Board of Education Meets Virtually and Receives Update on the Start of the 2020–2021 School Year; Discusses Charles W. Woodward High School Reopening Project; and Submits Additional Name for the Renaming of Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School

September 16, 2020

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a virtual business meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.  All Board members participated remotely, given the current health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.  During the meeting, the Board received an update and discussed the opening of the 2020–2021 school year; received an update on Charles W. Woodward High School Reopening Project; and voted on a list of names for consideration for the renaming of Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School.

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

Watch the recording of the Sept 10, 2020, meeting

Opening of Schools

The Board received a presentation and held a discussion on the opening of the 2020–2021 school year. The presentation to the Board included key information about aspects of the virtual learning plan and school system operations that are working well; enrollment and attendance data; distribution of materials and meals; challenges that schools and central office are addressing with regard to attendance, engagement and technology; English for Speakers of Other Languages and Special Education services; and items that are on the horizons including consideration for a return to in-person instruction and access to MCPS school buildings and facilities for various needs. Principals and central office staff participated in the presentation and shared videos, comments, and highlights of the first week of school. 

View the PowerPoint presentation.

Renaming of Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School

On June 29, 2020, the Board of Education unanimously adopted a resolution which set forth the following three names for consideration for the renaming of Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School: Josiah Henson, Katherine Johnson, and Odessa Shannon. Additionally, the Board of Education directed the superintendent of schools to expedite the community engagement and renaming process. At the September10 meeting, the Board continued its discussion on the renaming process and voted to submit an additional name—Brigadier General Charles Edward McGee—for consideration. General McGee is a retired American fighter pilot and one of the last living members of the Tuskegee Airmen who served in World War II. The following names have now been submitted to the principal of Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School for consideration by the school naming committee: Josiah Henson, Katherine Johnson, Charles McGee, and Odessa Shannon.  Pursuant to Board of Education Policy FFA, Naming School Facilities, the final responsibility for officially naming a school building rests with the Board of Education.

Read the resolution.

Charles W. Woodward High School Reopening Project

The Board received an update and approved the continuance of plans for the Charles W. Woodward High School Reopening Project.  The building and site design has evolved significantly in the past 18 months. Several key milestones during this design process included:  

  • development Review Committee evaluation on May 31, 2019, by the Montgomery County Planning Department; 

  • preliminary Plans approval by the Board of Education on October 28, 2019, (Resolution Nos. 534-19 and 535-19) ; 

  •  acceptance of Mandatory Referral and Forest Conservation Plans by the Montgomery County Planning Department on April 30, 2020; and  

  • mandatory Referral hearing on July 23, 2020, conducted by the Montgomery County Planning Board. 

Throughout this process, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff regularly has met and communicated with staff in the Planning Department around building and site design issues. At all stages of the process, MCPS staff has incorporated extensive comments, suggestions, and requests from Planning Department staff into the design of the building and site. These changes included: redesign of the site entrance; shifting the main front plaza area and offsetting the pedestrian gathering areas to a dedicated location; refining the pedestrian walk path to match building entry points; and adding a crosswalk to Old Georgetown Road in front of the site. 

It is the district’s intent through project design to balance and integrate all aspects of school site operations to ensure maximum safety of all, including pedestrians, bicyclists, student drivers, bus riders, visitors, and passengers utilizing drop-off and pick-up operations. The project plans have been developed in consultation with third-party pedestrian safety and traffic engineers, parent/guardian and community representatives, MCPS Department of Transportation, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, and Montgomery County Department of Permitting.

Read the memo to the Board.

View the PowerPoint presentation.

Future Meetings 

The Board of Education is scheduled to hold its next virtual business meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.  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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