Board of Education Receives Update on Educational Facilities Planning; Discusses Choice and Special Academic Programs in MCPS

May 10, 2017

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) met on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board received an update on Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) effort to improve its educational facilities planning process; received an update on the district’s work on Choice and Special Academic Programs; and approved the MCPS Fine Arts Curriculum Framework. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.

Educational Facilities Planning

The Board of Education received an update on MCPS’ ongoing work to reframe key aspects of the educational facilities planning process. The district is refining the process to enhance its ability to respond to continued growth and capacity pressures; dynamic and diverse land use and development environments; a wide range of facility conditions; and funding constraints. MCPS staff provided the Board with an overview of potential upgrades to the revitalization/expansion project process and strategic growth management planning.

See the PowerPoint presentation

Choice Study Update: A Year in Review and a Preview of Fiscal Year 2018
The Board of Education received an update on the work MCPS has been engaged in to address the Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs and discussed the district’s plan for implementing improvements during the 2017–2018 school year.

On March 8, 2016, Metis presented its report to the Board and provided detailed information about the methodology and engagement efforts. Staff was charged with addressing Metis’ key recommendation and immediately began engaging the community in conversation about the findings, the recommendations, and a collective vision of choice within MCPS, predicated on equity of access and excellence in teaching and learning. At the September 26, 2016, Board meeting, staff presented a blueprint for responding to the Choice Study, including a timeline for addressing the myriad programs, policies, and structures identified by Metis’ findings. The blueprint identified talent development and the Center Programs for the Highly Gifted, elementary world language programs, and Career and Technology Education (CTE) as the topics for discussion during the 2016–2017 school year.

Throughout this school year, staff has engaged in conversation with the community through community meetings at College Gardens, Maryvale, Oakland Terrace, and Rolling Terrace elementary schools, as well as ongoing meetings with representatives from the Latino Student Achievement Action Group, the African American Student Achievement Action Group, the Asian Pacific Student Achievement Action Committee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Parents Council, and the 1977-II Action Group. In addition to these forums, a Two-Way Immersion Implementation Team, designed to support the implementation of the two-way immersion program at both Brown Station and Washington Grove elementary schools, is a multistakeholder team that includes, among others, representatives from each of the employee associations.

The district is expanding access to the Center Programs for the Highly Gifted by creating additional seats. Currently, there are seven centers (eight sites). For school year 2017–2018, three additional center programs will be implemented—at Spark M. Matsunaga, Piney Branch, and Stonegate elementary schools—each with a class of 28 to serve identified home school students.

Beginning July 1, 2017, the Center Programs for the Highly Gifted will be called the Centers for Enriched Studies. There will be regional centers at Lucy V. Barnsley, Clearspring, Cold Spring, Dr. Charles R. Drew, Fox Chapel, Oak View, and Pine Crest elementary schools; and local centers at Spark M. Matsunaga, Piney Branch, and Stonegate elementary schools.

Based on the work with the two-way immersion program at Kemp Mill Elementary School, and research that identifies two-way immersion as a proven way to close the opportunity gap for English language learners, two additional two-way immersion sites will be opened in the 2017–2018 school year. Brown Station and Washington Grove elementary schools will begin converting to Spanish two-way immersion schools with the entering kindergarten class. The program will expand a grade level yearly until both schools are full two-way immersion schools. The two-way immersion model will be expanded to additional sites in the coming years. In addition to Spanish, the French two-way immersion model is in the planning stages.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Fine Arts Framework

The Board of Education gave final approval of the MCPS Fine Arts Curriculum Framework, which established curriculum requirements for the courses that students study from Pre-K–12. Curriculum frameworks are submitted to the Board as required by Policy IFA, Curriculum. The new Fine Arts Curriculum Framework includes: Dance; General Music; Harmonizing Instruments (Guitar and Piano); Traditional and Emerging Ensembles: Chorus; Traditional and Emerging Ensembles: Instrumental Music; Media Arts; Theatre; and Visual Art.  

Throughout the curriculum review process, MCPS solicited feedback from stakeholders including arts educators, MCPS students, community members, university and arts organization partners, and the Curriculum Advisory Assembly. In addition, following tentative approval of the Fine Arts Curriculum Framework by the Board on March 17, 2017, public comment was solicited so that additional feedback on the frameworks could be incorporated before final approval by the Board.

Final approval of the Fine Arts Curriculum Framework sets the foundation for further development of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional learning for teachers. Staff members in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs will collaborate with school-based staff to develop curricular resources that align with the frameworks, support student engagement, promote critical thinking, and make meaningful connections among disciplines. Through the implementation of the framework, students will develop an understanding of complex content and apply artistic literacy skills in their lives.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Facilities and School Construction

The Board approved the preliminary plans report for the S. Christa McAuliffe Elementary School addition project


The Board approved the following administrative appointments:

Christina N. Conolly, currently acting director, Division of Psychological Services, as director, Division of Psychological Services

Lawrence D. Chep, currently principal, Rachel Carson Elementary School, as principal, Clopper Mill Elementary School

Matthew D. Hawkins, currently acting principal, Viers Mill Elementary School, as principal, Viers Mill Elementary School

Jae W. Lee, currently acting principal, Carderock Springs Elementary School, as principal, Carderock Springs Elementary School

Daniel K. Tucci, currently acting principal, Garrett Park Elementary School, as principal, Garrett Park Elementary School


The Board approved the following resolutions:

-A resolution recognizing recipients of the NAACP Scholarship Award

-A resolution recognizing Craig Staton as the recipient of the 2017 Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award

-A resolution recognizing the recipients of the League of Educators for Asian American Progress Scholarship

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, May 22, 2017. Please check the Board of Education website and 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: Ms. Jeanette E. Dixon, Mrs. Shebra L. Evans, 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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