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Board of Education Meets Virtually and Receives an Update on the Start of the School Year; Temporarily Suspends Policy ACF and Affirms Implementation of Title IX Regulations; Approves Administrative Appointments; and Approved a Resolution Regarding Excused Absences for Mental Health
The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a virtual business meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 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 received an update on the start of the 2020–2021 school year; voted to temporarily suspend Policy ACF, Sexual Harassment, and affirmed the implementation of new Title IX federal regulations; approved administrative appointments; and approved a resolution regarding excused absences for mental health.
The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.
Watch the recording of the September 22, 2020, meeting.
Montgomery County Public Schools’ Recovery of Education Plan
August 31, 2020, marked the first day of the 2020–2021 school year, which began with remote instruction for all Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students. Superintendent of Schools Jack R. Smith shared the successes and challenges of the initial weeks of remote instruction and restated the district’s commitment to continue to improve the learning experience, student engagement and to meet the needs of students and their families. He stressed the importance of using the circumstances as an opportunity to reexamine MCPS practices and methods and making positive, lasting change across the district.
Staff also shared information about administering assessments, including the SAT and ACT; assessments to measure student achievement and growth from fall 2019 to fall 2020; and State testing required by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 for federal accountability. Discussion also centered on implementing accommodations in a remote setting and assessment methods for special education students; students with Section 504 Plans; and English Language Learners. Communication with MCPS families has been ongoing, particularly as it concerns the Maryland State Department of Education’s requirement that literacy and math assessments be administered in the fall to all students in Kindergarten through Grade 12, to inform instruction, recovery and intervention, and account for learning loss.
Staff presented information about the CARES Act Funding for Enrichment Programs, which are being implemented to maximize student engagement; address learning recovery; and accelerate learning to support students in achieving grade level standards. Details were shared about the implementation of programs, sample schedules and the Enrichment budget for teachers, substitutes, paraeducators, tutoring materials, and partners, such as George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. MCPS leaders highlighted the district’s commitment to provide support to students beyond the CARES funding cycle.
Board members also received an overview of data concerning student enrollment, attendance, technology, student engagement, and meal distribution during the first few weeks of school.
View the presentation.
Board Policy ACF Temporarily Suspended, Title IX Regulations Affirmed
As the chair of the Board’s Policy Management Committee, Board Member Patricia O’Neill presented details about recent changes to federal regulations concerning sexual harassment. On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education promulgated regulations to govern reporting, investigation, and discipline of incidents of sexual harassment as a form of sexual discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended. These regulations set forth a definition of sexual harassment and specific reporting, investigation, and training procedures for Grades K–12 education institutions, as well as postsecondary educational institutions receiving federal education funds.
In advance of the August 14, 2020, effective date established by the Department of Education, MCPS staff from the Student Welfare Compliance Unit, the Office of Employee Engagement and Labor Relations, and the Office of the General Counsel extensively researched and revised training materials, reporting and investigation procedures, and other required measures to be fully compliant with the federal regulations as of the effective date. In order to affirm the intention of MCPS to comply fully with federal Title IX requirements, the Board approved a resolution suspending Policy ACF, Sexual Harassment, until the Board’s Policy Management Committee considers and revises the policy.
The Board approved the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Board of Education hereby implements all aspects of the federal Title IX regulations, including, but not limited to, updated definitions of sexual harassment, equal treatment in responding to complaints of sexual harassment including notices to all parties as required, and an objective grievance process; and be it further
Resolved, That the Board of Education will temporarily suspend Board Policy ACF, Sexual Harassment, and authorizes the superintendent of schools to establish required procedures while the Board’s Policy Management Committee revises Policy ACF to align with requirements of the new federal regulations.
Read the full approved resolution.
Human Resources Appointments
The Board approved the following administrative appointments:
Karen Stratman, currently director, National Public Engagement, United States Department of Education, as chief of staff, Office of the Chief of Staff
Gary D. Mosesman, currently facilities manager, Division of Construction, Department of Facilities Management, as director, Division of Design and Construction, Department of Facilities Management
The Board approved the resolution celebrating Walk to School Day with a focus on pedestrian safety and the importance of daily physical activity, even during this time of remote instruction.
The Board approved the resolution declaring October 2020 to be Maryland Family Engagement Month, pending final approval by the Maryland State Department of Education.
The Board approved the resolution declaring October 2020 to be National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Facilities and School Construction
The Board approved a resolution for the architectural appointments for Security Vestibules Projects.
The Board of Education approved a resolution requesting that the Policy Management Committee review all relevant Board policies and MCPS regulations to explore the possibility of giving excused absences explicitly for mental health days, and to report back to the full Board no later than winter 2021.
Read the adopted resolution.
The Board of Education is scheduled to hold its next business meeting on Tuesday, October 6, 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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