Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff:
I hope that you and your families are healthy and well. The end of the 2019-2020 school year is fast approaching and we are looking forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our students, including the Class of 2020, during the Universal Graduation Celebration on Sunday, June 7, featuring Jose Andres, chef, humanitarian and founder of World Central Kitchen as the commencement speaker. The event, which will be produced in collaboration with NBC4, will pay tribute to more than 10,500 seniors. It will air at 6 p.m. on Cozi TV (broadcast over-the-air on channel 4.2, Verizon Fios channel 460, and Xfinity channel 208) and on MCPS TV (Comcast channel 34, Verizon channel 36 and RCN channel 89). It will also stream live on the MCPS website. We hope you will tune in for what promises to be an exciting celebration for our students. Additionally, all of our high schools will hold individual celebrations for their school communities June 8-12.
Below are several important updates, including information on the district’s recovery plan, summer school, and the Districtwide Boundary Analysis.
We appreciate your continued partnership and support.
Jack R. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
MCPS is continuing to work on the development of a recovery plan that provides schools and central office with a structure for coordinated action steps to re-engage students, staff and families in our learning communities for the 2020-2021 school year—whether in our school buildings or through an enhanced continuity of learning program. Our recovery plan will be informed by the state’s Maryland Strong: Road Map to Recovery, along with established guidance from the Maryland State Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control, and local health officials. The MCPS recovery plan will include strategies for strengthening engagement with students and school communities; fostering academic excellence; differentiating supports for students and staff; providing effective and tailored professional learning opportunities for all staff; and creating timely communication and feedback opportunities to support continuous improvement.
We are committed to a multi-pronged approach to ensure parents, staff, students and other key stakeholders are included in the creation of the recovery plan. More information will be shared in the coming weeks. You can watch the discussion from the May 28 Board of Education meeting here.
As we shared in the May 23 community update, MCPS is continuing with plans to offer summer learning and enrichment opportunities to elementary and secondary students through regional, school-based and other districtwide programs. These programs, some of which will be offered for free, will provide instruction in math and literacy, as well as fun enrichment opportunities for students to pursue areas of interest, and social-emotional support. As in past years, MCPS will also offer online courses for high school credit, with registration opening soon.
Given the challenging conditions families will face this summer, we would like to hear from parents about their preferences for summer programs. Would you participate if the program offerings were all online? How long of a program or how many hours per day would you prefer? Please complete a brief survey here.
Programs will begin by July 13. Details on available programs, registration dates and program-specific start dates will be shared with families during the week of June 8 and posted on the MCPS Summer Programs webpage.
Extended School Year Programs for Special Education Students
Due to the uncertainty surrounding opportunities for face-to-face instruction, the current plan for the Special Education Extended School Year Program (ESY) is to offer the program virtually. Families with students receiving special education services will have a meeting with their child’s case manager to determine if their child qualifies for ESY. ESY is for students with disabilities who are not able to recoup the skills lost during an extended break in the school year. In order to ensure these students maintain the skills growth they achieved during the school year, services are provided to address specific areas of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) during extended periods of time that school is not in session, such as the summer months. All ESY decision meetings will be completed by June 8. The calendar for ESY programs is as follows:
- Friday, July 10, 2020: ESY pre-service day for teachers
- Monday, July 13-Friday, August 7, 2020: Instructional days for the four-week program
- Monday, July 13-Friday, August 14, 2020: Instructional days for the five-week program
Virtual Commencement Ceremonies for Individual High Schools
All MCPS high schools will host individual virtual ceremonies for their students and families June 8 through June 12. A link to view these ceremonies will be posted on the MCPS graduation webpage and on each school’s home page. The ceremonies will also be rebroadcast on MCPS TV (Comcast channel 33, RCN channel 88, and Verizon channel 35).
Districtwide Boundary Analysis
The Board of Education voted on May 28 to delay the production and release of the final report of the Districtwide Boundary Analysis, with an anticipated target release date of December 1, 2020. This delay is necessary due to the ongoing public health emergency that has consumed the efforts of the entire school system and the community. MCPS staff and the external consultant group, WXY, will re-engage in the work of the Districtwide Boundary Analysis in the fall, when public health conditions improve and the environment for reopening schools is more settled.
On March 20, 2020, MCPS released the Interim Report of the Districtwide Boundary Analysis. This report brought together extensive research and analysis on the factors for consideration in the boundary analysis, as well as capturing and incorporating community feedback garnered during the initial months of the project. The Interim Report remains available on the Montgomery County Public Schools website.
We acknowledge the tremendous fiscal uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 global health pandemic and are committed to using funding to maintain the operational and instructional infrastructure of the school system and to keep the focus on excellence and equity. The Board of Education will adopt a final budget in June that will reflect the district’s work to provide a way of offering different learning experiences and protecting student and staff safety in the coming year. Learn more about what this means for our district in this All In blog post.
Student Service Learning Forms Due June 5
All Student Service Learning (SSL) forms for service completed during the summer of 2019, first semester, and second semester are due by June 5, 2020, in order to be documented on report cards. Forms should be emailed to your school’s SSL coordinator by the June 5 deadline. SSL documentation for continued service through the summer of 2020 will be accepted in September 2020. Students should email the completed SSL form directly to their school’s SSL coordinator:
- High School SSL Coordinators
- Middle School SSL Coordinators
Kindergarten registration is open for children who will be 5 years old by September 1, 2020. MCPS’ kindergarten program is widely recognized as among the best in the nation, with students making excellent progress toward the district’s reading and mathematics goals. We believe our youngest learners should receive a rich and well-rounded early learning experience to prepare them to be successful, productive 21st century citizens. MCPS has launched a new online registration/enrollment process to support families who wish to enroll their children. Families can complete the process in three ways:
- Online, starting with this Registration Survey
- Over the phone by calling 240-740-5999
- By paper forms. Complete the Registration Survey or call 240-740-5999 to request forms be mailed to your home.
If you are uncertain about your plans for the fall, but will likely send your child when school opens, please enroll him or her now. Families that have received the registration materials are asked to complete the forms and submit them as soon as possible.
Learn More about the MCPS Kindergarten Program
Enroll Your Child Now
Pride Town Hall Held May 27
MCPS hosted a virtual Pride Town Hall on May 27. The purpose of the event was to reconnect with MCPS LGBTQ+ youth, families and community during the COVID-19 crisis. During the town hall, community partners and organizations shared resources available to students and families, and discussed the challenges LGBTQ+ youth are facing during the extended school closure. MCPS staff and representatives from Casa Ruby, the Family Justice Center, GLSEN, the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations (MCCPTA), MoCo Pride Center, MoCo Pride Student Organization, PFLAG and SMYAL were available to answer questions from participants. You can view the Town Hall here.
Census 2020: Your Voice Counts
Every household in Montgomery County has the option to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail. Households that haven't received their invitation (or can't find it) can still respond online now—even without their invitation or Census ID—by providing their address. To respond online, please visit www.2020Census.gov or use 844-330-2020 to respond by phone.
2020 Primary Election
The primary election originally scheduled for April 28, 2020, was moved to June 2, 2020. All registered and eligible voters were mailed a ballot for this election. Completed ballots must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Voters who prefer to drop off their ballots can do so at designated ballot drop-off locations (lugares designados para dejarlos) from Thursday, May 21, 2020, through Tuesday, June 2, 2020. If you are unable to vote by mail, you may vote in-person on election day, June 2, 2020, at a vote center in the jurisdiction where you live. More information is here.