Note: The following is the text of a memorandum from the superintendent of schools to principals and directors outlining changes as a result of recent organizational realignments within the central administration.
Office of the Superintendent of Schools
MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
June 14, 2002
To: Principals and Directors
From: Jerry D. Weast, Superintendent of Schools
Subject: Organization Realignments
I have directed the realignment of responsibilities for three major offices in order to strengthen the support of individual schools and ensure that our priorities are met as we move forward with plans to improve student achievement. This effort is consistent with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which requires state and local school systems to develop educational plans that ensure challenging academic standards and assessments, adequate yearly progress for all students, state and district report cards, and consequences for failure to make progress. The Maryland State Department of Education has adopted the five core Elementary and Secondary Education Act goals and accompanying performance indicators and will set appropriate performance targets. We must organize our staff and other resources to address these new federal requirements. Greater emphasis will need to be placed on our instructional and staff development initiatives, in particular, to ensure that all of our students and schools are prepared to meet these new challenges.
In addition, it is critical that we place greater emphasis on ensuring improved family and community partnerships. Intensive collaboration with the entire community is required to raise the academic achievement of all students. We need to strengthen our parent outreach initiatives to ensure that parents have the support they need to help their children learn and to be involved in school activities. The Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education will play a critical role in helping us address these priorities.
In order to accomplish these priorities, I directed the following: The Office of School Performance will be reassigned to the chief operating officer, Mr. Larry Bowers. Mr. Bowers will work with Mr. Don Kress, coordinating community superintendent, and the community superintendents as they monitor school performance and the progress in academic achievement that schools are making. In addition, I am reassigning responsibility for the Office of Student and Community Services to the chief of staff, Dr. Frieda Lacey. She will work with Dr. Raymond Bryant, associate superintendent, in the continued improvement of Special Education, Student Services, Pupil Services, ESOL Programs and Services, and Alternative Programs.
The deputy superintendent, Dr. James Williams, will continue to have responsibility for the Office of Instruction and Program Development, the Office of Staff Development, the Department of School Safety and Security, and the Family- and Community-Partnerships. I have asked Dr. Williams to take the lead to ensure that we have effective working relationships with community organizations that are needed to support our academic initiatives. Dr. Williams also will work with the offices of Instruction and Program Development and Staff Development to implement all initiatives related to the No Child Left Behind Act. As we work to improve student achievement for all of our students, staff development must be focused on ensuring that staff support all students in being successful and increasing the level of staff expectations for higher achievement for all students. As part of the focus on the No Child Left Behind Act, Dr. Williams will assume responsibility for all grants activities. Montgomery County Public Schools has the opportunity to receive additional resources through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and we need to organize ourselves to develop the programs and the proposals to respond to these grant opportunities.
One of our highest priorities will be a project that is being developed to ensure increased academic achievement in the 60 most highly impacted elementary schools -- those 56 schools receiving Tier 1, 2, and 3 Title I services and four upper-grade only elementary schools that are paired with one of the 56 schools. Cross-functional teams have been created to help schools improve student performance and achievement by analyzing and providing data and collaborating on efforts and strategies in the functional areas for which they are responsible (e.g., early childhood, special education, professional development, curriculum/instruction/assessment, and human resources). The teams will be responsible for identifying gaps between expected and actual outcomes and recommending strategies to improve performance. The efforts, progress, and results of the work of the cross-functional teams will expand to include all schools as a systemwide continuous improvement effort. Additional information, discussions, and meetings regarding the cross-functional teams are forthcoming. If you have immediate questions, please contact your director of school performance.
I believe these organizational changes will allow us to meet the goals and performance measures that will be adopted by the Maryland State Department of Education and respond to the No Child Left Behind Act. Thank you for your continued support of these leadership improvements as we continue to address the priorities of our school district.