The Montgomery County Public Schools is proceeding with a consistent and comprehensive process to implement federal requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 regarding enrollment options in certain federally funded Title I schools.
The new law provides parents with an option to seek enrollment of their children in a designated school if their home Title I school has not demonstrated two years of sustained improvement in overall student performance. The enrollment process begins today [Friday, May 10] with information being sent home to parents (including letters translated into multiple languages), followed by information sessions at schools (see list below), and procedures for accepting and approving enrollment requests.
The Title I Enrollment Option is available in the following elementary schools, which have been paired with designated receiving schools. These schools are: Broad Acres to Stonegate, Burnt Mills to Cloverly, Gaithersburg to Candlewood, Harmony Hills to Olney, Highland to Flower Valley, Kemp Mill to Westover, Rosemont to Cold Spring, Summit Hall to Diamond, Weller Road to Lucy V. Barnsley, and Wheaton Woods to Belmont.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) identified the 10 Title I schools as eligible for the enrollment options on the basis of two consecutive years of declining scores on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP). The state identified 114 such schools across the state. Schools need to maintain two consecutive years of student progress to no longer qualify for the enrollment option.
The immediate school system goal is to improve the academic progress of the 10 schools so that they no longer qualify for the enrollment option.
“I am confident, based on preliminary assessment data, that all of the schools will demonstrate consistent and steady gains over time in student academic performance as the result of classroom and program improvements already being implemented,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, in a report to the Board of Education.
Considerable effort already is under way. The Board of Education has authorized the implementation of the full-day kindergarten program (with class sizes of 15 students) and reduced class sizes (17 students) in Grades 1 and 2 in each of the identified schools.
The Reading Recovery Program will be expanded next year to all of these schools, and each school will receive additional staff for mathematics, gifted and talented instruction, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. Improved parent involvement and enhanced staff development also are supported with additional resources, along with materials to implement a rigorous curriculum.
The unique summer enrichment and accelerated instructional program, entitled Extended Learning Opportunities, will be available for students entering kindergarten through third grade. Afterschool instructional activities for students also are being planned. Most of these special services are not available at the designated receiving schools.
The enrollment option will be made available only to designated receiving schools. The receiving schools were identified from a combination of considerations. The receiving school had to have a School Performance Index at or above the state average. The school had to have a utilization of less than 95 percent of its published capacity.
In addition, the student transportation time from the home school to a receiving school was considered. Potential receiving schools were excluded if they were involved in or considered for boundary changes. Schools scheduled to expand for full-day kindergarten and class-size initiatives also were excluded.
The option to enroll in another school will be based on two levels of priority:
* First, students who are identified as low performing and low income will be allowed to move to a designated school if they apply for the option. Local school staff will use existing information and data available at each school to determine student priority. The Early Childhood Assessment Program, the Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills, and the Instructional System in Mathematics will be used to assess individual student performance levels. In addition, there will be a review of each student’s educational and assessment history, including report card data, eligibility for Title 1 assistance, and any other previously available assessment data.
* Second, all other students who apply will be eligible to change schools based on space availability at the designated receiving school, using a random lottery selection process if requests exceed space availability. Siblings will be given preference to change schools on a space available basis.
Parent Information Meetings Scheduled
The following is a list of the parent information meetings scheduled at each of the 10 Title I elementary schools.
* Broad Acres on May 21 at 7:00 p.m.
* Burnt Mills on May 28 at 7:00 p.m.
* Gaithersburg on May 21 at 7:00 p.m.
* Harmony Hills on May 23 at 7:00 p.m.
* Highland on May 29 at 7:00 p.m.
* Kemp Mill on May 20 at 7:00 p.m.
* Rosemont on May 16 at 7:00 p.m.
* Summit Hall on May 29 at 7:00 p.m.
* Weller Road on May 20 at 7:30 p.m.
* Wheaton Woods on May 16 at 7:00 p.m.
The full report to the Board of Education on the Title I Enrollment Option is attached as a PDF file at the link below, along with a detailed list of questions and answers.