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Board of Education Receives an Update on the Districtwide Boundary Analysis and the Reopening of Charles W. Woodward High School; Discusses Innovative Approaches to Alternative Education; and Discusses a New Business Item on Supporting Students’ Access to Nutritional Meals
The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) met on Monday, July 29, 2019, at Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board received an update on the districtwide boundary analysis and on the reopening of Charles W. Woodward High School; discussed innovative approaches to alternative education and discussed student attendance pathways and engagement; as a previous new business item, the Board referred Policy IQD, Academic Eligibility for Extracurricular Activities, to the Policy Management Committee for review; and discussed a new business item regarding supporting students’ access to nutritional meals.
The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.
Update on Districtwide Boundary Analysis
On January 8, 2019, the Board adopted a resolution assigning to the superintendent of schools the task of hiring an outside consultant to review school boundaries in light of revised Policy FAA, Educational Facilities Planning. The resolution directed that the findings be presented to the Board no later than March 2020, and that potential modifications considered are in accordance with the four factors in Policy FAA: student demographics, geography, stability of assignments over time, and facility utilization. Once the report is presented, Board members will determine the next steps and determine how to obtain feedback from the community.
The Board also directed the superintendent of schools to solicit community feedback and input on the scope of services for this analysis as part of developing the Request for Proposals (RFP) to implement the Board’s resolution. This feedback and input process was conducted throughout late winter and spring 2019, through community forums, as well as through soliciting and receiving online comments and additional correspondence.
Several proposals were received in response to the RFP, which require additional time to review and analyze, given the complexity and magnitude of the project and proposals. The superintendent of schools anticipates bringing an award of contract to the Board of Education for action on August 29, 2019.
The superintendent of schools reminded Board members and the community that neither a boundary analysis nor the report can authorize a boundary study. The work is being done to gather information to better understand how to best use our facilities; to give access and opportunity to every student countywide; and to inform as future boundary studies are conducted.
At its July 29 meeting, the Board received a status report on this process, an overview of the content of the RFP, and an outline of anticipated next steps. Staff members also informed the Board that they anticipate that the next community engagement would occur in the fall and regular updates would be available on the website throughout the process.
Read the memorandum to the Board.
View the PowerPoint presentation.
Charles W. Woodward High School Reopening Update
The Board received an update concerning the status and project overview of the work done in the initial design stages of the project to reopen Charles W. Woodward High School (Woodward). Staff members presented a conceptual facility design in advance of the preliminary plan presentation scheduled for October 2019. Board members and staff discussion centered on the major design elements and concepts and how to proceed with the overall building design concept, which would allow for flexibility of the space. Staff members sought the Board’s direction and guidance by asking questions regarding site and facility configuration and amenities. Discussion also included issues specific to the Woodward project and site constraints; resource allocation for this and future projects; and possible community concerns and interest about the future direction of Woodward. The objective is to recognize the evolving programs in the county and to recognize the need for a school that is efficient and able to withstand program changes over the years.
Community engagement has been ongoing and will continue throughout the process. The Board stressed the importance of engaging the community, as well as expanding its reach to include more stakeholders.
Innovative Approaches to Alternative Education
Board members received a presentation on the Recovery and Academic Program (RAP), and the juvenile services education county pilot program at Alfred D. Noyes Children’s Center and the efforts of the programs to serve students who need additional support. An overview of each program was provided.
The RAP pairs academic coursework from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) with recovery support services provided at The Landing, Family Services recovery clubhouse. The impetus for the program is to enable students to continue to work toward graduation in a safe and supportive environment during the day, while learning the necessary skills needed to maintain sobriety in the afternoons and evenings. Funded by a Maryland State Government grant, the program is free of charge to Montgomery County youth and accepts referrals from MCPS, juvenile drug court, and other nonprofit agencies. In addition, staff members offered an explanation of the referral process, the daily program, outcomes and insight about the program’s first year of implementation.
Information about the Alfred D. Noyes Children’s Center also was presented to the Board. Currently, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Juvenile Services Education System (JSES) provides educational services in 13 residential facilities operated by the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). In 2018, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill (HB) 1607 establishing the Juvenile Services Education County Pilot Program. The purpose of the program is to pilot a model for the oversight of education for children in the juvenile justice system by local boards of education.
Through a partnership between MCPS and MSDE, the Alfred J. Noyes Children’s Center in Rockville will serve as the JSES facility participant in the pilot. The pilot project team will be managed by the Noyes School principal with support from the site coach and MCPS executive director (chief academic officer) and consists of representatives from MCPS offices, as well as representatives from MSDE and JSES. The reconstitution of this team is essential to a successful implementation plan in this first year of the pilot.
Discussion also focused on the proposed bodies of work supported by MCPS for the pilot; proposed grant-funded supports; and proposed MCPS in-kind supports.
Student Attendance Pathway and Engagement
In January 2019, a committee was formed to explore what factors compel students to drop out of school or infrequently attend school. This concern speaks to MCPS’ core values, equity, and ensuring that each student embraces education as a pathway toward a fulfilling future.
This exploratory committee compiled a report and presented its findings at the July 29 Board meeting. The report presented examined relationships between chronic absenteeism, varying levels of student engagement, and factors influencing both. The study found several key areas impacting student attendance, including: lack of relationships with other students and staff members; reading below grade level; challenges for English Language Learner students; keeping students engaged through partnerships, internships and other pathways to graduation; obtaining help and guidance through counselors and social services; equipping staff through professional staff development, teaching methodologies and models; articulation between school levels; special education programs and the availability of unique pathways to graduation; disengagement at the middle school level; and the use of evidence of learning and eligibility measures to track student progress.
The analysis and findings of the report also were presented, including the successful factors and barriers to student engagement. Staff and Board members stressed the importance of meeting the needs of every student through relationships and equitable access to resources to keep students engaged.
Previous New Business Item: Referral to Policy Management Committee
The Board approved a resolution to refer Board Policy IQD, Academic Eligibility for Extracurricular Activities, to the Board’s Policy Management Committee. The Board approved the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Board of Education requests that the Board’s Policy Management Committee review Board Policy IQD, Academic Eligibility for Extracurricular Activities; benchmark with similarly situated school systems; review system data on eligibility; and consider bringing forward a recommendation to the Board of Education during the 2019–2020 school year.
Read the Board’s memorandum.
New Business Item: Supporting Student Access to Nutritional Meals
The Board raised supporting student access to nutritional meals as a new business item to be considered and to vote on at the next Board meeting. The following resolution will lie on the table until the August 29, 2019, meeting.
Resolved, that the Board of Education request that the Board’s Policy Management Committee review the need for a policy that addresses the school system’s role in combatting childhood hunger; benchmark with local and similarly situated school districts and consider bringing forward a recommendation to the Board of Education during the 2019–2020 school year.
Facilities and School Construction
The Board also approved the architectural appointment for the Dufief Elementary School Addition/Facility Upgrade Project.
The Board approved the following administrative appointments:
Everett M. Davis, currently principal, Redland Middle School, as director, Student, Family, and School Services.
Dr. Tia D. McKinnon, currently learning and achievement specialist, Office of School Support and Improvement, as supervisor, Department of Special Education.
The Board voted to award a high school diploma to Captain Alvin M. Freedman, a military veteran and former student at Montgomery Blair High School.
The Board of Education will hold its next regular business meeting Thursday, August 29, 2019. 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; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president. Members: Ms. Jeanette E. Dixon, Dr. Judith Docca, Ms. Karla Silvestre, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, Ms. Brenda Wolff, and Mr. Nathaniel Tinbite, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030.
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