Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) welcomes more than 159,000 students for the first day of the 2016–2017school year today (August 29, 2016). This is more than 2,500 new students to the school system and represents the largest enrollment in the district’s history.
“We are thrilled to welcome back all of our amazing students and teachers to MCPS,” stated Michael Durso, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “We are also excited to welcome Dr. Jack Smith as he begins his first school year as superintendent of schools in Montgomery County.”
Superintendent Smith took the helm of MCPS on July 1 after serving with the Maryland State Department of Education as interim state superintendent. Over the last several weeks, he has visited nearly all 204 schools and facilities in MCPS by riding the school system’s delivery trucks.
“I’m excited and grateful to take on the role of Superintendent of Schools for one of the largest, most respected school systems in this nation,” stated Smith. “My priority in this role is to both maintain the high level of student achievement that our school system is known for, and to help lift up those who are not performing as well, so that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language or disability can meet their full and true potential. We must close the opportunity gap. It is a moral imperative.”
MCPS now has significant new resources to help close the opportunity gap. The $2.46 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 provides $37.9 million of targeted funding that will allow MCPS to reduce class sizes in many classrooms across the district and accelerate our efforts to close the achievement gap.
MCPS has hired more than 1,200 new teachers this year, thanks, in part, to the additional resources allocated in the budget. MCPS begins the school year with 12,673 teachers on staff.
In addition to the new staff, MCPS also has a new school—Hallie Wells Middle School. Located in Clarksburg, the school boasts more than 150,000 square feet of learning space. MCPS has also completed three other capital projects, including the revitalization/expansion of William H. Farquhar Middle School and additions at Julius West Middle School and Wood Acres Elementary School.