Reimagine, Reopen, Recover

Recovery of Education Guide

FALL SEMESTER

On August 25, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to approve the MCPS Fall 2020 Recovery Plan. MCPS will remain in a virtual-only instructional model through the first semester—January 29, 2021; or until state and local health officials determine conditions in our county allow for students to return safely after the first semester. The MCPS  recovery guide provides a roadmap for how the district will ensure students have flexibility and receive a high-quality learning experience.  Our recovery plan will be revised as we adjust to our new learning environment. The first day of school is Monday, August 31.  

Recovery Guide: Adobe PDF icon
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MSDE Recovery Guide Submission

Recovery Plan Timeline
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state of maryland
A message from Superintendent Jack Smith

Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Students:

Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff: Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is committed to providing high-quality instruction and keeping all students and staff safe. Surging COVID-19 infection rates across the nation and in our region have required school districts across the country to revise and adjust recovery plans for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

On July 20, we received additional guidance from Dr. Travis Gayles, county health officer, in which he shared that “based upon the current state of surveillance and epidemiological data, I would not recommend in-person instruction for students inside school buildings at this time. I recommend investing in a virtual instruction model until, at earliest, the completion of the first quarter in November, with consideration for virtual instruction through the first semester.” Given this guidance, we believe the safest choice for our district is to remain in a virtual-only instructional model through the first semester—January 29, 2021; or until state and local health officials determine conditions in our county allow for students to return safely after the first semester.

This was not an easy decision and I know it was very disappointing news for the many members of our community who were hoping to have in-person teaching and learning resume in the fall. We also want our students and staff to return to school buildings as quickly as possible, but only when it is safe to do so. We cannot jeopardize the health and well-being of our students, staff and community.

For our virtual learning model, our highest priority is to ensure excellence, access and equity in the learning experience for all of our students. We do know that virtual learning can present a number of academic and social/emotional challenges for many students. And while it isn’t the same as being able to work together in person, I want to assure you that we have developed a robust and dynamic virtual learning model that will provide engaging and enriching instruction for all students at all grade levels.

I am pleased to share with you details on our considerations and planning for the fall. The MCPS Fall 2020: Reimagine, Reopen, Recover Guide provides an overview of the Board of Education approved virtual-only learning model for the first semester. We will continue to improve upon this plan as we receive feedback from you—our parents, staff and students. MCPS, like other school districts across the nation, is reimagining every aspect of its work to provide all students with an education that prepares them to thrive in their futures. While this plan may never reach perfection, we can ensure that it will provide a flexible and high-quality learning experience for our students. Our recovery plan will be revised frequently as we adjust to our new learning environment.

We will reassess the impact of COVID-19 on school system operations in November 2020. At that time, we will work with state and local officials to determine whether we can transition to a blended learning model or if we must remain in virtual learning for part or all of the second semester.

We take the immense responsibility of educating and creating opportunities for every single student seriously. Thank you for your continued support and collaboration as we work together to ensure our students have a successful school year.

Sincerely,

Jack R. Smith
Superintendent of Schools

state of maryland
State Requirements for Opening Schools

State Requirements for Opening Schools

School districts must:

  • Develop and submit local education plans with a plan for communication
  • Incorporate equity as a component in the local recovery plan
  • Establish local education recovery stakeholder groups
  • Identify learning gaps and instructional placement of students
  • Follow and maintain curricular frameworks and MD College and Career Ready Standards

  • Adhere to components of IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and ADA
  • Adopt and follow health procedures outlined for all students by MSDE, MDH and CDC
  • Ensure safe transportation for all students
  • Develop system for tracking attendance

Resources

Our Guiding Principles

wellbeing
Ensure the safety and wellness of students and staff
 
teacher
Provide a robust and dynamic virtual learning experience
 
equity
Equity: Ensuring All Means All
 
resources
Optimize use of resources
 
plan
Community and stakeholder engagement in plan development
 

Our Plan

Virtual Learning

MCPS will remain in a virtual-only instructional model through the first semester—January 29, 2021; or until state and local health officials determine conditions in our county allow for students to return safely after the first semester. We have built on what we learned during the spring and will provide a robust and dynamic virtual learning experience for our students.

Robust Live Instruction and Engagement

All students will have live (synchronous) instruction and a full day of instructional experiences.

Flexibility for Students and Families

Lessons will be recorded for students that cannot access the lesson at the scheduled time.

What to Expect: Elementary School

*Please note that the following are just sample schedules. Schools may adjust the order of classes and other components to meet the needs of that school community.

Learning Experiences

Learning experiences for elementary students will include time in small groups, independent work, and teacher led activities. Students will have live, teacher-led instruction and a full-day of learning activities and supports. Students will also engage in non-screen related instructional activities (i.e. reading assignments and workbook problems).

