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Board of Education Meets Virtually and Receives an Update on Recovery of Education and Planning for In-Person Instruction; Approves Amendments to the 2020–2021 Instructional School Year Calendar; Takes Final Action on Policy JEE Student Transfers; Approves Nonsubstantive Changes to Other Policies; Approves Administrative Appointments; and Approved a Resolution Regarding Gauging Community Interest in Renaming Schools.
The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a virtual business meeting on Tuesday, October 6, 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 remote learning and Recovery of Education; approved amendments to the 2020–2021 Instructional School Year calendar; took final action on Policy JEE, Student Transfers; approved nonsubstantive changes to several policies; approved administrative appointments; and approved a resolution regarding gauging community interest in renaming schools.
The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.
Watch the recording of the October 6, 2020, meeting.
Update: Recovery of Education Plan and Planning for In-Person Instruction
As an introduction to the presentation, staff members reviewed the principles guiding the implementation of the Recovery of Education Plan and the eventual transition to in-person learning, including:
Staff reviewed health metrics required by Governor Hogan and the Maryland State Department of Education for reopening schools for in-person instruction. Local data for both Montgomery County and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), relative to COVID-19 also was presented to Board members.
MCPS leaders emphasized that planning for in-person instruction must include monitoring health metrics and consultation with local public health officials as the foundation for decision making; support virtual instruction as the primary model with continued planning for in-person return; and position the system to respond to changing community health conditions to ensure safety.
Staff relayed details about the current access to MCPS offices and school buildings and outlined protocols for reporting COVID-19 cases. In addition, the Board was given a detailed overview of the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and stressed that there would be an ample inventory for staff and students. Further, the Department of Materials Management has worked directly with the Office of Special Education to identify additional PPE needed to support staff working closely with students with special needs. Staff will continue to work together to identify best practices and ensure appropriate safety materials are provided.
Updates on technology and enrollment data also were shared with the Board. Regarding MCPS athletics and extra-curricular activities, staff reported the work being done by the COVID-19 Task Force for Athletics and gave an overview of next steps, which include:
Superintendent Jack R. Smith and Board members emphasized that, while it is important to begin planning for in-person instruction, no date has been set for commencing face-to-face learning. MCPS will continue to inform the community as plans develop.
View the presentation.
2020–2021 Instructional School Year Calendar—Second Marking Period
At the August 25, 2020, Board meeting, staff analyzed the Innovative and Traditional school year calendars. It was affirmed that the Traditional School Year Calendar was aligned with the virtual instructional model for the first marking period; and the Board approved adjustments to the Innovative School Year Calendar to align the marking periods for the remainder of the school year with the Traditional School Year Calendar, with the understanding that staff would continue to analyze the Instructional School Year Calendar and recommend any needed adjustments.
At its October 6, 2020, meeting, the Board approved the following adjustments to the calendar, based upon staff members’ additional review of the second quarter. Approved changes include:
The changes result in 181 instructional days for the Traditional calendar and 209 instructional days for Innovative School Year Calendar.
Read the resolution and the amended calendars
View the presentation
Final Action: Board Policy JEE, Student Transfers
As the chair of the Board’s Policy Management Committee, Board Member Patricia O’Neill offered a resolution to take final action and approve changes to Policy JEE, Student Transfers.
Board members were reminded of the timeline and work around the revisions, specifically, that the Policy Management Committee (Committee) reviewed Board Policy JEE, Student Transfers, on November 19, 2018, June 12, 2019, September 12, 2019, October 22, 2019, February 18, 2020, and September 15, 2020. On January 9, 2020, the Board referred Policy JEE to the Committee with the instruction to consider further revisions and again distribute the policy revisions for public comment. The Board reviewed 535 comments received between November 13, 2019, and December 18, 2019, and an additional 120 comments received between February 18, 2020, through September 1, 2020.
At its October 6, 2020 meeting, the Board took final action and approved the Committee’s recommended draft.
Read the approved resolution, Committee recommended draft and summary of public comments received.
Other Policies Updated with Nonsubstantive Changes
Mrs. O’Neill also presented a resolution to Board members recommending that directory information be updated in several policies. In accordance with the Board of Education’s policy review process, staff recommended, and the Board of Education Policy Management Committee agreed to nonsubstantive changes to Policy ACA, Nondiscrimination, Equity, and Cultural Proficiency; Policy JGA, Student Discipline; Policy JHC, Child Abuse and Neglect; and Policy JHF, Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation.
Read the approved resolution and revisions for each policy.
Human Resources Appointments
The Board approved the following administrative appointments:
Veronica Hill, currently acting assistant director, Department of Facilities Management (DFM), Office of Operations, as director, Division of Maintenance and Operations, DFM
Lynne M. Zarate, currently director, Division of Maintenance, DFM, as director, Division of Sustainability and Compliance, DFM
The Board approved the resolution declaring the week of October 19−23, 2020, to be National School Bus Safety Week with a focus on increased training for school bus drivers and attendants during this current period of reduced school bus transportation due to COVID-19.
The Board approved the resolution recognizing the Montgomery County Family Justice Center. The Montgomery County Family Justice Center is a collaboration of public and private county agencies providing services to families impacted by domestic violence, with a mission to promote safety, well-being, and healing for victims of family violence.
The Board of Education approved a resolution directing the superintendent of schools and staff to gauge the interest of the following communities regarding the renaming of their middle and high school buildings and to report their findings to the Board no later than summer 2021: Montgomery Blair High School, Col. Zadok Magruder High School, Francis Scott Key Middle School, Richard Montgomery High School, John Poole Middle School, and Thomas S. Wootton High School. The Board of Education may develop timelines for the renaming of these schools depending upon the reported findings in accordance with Board Policy FFA, Naming School Facilities.
Read the adopted resolution.
The Board of Education is scheduled to hold its next business meeting on Tuesday, October 27, 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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