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Sign our petition!

Hello MoCo! Montgomery County Public Schools has added 11,000 students in the past 10 years, but has never taken a comprehensive look at enrollment growth and school capacity. That’s why, for the first time in decades, MCPS is conducting a countywide school boundary analysis

The Board of Education has hired a consulting firm, WXY, to look at the way MCPS draws school boundaries, collect community feedback, and provide insights on how the school system could improve its boundary-drawing process. This analysis will provide an independent, data-driven look at some of the big issues affecting MCPS, such as:

  • How efficiently we’re using our school buildings. This year, 10,000 students attend classes in portables, while there are nearly 10,000 empty seats across the system. MCPS spends millions of dollars on new schools or additions when nearby schools have space.
  • How to reduce de facto segregation. Today, Black and Latino students, and students from low-income backgrounds are clustered in a handful of schools, which contributes to both opportunity and achievement gaps. MCPS has invested considerable resources to help students from all backgrounds succeed wherever they are, but studies show that students of all backgrounds perform best in diverse schools. 
  • How far students are traveling to school. As Montgomery County has grown, school boundaries haven’t caught up. As a result, more than a third of students aren’t attending the school closest to their home (not counting those in magnet or choice programs), which means more time and money spent traveling to and from school.

A group opposing the analysis has spread rumors that it will redraw school boundaries or bus students long distances. Neither is true. This analysis will not change school boundaries or even recommend any specific boundary changes.

If you agree that data-informed policy, equitable public education, and fiscal responsibility matter,  here are five things you can do:

Join hundreds of people who have signed our letter to Board of Education President Shebra Evans and Superintendent Jack Smith in support of the boundary analysis. (Click here for the sign-on letter)

Come to a meeting on the boundary analysis this winter, where you can learn about the process and give your feedback:

  • January 7, Walter Johnson High School, 7-9 p.m.
  • January 11, Montgomery Blair High School, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • January 14, Northwest High School, 7 p.m. -9 p.m.

Come hear the Board of Education discuss the analysis at their next meeting, January 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 pm. at the MCPS central office, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.

Share this with your friends, neighbors, PTSA, or anyone else who may be interested. Remember, strong schools benefit everyone, even those who don’t have kids in public schools!

Sign on!

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Boundaries Education policy Montgomery County Uncategorized

Why should Montgomery County consider changes to school boundaries?

Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville.
  1. The current school boundaries are outdated and often illogical. They lead to wasteful spending in the wealthiest areas of the county, while leaving the poorer areas in the lurch. The last countywide boundary change happened in the 1980s, when MCPS closed more than 60 schools as enrollment dropped to about 90,000 and the county population was about 600,000. Today, the population is 1.2 million and growing. School enrollment has surged to more than 165,000, while boundaries remain largely unchanged. 
  2.  A school system with a growing population and serious crowding issues should not simultaneously have schools operating at well below capacity. But in recent years, boundaries have only been changed when new schools opened.  As a result, some schools are at more than 150 percent of capacity with up to 14 portable classrooms at a single school, even when there is space at nearby schools. Check out this interactive map to see for yourself.
  3. The status quo does not do a good job of providing walkable neighborhood schools for our children. It results in many families being farther away from their children’s schools than they should be: Among non-magnet students, 37% of elementary students, 45% of middle school students and 38% of high school students do not attend the closest school, according to MCPS data. 
  4. A systematic boundary assessment is fiscally responsible. We simply do not have the wherewithal to avoid this study,  as the impact of avoiding a system-wide boundary assessment for more than 30 years has been a poor use of taxpayer dollars. MCPS houses 10,000 students in more than 400 portables, at a cost of $5 million per year. At the same time, MCPS has a $790 million backlog of systemwide repair and maintenance needs. Other school districts, such as neighboring Howard County, Fairfax County, and Baltimore County have performed boundary analyses as a matter of fiscal responsibility. 
  5.  Our schools are overcrowded by nearly 11,000 students in about half the schools and face under-enrollment of more than 9,300 in the other half. The mismatch at the school level has been persistent for years. In some parts of the county, overcrowded schools have caused county planners to put a temporary hold on approving much-needed new housing, which puts further pressure on an already expensive and tight housing market.
  6. Our schools are becoming more racially and socioeconomically segregated. Even when a school is integrated, programming, courses, and activities tend to be racially and socioeconomically segregated. 
  7. School officials have proposed $1.82 billion in capital improvements without a clear plan to raise the money. While the state has promised a big funding increase, any increase will need to be matched by Montgomery County. That means we need to use our money wisely.
  8. Common sense boundary changes are one part of an improvement effort that includes more robust science, math, art and music programs, additional teachers. When we save money on ew facilities, we have more money to spend on program improvements such  programming  in science, math, art, and music. Under enrolled schools are often in danger of cutting programs and staff.
  9. Student and staff diversity in schools is important a majority-minority county (57 percent non-white). There are educational benefits to diversity in a county that benefits greatly from cross-cultural commerce, investment, communication, transportation, and science.
Categories
Boundaries Education policy Montgomery County School equity

Focus on Process to Get School Redistricting Right

 

By Sunil Dasgupta

(Originally posted at Maryland Matters)

The prospect of school redistricting is roiling politics in two major Maryland counties.

