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Board of Education Approves Start Date for 2017–2018 School Year; Discusses Marking Period Assessments

November 16, 2016

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board approved the start and end dates for the 2017-2018 school year; approved state mandated revisions to Policy JHF, Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation; discussed its position on legislative issues; and received an update on the district’s marking period assessment strategy. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.

2017–2018 School Year Calendar

The Board of Education approved the start and end dates for the 2017–2018 school year calendar at its November 15, 2016, meeting. The school year will begin on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, and the last day of school will be no later than Friday, June 15, 2018.

There are many specific components, including professional days and make-up days for emergency or inclement weather school closings, that MCPS staff will need to further analyze to determine how best to implement the instructional and operational aspects of the 2017–2018 school year in the required time frame.  MCPS staff will continue to work through the implementation issues for the structure of the school year and bring one or more proposed calendars to the Board for action at the December 13, 2016, Board meeting.

Read the press release

Read the memorandum to the Board

Approval of Pilot Courses

The Board of Education approved the development of new pilot courses, which will be offered at select schools as part of the process outlined in Board Policy IFA, Curriculum, and MCPS Regulation IFA-RA, Curriculum. The Board approved the development of four new high school pilot courses. The Board also approved one course that has completed the pilot process and will be offered in all MCPS high schools. Read the memorandum to the Board and see the list of courses.

Policy JHF, Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation

The Board voted to approve state-mandated changes to Policy JHF, Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation. On November 9, 2016, in accordance with the Board of Education’s policy review process, staff recommended, and the Board of Education Policy Management Committee agreed, to accept state mandated revisions to Policy JHF. Policy JHF has been revised to align with the state’s updated Maryland’s Model Policy to Address Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation. On September 27, 2016, Dr. Karen B. Salmon, state superintendent of schools, provided the revised policy to the Maryland State Board of Education and advised that each local school system is required to submit an updated policy to the state superintendent by January 1, 2017.

The revisions specifically include cyberbullying as a form of bullying, harassment, or intimidation, covered by the Model Policy. Cyberbullying is defined as a communication transmitted by means of an electronic device and includes use of social media sites. As these changes are mandated by state law, the Policy Management Committee has determined this is a technical amendment to comply with state law that may be treated as a non-substantive change.

See the Board Policy

Positions on Education Legislation

The Board discussed legislation that will be considered by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2017 Maryland legislative session.  The Board did not take a position on a bill that would authorize local authority in Montgomery County to reduce maximum speed limits during school hours to 15 miles per hour within a 1-mile radius of an elementary school, a 1.5-mile radius of a middle school, and a 2-mile radius of a high school in the county.

Read the recommended Board positions (NOTE: Actual Board votes on these pieces of legislation may differ from staff recommendations.)  

Marking Period Assessments

The Board received an update and held a discussion on the district’s assessment strategy. In 2015, the Board approved revisions to Policy IKA, Grading and Reporting, and the district replaced two-hour semester exams with quarterly marking periods in certain high school courses, beginning in the 2016–2017 school year. More than 100 teachers worked with central services staff beginning in February 2016 and throughout the summer to develop the new quarterly assessments in all courses that previously had a districtwide exam. Teachers also helped to develop the format, length, and scoring criteria for the assessments, as well as identifying the ideal window for administration within the assessment calendar. In addition, the new assessments are content-specific and highly specialized for each particular discipline. As a result, marking period assessments differ in format, length, and scoring, depending on the course or content area. Most assessments are completed in a single class period, while some others will be administered during two class periods, particularly those with extended writing, or speaking and listening components. Families will receive more feedback on student performance and be able to view the assessments compared to previous districtwide semester exams which were not allowed to be taken home. Concerns that have been voiced by the community include the length of the assessments, accommodations for students receiving English for Speakers of Other Languages or special education services, levels of rigor, individual test items that could be improved, and impacts on grading.

Extensive communications, teacher involvement, collaboration with stakeholders, ongoing feedback and adjustments have been hallmarks of this process, leading up to initial implementation of the new assessments. These collaborative efforts and ongoing feedback cycles will continue throughout the school year as adjustments and refinements are made to the assessments and their implementation.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Appointment

The Board approved the following appointment:

  • Nicola Diamond, chief strategy officer, Department of Strategic Planning and Resource Management, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, as chief financial officer, Department of Financial Services, Office of the Chief Operating Officer

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

Recognitions
The Board approved the following resolution:

 

Future Meetings

The Board of Education will met on November 21, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. to adopt a Fiscal Year 2018 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY 2017–2022 Capital Improvements Program. The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Please check the Board of Education website and 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. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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