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A Message from Chief Academic Officer,
Dr. Maria V. Navarro
Dear MCPS Community:
Montgomery County Public Schools has been recognized locally and nationally for the high levels of achievement by many of our students. However, many is not enough. We are committed to all. We know that some of our students are not meeting their full potential. It is our responsibility to ensure ALL students have the resources, instruction, opportunity and access they need to succeed in college, career and community. One of the ways we are working toward our goal of all students meeting their potential is through enhancements to curricula and professional development for teachers.
To help us better understand how to reach this goal, MCPS commissioned a review of our curriculum, with a specific focus on Kindergarten through Grade 8, for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. The review, which included insight from hundreds of educators, looked at curriculum, classroom practices and student performance and drew several key conclusions:
- While the MCPS curriculum was cutting edge when it was created in 2008-2009, advancement in curriculum developments in recent years provide innovations, such as enhanced digital engagement, more cultural proficiency, and better alignment with state standards.
- Professional learning is fundamental to ensuring successful instruction, especially with the evolution of new standards and curriculum
- A shift in curricula and professional learning requires a multi-year, multi-pronged effort to ensure a successful transition
While we anticipated these conclusions, this report confirmed that enhancements to our curricula and professional development are needed in order for us to move closer toward our goal of success for all students.
As you may know, MCPS engaged in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to select new curricula in April. The selected curricula was scheduled to rollout to a small set of pilot schools in the fall with continued implementation over the next several years. We have decided to postpone this effort to address unanticipated issues in the selection process. The current RFP will be rescinded and a new one will be issued. To ensure full engagement with all stakeholders on this important effort, we intend to resume the selection process at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. While we know this delay may cause a disruption for our schools that were to begin implementation next year, we believe this delay will help us ensure transparency and trust in this process. The delay also provides us with the ability to address the feedback we heard from stakeholders about the timeline of this transition.
Though the curriculum acquisition is delayed, we will continue to provide enhanced professional development for staff that will focus on addressing some of the concerns cited in the curriculum review. These focus areas will include developing instructional strategies that support every learner in every classroom; creating high levels of student interaction with rigorous and complex text; and establishing deep levels of mathematical understanding aligned to grade-level standards.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to ALL our students and schools. We will remain in regular communication with you in the coming weeks and months to provide updates about our continued efforts regarding curricula and professional development for educators.
Maria V. Navarro, Ed.D.
Chief Academic Officer