Skip to main content

Editorial, Graphics & Publishing ServicesEditorial Help Desk → Editorial Summit

Editorial Summit 2017

Editorial -Summit Banner

The 2017 MCPS Editorial Summit was held November 8, 2017, in the auditorium of the Carver Educational Services Center. This year's event, titled Plain Language: Clear Communications with Our Community, focused on a style of crafting documents that is directly and simply stated, so that the reader is better able to be effective advocates for our students.

What is Plain Language?

Plain language ensures the clear presentation of complex information so that readers have the best possible chance of understanding and responding to it.

It gets your message across more often, more easily, and in a friendlier way.

It also makes it easier to translate to another language.

On October 13, 2010, also known as International Plain Language Day, then-Pres. Barack Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which states that all US government agencies must use clear communication in their documents. This was a strong effort to do away with bureaucratic language, which tends to hinder more than help us.

Participants were expected to come away from the summit with some or all of the followin

  • A better understanding of the relevance of using plain language in their work
  • Awareness of the audience they are addressing in their work, before they start writing or proofreading
  • How others are using plain language to get results


Who Spoke About What

About 82 guests listened to keynote speaker MCPS Director of Communications Derek Turner talk about using plain language to communicate with the MCPS community and the press. Also, Dawn Marks, communications supervisor for bus services at Metro, spoke about how that organization gets information to the public in an efficient manner.

Caleb Young, copy editor, Office of Chief Academic Officer, led participants in a hands-on workshop on creating plain, simple messages from word-heavy text.

Sue Oehmig, copy editor, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, explained how to best use the school district's Principals Memoranda Program.

Everyone enjoyed a TED Talk, by Deborah Bosley, on how plain language makes life simpler, especially in a world where we are bombarded with messages constantly.


9:00 to 9:15

Sign in, pick up handouts

9:00 to 9:30

Continental breakfast and networking

9:30 to 9:40

Welcome and Introduction
Donna Marks, Communications Specialist
Editorial, Graphics & Publishing Services

9:40 to 9:45

Opening Remarks John Marshall, Supervisor,
Editorial, Graphics & Publishing Services

9:45 to 9:55

Keynote Speaker
Derek Turner, Director of Communications, MCPS

9:55 to 10:05

Guest Speaker
Dawn Marks, Supervisor of Communications for Bus Services, WMATA

10:05 to 10:35

 Plain Language: A Workshop
   Caleb Young, Copy Editor
   Office of Chief Academic Officer
 Translation and Plain Language
   Liliana Jofre, Communications Specialist
   MCPS Language Assistance Services Unit
 The Principals Memoranda Program
   Sue Oehmig, Copy Editor
   Office of the Chief Operating Officer

10:35 to 10:55

Demand to Understand: How Plain Language Makes Life Simpler
Deborah Bosley | TED Talk, Charlotte

11:00 to 11:10

Questions and comments from audience

11:10 to 11:20

Information on EGPS services
Scott Scates, Customer Service Specialist
Editorial, Graphics & Publishing Services

11:25 to 11:30

Closing Remarks, Donna Marks

11:30 to 11:35


Watch the highlights from this year's summit.

The 2015 Editorial Summit Highlights

The 2010 Editorial Summit Highlights