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Superintendent's First Spring Forum Draws a Big Crowd

March 13, 2012
More than 200 attend forum on English language learners;
Next forum is March 22 on gifted education


More than 200 people joined Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr Monday night for a discussion on how MCPS is serving students who are English language learners (ELL). The event, held at John F. Kennedy High School, was the first of four Spring Forums that Dr. Starr is holding on important topics in March, April and May.

“I appreciate the staff, parents and community members who turned out to discuss how we are educating our English language learners and engaging their families,” Dr. Starr said. “This is just the beginning of a conversation about how we can best serve this growing segment of our school community.”

A panel of experts highlighted national trends, and ongoing MCPS initiatives to address the needs of English language learners, their families and teachers during a brief presentation. The panelists were Dr. Margarita Calderón of Johns Hopkins University, Principal Matthew Devan of Viers Mill Elementary School and Dr. Karen Woodson, Director of the MCPS Division of ESOL/Bilingual Programs.

After the panel discussion, the 235 parents, community members and staff members in attendance participated in small-group discussions to share thoughts and ideas. The discussions were facilitated by MCPS staff, and topics discussed were shared with the panelists at the end of the forum. 

Topics addressed during the forum included MCPS ESOL demographics and enrollment growth, student progress in attaining English proficiency, best practices for improving communication with the families of English language learners, and additional training for ESOL staff. 

Dr. Starr’s next Spring Forum, which will take place on Thursday, March 22, 2012, at Magruder High School, will cover the topic of gifted education. Highlights from the first forum as well as additional information on upcoming forums will be posted on the Superintendent’s Spring Forum website.

The dates, topics and locations for the remaining forums are:

- Thursday, March 22, Col. Zadok Magruder High School—Gifted Education 
- Monday, April 16, Seneca Valley High School—Special Education 
- Thursday, May 10, Walt Whitman High School—Social and Emotional Learning

Superintendent's Spring Forum website

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