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Board of Education Discusses Literacy Education

March 24, 2009
Montgomery County Board of Education Discusses Literacy Education, Recommends Positions on Legislation

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, March 23, and discussed literacy education, among other agenda items. The Board also took positions on several pieces of proposed state legislation and recognized April as the Month of the Young Child, Arab American Heritage Month and National Autism Awareness Month, and April 12–18 as National Student Leadership Week.

Discussion of Literacy Education
The Board of Education discussed literacy education in Montgomery County Public Schools, along with actions being taken to address identified challenges at various grade levels. A staff presentation to the Board noted that an ongoing Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) reform effort has resulted in improvements in literacy across all grades and student groups in recent years. The report acknowledges, however, that there continue to be some challenges related to implementation of and understanding among stakeholders about literacy curriculum and instruction. "We have a strong commitment to literacy in both reading and writing across the curriculum, and we are working to fill the gaps among all our students. We must continue our efforts to provide the supports our students need to have strong literacy skills in order for them to be ready for college and work," said Board President Shirley Brandman.

Recommended Positions on Education Legislation
The Board adopted positions on several pieces of proposed state legislation now before the Maryland General Assembly that would have an impact on MCPS, including those related to funding, the health and fitness curriculum, financial assistance for dually enrolled students, reporting and virtual schools.

Month of the Young Child
The Board of Education passed a resolution in commemoration of April as the Month of the Young Child. The Board will join the county executive and County Council; the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families; and early childhood stakeholders on April 1 at Montgomery Knolls Elementary School to proclaim the Month of the Young Child and to focus public attention on young children and their families.

Arab American Heritage Month
The Board, on behalf of the superintendent, staff, students and parents of MCPS, declared the observance of April as Arab American Heritage Month, in recognition of the thriving Arab American population in Montgomery County. A Board resolution recognized the valuable contributions Arab Americans have made to virtually every aspect of American life—including science, medicine, education, business, culture, and government.

National Autism Awareness Month
In observing April as National Autism Awareness Month, the Board applauded the combined efforts of staff members, families, and many other individuals who actively contribute to the growth of students with autism. The school system reaffirmed its commitment to continually assessing and providing a comprehensive range of services to the more than 1,300 MCPS students challenged by autism.

National Student Leadership Week
The Board recognized April 12–18 as National Student Leadership Week. The week recognizes students for stepping into leadership positions and for their accomplishments and service. In April 2009, student leadership activities include election of officers for the Montgomery County Region of the Maryland Association of Student Councils and the Montgomery County Junior Councils, the student voter registration drive, and the election of the student member of the Board of Education.

More information about topics for future Board meetings may be found at: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/boe/.

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Montgomery County Board of Education: Ms. Shirley Brandman, president; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Phil Kauffman, Ms. Nancy Navarro, and Ms. Quratul-Ann Malik, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617. 
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 county-wide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.

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