Board of Education Receives Update on Professional Growth Systems; Discusses Mental Health; and Discusses Restorative Justice

May 11, 2016

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The Board received an update on MCPS’ Professional Growth Systems; made several administrative appointments; held a discussion on mental health; and received an update on and discussed the district’s use of restorative practices and restorative justice. 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.

Professional Growth Systems

The Board received an update and held a discussion on the Professional Growth Systems (PGS).  The PGS are integral to Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) culture and are a significant part of the MCPS District Implementation Plan. There are three PGS in MCPS—teachers, administrators, and support professionals. Standards or competencies have been established for each system, developed collaboratively with the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA); the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP); and the Service Employees International Union Local 500 (SEIU).  The purpose of the PGS are to provide support for all employees from entry through exit by:

  • establishing high expectations for all staff;
  • encouraging personal ownership;
  • providing professional growth opportunities;
  • engaging in meaningful feedback; and
  • offering Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) support.

Recent changes to the PGS for teachers and principals include the implementation of Student Learning Objectives (SLO) and changes in the evaluation ratings. MCPS’ PGS are aligned with state guidelines and help ensure that the district continues to adhere to its commitment to collaborate with the three employee associations to support the continuous improvement of all employees.

Read the Memorandum to the Board

Mental Health

The Board received an update and held a discussion on the role of MCPS in supporting the mental health and well-being of students. Through coordination of student services, supports and resources across MCPS offices and schools, and with county partner agencies, the mental health of MCPS students is addressed through:

  • mental health promotion and education;
  • awareness and identification of the needs of students and school communities;
  • intervention and support when student and school community needs arise; and
  • partnerships within MCPS and with county agencies and to provide wraparound services and supports.

MCPS continues to strategically incorporate mental health supports and services to students each year with new initiatives and programs such as Youth Mental Health First Aid. The realignment of family-facing services with student services through the reorganization of the Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement (OSFSE) will help enhance the coordination of MCPS resources available to students and their families and ensure that the district provides support in a way that is responsive to the cultural needs of its diverse community. OSFSE staff will coordinate family-facing services in schools so that staff members may collaborate more effectively to serve the unique needs of their communities; intensify support to schools that are most impacted by poverty and other stressors; and strengthen partnerships with families, the Montgomery County community, and county agencies and organizations. 

Read the Memorandum to the Board

Restorative Justice: Building Community, Restoring Relationships

The Board received a presentation from staff and held a discussion on the use of restorative practices and restorative justice in MCPS. MCPS began implementing a new Code of Conduct for students during the 2014–2015 school year. The Code of Conduct was predicated on the belief that fairness and equity through clear, appropriate, and consistent expectations and consequences to address student behavior supports an educational environment that is safe, orderly, and conducive to learning. MCPS staff gathered feedback on the new Code of Conduct from internal and external stakeholders and made minor adjustments to the Code of Conduct based on the feedback. Those changes included providing information and training on restorative practices and restorative justice. Restorative practices are processes that proactively build healthy relationships and create a sense of and commitment to community in order to prevent and address conflict and wrongdoing. Restorative practices may improve relationships between students; between students and educators; and even between educators, whose behavior often serves as a model for students. Restorative justice allows individuals who may have committed harm to take full responsibility for their behavior by addressing the individual(s) affected by the behavior and by being a part of the decision making around consequences. Taking responsibility requires understanding how the behavior affected others, acknowledging that the behavior was harmful to others, taking action to repair the harm, and making changes necessary to avoid such behavior in the future.

MCPS principals received two trainings during the 2014–2015 school year that provided an understanding of restorative practices and restorative justice. In December 2015, school counselors, assistant principals, and pupil personnel workers received training on restorative justice. As an entry point for this systemic reform work, secondary schools were invited to be a part of the first restorative justice project cohort. Eleven schools were selected to participate. The schools have identified their core team that will lead the work at the school. The teams already have begun their work with a four-day training that focused on building the capacity of school staff to implement restorative practices and justice in their building through analysis and collaborative problem solving and planning. This opening training will be followed by professional learning opportunities and support as the schools embed restorative practices into everyday practice in their school buildings. In summer 2016, all cohort schools will be offered de-escalation training. This training, in conjunction with the four-day training in April 2016, will help set the conditions for implementing restorative justice in the schools in the fall. Throughout the year, the cohort schools will receive ongoing coaching and support.

Read the Memorandum to the Board


The Board approved the following administrative appointments:

Amy S. Cropp, currently supervisor, Child Find/Early Childhood Disabilities Unit, as director, Division of Prekindergarten, Special Programs, and Related Services

Anne M. Dardarian, currently principal, Highland View Elementary School, as liaison for MCPS Professional Growth Systems—MCAAP

Rhonda C. Dillard, currently acting supervisor, Science, Technology, and Engineering, as supervisor, Science, Technology, and Engineering

Joanna M. Dwin, currently acting supervisor, Department of Special Education Services, as supervisor, Department of Special Education Services

Tracee N. Hackett, currently solo practitioner, The Law Office of Tracee N. Hackett, as supervisor, Resolution and Compliance Unit

Karen C. Woodson, currently director, Division of ESOL/Bilingual Programs, as supervisor, Pre-K–12 ESOL

Kimberly M. Boldon, currently acting principal, Thomas S. Wootton High School, as principal, Thomas S. Wootton High School

James N. D’Andrea, currently principal, Kingsview Middle School, as principal, Northwest High School

Arthur Williams, currently principal, Forest Oak Middle School, as principal, Springbrook High School

Stephanie D. Brant, currently principal, Gaithersburg Elementary School, as principal, Woodfield Elementary School

Stacey M. Brown, currently acting principal, William Tyler Page Elementary School, as principal, William Tyler Page Elementary School

Spencer Delisle, currently principal intern, Diamond Elementary School, as principal, Beverly Farms Elementary School

Margaret S. Prin, currently principal intern, S. Christa McAuliffe Elementary School, as principal, Maryvale Elementary School

Patrick E. Scott, currently principal intern, Wood Acres Elementary School, as principal, Strawberry Knoll Elementary School

Jolynn E. Tarwater, currently principal intern, Little Bennett Elementary School, as principal, Brooke Grove Elementary School

Travis J. Wiebe, currently principal intern, Wyngate Elementary School, as principal, Wyngate Elementary School

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 Thursday, May 26. 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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