Instructional Week At-A-Glance

*Please note that the following are just sample schedules. Schools may adjust the order of classes and other components to meet the needs of that school community.

On average, elementary students can expect schedules that incorporate the following:

  • Daily class meetings/social emotional learning (15-30 min daily)
  • Math (75-90 min daily)
  • Literacy (90 min daily)
  • Related and special services—English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and special education
  • Interventions/individual support
  • Social studies (30-45 min, once a week)/science (30-45 min, once a week)
  • Art, music, P.E. (20-45 min each, weekly)

*This schedule breakdown aligns with what a student would experience in school.

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Sample Schedules

*Please note that this is just a sample schedule. Schools may adjust these schedules to meet the scheduling needs of the school and the developmental needs of its students.

Targeted Support And Independent Work

The non-scheduled class time on Wednesdays is intentional time that prioritizes students and staff. It encourages connection and support outside of the daily class instructional blocks.

At all levels, we intend for non-scheduled class time to focus on two features that are essential to the student experience and learning:

  1. Time to engage in directed, self-paced/independent work that supports content mastery.
  2. Time to receive individualized student support, including working with staff members who serve students with disabilities and related service providers.
    At the elementary level there is additional intention for this time including:
    • Time for specials
     

At all levels, during non-scheduled class time, staff will be engaged in activities that directly connect to the provision of high quality planning, instruction and assessment. This includes individual and collaborative planning, examining student work, grading or professional development.

What to Expect: Middle School

Subject Areas

All students will remain enrolled in their core academic classes, required courses, electives, support classes, and special programs, according to the school-developed master schedule. Like a traditional schedule, students will be assigned to their subject area teachers by class period. This includes courses required for graduation, electives, Honors and advanced courses, and special programs.

Live Instructional Schedule

The live instructional schedule will include full class periods, with teachers fully engaged with their students for the duration of the lesson.

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Sample Schedules

*Please note that this is just a sample schedule. Schools may adjust these schedules to meet the scheduling needs of the school and the developmental needs of its students.

What to Expect: High School

Subject Areas

All students will remain enrolled in their core academic classes, required courses, electives, support classes and special programs, according to the school-developed master schedule. Like a traditional schedule, students will be assigned to their subject area teachers by class period. This includes courses required for graduation, electives, Honors and advanced courses, and special programs such as career and technology education.

Career Readiness Programs of Study

MCPS is working closely with the Maryland State Department of Education to ensure students are able to meet all requirements in a virtual-only model. These include programs housed at Thomas Edison High School of Technology and Seneca Valley High School. All students, whether they are at the very beginning of a program or continuing on in a program they had already started, will engage in rigorous and meaningful career-related instruction and have the opportunity to complete their career program. Students will have relevant, real-world experiences through web conferences, virtual simulations, project based learning, capstone projects and more. Students will be provided with the required software and technology for learning. Staff will continue to work on the development of modifications for some of the more equipment intensive programs, such as Automotive, Construction, Cosmetology, and Restaurant Management.

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Sample Schedules

*Please note that this is just a sample schedule. Schools may adjust these schedules to meet the scheduling needs of the school and the developmental needs of its students.

Live Instructional Schedule

The live instructional schedule will include full class periods, with teachers fully engaged with their students for the duration of the lesson.

Class Periods and Additional Support

Generally, students will have four full class periods per day and will also be provided time for additional live academic and/or social emotional support. Each class will meet at least two times each week.

Targeted Support and Independent Work

The non-scheduled class time on Wednesdays is intentional time that prioritizes students and staff. It encourages connection and support outside of the daily class instructional blocks. Feedback from our students emphasized the need to provide schedules that were balanced and allowed time for work to be completed outside of class. In addition, students indicated a desire for increased dedicated time with teachers to review, reteach and deepen learning.

At all levels, we intend for non-scheduled class time to focus on two features that are essential to the student experience and learning:

  1. Time to engage in directed, self-paced/independent work that supports content mastery.
  2. Time to receive individualized student support, including working with staff members who serve students with disabilities and related service providers.

At the secondary level there are additional intentions for this time including:

  • Time to check in with teachers by period and receive support on current course content.
  • Time to engage in school sponsored and partnership programs.

At all levels, during non-scheduled class time, staff will be engaged in activities that directly connect to the provision of high quality planning, instruction and assessment. This includes individual and collaborative planning, examining student work, grading or professional development.

What to Expect: Special Education

Virtual Learning

Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) students with disabilities will continue to receive special education and related services during the MCPS Recovery Plan. The Office of Special Education (OSE) has developed processes to meet the special education mandates of federal and state law and regulations.

