Board Approves Resolution on Universal Preschool

March 12, 2008
Board Approves Resolution on Universal Preschool Education and Reviews Outstanding Programs Supporting Student Achievement

The Board of Education met on Tuesday, March 11, and among other items, approved a resolution on universal preschool education. Three outstanding programs that support student achievement were reviewed and discussed. The Board tentatively approved a revised policy on student transportation and took final action on a policy designating representation of noncertificated supervisory employees. In addition, the Board voted its position on proposed legislation before the Maryland General Assembly and approved preliminary plans for improvements to three elementary school buildings. The Board also recognized 74 educators who earned National Board Certification in 2007. In addition, the Board approved fees for summer school and evening high school programs and discussed progress on the Kennedy Cluster Project.

Universal Preschool Education
The Board reviewed an update on the work of the state task force on Universal Preschool Education, which recommends a voluntary, free universal preschool program by Fiscal Year 2014 to provide a standards-based high quality early care and education to all 4-year-olds in Maryland whose parents request those services. The Board resolved to commit to collaborations with Montgomery County early childhood stakeholders to develop a countywide universal preschool implementation plan.

Programs to Support Student Achievement
The Board discussed three outstanding and innovative programs that support student achievement.

Rock View Elementary School’s Closing the Gap Initiative, with flexible groupings for reading and math, is helping close the gap between African American and Hispanic students, when compared with their white and Asian peers. In addition to closely monitoring every student, all students are placed in temporary and flexible groups according to reading and math ability. Students are moved to a group with more challenging coursework as soon as possible and are never moved to a lower- level group.

Rolling Terrace Elementary School is giving extra math support to limited English proficiency (LEP) students. Through the STAR Catchers Program, LEP students get additional support in test-taking strategies and math vocabulary as they relate to the Maryland School Assessment. Students communicate with each other to expand math vocabulary and understanding. They use data notebooks to monitor their own progress on key data points, including goals, daily facts, brief constructed responses, unit quizzes and student attitudes in math as measured by verbal communication.

Robert Frost Middle School is providing individual help to students from every subgroup who need improvement in reading and/or math. Through the MSA One-to-One Advisory Program, teachers, counselors, administrators and parent volunteers meet individually with a student to discuss academic interventions, provide suggestions for improvement, celebrate victories and conduct ongoing discussions.

Tentative Approval of Policy EEA, Student Transportation
The Board tentatively approved revised Policy EEA, Student Transportation, which establishes the operational standards of student transportation services, including eligibility criteria. The policy was reviewed with input from principals, parents, the MCCPTA, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Changes eliminate regulatory language, clarify the appeals process, and update language to reflect changes in federal laws that affect transportation options for students.

Final Action on Policy HDD
The Board took final action on Policy HDD, Designation of the Montgomery County Association of Administrative and Supervisory Personnel as Exclusive Representative of Noncertificated Supervisory Employees. The policy was approved following an opportunity for public comment.

Items of Legislation
The Board voted its position on items of legislation affecting education currently before the Maryland General Assembly.

Recognition of Educators Who Earned Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 2007
The Board recognized 74 MCPS educators who are among 229 National Board Certificated Teachers (NBCTs) in Maryland meeting the rigorous certification requirements this year. With a total of 363 NBCTs, MCPS ranks among the top 20 school districts in the nation for the number of NBCTs employed. MCPS provides a number of supports to NBCT candidates with the goal of substantially increasing the number of nationally certified teachers in schools throughout MCPS, particularly in schools highly impacted by poverty.

Preliminary Plans Presentations
The Board approved preliminary plans for the modernization of Cresthaven Elementary School and for additions to Takoma Park and East Silver Spring elementary schools.

FY 2009 Fees for Summer School and Evening High School Programs
The Board approved the increase of full fees for the revenue-based summer school courses by $10 and by $5 for the reduced fee amount. Fees remain the same for summer school minimal fee-based courses and regional evening high school programs.

Kennedy Cluster Project
The Board discussed an update on the current status of the John F. Kennedy High School Cluster Disparities and Performance Project, designed to accelerate progress already under way to significantly improve the academic achievement of African American students. Project teams are collecting and analyzing data to better understand all related issues, identify changes and services that may be needed within schools, and make recommendations to the county government regarding needed coordinated services from county departments and agencies. 

Board of Education: Mrs. Nancy Navarro, president. Ms. Shirley Brandman, vice president. Members: Mr. Steve Abrams, Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Sharon Cox, Dr. Judy Docca, Mrs. Patricia B. O’Neill, and Mr. Ben Moskowitz, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617. 

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