Board of Education Meets Virtually and Discusses and Votes to Approve the Recovery of Education Plan; Receives an Overview of the Fall 2020 Be Well 365 Recovery Plan; Receives an Update on School Construction Progress; and Approves Administrative Appointments

September 1, 2020

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a virtual business meeting on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.  All Board members participated remotely, given the current health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis.  During the meeting, the Board discussed and approved the Recovery of Education Plan; received an overview of the proposed Fall 2020 Be Well 365 Recovery Plan; received an update on school construction progress; and approved administrative appointments.

The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.

Watch the recording of the August 25, 2020, meeting.

Montgomery County Public Schools’ Recovery of Education Plan

On August 4, 2020, the draft Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) Recovery of Education Plan was released to the public; and at the August 6,2020, meeting, Board members adopted a resolution approving a virtual-only reopening for the 2020–2021 school year to the end of the first semester.  MCPS will work with local and state leaders at the end of the first semester to reassess the decision and make recommendations for possible in-person instruction beginning in the second semester, if health conditions allow.

At the August 25 meeting, staff presented to the Board a revised draft of the MCPS Recovery of Education Plan. As an introduction, staff shared information about the summer programs offered and reported on the successful engagement of 49,073 students enrolled in the various programs offered, citing feedback from both parents and teachers affirming that the summer programs helped students improve their academic skills.

The presentation to the Board also included key information about:  food and nutrition services that will be offered to MCPS students beginning August 31, the first day of the 2020–2021 school year; and resources to support virtual learning, including technology, supplies, and learning materials. MCPS will implement a one-to-one-student-to-device model, with added resources including MiFi devices and document cameras. Staff will be supported through various devices and training to best engage students through technology resources provided. Parents also will have the opportunity to receive training in the use of technology to help them support their children during virtual learning. 

In response to stakeholder feedback, MCPS will be shifting to a single platform Canvas/myMCPS Classroom, which integrates multiple systems; allows users to view all assignments and student work; and includes a homework calendar, announcements and alerts. The application of course-level analytics will be used to track students’ attendance. This also will make it possible to record attendance during self-paced or independent classes.

During the meeting, staff also shared valuable lessons learned through the innovative calendar schools, Arcola and Roscoe R. Nix elementary schools, as well as recurring themes in feedback from stakeholders, both of which have helped inform revisions to the Recovery of Education Plan and proposed school schedules for elementary and secondary levels. 

After the presentation and additional discussion, Board members approved the Recovery of Education Plan. MCPS will continue to engage stakeholders and make adjustments to the plan where needed in order to best serve students and respond to the feedback received from the community.

Superintendent Jack R Smith will continue working with county health officials to reassess conditions, at the end of the first quarter, in an effort to determine the safest and most appropriate model of instruction for the second semester of the 2020–2021 school year and to provide a recommendation to the Board of Education no later than November 10, 2020.

View the presentation.

Read the adopted resolution.

Review the approved Recovery of Education Plan.

Visit the Recovery website.

Proposed Be Well 365 Recovery Plan

As a complementary companion to the Recovery of Education Plan, staff presented an overview of the proposed Fall 2020 Be Well 365 Recovery Plan. The plan focuses on providing support and resources to MCPS families and staff to promote good mental health and well-being.  The plan offers ways to help students, families and staff overcome the challenges of virtual-only instruction and the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. The plan also recognizes and addresses the need for ongoing social-emotional learning and interventions; staff member supports; and family and community supports.  

The following principles will guide the work as the plan is developed:

  • Ensure the safety and wellness of students and staff
  • Deliver high-quality instruction to students, regardless of delivery model
  • Equity: Ensuring All Means All
  • Optimize use of resources (spaces and materials)
  • Community and stakeholder engagement in plan development

Engaging the community throughout the planning and implementation is a priority and will include efforts to reach elementary, middle, and high school students, staff members, and families. Messaging will target families and students who might have barriers to traditional forms of messaging, and will reflect the diverse languages, cultures, and backgrounds of the MCPS community.

View the presentation.

School Construction Project Update

Staff members presented Board members with school construction progress update and gave an overview on the following:

  • Construction Project Updates
  • CIP Updates and State Legislative Recap
  • South Lake Elementary School
  • COVID-19 Related CIP Work: HVAC
  • Reopening of Charles W. Woodward High School

Details about State legislation, relative to COVID-19 and the Built to Learn Act of 2020, included the following:

  • Would provide supplemental funding to the annual school construction program allocation
  • Maryland General Assembly passed the legislation, due to COVID-19, Governor Hogan vetoed the $4.0B plan from the Kirwan Commission
  • The Built to Learn Act of 2020, was tied to the Kirwan Commission funding, therefore, the supplemental funding will not go into effect
  • A veto override can be considered when the Maryland General Assembly meets in January 2021
  • Delay of this $2.2B supplemental school construction funding could impact future capital project schedules

View the presentation.

Read the Montgomery County Planning Board Mandatory Referral Presentation—South Lake Elementary School Site Modifications.


The Board approved the resolution declaring September 15 to October 15, 2020,as Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Board approved the resolution declaring September 6–12, 2020, as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week.

Human Resources Appointments

The Board approved the following administrative appointments: 

Mary J. Bergstresser, currently acting supervisor, Internal Audit Unit, Board of Education, as supervisor, Internal Audit Unit, Board of Education

Juan M. Cardenas, currently acting supervisor, Applied Research Unit, Office of Shared Accountability (OSA), as assistant director, OSA

Dr. Syretta R. James, currently chief clinical officer, Respire Behavioral Health, Inc., as supervisor, Applied Research and Evaluation, OSA

Future Meetings

The Board of Education is scheduled to hold its next business meeting on Thursday, September 10, 2020.  The virtual format of this meeting will continue, given the current COVID-19 crisis.  The agenda is subject to change. Please check the Board of Education website and meeting calendar for further information. 

About the Board of Education
The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.

Montgomery County Board of Education: Mrs. Shebra L. Evans, president; Ms. Brenda Wolff, vice president.  Members: Ms. Jeanette E. Dixon, Dr. Judith Docca, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Ms. Karla Silvestre, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Nicholas Asante, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030. 





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