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Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs:
Report of Findings and Recommendations

Choice Study Implications — Year 1, 2016-2017

In January 2015, the Board contracted with Metis Associates to conduct a review of choice programs in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

The study was designed to focus on the following four main objectives:

  • Understanding the unique history and current state of each of MCPS’ choice and other special academic programs.
  • Identifying the original purposes of each of these programs, and assessing whether they are fulfilling those purposes.
  • Assessing whether all students have equitable access to these programs, especially in light of the continuing growth of MCPS student enrollment and the changing demographics of the region, both countywide and at the neighborhood level.
  • Ensuring that these programs, both individually and collectively, are well-positioned to effectively advance the mission; core purpose; core values, including equity; and core competencies set forth in the MCPS Strategic Planning Framework. Equity, as defined in the MCPS Strategic Planning Framework, ensures that "each and every student matters [and] outcomes should not be predictable by race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status."

Throughout fall and winter 2015 and 2016, Metis engaged in extensive fact and data gathering. After hearing from numerous stakeholders including staff, students, parents/guardians, and community members, reviewing an extensive collection of historical documents, and consulting with experts, Metis developed a report detailing its findings and offering eight recommendations.

On March 8, 2016, Metis presented the 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.

There were three community dialogues held April 6, 2016, at Gaithersburg High School; April 18, 2016, at John F. Kennedy High School; and May 5, 2016, at Walter Johnson High School. More than 800 community members participated in the forums, engaging in a deep and sometimes difficult conversation about the role of choice. In addition to these community dialogues, staff met with various groups including the Division of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction Feedback Committee, the 1977 II Action Group, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Parent Council, the Latino Student Achievement Action Committee, the African American Student Achievement Action Committee, and the Montgomery County Latino Advocacy Coalition to review Metis’ findings and recommendations. The community also was afforded the opportunity to share reactions, comments, suggestions, and questions about the report online and, as a result, almost 600 community members shared comments.

On September 26, 2016, staff presented a multiyear blueprint for MCPS’ response to the Choice Study. Below please find the priority strands of work identified for 2016–2017 and 2017-18.


Immersion Programs

 
  • August 2016Review Policy JEE, Student Transfers  
  • September 2016Board Policy Committee Presentation
  • October 2016BOE Policy Committee JEE
  • November 2016  
  • December 2016BOE Discussion JEE, Student Transfers  
  • January 2017Public Comment Period  
  • February 2017Public Comment Period  
  • March 2017Final Action JEE, Student Transfers  
  • April 2017Community Outreach  
  • May 2017Community Outreach  
  • June 2017Community Outreach  

Interest Based Transfers (i3) CTE and Other Interest based

 
  • August 2016Submit i3 Grant Application  
  • September 2016Community Outreach
  • October 2016Community Outreach
  • November 2016Community Outreach
  • December 2016BOE CTE  
  • January 2017Community Outreach  
  • February 2017Community Outreach  
  • March 2017Community Outreach  
  • April 2017Community Outreach  
  • May 2017Community Outreach  
  • June 2017Community Outreach  

Center Programs for the Highly Gifted

 
  • August 2016Benchmarking  
  • September 2016
  • October 2016BOE Presentation
  • November 2016Parent Group
  • December 2016  
  • January 2017Community Outreach  
  • February 2017Community Outreach  
  • March 2017Community Outreach  
  • April 2017BOE Policy Committee  
  • May 2017  
  • June 2017Memo to the BOE Update on field test  

Secondary Magnets

 
  • August 2016Benchmarking Project Design - Middle School  
  • September 2016Benchmarking Project Design - Middle School
  • October 2016Benchmarking Project Design - Middle School
  • November 2016Benchmarking Project Design - Middle School
  • December 2016Benchmarking Project Design - Middle School  
  • January 2017Benchmarking Project Design - Middle School  
  • February 2017Begin Benchmarking Project Design: High School  
  • March 2017Community Outreach - Middle School  
  • April 2017Community Outreach - Middle School  
  • May 2017Community Outreach - Middle School  
  • June 2017Middle School Pilot  

Dual Languages

 
  • August 2016  
  • September 2016Ongoing Exploration at Kemp Mill ES
  • October 2016BOE Presentation
  • November 2016Ongoing Professional Development at Kemp Mill ES
  • December 2016Ongoing Professional Development at Kemp Mill ES  
  • January 2017Ongoing Professional Development at Kemp Mill ES  
  • February 2017Ongoing Professional Development at Kemp Mill ES  
  • March 2017Ongoing Professional Development at Kemp Mill ES  
  • April 2017Ongoing Professional Development at Kemp Mill ES  
  • May 2017Ongoing Professional Development at Kemp Mill ES  
  • June 2017Ongoing Professional Development at Kemp Mill ES  

Talent Development

 
  • August 2016Provided Title I schools with a part-time Primary Talent Coach Position  
  • September 2016Targeted YSP recruitment
  • October 2016BOE Presentation CPHG and Talent Development
  • November 2016Community Outreach
  • December 2016Community Outreach  
  • January 2017Community Outreach  
  • February 2017Community Outreach  
  • March 2017Community Outreach  
  • April 2017Community Outreach  
  • May 2017Update on the input of Primary Talent Coaches  
  • June 2017Implement final phase of ELO STEP for Grade 5 students in Title I schools  

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