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Board of Education Takes Action on Tri-cluster Roundtable Discussion Group Recommendations; Discusses Social Emotional Learning; and Discusses Coordinated Supports for Students and Families

April 20, 2016

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The Board took action on the recommendations concerning the Tri-cluster Roundtable Discussion Group for the Gaithersburg, Col. Zadok Magruder, and Thomas S. Wootton clusters; held a discussion on social emotional learning; and received an update on the reorganization of the district’s student services and community engagement offices. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website. You also can watch the video of the meeting by clicking here.

Tri-cluster Roundtable Discussion Group

The Board of Education took action on the interim superintendent’s recommendations for the Tri-cluster Roundtable Discussion Group to address school capacity issues in the Gaithersburg Cluster elementary schools. The Board approved a feasibility study for an addition at Gaithersburg Elementary School to be conducted beginning in July 2016. The feasibility study will include an option to construct an addition for a pre-K–5 school and an option to construct an addition and create two schools in one adjoining building—Grades Pre-K–2 in one part of the facility, and Grades 3–5 in the other part of the facility—with physical separation where possible.   The Gaithersburg Elementary School addition would be completed in August 2020 and would increase the capacity of the school to approximately 1,000 students. 

The Board also has requested that six older relocatable classrooms at Summit Hall Elementary School be evaluated for replacement with newer relocatable classrooms, or modular classrooms, by fall 2017. Additionally, the Board voted to have the portion of the Shady Grove Sector Plan that is located east of Interstate 370 and in the Washington Grove Elementary School, Forest Oak Middle School, and Gaithersburg High School service areas be reassigned to Col. Zadok Magruder cluster schools with a boundary study to be conducted in spring 2017, with Board action to occur in fall 2017, and reassignments beginning fall 2018.

The Board authorized a Tri-cluster Roundtable Discussion Group process last November. The roundtable met from January to March and included representatives from each of the three clusters. The group focused on ways to address projected overutilization at four Gaithersburg Cluster elementary schools—Gaithersburg, Rosemont, Strawberry Knoll, and Summit Hall. The group took a broad look at school enrollments, utilization levels, and facility options in the Gaithersburg, Col. Zadok Magruder, and Thomas S. Wootton clusters and explored approaches to distribute some of the enrollment growth in the three clusters.  The Board held a public hearing on the recommendations on April 12.

Read the Memorandum to the Board

 

Social Emotional Learning

The Board received an update and held a discussion on MCPS’ systemic efforts to enhance its work in the key competency area of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The MCPS Strategic Planning Framework—Building Our Future Together: Students, Staff, and Community—communicates the mission of MCPS as, “Every student will have the academic, creative problem solving, and social emotional skills to be successful in college and career.” SEL has been defined by MCPS as a process through which adults and children become better at understanding and managing emotions and learning how they impact the choices we make, the relationships we have, and our outlook in life.

To facilitate the development of a systemic plan and identification of strong practices and practitioners of SEL in MCPS, the district launched the SEL Design Think Tank in October 2013.The SEL Design Think Tank developed resources to support schools and offices in setting SEL goals and building deeper knowledge and skills to lead the adaptive work of SEL. Counselors, pupil personnel workers, and staff in the Office of the Chief Academic Officer work proactively with schools, offices, and partner agencies to eliminate barriers to student access and opportunity. A variety of data sources are used to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of these structures, practices, and processes. These include observations of workshops, training, and professional learning identified in school and office improvement plans; participation in professional meetings and trainings, and classroom observations. The district has outlined several next steps to ensure that best practices related to SEL are an inherent part of the MCPS culture. 

Read the Memorandum to the Board

Coordinated Supports for Students and Families

The Board received an update from MCPS staff on the reorganization of the district’s student services and community engagement offices. The district engaged with stakeholders and staff about the mission of the new office to create and maintain a seamless infrastructure of support for students and families through a coordinated program of student services focused on student wellness. As a result of this additional input, the new office will be named the Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement. Guided by MCPS’ core values and strategic priorities, the Office of the Chief Academic Officer has organized the offices that provide student and family supports in a manner that focuses on intentionally building structures and processes predicated on collaboration, creative problem solving, and strategic partnerships. This organizational approach is designed to meet the challenges MCPS students and families face every day—challenges ranging from academic pressures to housing instability, and from trauma to illness.

Bringing parent community coordinators (PCCs) from the former Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships; ESOL counselors, ESOL transition counselors, and ESOL PCCs from the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs; together with the Department of Student Services from the Office of Special Education and Student Services, creates an office that is responsible for considering the various aspects of students’ lives and sets the conditions for collaboration, creative problem solving, and academic planning that incorporates the whole child.

Read the Memorandum to the Board

Appointment

The Board approved the following administrative appointments:

Jonathan T. Brice, currently founding director, ThinkShift, as associate superintendent, Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement

E. Lancellotti (Lance) Dempsey, currently principal, Northwest High School, as associate superintendent, Office of Human Resources and Development

Henry R. Johnson, Jr., currently interim deputy state superintendent, Maryland State Department of Education, as chief of staff, Office of the Superintendent of Schools

Janet S. Wilson, currently superintendent of schools, Garrett County Public Schools, as associate superintendent, Office of Shared Accountability

Dana E. Davison, currently executive director, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, as director, Department of Certification and Staffing, Office of Human Resources and Development

Nicola Diamond, currently executive director, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, as chief strategy officer, Office of the Chief Operating Officer

Jeffrey M. Martinez, currently acting consulting principal, Office of Human Resources and Development, as consulting principal, Office of Human Resources and Development

Sarah E. Sirgo, currently acting director of school support and improvement of elementary schools, Office of School Support and Improvement, as director of school support and improvement of elementary schools, Office of School Support and Improvement

Joel A. Gallihue, currently manager of school planning, Howard County Public Schools, as director, Division of Long-range Planning, Department of Facilities Management

Facilities and School Construction

The Board approved the following items related to school construction projects and facilities:

Recognitions

The Board approved the following resolutions:

 

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Tuesday, May 10. Please check the Board of Education meeting calendar for further information

 

About the Board of Education

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.

Montgomery County Board of Education: Mr. Michael Durso, president; Dr. Judith Docca, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Mr. Philip Kauffman, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Ms. Jill Ortman-Fouse, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Eric Guerci, student member. Mr. Larry A. Bowers, interim superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

 

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