Against tough opposition, the Howard County Board of Education just passed a plan to move over 5,000 students to ease overcrowding and diversify its schools. This was a compromise from Superintendent Michael J. Martirano’s original proposal to move more than 7,000, or about 12% of the county public school students.

In Montgomery County, the school board has commissioned a boundary analysis. Superintendent Jack Smith and other county leaders have called this effort a study of options rather than actual recommendations for change.

School redistricting proposals face strident opposition from residents who see the possibility of long school bus rides and social engineering for the sake of diversity, and at the cost of education quality. Opponents also are apprehensive about neighborhood stability and loss of home values if they are reassigned.

School boundaries may be the third rail of local politics, but they are key to creating education policy that is fiscally, morally and pedagogically responsible. The redistricting efforts in Howard and Montgomery counties accept the inescapable need to use resources efficiently and improve equity, but their proposals emphasize outcomes — which students will go where — and thereby help coalesce the opposition while dissipating potential supporters.

Historically, this mismatch in forces has ensured that school systems change boundaries only when carving out attendance areas for new schools. Despite significant shifts in population and demographics, Howard and Montgomery have not made comprehensive changes to their school boundaries for decades.

The last time Montgomery County undertook systemwide redistricting was in the mid-1980s, when it closed more than 60 schools because of low enrollment. The population was 600,000. Today, the county has 1.2 million residents.

There is opposition even to the possibility of redistricting.

David Moon, a Montgomery County state delegate, faces resistance to a bill he introduced that would add a clause to real estate closing documents alerting new homebuyers that they are not guaranteed a particular school assignment.

Matching school capacity and student enrollment is difficult because population shifts and real-estate markets are hard to predict. Despite the best efforts of the MCPS and the Montgomery County Planning Board, the mismatch between student enrollment and school capacity has persisted for more than a decade according to data gathered by parent activists. For school year 2019-20, MCPS is reporting 10,860 students as overcapacity in one half of its schools and 9357 open seats in the other half of its schools. This is a distribution problem.

Yet MCPS Superintendent Smith recently unveiled a $1.82 billion capital improvement plan. It is unclear where the money will come from. State legislative leaders have promised $2 billion for statewide school construction. Montgomery will get a large share of it, but it will also have to issue new bonds. For $100 million in bonds, annual debt servicing will be $8 million. This money could go instead toward hiring more teachers and reducing class size.

Moving students from overcrowded to under-enrolled schools would not only save money but also enable equitable access to education opportunities. Superintendent Martirano’s pitch for redistricting Howard County is rooted in equity. A 2019 MCPS-commissioned report found that black and Latino students were assigned more often to novice teachers and tracked into less rigorous coursework. Many under-enrolled schools are majority-minority and face staffing and programming cuts.

In response to the opposition, school boards should pursue three process steps that will promote a new and fair policy of school redistricting that seeks the greatest general welfare.

First, rely on an independent school boundary commission to review and adjust school boundaries periodically, based on utilization, diversity, transportation and student-assignment stability. A periodic review would allow the school system to adjust to population and housing development shifts, make continual corrections and create a system of incremental change, thereby avoiding the need for a 40-year overhaul.

Second, consider making the independent school boundary commission’s findings and recommendations for redistricting binding. This will help insulate redistricting from the politics faced by elected school board members and inject long-term planning and rationality into the redistricting process.

Third, implement new boundaries with a time-lag to promote predictability. When a child is in kindergarten, her family should know what middle school she will attend. Similarly, sixth-graders should know what high school they will attend. There may be some issues with separated siblings, but in the mix of competing priorities, lagging can provide stability for student cohorts.

Revamping the school redistricting process to foster predictability, incremental changes and corrections by appointing an independent body to insulate the redistricting process from political buffeting could create an enduring fix to an elusive problem.

The writer teaches political science at UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove and is a Montgomery County parent. He tweets @sunildasgupta4.

