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Board Discusses Superintendent Search; Adolescent Literacy

January 12, 2011
  The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, January 11, and, among other items, discussed an update on the search for a new superintendent, adolescent literacy, and a school safety and security report. The Board also approved the  appointment of a new administrator, approved plans for three school addition projects, and passed a resolution recognizing February as African American History Month.

Update on the Superintendent Search
  Board of Education president Christopher Barclay provided an update on the search for a new superintendent of schools. In August, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast announced he would retire on June 30 after 12 years as superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Mr. Barclay said the executive search firm hired to assist the Board with the search will hold six public input forums on January 31, February 1 and February 2. The firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, will hold the sessions at locations throughout the county:

Monday, January 31, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
-  Northwest High School, 13501 Richter Farm Road, Germantown (translation and /interpretation available in: Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese).
-  White Oak Middle School, 12201 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring (translation and interpretation available in Spanish).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
-  Bethesda Elementary School, 7600 Arlington Road, Bethesda (translation and interpretation available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese).
-  Montgomery Village Middle School, 19300 Watkins Mill Road, Montgomery Village (translation and interpretation available in Spanish)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
-  Wheaton High School, 12601 Dalewood Drive, Silver Spring (translation/interpretation available in Spanish).
-  Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville (translation and interpretation available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese)

  For those unable to attend the sessions, a community survey will be available on the Board of Education’s
Superintendent Search Website in mid-January.

Adolescent Literacy: Building on Early Success (Goals 1 and 2)
  The Board conducted a wide-ranging conversation on adolescent literacy, which included an in-depth presentation by MCPS staff. Throughout the nation, a consensus exists among educators and employers that fewer secondary students are acquiring the literacy skills that academic and career pursuits demand. Nationally-developed Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts, which promote an integrated approach to literacy, were adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education in June 2010, with the plan to revise the state curriculum by June 2011.
  The standards introduce a new emphasis at the state level on writing and an expectation that reading and writing be integrated into all content areas. MCPS is already implementing many initiatives to address adolescent literacy, including aligning MCPS curriculum resources with the CCSS and providing curriculum and instructional resources that emphasize literacy and critical thinking in all content areas.
  Further work needs to be done: secondary teacher preparation programs currently place low emphasis on literacy instruction in content areas; and current local policies provide limited expectations regarding secondary literacy instruction, reading benchmarks are not set beyond Grade 8, and additional reading intervention programs for high school students are needed, among other things. Next steps under consideration for MCPS include a comprehensive study of adolescent literacy teaching and learning, with a critical review of existing student performance data, followed by dissemination of effective practices in MCPS.


School Safety and Security Report
  The Board received a presentation and discussed the third edition of the MCPS School Safety and Security at a Glance report, which was provided to Board members and the Montgomery County Council in December. The publication summarizes data from the 2009–2010 school year for each individual school on suspensions, serious incidents, Code Red and Code Blue drills, school climate, and local school safety and security program descriptions.
  For example, out-of-school suspension rates dropped from 5.2 percent of all students in Fiscal Year 2009 to 2.9 percent in FY 2010. This included a drop in African American student suspensions from 13.3 percent in 2009 to 7.9 percent in 2010, and a drop for Hispanic students from 6.6 percent to 3.8 percent over the same time period. Data from the report are used by community superintendents to monitor and implement improvements to school climates, in consultation with the principals.


Appointment
  The Board approved the following administrative appointment:
· 
Brian A. Mullikin, currently environmental safety specialist, Division of Maintenance, as team leader, Environmental Safety, Division of Maintenance

Preliminary Plans
  The Board approved preliminary plans for three addition projects at North Chevy Chase Elementary School (gymnasium), Bradley Hills Elementary School, and Wyngate Elementary School.

African American History Month
  The Board approved a resolution recognizing February as African American History Month and noting how great African Americans have enriched our society. African Americans still face significant challenges to be assured equal access to quality education, and continue to battle institutional racism. The resolution noted that in 2010, 78.5 percent of third grade African American students in MCPS earned a Proficient or Advanced score on the Maryland School Assessment in mathematics in 2010, a 22.7 increase since 2001; and that 44.2 percent of eligible African American students participated in AP courses, nearly twice the national average.
  The resolution encouraged staff, students, parents, and community to enhance the awareness of the impact that attitudes and expectations have on the achievement of African American students.


* * * * *

  Montgomery County Board of Education: Mr. Christopher Barclay, president; Ms. Shirley Brandman, vice president. Members: Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mr. Phil Kauffman, Ms. Patricia O’Neill, and Mr. Alan Xie, 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 countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.




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