Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff:
Tomorrow, June 15, 2020, is the last day of school for the 2019-2020 school year. What a year it has been. While the last three months have been very different and unbelievably difficult, our community has accomplished amazing things. Thank you for your tremendous work, collaboration, flexibility and commitment to learning.
While the traditional school year is over, our staff, in collaboration with members of the community and other key stakeholders, are hard at work launching summer learning programs and developing strategies for what national, state and local health officials currently believe will need to be a non-traditional return in the fall. This collaborative work is guided by research; addresses student needs; and focuses on providing multiple methods of teaching and learning that will reach students in-person and remotely. Based on our experiences and the experiences of other school districts during the pandemic, as well the principles outlined in Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education, we know our plan must:
- Include strategies for strengthening engagement with students and school communities.
- Foster academic excellence.
- Provide a wide range of supports for students and staff.
- Establish effective and personalized ongoing professional development for staff.
- Ensure students and staff have the digital tools and connectivity that are necessary for engaging in remote learning, as well as for in-person and hybrid learning models, and
- Provide timely and ongoing communication and feedback opportunities for our community.
We know you have many questions and concerns and are hearing inaccurate information about reopening plans for our school district. I want to assure you that we have not made any decisions regarding plans for the fall. We continue to work closely with state and local officials, who are providing a clearer picture of the potential health and safety measures that must be in place before we can safely welcome students and staff back into our buildings.
We are also committed to hearing from as many members of the community as possible to ensure we develop a plan for a safe return to school buildings that reflects the needs of our large, diverse school district. In the coming weeks, we will launch a survey to provide you with an opportunity to share your ideas and preferences for how students should engage in learning during next school year. In addition to the survey, we will use other methods to capture community input. Although the school year ended in a way that none of us ever imagined, and next school year may not begin in a traditional way, I remain optimistic about what we will achieve together in the coming months.
Below are updates on several areas including guidance from the state and county government on Phase II reopening plans, summer school programs, community use of outdoor spaces, and wellness resources to support students’ mental health.
We hope you have a happy, healthy and restful summer.
Jack R. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Following the Direction of the County Government
On June 10, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon and Governor Larry Hogan announced a transition to Phase II of recovery for the state. However, Montgomery County is still in Phase I. We are working closely with our local health officials to determine whether MCPS can begin certain activities and programs (i.e. outdoor athletic practices, in-person graduations and in-person summer school) after the county transitions to the next phase. We will provide updates as soon as they are available.
At this time, childcare facilities in MCPS will not reopen as we continue our end-of-the-year closeout process. MCPS is working closely with state and local health officials to determine how to safely reopen and operate child care in school facilities in the next phase of reopening, while closely following all state and local health requirements.
In addition to virtual summer school for high school credit courses, MCPS elementary, middle and high schools will offer a variety of summer program experiences in an online model. The goal of these programs will be to keep students engaged and learning during the summer months; address the loss of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic; and offer a variety of specialized opportunities that are of interest to students. Our vision for summer programs is that all students in MCPS will have an opportunity to participate in academic and enrichment programs this summer. Generally, programs will run from one to three weeks beginning July 13, depending on the program. Parents will be notified by their school principal which programs will be available at their schools, and will receive details about program registration from their local school. Registration links will be posted on school websites by June 23, 2020. To learn about summer programs, visit this webpage.
Elementary Report Cards
Report cards will be mailed home June 17, 2020. The report card will contain grades for first, second and third marking periods, as well as a cumulative average.
The Montgomery County Board of Education approved a revised grading policy for the fourth marking period of the 2019-2020 school year. Letter grades were not assigned for Marking Period 4 at the elementary level. As a result, the Marking Period 4 section on your child’s report card will not contain grades. The statement below will also be included on your child’s report card.
The Montgomery County Board of Education approved a revised grading policy for the second semester of the 2019-20 school year. Letter grades were not assigned for the 4th Marking Period at the elementary level.
Secondary Report Cards
Secondary report cards will be mailed on June 23, 2020, and will reflect the revised grading policy approved by the Board of Education
. For high school credit semester courses, students/families were able to select a final semester grade
(a letter grade or Pass/Incomplete), which should be reflected on the report card. If you were not able to make the choice in the online portal or would like to revisit the selection, please contact your child’s school counselor.
Available Technology for Students and Staff
Students who received Chromebooks and MiFi devices at the start of remote learning will be able to keep those devices through the summer for their continued teaching and learning opportunities. Students who are participating in summer programs and still need a device or a mobile hotspot, or need to replace a device that is not working can go to 45 W. Gude Dr. in Rockville, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Please note that as MCPS looks to the 2020–2021 school year, we are planning to move to the use of a single platform (myMCPS Classroom) for learning, based on feedback from students, parents, teachers and principals. Details about that plan will be shared in the coming weeks.
Board of Education Adopts Final $2.76 Billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2021
The Board of Education adopted a $2.76 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 on June 11. The budget represents a $74.9 million increase, or a 2.8 percent increase, over the current fiscal year budget. This funding level reflects the County Council’s vote to fund the school district at the minimum level required by state law given the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget includes funding to support the continuity of learning plan and addresses increasing enrollment, rising costs and much needed investments to maintain the level of academic excellence in MCPS and to close gaps in access, opportunity and achievement for students who have yet to meet their potential. Learn more about the budget here.
Community Use of Outdoor Spaces
MCPS outdoor spaces will be open for public use beginning Wednesday, July 1. Outdoor spaces will follow the processes and procedures for use and reservation through Community Use of Public Facilities, which will align with all state and county activity guidelines and restrictions. Use of outdoor space will not include use of gyms, locker rooms or other indoor athletic facilities. MCPS will follow public health guidelines in determining when indoor community use will be permitted. High school tracks will be open for public walk-on access as of June 15. Fields remain closed through July 1 and will only be available through the Community Use of Public Facilities permitting process.
The safety and wellness of our students remains a top priority. Below are resources to support the physical, social and psychological well-being of our community. If you believe your child is in crisis, please contact the Montgomery County Crisis Center at 240-777-4000. Students can also reach out to their counselor and school psychologist to set up a confidential appointment.
Waymaking Video Series
Mindful Moments Video Series
Managing Stress and Anxiety for Students
Managing Stress and Anxiety during Social Distancing
Tips on Addressing Student Grief
Tips for Preventing Youth Suicide
Changes to Meal Service Program for the Summer
Starting on Tuesday, June 16, service hours for the school, bus and mobile food sites will be changing. Students can pick up breakfast, lunch and dinner meals at school and mobile truck sites from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Bus distribution will take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. To view the complete list of sites, visit the webpage.
All In: Class of 2020 Shares Reflections on Challenging School Year
In the latest All In blog post, Dr. Smith shares reflections from members of the Class of 2020. You can read the blog post here. And in case you missed it, be sure to check out MCPS Graduates 2020, our virtual commencement celebration for the Class of 2020, which featured Chef Jose Andres as the keynote speaker. You can view the playlist of all of the individual high school celebrations here.
Celebrating our Graduates
Be sure to save the date for a special Spanish virtual commencement celebration for the Class of 2020. This event will be held on June 20 at 6 p.m. on Telemundo 44, theMCPSTV en Español YouTube channel and on the MCPS website. The event, produced in collaboration with NBC, will include remarks from celebrities and elected officials including Mario Lopez, chef José Andrés, Montgomery County councilmember Nancy Navarro, and grammy-nominated singer Verny Varela. It will also include reflections from members of the Class of 2020. The ceremony will be hosted by Telemundo anchor Alban Zamora. We hope you will tune in for this exciting celebration for our Hispanic and Latinx students.