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Uncategorized

Montgomery County Public School Statistics

School NameUtilization (%)Excess Capacity (#Students)FARMS
Clarksburg ES201%-31313.6%
Luxmanor ES166%-26916.6%
William T. Page157%-22350.6%
Summit Hall ES154%-24581.7%
Mill Creek Towne ES151%-17149.9%
Highland View ES151%-14647.8%
Burnt Mills ES148%-18766.5%
Forest Knolls ES143%-22637.5%
Strawberry Knoll ES142%-19247.0%
Ronald McNair ES132%-20225.6%
Stonegate ES130%-11624.8%
South Lake ES129%-20385.5%
Rachel Carson ES129%-20120.5%
Bannockburn ES127%-971.7%
Oak View ES126%-8879.9%
Burning Tree ES124%-926.0%
Takoma Park MS124%-22324.7%
Burtonsville ES123%-11247.5%
JoAnn Leleck ES122%-15994.6%
Judith A. Resnik ES122%-10956.7%
Greencastle ES122%-13064.7%
Spark M. Matsunaga ES122%-12618.0%
Clarksburg HS122%-43829.5%
Lake Seneca ES121%-8954.8%
Quince Orchard HS121%-36922.4%
Parkland MS120%-19448.2%
Flower Valley ES120%-8328.6%
Northwood HS120%-30050.1%
Farmland ES120%-1427.2%
Thomas W. Pyle MS119%-2491.7%
Bethesda ES119%-1067.5%
Westover ES119%-5025.3%
Walter Johnson HS118%-4277.1%
Capt. James E. Daly ES118%-9571.3%
Gaithersburg ES118%-12983.7%
Ashburton ES117%-13411.6%
Diamond ES117%-11310.3%
Arcola ES115%-9874.0%
Northwest HS115%-33826.0%
A. Mario Loiederman MS115%-12862.3%
Winston Churchill HS115%-2894.0%
Argyle MS114%-12758.3%
Watkins Mill ES114%-9075.2%
Rock Creek Forest ES114%-9326.3%
Rosemont ES114%-7959.6%
Woodlin ES113%-6523.4%
Lucy V. Barnsley ES113%-8527.5%
Somerset ES113%-678.4%
Sargent Shriver ES113%-8481.2%
Olney ES113%-7719.3%
Thurgood Marshall ES113%-7030.7%
John T. Baker MS112%-8919.1%
Fields Road ES112%-5241.4%
Richard Montgomery HS112%-26618.4%
Albert Einstein HS112%-19143.7%
Montgomery Blair HS112%-33836.0%
Cresthaven ES111%-5176.3%
Cloverly ES111%-5022.8%
Strathmore ES110%-4461.1%
Walt Whitman HS110%-1832.2%
Benjamin Banneker MS110%-8150.9%
Meadow Hall ES109%-3453.4%
Oakland Terrace ES109%-4430.8%
Clopper Mill ES109%-4367.5%
Dr. Sally K. Ride ES107%-3549.4%
Germantown ES107%-2135.2%
Great Seneca Creek ES107%-3838.0%
Piney Branch ES106%-3933.5%
Rolling Terrace ES106%-4671.9%
Lakelands Park MS106%-7022.0%
Kemp Mill ES106%-2876.6%
Col. E. Brooke Lee MS106%-4465.6%
Earle B. Wood MS105%-5035.7%
Harmony Hills ES105%-3687.5%
Jackson Road ES105%-3377.5%
Roberto Clemente MS105%-5833.8%
Francis Scott Key MS105%-4470.3%
Silver Spring International MS104%-4642.2%
Cedar Grove ES104%-169.2%
Wilson Wims ES104%-2911.3%
Garrett Park ES103%-2616.3%
Ritchie Park ES103%-1321.9%
Poolesville HS103%-377.0%
Rock View ES103%-1949.5%
James H. Blake HS103%-5233.9%
Highland ES103%-1579.4%
Bells Mill ES103%-1611.0%
Galway ES103%-1960.1%
Fallsmead ES103%-148.3%
Sligo Creek ES102%-1613.4%
Pine Crest ES102%-946.0%
Little Bennett ES102%-1315.6%
John F. Kennedy HS102%-3648.6%
Damascus ES102%-726.6%
Twinbrook ES102%-1066.1%
Briggs Chaney MS101%-1148.8%
Cashell ES101%-423.4%
Flora M. Singer ES100%-341.4%
Dr. Charles R. Drew ES100%-249.9%
Seven Locks ES100%-15.3%
Glenallan ES100%66.0%
North Bethesda MS100%5.9%
Maryvale ES100%142.0%
Eastern MS100%246.3%
Forest Oak MS99%558.5%
Brookhaven ES99%367.5%
Sherwood ES99%519.4%
Whetstone ES99%860.2%
Tilden MS99%1111.6%
Paint Branch HS99%2336.3%
Neelsville MS99%1167.0%
Thomas S. Wootton HS99%265.5%
Gaithersburg HS99%3142.5%
Chevy Chase ES99%717.7%
Cabin John MS98%177.7%
Wheaton HS98%4147.5%
New Hampshire Estates ES98%1192.5%
Takoma Park ES97%1635.9%
Weller Road ES97%2575.6%
Bayard Rustin ES97%25#N/A
Julius West MS97%5026.4%
Goshen ES96%2343.4%
Roscoe Nix ES96%2074.4%
Bel Pre ES96%2771.2%
Wyngate ES96%342.1%
Robert Frost MS95%555.8%
