Board of Education Takes Action on Calendar for 2017–2018; Discusses Enrollment; and Receives Update on Choice Study

October 11, 2016

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, October 10, 2016, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board discussed its preferred calendar option for 2017–2018 and asked Superintendent Jack R.  Smith to apply for a waiver from the State Board of Education; received an update on the work Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has been engaged in to address the Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs; gave final approval on the district’s Comprehensive Master Plan; and received an update on student enrollment and facilities. 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.

2017–2018 School Year Calendar

The Board of Education (Board) approved a resolution at its October 10, 2016, business meeting stating its preference to adopt a calendar for the 2017–2018 school year that would begin prior to Labor Day, contingent upon a waiver approval from the Maryland State Board of Education (State Board).  The school year would begin on Monday, August 28, 2017, and would end on Thursday, June 14, 2018, if the waiver is granted.

In August, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order that mandates all Maryland public schools start after Labor Day, conclude by June 15, and include 180 days of instruction. The Board has asked Superintendent Jack R. Smith to apply to the State Board for a waiver so that school may begin before Labor Day. Governor Hogan’s executive order provided school districts with the option of applying for a waiver.

The Board’s Policy Management Committee met on September 20, 2016, to review the draft 2017–2018 School Year Calendar and recommended that three calendar scenarios be presented to the full Board for consideration. The scenarios were posted on the MCPS website for public information and review. Hundreds of parents, staff and community members provided feedback on the calendar options.

The Board’s preferred school calendar option is based on 184 instructional days for students (four more than the minimum required by the state of Maryland). The calendar was developed in partnership with the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, the school district’s employee associations, and the Montgomery County Region of the Maryland Association of Student Councils, as well as other community members and school system leadership.

See the adopted resolution

Read the Press Release

Choice Study Update

The Board of Education received an update from MCPS staff and held a discussion on the work MCPS has been engaged in to address the Metis Associates Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs recommendations. At the September 26, 2016, Board meeting, MCPS staff presented a blueprint for responding to the Choice Study, which included a timeline for addressing concerns regarding the myriad programs, policies, and structures identified by Metis’ findings. The Board discussed the blueprint and its implications for the various bodies of work. As indicated in the blueprint, the topics identified for the first in-depth discussion were talent development and the Center Programs for the Highly Gifted.  

Identifying and nurturing talent is essential to eliminating learning disparities across the school system. Creating expanded learning opportunities for students in the early grades and expanded access to enriched and accelerated curriculum, including access to the Center Programs for the Highly Gifted, is an important component of the district’s strategy to improve learning outcomes for all students. The Metis study recommended that the district invest in early talent development, especially for traditionally underrepresented groups; implement modifications to the selection process for academically selective programs to focus on selecting equitably from applicants who demonstrate capacity to thrive; and ensure that program expansion is aligned with the district’s core values, including equity. Based on these recommendations for improvement, and after significant stakeholder input, extensive research, benchmarking, and consultation with experts, staff has developed a design in response, based on the concept of building a pathway to acceleration.

MCPS has seized upon the opportunity afforded by the Choice Study to engage in deep reflection, meaningful engagement with stakeholders, extensive research, and innovative design work.

Read the memorandum to the Board

MCPS Enrollment and Capital Improvements Program

The Board received its annual report on enrollment and demographic trends for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Preliminary enrollment in MCPS this year is 159,242, a one-year increase of approximately 2,795 students and an increase of 21,000 since 2007.

Between 2007 and 2016, enrollment in Grades K–5 increased by more than 13,000 students. During the same period, enrollment in Grades 6–8 increased by more than 4,000 students and enrollment in Grades 9–12 increased by approximately 2,000 students. Since 2007, most of the enrollment increase occurred at the elementary school level. Now, this wave of elementary school students is moving into MCPS secondary schools, which will result in substantial increases in enrollment during the next six years.

Student enrollment for the 2016–2017 school year continues to demonstrate the long-standing trend of increasing student diversity. In particular, White non-Hispanic student enrollment, as a percent of total enrollment, continues to decrease, while Hispanic enrollment—more than any other group—has become a larger share of total student enrollment. This year, 30.0 percent of student enrollment is Hispanic, 29.4 percent is White non-Hispanic, 21.3 percent is African American, 14.2 percent is Asian, and 4.0 percent is Two or More Races. Hispanic enrollment is expected to continue to increase faster than any other racial/ethnic group.

The funds included in the adopted Fiscal Year (FY) 2017–2022 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) will help to address the need for classroom space through additions and new schools, as well as focus on aging facilities through the revitalization/expansion program and our countywide systemic projects; however, much more will be needed. With FY 2018 being an off-year of the biennial CIP review process, it is anticipated that limited amendments will be recommended; therefore, the next full CIP will need to address the impact of this significant enrollment growth.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Comprehensive Master Plan

The Board of Education gave final approval to the district’s Comprehensive Master Plan (Master Plan). Under the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002 (BTE), each school district in Maryland must submit a Master Plan that links school finance to decisions concerning school improvement. Bridge to Excellence requires the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to set academic content and student achievement standards and to ensure that schools and students have sufficient resources to meet those standards. By design, the legislation requires school systems to integrate state, federal and local funding and initiatives into the Master Plan. BTE legislation provides a framework for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and other Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to increase student achievement and close the achievement gap. The legislation increased state aid for public education and required each LEA to develop a Comprehensive Master Plan that is updated each year. The Master Plan describes the goals, objectives, and strategies that will be used to improve student achievement. In addition, the Master Plan includes detailed summaries of the alignment between our current FY 2017 budget, the FY 2016 actual budget, and the Master Plan goals and objectives.

Following submission of the 2016 Master Plan to MSDE on October 17, 2016, MCPS will receive feedback from MSDE as well as from peer review teams composed of representatives of other LEAs. Following edits and updates from this review, the final submission of the Master Plan will be transmitted to MSDE on November 17, 2016.

Read the Master Plan

Facilities and School Construction

The Board approved several items related to school construction projects and facilities, including an award of contract for the English Manor Elementary School interior renovation project.

The Board approved the following resolution:


·         A resolution declaring the month of November to be observed as American Indian Heritage Month, and to celebrate November 25, 2016, as American Indian Heritage Day

·         A resolution declaring October 17–21 as National School Bus Safety Week

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, October 24, 2016. 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. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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