Summary of Board of Education Meeting, October 16

October 17, 2001
The Board of Education met yesterday [Tuesday, October 16] and, among other items, approved regulations for student use of portable communication devices, voted to amend the timeline for operation of the Downcounty Consortium, and approved four administrative appointments. The Board discussed the initial evaluation of the Professional Growth System, reviewed the enrollment update, construction moratorium, and an update on the Title I Program. In addition, the Board reviewed a draft policy on private contributions for facilities and approved preliminary plans for modernization of Somerset Elementary School. The Board also recognized American Indian Heritage Month, National School Bus Safety Week, and kicked off the Employees’ Charity Campaign.

Student Use of Portable Communication Devices

The Board approved revisions to regulation COG-RA, “Portable Communication Devices,” allowing high school students to possess portable communication devices on MCPS property and at MCPS-sponsored events. The devices may not be turned on and must be out of sight during the instructional day, but may be used on school buses traveling to and from school as long as usage does not impact safe operation of the school bus.


The Board approved the following administrative appointments:

-Gail C. Bailey, currently branch chief, School Library Media Services, Maryland State Department of Education, as director, School Library Media Program.

-Mary B. Dempsey, acting assistant to the associate superintendent, Office of Student and Community Services, as assistant to the associate superintendent, Office of Student and Community Services.

-Nicola Diamond-Milwit, instructional specialist, Office of Staff Development, as assistant to the associate superintendent, Office of Staff Development.

-Cheri V. Lavorgna, currently acting program manager for business systems, Office of Global Access Technology, as program manager for business systems.

Downcounty Consortium Resolution

The Board voted to amend the timeline for operation of the Downcounty Consortium to September, 2003, to allow for additional time to refine and focus signature programs and determine how to phase in effectively the signature programs and preferred choice process.

Initial Evaluation of the Professional Growth System

The Board reviewed a report on the successful first year of implementation of the Professional Growth System. The first phase of the system includes a newly designed evaluation component, a new peer assistance and review program, staff development teachers and staff development substitute teachers to support the professional growth cycle in all schools, individualized professional development plans for each teacher, and extensive training for administrators and teachers in the Skillful Teacher model.

CIP/Enrollment Update

The Board discussed an overview of MCPS and County demographic trends, an update on enrollment, and their impact on needs for the Fiscal Year 2003 Capital Budget.

Construction Moratorium

The Board discussed the results of the 90-day moratorium on the bidding of school construction projects that has resulted in reduced prices and increased competition. Bids received for the first seven projects are a total of $5 million below the bids for similar projects last spring.

Update on the Title I Program

The Board discussed an update on the current status of the MCPS Title I Program, including the reorganization of the Title I Unit into the Academic Support, Federal and State Programs Unit, and a proposal for a school reform model for 19 federally funded schoolwide eligible schools.

Private Contributions for Facilities

The Board tentatively approved for public comment draft Policy CNE, “Facility Improvements That Are Not Funded with Montgomery County Government Revenues,” that would provide guidelines for accepting non-Montgomery County government funds for facility improvements.

American Indian Heritage Month

The Board declared the month of November as American Indian Heritage Month, celebrating the significant contributions of American Indians. Special recognition was given to the outreach activities and partnerships developed by the American Indian community to strengthen the academic achievement of American Indian students.

Salute to Transportation Personnel

The Board proclaimed the week of October 15 through 19 as National School Bus Safety Week in Montgomery County. The Board honored all transportation staff members for their faithful service, particularly for their exceptional efforts in safely transporting more than 136,000 students as the tragic events of September 11 were unfolding in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Somerset Elementary School Modernization

The Board approved preliminary plans for the modernization of Somerset Elementary School.

Employees’ Charity Campaign

The Board designated the period of October 16 through November 20 for participation in the Montgomery County Employees’ Charity Campaign. Employees were urged to demonstrate their commitment to addressing the needs of people who need support.

Kate Harrison, assistant director
MCPS Department of Communications

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