed to determine students’ knowledge and understanding of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). PARCC also is the first large-scale countywide online assessment of English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) and Mathematics Grades 3–8, plus high school Algebra 1, English 10, and Algebra 2. As 2015 marks the first year of implementation, these results will serve as a baseline for future administrations of the test. While MCPS continues to outperform the state at almost all levels and subjects, the review of PARCC results continues to reflect achievement gaps that are consistent with other student achievement data observed in the district. As with prior HSA and MSA results, significant achievement gaps persist at all levels in both English Language Arts and mathematics. These data provide further evidence that the district’s intentional strategic focus on literacy and mathematics, as well as cultural proficiency, is essential in ensuring all students are on track for college and career readiness. PARCC is reported using five performance levels that detail the knowledge, skills, and practices students were able to demonstrate on the PARCC assessment. 

Read the Board memorandum

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


The Board approved the following resolutions:

-A resolution declaring the month of February 2016 to be African American History Month.

-A resolution proclaiming February 1-5, 2016, as National School Counseling Week in Montgomery County Public Schools


Future MeetingsThe Board will hold its final public hearing on the Interim Superintendent’s FY 2017 Operating Budget recommendation on Thursday, January 14, 2016, as well as work sessions on the Operating Budget on Tuesday, January 19 and Thursday, January 21, starting at 6:00 p.m. The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Tuesday, February 9. 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: Mr. Michael Durso, president; Dr. Judith Docca, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Mr. Philip Kauffman, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, 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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