Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD

Board of EducationMeetings →January 13, 2009

Board of Education Meeting: January 13, 2009

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Full Agenda (PDF)

Approval of the Agenda; In Appreciation: Traci L. Williams; African American History Month; Amended Agreements with Employee Associations

African American History Month: The Board and superintendent declared February 2009 as African American History Month in MCPS and encouraged staff, students, parents, and the community to actively honor the contributions of African Americans and to enhance the awareness of the impact of attitudes and expectations on the achievement of African American students.

Dr. Judy Docca, Board of Education member, said, “African American History Month does give us the opportunity to reflect on the persistent rise of African Americans and the contributions of African Americans to the greatness of the United States throughout its history. It also provides a specific time to review the strong cultural history and customs brought here from African elements, which are evident even today in our families and communities.”

Amended agreements with employee organizations: The Board of Education approved amended agreements with the Montgomery County Association of Administrative and Supervisory Personnel, Montgomery County Business and Operations Administrators, Montgomery County Education Association, and SEIU Local 500 concerning salaries. Through the amended agreements, which had been approved by members of all four unions prior to the Jan. 13 Board meeting, MCPS staff agreed to forgo cost-of-living salary adjustments that were previously negotiated for Fiscal Year 2010, saving a projected $89 million.

Board President Shirley Brandman said, "Tough financial times affect everyone, so I would like to especially thank our employees for the sacrifice they have made in renegotiating the labor agreements. Once again, our staff members have demonstrated the commitment they have to the education of our children."

Public Comments
Board/Superintendent Comments
Update on Prekindergarten

The Board discussed Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) locally funded prekindergarten and federally funded Head Start programs, which offer high-quality early learning experiences and comprehensive services to 3- and 4-year-old children from income-eligible families.

Combined, the two programs serve 2,549 students in 128 classes located in 59 elementary schools.

The Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002 mandates that a prekindergarten experience be provided upon parental request, for all students eligible for Free and Reduced-price Meals Service (FARMS).

To ensure compliance with this mandate during the 2008–2009 school year, some prekindergarten classes have exceeded the state-recommended class size guideline of 20 students per class.

A future concern is that compliance with the act may increase the number of students in pre-kindergarten classes as more parents of FARMS-eligible students access their children’s right to a free public prekindergarten experience.

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has recommended universal preschool for all 4-year-old children beginning in 2014.

In the discussion, Board members also were apprised of the status of a current Montgomery County Council-convened Universal Preschool Implementation Work Group. That group will conclude its work in March, followed by the transmission of a final report.

The work group is co-chaired by Janine Bacquie, director of MCPS’ Division of Early Childhood Programs and Services.

Board Member Nancy Navarro said, "We have known that high-quality preschool programs have positive and far-reaching effects on the academic achievement of students."

"We applaud how the County Council, MCPS, and other agencies have come together to create an implementation plan that will best address the educational needs of our youngest children in developmentally appropriate ways."

Consent Items
Human Resources
Monthly Financial Report
Presentation Plans
Goal 1: Ensure Success for Every Student: Achievement Steering Committees

The Board discussed the Achievement Steering Committee (ASC) process, in which stakeholders collaborate with schools identified for Year 2 of School Improvement or Corrective Action, based on the results of the Maryland School Assessment or High School Assessment.

The first ASC—involving collaboration by schools, the central office and the community—took place at Highland Elementary School in the 2004–2005 school year.

Highland’s school performance has come full circle since that time, as demonstrated by its having been named in recent weeks as a Maryland Blue Ribbon School for its exemplary levels of student achievement.

Since the creation of the ASC process, five participating schools have exited school improvement status and eight schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress, making them eligible to exit.

Because ASC members from MCPS central services units often serve on multiple teams, a forum for sharing best practices among schools has been established.

Community superintendents and directors of school performance also share these strategies as they provide support to the schools in their clusters.

Board Member Chris Barclay said, "Achievement Steering Committees are another example of how MCPS works toward eliminating the achievement gap."

"They also demonstrate how the high expectations, hard work, and dedication of our staff are essential to ensuring that all students perform to their utmost potential.”

Board of Education Items
Items of Information

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