Board of Education Approves Superintendent Contract; Receives Update on Math Plan; and Discusses Choice and Special Academic Programs

March 9, 2016

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The Board officially appointed Dr. Jack Smith as Superintendent of Schools and approved his contract; received an update on and discussed the district’s mathematics plan; and held a discussion on the external review of choice and other special programs in MCPS.  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.

Appointment of the Superintendent of Schools and Contract Approval

The Board officially appointed Dr. Jack R. Smith as the next Superintendent of Schools for MCPS and unanimously approved a four-year contract. On July 1, Dr. Smith will succeed Mr. Larry A. Bowers, who has served as interim superintendent of schools since February 2015 and plans to retire on June 30, 2015. The Board conditionally appointed Dr. Smith as superintendent on February 4, 2016, pending agreement on terms of an employment contract and approval by the state superintendent of schools, as required by Maryland law.   

Read the Press Release and View the Contract

Districtwide Mathematics Plan and Data Review

The Board of Education received a presentation from MCPS staff and held a discussion on the district’s mathematics plan. MCPS’ mathematics milestone data for the past three years indicate a decline in performance for students across grade levels. This spring, the district will undertake a review of its current mathematics program, which will include an examination of curriculum, instruction, and assessments. Interim Superintendent Larry A. Bowers has requested additional funding in the Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget to enhance mathematics professional learning for school-based staff. All MCPS schools have a specific mathematics goal embedded in their school improvement plan, with a professional learning plan that addresses achieving mathematics milestones and closing the achievement gap. As part of ongoing school improvement monitoring, directors of school support and improvement will continue to support principals with their mathematics plans and monitoring implementation, including collaborative planning, professional learning, and high functioning Professional Learning Communities.

Read the Memorandum

Choice and Other Special Programs in MCPS

The Board received an update and held a discussion on the external study of choice and other special academic programs offered in MCPS. The study, conducted by Metis Associates, was commissioned by the Board of Education in January 2015 to analyze how well choice and special academic programs are positioned to advance MCPS’ mission, core purpose and core values, and to recommend ways the district can improve these programs. Metis Associates gathered the comments and views of more than 7,000 MCPS stakeholders, in addition to visiting selected schools and programs; reviewing the history of choice programs; studying enrollment, application, and outcome data; and benchmarking with other districts.

Metis Associates presented eight key districtwide findings and recommendation to the Board to consider in assessing alignment of choice programs with the district’s Strategic Planning Framework. Over the next several months, MCPS will engage with the community and work to develop a plan to address the report’s findings and recommendations.

Read the Executive Summary of the Study

Read the News Release

Read the Complete Report

Positions on Education Legislation

The Board discussed several pieces of legislation that are currently being considered by the Maryland General Assembly. The Board voted to support a number of bills, one of which would require that the State of Maryland accept responsibility for the student cost of breakfast and lunch for those students eligible for reduced-price meals. The Board also voted to support a bill that would require certain local departments of social services and certain local health departments to provide certain parents or guardians notice that their children may be eligible for publicly funded prekindergarten programs.  

Read the recommended Board positions from the March 8 meeting.  (NOTE: Actual Board votes on these pieces of legislation may differ from staff recommendations.)  Now available on the Board’s website is a more comprehensive list of bills, the Board’s position, and testimonies.

Facilities and School Construction

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

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, March 21. 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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