What to Expect: Instructional Response Plan

MCPS will continue to implement an instructional response plan to address learning impacted over the last two years as a result of the pandemic. Last year’s mid-year performance data showed overall growth and progress, though in some areas the progress was uneven. The data showed:

  • Growth and progress since the return to in person learning in literacy in grades 3, 6, and 9
  • Literacy gains across many subgroups including English Language Learners and students with disabilities
  • Progress in math was uneven particularly in grades 6 and 9
  • Grade 3 students in math showed progress in learning core Grade 3 math content.
  • The early literacy skills of our youngest learners have improved but gaps still exist

As part of our instructional response plan to address a continued focus on grade level learning, we are:

  • Focusing on literacy and math

    We know that progress was slowed for many of our students as a result of the pandemic and while growth was shown during the last school year, gaps remain for many students and student groups. As a result, we are remaining focused on high quality literacy and mathematics instruction to continue our progress. In Elementary English Language Arts (ELA), MCPS has identified key skills that are the building blocks of literacy and adjusted the schedule to provide more time for teaching them. New resources and professional development are giving schools the knowledge and tools they need to support our youngest students. Across ELA and Mathematics, MCPS is increasing efforts to ensure we are reaching all students, including working with English Language Development specialists to meet the needs of Emerging Multilingual Learners. In addition, teachers are learning anti-racist and anti-bias classroom strategies to ensure students feel welcomed and engaged in their classrooms.

  • Teaching at grade level and addressing learning gaps as needed

    We are moving forward with grade-level content while also assessing essential prior learning in order to support new learning. By moving forward with grade-level instruction, we can prevent students from falling further behind. To support teachers and school leaders, we’ve provided guidance on essential concepts and skills, appropriate pacing of learning, opportunities for enrichment for those ready for more, and supports for learners who need additional review and instruction.

  • Monitoring student learning and adjusting instruction

    To teach on grade level while addressing potential knowledge gaps, teachers need to know what their students know and can do and use that information to adjust daily instruction. Though we’re all familiar with assessments of learning that measure student learning periodically, such as unit tests and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing, MCPS is helping teachers increase their use of assessments for learning using assessment tools available in both literacy and mathematics. This means teachers will give students tasks designed to let them know when they need to address learning from the previous year and which students need additional support for grade-level concepts and skills on a regular basis. This ongoing monitoring and adjusting will ensure instruction will be based on student learning needs so that all of our students perform at or above grade level in literacy and math.

  • Providing additional supports during and outside the school day

    Tutoring and interventions work to address remaining learning gaps and help students learn at a faster rate. MCPS is continuing to provide unprecedented access to tutoring for students at no cost to families. We are providing high-dosage tutoring, one-on-one and small group tutoring several times a week in literacy and mathematics for identified students that supports current grade level curriculum. For students who need more intensive support, we are providing interventions that are available before, during or after school. In addition, “on-demand” tutoring, or homework help, is available 24/7 for any student from approved tutoring companies.

  • Ensuring all of our schools have a common focus and the support they need

    All schools will continue to address learning in literacy and math and prioritize well-being and school climate to ensure students are on grade level or higher for literacy and math by the end of the year. Schools work with their director of school support and well-being and their teams to develop School Improvement Plans, monitor their work, and provide support and learning to staff to achieve these goals.

  • Providing system wide training

    MCPS has identified three key areas for professional learning in literacy and math for teachers, school leaders, and central office leaders. To support elementary literacy, professional learning focuses on the shift to structure literacy that emphasizes foundational skills. At the secondary level, enhancing literacy across all content areas is the focus. Professional learning around math at both the elementary and secondary levels will examine best practices for planning grounded in deep understanding of mathematical content. The system will ensure that teachers, school leaders and central office staff all receive this training. As a result of this work, we expect that MCPS K-12 students will perform at or above grade level in literacy and mathematics, and curriculum and instruction will be of the highest quality and based on student learning needs.