Board of Education Approves Preliminary Plans for Potomac Elementary Rev/Ex Project; Discusses Recovery School Option; Receives Update on Operational Excellence Data Dashboard; and Discusses Strategic Plan for Fiscal Year 2018 and Beyond

July 12, 2017

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) met on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board approved the preliminary plans for the Potomac Elementary Revitalization/Expansion project; discussed recovery school options; heard a presentation on the Operational Excellence Data Dashboard; discussed the strategic plan for Fiscal Year 2018 and beyond, and appointed the new Student Member of the Board to the Policy Management Committee.

The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.

Preliminary Plans for Potomac Elementary School Rev/Ex Project

The Board of Education approved the preliminary plans for the revitalization/expansion project for Potomac Elementary School. Three community meetings were held to discuss the schematic design on December 19, 2016, January 18, 2017, and January 24, 2017. The process for these meetings consisted of a series of presentations on available concepts, questions and answers with staff and architects, and break out of participants into small groups to discuss the pros and cons of the concepts. The plans that were presented to the Board incorporate community feedback and comments from both the 2013 feasibility study and the most recent 2016–2017 schematic design processes. Students will be relocated to the Radnor Holding Center during the construction phases of the project.  Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff will continue to seek feedback from the Potomac Elementary School community throughout the process and prior to the finalization of plans for the project.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Recovery School Options

The Board heard a presentation from MCPS staff and held a discussion various options to reestablish a recovery school in Montgomery County in response to Board members’ long-standing interest, as well as recent state and local attention to the rise in drug and alcohol use. In 1979, Montgomery County established the first recovery school in the nation, the Phoenix School. At its height, the Phoenix School maintained Silver Spring and Gaithersburg campuses that served approximately 50 students. During its last year of operation, the 2012-2013 school year, three students were enrolled in the Phoenix School.

Recovery schools provide students, who have committed to recovery and sobriety, an environment in which they may complete school coursework without the peer influences in a comprehensive school that may have contributed to the initial substance use.

MCPS staff is investigating two models for a recovery school. One model is a single district approach to only serve MCPS students. The other model incorporates a regional approach to serve students in MCPS and neighboring districts, such as Frederick, Howard, and Prince George’s county public schools. The recovery school could enroll approximately 50 students, age 14 through 21 years (or Grades 8 through 12) who have committed to maintain sobriety. Students could be referred to the recovery school by the Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agency (SASCA), substance use treatment programs, families, or self. Components of both recovery school models would include students participating in a combination of traditional classroom instruction and online courses to complete high school graduation credit requirements; additional courses, such as physical education, health, technology, and electives; individual, group, and family recovery support sessions; coping and social-emotional learning skill building; and health, wellness, and mindfulness strategies,.

Board of Education members unanimously approved the following resolution regarding recovery schools:

Resolved, that the Board of Education include in its legislative platform, advocacy for the opening of a regional recovery school or a series of regional recovery schools; advocate for the resources to open and support such a school or series of schools; advocate with the legislature and the governor to that end; and seek other support from Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, and Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland to advocate this effort; and that this effort should include not only the school systems and Maryland State Department of Education, but also other entities, such as the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.


Read the memorandum to the Board

Data Dashboard

The Board received an update on the implementation of the MCPS data dashboards that are aligned with the 2016-2017 Strategic Priorities—Focus on Learning, Results and Accountability; Focus on Human Capital Management; Focus on Community Partnerships and Engagement; and Focus on Operational Excellence. These priorities set the course to improve teaching and learning with the goal that all students will ultimately attain the MCPS priority—Academic Excellence for All. During the presentation, staff shared the data points associated with four core operational areas: Transportation, Food and Nutrition Services, Facilities Management, and Materials Management.

At its meeting on April 25, 2017, staff provided the Board with details on the purpose of the data dashboards, the process used to identify the data points, and a tentative implementation timeline. The dashboards will operate to enhance communication with internal and external MCPS stakeholders; drive continuous improvement through data-driven decision-making to plan, monitor, analyze and evaluate programs, resources, and services; and generate community advocacy for resources to support school system priorities. The dashboards reflect MCPS’ commitment to be transparent in sharing critical and timely student and organizational data that are based on five essential questions that drive the district’s work to improve student performance.

The access of the strategic priorities’ dashboards by internal and external partners will be closely monitored. Stakeholders’ feedback will be solicited to drive anticipated and to ensure the purposes of the dashboards—communication, continuous improvement and community support—are achieved.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Strategic Planning: Fiscal Year 2018 and Beyond

The Board heard a presentation from MCPS staff and held a discussion on the preliminary work of the Strategic Planning Committee (Committee) around the creation of strategies and goals outlining long-range planning and the development of programs for the district in Fiscal Year 2018 and beyond. The Committee discussed how to review past programs and introduce new initiatives that focus on “excellence for all” with an emphasis placed on students who have not reached their educational potential. The Committee met in January 2017 to outline its work and to develop a plan that initiates programs for all students including students who achieve at high levels and those with academic challenges. The work of the Committee includes outlining a strategic plan for MCPS during the next three years to guide the work of our staff and schools and creating a strong instructional program that prepares students for college and career. In spring 2017, the Committee provided input around a draft document that is designed to be a “living” document that can be monitored and reviewed periodically and changed, if necessary, to meet the objectives of programs as determined by student achievement.

The work of the Committee is outlined in a “draft” website that can be viewed at: The website is organized around the MCPS tenets of success that include:

• Vision

• Mission

• Core Purpose

• Core Values

Read the Board memorandum

Appointment of the Student Member of the Board to the Policy Management Committee

Student member of the Board, Mr. Matthew Post, was sworn in on July 6, 2017, and took his place at the Board table as an active member for the first time at the July 11 meeting, during which Board members unanimously approved his appointment to the Policy Management Committee.

Read the resolution.


The Board approved the following administrative appointments:

Michelle E. Schultze, currently principal, Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents, as director of school support and improvement of high schools, Office of School Support and Improvement

Margarita I. Bohorquez, currently instructional specialist, Secondary ESOL, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs, as supervisor, International Admissions and Enrollment, Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement

Christine A. Miller, currently assistant principal, Powell Bilingual Elementary School, District of Columbia Public Schools, as supervisor, English for Speakers of Other Languages/Two Way Immersion, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs

Matt W. Johnson, currently assistant principal, Takoma Park Middle School, as principal, Eastern Middle School

Kristine L. Donohue, currently assistant principal, East Silver Spring Elementary School, as principal, Cannon Road Elementary School

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, July 31, 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. Matthew Post, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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