Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff:
Happy Father's Day! We want to thank all of our MCPS fathers for all you do for the children and youth in our community. You are appreciated.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) recently released an updated version of Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education. The updated plan specifies what school districts must have in place for the reopening of schools and presents a number of strategies and considerations for school systems. The guide will serve as a roadmap for local school systems in developing recovery plans. MSDE has asked that all local school districts have their recovery plans completed and posted online by August 14. MSDE will review the plans to ensure they include and address all requirements for opening schools. MCPS is working on a comprehensive plan that reflects logistical constraints and health and safety requirements. We will begin to share the framework of the plan, as well as other important elements for reopening facilities and school buildings, with the community during the first two weeks of July. Additionally, the Board of Education will have a discussion on our reopening efforts at its July 14 business meeting. MCPS will continue to work through July and August so we are ready to serve students when school resumes on August 31, 2020.
The decision on the reopening of school buildings is a decision made by state and local school and health officials. Once a decision is made, Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, will announce the reopening and will communicate directly with school districts and the public. Similarly, MCPS is working closely with state and local health officials around opening child care in school buildings. We appreciate how critical these decisions are for our community.
As we look ahead to the upcoming school year and the important decisions we must make about what school will look like and how our students will experience learning, we want to assure you that we are approaching this work thoughtfully and collaboratively. The health and safety of our students and employees and ensuring that we provide a rigorous, enriching and high-quality education for all students are our highest priorities.
Your input is critical in this process. MCPS has launched a survey designed to gather community input around key elements that will need to be included in our recovery plan for the fall. When completing this survey, please keep in mind that we are considering a number of scenarios, including continuing with remote learning; engaging in a hybrid model that includes some face-to-face instruction and some remote learning; and providing in-person learning with restrictions in place, such as physical distancing and improved hygiene requirements.
Please see below for updates on grading options for high school courses, per-pupil spending on report cards, summer enrichment programs, and a virtual event to discuss the impact of racism on mental health.
Jack R. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
High School Course Grade Selection
Until June 12, secondary students taking high school level courses were able to select a final semester grade (a letter grade or Pass/Incomplete) for the fourth marking period high school semester courses in the online portal. These choices will be reflected on the report card that will be mailed June 23. If students were not able to make a choice in the portal, a default selection that will benefit the student will be applied and reflected on the report card.
For students who were not able to make the choice in the grade selection online portal or would like to revisit the selection, please contact your school counselor after you have received and reviewed your report card. Students will be able to revisit the grading selection for the foreseeable future. Watch this video for more information.
Maryland State Department of Education to Release Per-Pupil Allocation in State Report Card
Beginning this year, MSDE will add per-pupil spending data as part of the annually published school report cards. States must provide this information as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA—a federal law that seeks to ensure equity, accountability and a quality education for all public school students. A number of factors impact a school’s level of per-student funding. These factors include the number of students in the school, special education services provided, school designations, such as Title I and Focus schools, and the experience level of the staff—for example, having more veteran teachers versus new teachers in a school building. This information will be posted publicly starting June 23.
The deadline for MCPS students to register for Virtual Summer School for high school credit is July 3. We are pleased to share that MCPS is partnering with several non-profit organizations, businesses and county agencies to offer a variety of enrichment programs and workshops to enhance your child’s summer learning. To view the list of programs available, please visit the Summer Programs webpage. Programs cover a range of topics, including goal setting, financial literacy, music, art, dance and STEM.
Waymaking Special Event to Discuss Impact of Racism on Mental Health
MCPS is hosting a Waymaking special virtual event entitled, A Courageous Conversation on the Impact of Racism on Mental Health. The conversations will be held online in two parts—on Tuesday, June 30, and on Tuesday, July 7, from 6:30–8 p.m. The events will be hosted by Dr. Christina Conolly, director of psychological services for MCPS, and John Landesman, a coordinator in the Equity Initiatives Unit. Both events will feature a panel discussion, and question-and-answer sessions.
The June 30 event will examine the problems around access and barriers to receiving mental health. This will include a conversation on social justice and how to change mindsets and stigma around mental health.
The July 7 conversation will focus on how people can get help and support with mental health concerns, as well as discussing how to eliminate the stigma of getting mental health support.
Join the webinars here.
Prekindergarten/Head Start Registration
Do you have a child who will be four years old on or before September 1? If you do, it is time to register for the Prekindergarten/Head Start program for fall 2020. Registration is available online and by phone. Start your application by going to the MCPS website and completing the survey. In the survey, you may choose to complete the application online, receive a paper application in the mail or ask for help to complete the application. Also, parents may call 240-740-5999 to request help to register.
School Library Media Programs
MCPS has created two virtual collections of eBook platforms for student and family use over the summer. The two collections contain access information to a variety of platforms available to students through MCPS, Montgomery County Public Libraries, trials and free websites. These two collections will provide information on how to access e-content over the summer
Montgomery County Launches Summer Employment Program
Montgomery County has launched “COVID Corps,” a summer employment program that creates a pathway between service and recovery for county residents aged 16-23. Members of the COVID Corps, coached by Montgomery County Recreation staff, will be deployed to work throughout the county supporting its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.Montgomery County will provide everything that is needed for success, including adult mentors and coaches for supervision, guidance and training. More information is available here.