The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) met on Thursday, March 30, 2017, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board selected a name for the new Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2; took action on the Unity Area boundary study and Highland Elementary School service area boundary study, as well as two capital improvements program amendments; and authorized the superintendent of schools to submit to the County Council a list of reductions to bring the MCPS Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget within the Council’s Spending Affordability Guidelines. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.
Naming of Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2
The Board voted to name the new Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2 Silver Creek Middle School. The naming process for the school began in February with the Board of Education suggesting the following names: Kensington, Silver Creek, Dr. Paul Vance, and Harriet Tubman. The Board asked the School Naming Advisory Committee to consider those names, as well as look at other suggestions from the community. The committee was chaired by Dr. Traci Townsend, the principal of the new school, and included community members and parents of students who will attend the school. The School Naming Advisory Committee recommended the following names, with Silver Creek as the top choice: Silver Creek, Katherine Johnson, Kensington, Rock Creek Hills, Harriet Tubman and Dr. Paul L. Vance. Although the recommendation of the committee is taken very seriously, the final decision rests with the Board of Education. Silver Creek Middle School will open in August 2017.
Read the Board Memorandum
Unity Area Boundary Study
The Board of Education adopted the following resolution:
Resolved, That the area bounded by the Gaithersburg Cluster boundary to the west, Damascus Road to the south from Griffith Road to Howard Chapel Road, east of Howard Chapel Road to Sundown Road, Rachel Carson Park to the south, the Gaithersburg Cluster boundary to the east, and the county limit to the north (Attachment) be reassigned to Greenwood Elementary School, Rosa M. Parks Middle School, and Sherwood High School; and be it further
Resolved, That rising Grade 11 and Grade 12 students from Gaithersburg High School, as well as rising Grade 5 students from Laytonsville Elementary School and rising Grade 8 students from Gaithersburg Middle School be grandfathered with transportation in their current school assignment; and be it further
Resolved, That rising Grade 10 students at Gaithersburg High School should be granted liberal change of school assignments.
On February 27, 2017, the Board of Education conducted a work session to consider the superintendent’s recommendation that the Unity area remain assigned to the Laytonsville Elementary School, Gaithersburg Middle School and Gaithersburg High School in the Gaithersburg Cluster. The Board of Education approved for consideration two alternatives to the superintendent’s recommendation regarding the school assignment for the Unity area. The Board conducted a public hearing on March 9, 2017, in accordance with Board of Education Policy FAA, Long-range Educational Facilities Planning, and Montgomery County Public Schools Regulation FAA-RA, Long-range Educational Facilities Planning.
Read the Memorandum with the Board’s adopted resolution.
Highland Elementary School Service Area Boundary Study
The Board of Education approved the Superintendent’s recommendation to reassign to Newport Mill Middle School the area of Highland Elementary School, bounded by Dalewood Drive, Goodhill Road, Valleywood Drive, and Veirs Mill Road, which is currently assigned to Sligo Middle School. The reassignment will begin with Grade 6 students in September 2017, followed by Grades 6–7 students in September 2018, with full implementation of Grades 6 -8 students in September 2019. On February 27, 2017, the Board of Education conducted a work session to consider the superintendent’s recommendation. The Board conducted a public hearing on the recommendation on March 9, 2017, in accordance with Board of Education Policy FAA, Long-range Educational Facilities Planning, and Montgomery County Public Schools Regulation FAA-RA, Long-range Educational Facilities Planning.
Read the Superintendent’s Memorandum
The Board also adopted the following amendments to the Board of Education’s Requested FY 2018 Capital Budget and amendments to the FY 2017-2022 Capital Improvements Program:
Outdoor Play Space Maintenance Project
Funding Expenditure Shift for Current Revitalization/Expansion
Spending Affordability Guidelines
The Board authorized Superintendent Jack R. Smith to submit a letter to the Montgomery County Council (County Council) that outlines a list of reductions that would bring the MCPS FY 2018 Operating Budget within the Spending Affordability Guidelines (SAG). According to Montgomery County Code §20-63, any agency requesting more funding in an operating budget than the County Council’s SAG allocation for a given year must submit to the County Council a list of prioritized expenditure reductions that would bring the budget within the County Council’s SAG allocation. The Board’s FY 2018 Tax-Supported Operating Budget Request of $2,373.7 million exceeds the County Council’s SAG allocation of $2,334.1 million by $39.6 million. However, because of the additional $14.1 million in state aid that was included in Governor Lawrence J. Hogan’s FY 2018 budget since the SAG process was initiated, the difference between the Board’s budget and the adjusted SAG allocation is $25.5 million. In order to decrease the MCPS Operating Budget to be within the adjusted SAG allocation, the Board’s FY 2018 Operating Budget request would need to be decreased by $25.5 million.
The letter to the County Council will highlight the significant amount of reductions already included in the Board’s FY 2018 budget request. It will reiterate the belief that MCPS cannot continue to make further reductions while working to close the achievement gap and ensure all MCPS students have opportunities to succeed.
Read the Memorandum to the Board
The Board of Education received an update from MCPS on its partnership with The Education Trust (Ed Trust), a national nonprofit organization that promotes high levels of academic achievement for all students, particularly for students of color and low-income students. As part of its work, Ed Trust conducts research and publishes reports that study the core of closing gaps in opportunity and achievement. In alignment with the district’s strategic priorities of improving teaching and learning and ensuring that struggling students receive the same level of excellence provided to our successful students, MCPS engaged with Ed Trust in a second phase of the national project to conduct a similar analysis in four middle schools. This continuing examination serves as an important influence in driving improvements in curriculum, instruction, professional learning, school improvement processes, and the work of teachers at the classroom level. After receiving the report from Ed Trust in August 2016, immediate actions were taken to begin internal analysis of centrally developed assignments in the MCPS curriculum and in professional learning for teachers and leaders. Many curriculum resources are being examined against this framework and are being adjusted to address key focus areas.
Read the Memorandum to the Board
Facilities and School Construction
The Board accepted the William H. Farquhar Middle School Revitalization/Expansion Project Phase I
The Board approved the following resolutions:
-A resolution declaring the month of April 2017 as Month of the Young Child in MCPS
-A resolution declaring the month of April 2017 as National Autism Awareness Month in MCPS
-A resolution declaring April 23-29, 2017, as National Volunteer Week in MCPS
-A resolution declaring April 16-22, 2017, as National Student Leadership Week in MCPS
-A resolution declaring April 2017 as Arab American Heritage Month in MCPS
-A resolution declaring May 15-19, 2017, as Pupil Personnel Worker Week in MCPS
The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. 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: Ms. Jeanette E. Dixon, Mrs. Shebra L. Evans, 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.