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Board of Education Makes Facilities and Boundaries Decisions; Discusses the District’s Curriculum and Positions on Items of Legislation; Takes Action on the Reductions Required to Bring the Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget Within Spending Affordability Guidelines Allocation; and Adopts Resolutions During New Business Items
The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) met on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board made facilities and boundaries decisions; discussed Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) curriculum and positions on items of legislation; took action on the reductions required to bring the Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget within the Montgomery County Council’s Spending Affordability Guidelines allocation; and adopted two resolutions during the new business portion of the meeting.
The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.
Facilities and Boundaries Decisions
The Board of Education (Board) considered recommendations from the superintendent on various facility and boundary matters and made the following decisions:
Clarksburg Cluster Elementary School #9 Site Selection
In an effort to accommodate continuing enrollment growth at the elementary school level within the Clarksburg Cluster, a Site Selection Advisory Committee was formed in November 2017, and the committee’s report was posted online for public comment. Based on Dr. Smith’s review of the Site Selection Advisory Committee report and the public comments, he provided his recommendation to the Board on February 26, 2018. On March 22, the Board approved that the Cabin Branch Elementary School site be the next elementary school in the Clarksburg Cluster.
Read the memorandum to the Board.
Downcounty Consortium Elementary School (lower portion) Site Selection
In the 2014–2015 school year, a capacity study was conducted to assess overutilization in several elementary schools in the lower portion of the Downcounty Consortium (DCC). On November 16, 2015, the Board approved several capital projects to address the overutilization. On August 31, 2017, the Board approved the formation of a Site Selection Advisory Committee, which was formed in November 2017. The superintendent provided his recommendation to the Board on February 26, 2018. On March 22, 2018, the Board approved the continuation of the five addition projects referenced in the adopted Capital Improvements Program; that student enrollment at the elementary level continue to be monitored in the DCC; and that staff continue to evaluate the feasibility and community impact of the recommended sites in order to provide the Site Selection Advisory Committee with additional information and community feedback.
Read the memorandum to the Board.
Gaithersburg Cluster Elementary School Site Selection
The Board considered the superintendent’s recommendation regarding a site selection for the Gaithersburg Cluster Elementary School to address the continuing elementary level enrollment growth in the Gaithersburg Cluster. In the 2014–2015 school year, a Gaithersburg Cluster Elementary School Capacity Study was conducted; on October 15, 2015, a Tri-Cluster Roundtable Discussion Group was formed to discuss options to address student enrollment growth and space deficits in the Gaithersburg Cluster; on April 19, 2016, recommendations were presented to the Board; on August 31, 2017, the Board approved that a Site Selection Advisory convene, which was formed in November 2017; on February 26, 2018, the superintendent present his recommendation to the Board; and on March 22, the Board approved the City of Gaithersburg-owned Kelley Park site as the next elementary school in the Gaithersburg Cluster, as well as a revised project description for the new school. The Board also approved an amendment to expedite the boundary study.
Shady Grove Sector Plan Boundary Study
The Board considered the superintendent’s recommendation for the Shady Grove Sector Plan boundary study. On April 19, 2016, the Board approved several recommendations to address the overutilization at the elementary schools in the Gaithersburg Cluster. In order to address the overcapacity at Washington Grove Elementary School, the Board approved a boundary study process to be conducted in spring 2017, to reassign the portion of the Shady Grove Sector Plan within the Gaithersburg Cluster service area to the Col. Zadok Magruder Cluster schools. A Boundary Advisory Committee was formed in spring 2017, and the committee’s report was provided to the Board. During the March 22, 2018, Board meeting, the Board decided to not reassign the portion of the Shady Grove Sector Plan within the Gaithersburg Cluster service area to Col. Zadok Magruder Cluster schools.
The Board received a report of the findings for the curriculum audit conducted, as mandated by the curriculum policy to occur every five years. The review and recommendations are focused on grades Kindergarten through Grade 8, for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics and for the written, taught and learned curriculum. Through external evidence-based research and reviews, several externally developed ELA and mathematics curricula are highly rated for their alignment with the Common Core State Standards. This evidences a significant development since the early days of the Common Core when there were few external products of sufficiently high quality. Well-aligned curricular products were not available when Curriculum 2.0 development was initiated in the 2009–2010 school year.
The more recent externally developed curricula offer strong advantages in terms of readily available materials for struggling or advanced students, as well as various resources for special needs and English Language Learners. As MCPS transitions away from Curriculum 2.0 toward an externally purchased curriculum, stakeholder feedback will be an important consideration. This transition will take place over a multiyear period to ensure effective implementation and support to schools.
Read the Curriculum Review and Analysis Summary and Recommendations.
Reductions Required to Bring the Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget Within the Montgomery County Council’s Spending Affordability Guidelines Allocation
The Board took action to make reductions required by Montgomery County code to bring the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Operating Budget within the Montgomery County Council’s Spending Affordability Guidelines allocations. The approved resolution authorizes the superintendent to submit to the president and members of the Montgomery County Council, on behalf of the Board, a letter required by Montgomery County Code §20-63 summarizing the reductions that MCPS would have to take in FY 2019 to meet the adjusted Spending Affordability Guidelines allocation.
Recommended Positions on Items of Legislation and Legislative Update
The Board discussed proposed legislation that could impact MCPS, as well as the recommended positions and whether the bills are consistent with the Board’s legislative platform, adopted by the Board on October 23, 2017.
Read the recommended Board positions and the attachments. (NOTE: Actual Board votes on these legislative bills may differ from staff recommendations.)
New Business Items
Noting the time-sensitive nature of the items, the Board voted to take immediate action on the following resolutions:
Opposition to Firearms in MCPS Classrooms
The Board approved a resolution opposing the arming of classroom personnel. The resolution expressed the Board’s deep commitment to keep deadly weapons out of MCPS classrooms and the Board’s strong opposition to any legislation that would result in the arming of MCPS teachers.
Read the Board’s resolution.
Korean Language Learning Opportunities
The Board approved a resolution charging the superintendent to investigate the possibility of establishing Korean language learning opportunities at the elementary and/or secondary levels, and that a report of the findings be presented to the Board no later than May 30, 2018.
The Board approved the following resolutions:
A resolution recognizing April 2018 as National Autism Awareness Month;
A resolution recognizing April 15–21, 2018 as National Student Leadership Week;
A resolution recognizing April 2018 as Arab American Heritage Month; and
A resolution recognizing April 2018 as Month of the Young Child.
Facilities and School Construction
The Board approved the Brown Station Elementary School revitalization/expansion project.
The Board of Education will hold its next regular business meeting on Thursday, April 12, 2018. 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; Mrs. Shebra Evans, vice president. Members: Ms. Jeanette E. Dixon, Dr. Judith Docca, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Ms. Jill Ortman-Fouse, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Matthew Post, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030.
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