Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education Sets Agenda to Raise Standards in Helping Schools Achieve Student Success

January 17, 2001
With more than 100 business executives, government officials, educators, and parents in attendance, the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education (MCBRE) formally launched operations today [Wednesday, January 17], holding its first major public meeting at the Bethesda headquarters of Lockheed Martin.

Founded in October by a coalition of leading Montgomery County employers, each of which has made a long-term commitment to raising academic standards and improving student achievement in Montgomery County Public Schools, the MCBRE will serve "as the single point of entry for business involvement in education in the county," according to the organization's chairman, Stephen G. Marriott, Senior Vice President of Marriott International.

"By collaborating with all stakeholders in public education, we can and will increase the impact of existing services provided to schools by area employers," Mr. Marriott explained. "The MCBRE will provide a structure that will better enable the business community to develop, target, and deploy its resources in a way that fully supports the priorities and initiatives of both individual schools and the school system as a whole. Our goals are ambitious, but our strategies are realistic."

The MCBRE also will involve business leaders in developing a system of shared accountability for the county's public schools, including identification of learning outcomes for students and establishment of high standards for schools. The MCBRE also hopes to identify under-serviced areas throughout the school system.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan applauded the MCBRE effort. "This kind of collaboration can have a major impact on Montgomery County's ability to attract and retain business," Mr. Duncan said. "There's no two ways about it -- education and economic development go hand-in-hand. Through efforts like the MCBRE, we can assure that our employers have a workforce they can count on and students that are prepared to meet the challenges of the workplace and of life."

Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and one of the meeting's speakers agreed. "Business participation is critical to our work with students," Dr. Grasmick said. "The business community must be at the table and involved in the decision-making that will help our schools and our students to meet high standards."

Dr. Jerry D. Weast, Superintendent of Schools, noted that "the business community has been eager to form a higher level of collaboration with the school system for some time, and this new organization provides the right combination of leadership, expertise, and opportunity to raise the standards and expectations for students and staff in preparing our graduates for success beyond high school."

The MCBRE plans to concentrate its efforts in four primary areas: high expectations for all students and strong accountability for all schools; career pathways, with an emphasis on technology; professional development for educators; and communications with parents and the general public.

The MCBRE will be organized on three levels. The Board of Directors, including the founding Chief Executive Officers and the Superintendent of Schools, will make policy decisions and give guidance and direction to the MCBRE. The Steering Committee will be responsible for advocating for the goals of the MCBRE and the priorities of Montgomery County Public Schools. Finally, a service delivery group will be comprised of area business leaders, representatives from the County School System, the Montgomery County Council, the PTA, higher education, and the Board of Education.

The day-to-day work of the MCBRE and the coordination of the organization's activities will be the responsibility of the Executive Director, Dr. Robert E. Anastasi. Dr. Anastasi will also develop recommendations for measuring the success of all MCBRE initiatives. The MCBR plans to have its strategic plan in place and all of the strategic functions operational by the conclusion of its first year in operation.

For more information about new organization, contact Dr. Robert Anastasi, executive director of the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education, at 301-738-0015.

<<Back to browse