The virtual learning for students receiving special education services may include:

  • All students receiving core instruction that addresses the standards at the grade level in which they are enrolled.
  • During core instruction (ELA and mathematics,) special educators and/or paraeducators may work with students from multiple classrooms in the same grade in a break-out group during small group instructional periods. This allows special educators and paraeducators to support students’ IEP goals in these areas, while ensuring that all students receive core instruction with their general education peers.
  • Receiving interventions in a small group or individual setting.
  • Providing related services (e.g., speech, occupational, and physical therapy,) through individual or small group tele-visits, or as plug-in services in classes.  School schedules will need to accommodate the scheduling of related services throughout the instructional day. 
  • Students working towards Alternate Learning Outcomes (ALO) will be provide alternating morning and afternoon instructional opportunities for student in both ELA and mathematics designed to address feedback from teachers and parents/guardians regarding the need for flexibility to address student and family schedules
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Sample Schedules

*Please note that this is just a sample schedule. Schools may adjust these schedules to meet the scheduling needs of the school and the developmental needs of its students.

Individual Distance Learning Plan (IDLP)

While students receive their instruction in a distance learning format, students will continue to have their services documented in an Individual Distance Learning Plan (IDLP). The IDLP will align with each students’ IEP and describe the delivery of special education services in the distance format. Special education teachers/case managers will update the IDLP in collaboration with parents/guardians.

Related Services

Speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy delivered using a variety of methodologies. As agreed upon in the IDLP, services will be provided through direct tele-visits and may include both individual and small-group sessions. Services may also be delivered in a plug-in model, with a related service provider joining students’ virtual class to deliver direct services.

Child Find

Screening and evaluations for students ages 3–5 will be conducted virtually. Screening and assessment measures include an extensive parent interview, a review of the preschool teacher questionnaire, and other documents, when available. Standardized measures, including parent rating scales, are administered virtually when possible, given the parameters of each assessment and the individualized needs of the student. Direct observations of the student in their home environment are conducted when feasible.

Evaluations conducted by occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech/language pathologists, and other related service providers are conducted virtually. Evaluations may include parent interviews, student observations in their home environment, and standardized measures as appropriate.

Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program (MCITP) Early Intervention Services

Children with disabilities and their families enrolled in MCITP participate in family coaching services based on the Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) outcomes as modified and agreed upon by each family and staff member. Services provided are documented in Family Visit Notes in the Maryland Online IFSP.

 In addition to individual family coaching, services may include:

  • Virtual group parent training
  • Assessment of children referred for eligibility for the program and services
  • Virtual small group sessions facilitated by an Infants and Toddlers Program provider, with children and families to facilitate direct interaction with peers
  • Support to families through the transition from MCITP at age three to special education pre-K programs and services

What to Expect: ESOL Services

state of maryland
ESOL Elementary School School

Students will receive English Language Development (ELD) instruction through a co-taught literacy or math block. Small group instruction using the designated ELD resources may also be appropriate and should not interrupt scheduled literacy or math instruction. Number of daily minutes for students receiving these services depends on the number of students at each grade level during each blended learning grouping. Students attending Two-Way Immersion (TWI) schools would receive English (ELD) or Spanish Language Development instruction through a co-taught literacy or math block. Small group instruction may also be appropriate and should not interrupt the scheduled literacy or math instruction.  Number of daily minutes for students receiving these services depends on the number of students at each grade level during each blended learning grouping.   

state of maryland
ESOL Secondary School

Students will receive virtual English Language Development (ELD) instruction during their ELA course or via an ESOL course. Additional language supports will be embedded within each class experience by their content teacher.. Each ESOL student will continue to receive supports aligned to their proficiency level. 

Frequently Asked Questions

MCPS is committed to equipping parents/guardians with the resources, tools and information they need to help their child(ren) succeed during this period of virtual-only learning. Parents will have access to a wide variety of trainings, workshops and recorded video sessions on a number of topics including, social-emotional wellness, distance learning strategies and supports, maintaining positive parent-child relationships, navigating the technology and much more

MCPS will serve meals to all students through pickup at their home school or other area distributions. More information will be provided on how parents can sign up for meal service participation.

MCPS is committed to providing all students with the technology and support they need to fully engage in virtual-only learning. All elementary students will get a new touchscreen Chromebook. Students who have an older MCPS Chromebook will be able to swap it for the new model prior to the start of the new school year. All secondary students will be provided with a Chromebook device. Devices will be distributed at the end of August.

MCPS will provide wireless hotspot devices (based on approved need) for students who do not have internet access at home.

MCPS will utilize one Learning Management System—myMCPS—for the school year.