Silver Creek MS95%48#N/A
Rock Creek Valley ES95%2431.4%
Kingsview MS94%5818.1%
Rockville HS94%9333.1%
College Gardens ES94%4414.1%
Georgian Forest ES93%4477.8%
Woodfield ES93%2620.9%
Flower Hill ES93%3564.1%
Seneca Valley HS93%9838.4%
Fairland ES92%5257.1%
Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS92%19811.9%
Herbert Hoover MS92%944.1%
Clearspring ES92%5329.7%
Glen Haven ES92%4661.9%
Montgomery Village MS91%7466.0%
Rosemary Hills ES91%5827.8%
Poolesville ES91%5010.5%
Sherwood HS91%20617.1%
Rosa M. Parks MS90%939.7%
Carderock Springs ES90%402.2%
Fox Chapel ES90%7053.5%
Brooke Grove ES90%5422.5%
Wood Acres ES90%763.5%
Greenwood ES89%638.8%
Hallie Wells MS89%109#N/A
William H. Farquhar MS89%9012.4%
Potomac ES88%491.9%
Damascus HS88%18915.1%
Laytonsville ES88%5518.5%
Col. Zadok Magruder HS88%24133.6%
Montgomery Knolls ES88%6763.9%
Gaithersburg MS87%13248.1%
Rocky Hill MS87%13719.9%
William B. Gibbs, Jr. ES86%9834.8%
East Silver Spring ES86%7955.9%
Lois P. Rockwell ES86%7619.8%
Jones Lane ES86%7427.7%
Bradley Hills ES85%970.8%
White Oak MS85%14761.4%
Kensington-Parkwood ES85%1145.3%
Waters Landing ES85%11752.6%
Beverly Farms ES85%1046.2%
Stone Mill ES85%1069.2%
Brown Station ES84%12468.5%
Martin Luther King Jr. MS84%15047.9%
John Poole MS83%7811.1%
Snowden Farm ES83%130#N/A
Beall ES83%10827.2%
Redland MS83%13037.2%
Lakewood ES83%957.0%
Newport Mill MS83%14849.3%
Ridgeview MS82%17130.0%
Watkins Mill HS82%35050.8%
Belmont ES82%776.4%
Springbrook HS82%38744.1%
Cannon Road ES80%10667.4%
Viers Mill ES78%16166.6%
Stedwick ES78%15060.7%
Wayside ES77%1486.3%
Sligo MS77%21943.9%
Washington Grove ES75%15173.0%
Candlewood ES75%12822.8%
Darnestown ES75%1097.3%
Sequoyah ES74%13254.3%
DuFief ES74%11114.4%
Westland MS73%29710.5%
Cold Spring ES72%1261.2%
North Chevy Chase ES72%9912.5%
S. Christa McAuliffe ES72%21749.1%
Monocacy ES69%6818.8%
Shady Grove MS67%27940.3%
Wheaton Woods ES66%26282.7%
Travilah ES65%1856.2%
Westbrook ES62%2061.8%
Source : MCPS Actuals 2019-2020 (FY21 CIP)

Categories
Achievement gap Consortia Education policy School equity Uncategorized

It’s time to make MCPS choice programs more equitable, too

As Montgomery County’s schools resegregate by race and class, special “choice programs” (including magnets, language immersion programs, and the Northeast and Downcounty consortia) designed to create advanced learning opportunities and integrate schools aren’t working. That’s the message from a report MCPS released earlier this year, and it’s time for school officials to start making our choice programs more equitable. Here’s our full response:

One Montgomery encourages MCPS’ ongoing evaluation of its gifted and talented, consortia, and language immersion programs and their conformity with the school system’s Core Values. These programs are afflicted with access and equity problems, as noted in the MCPS Choice study report.

Montgomery County citizens have tolerated a system that exacerbates the achievement gap by offering to only some of our County students extraordinary programs and an excellent K-12 education. The remaining students, segregated by MCPS’ residence-based school assignment policy, are left with a separate and unequal education. Not only are those segregated students, families and neighborhoods injured, but the whole County suffers.

The County’s future is impaired when the public school system fails to prepare all County students to be productive members of our community. Instead of launching these students, college- and career-ready, to higher education or skilled careers to eventually participate as County taxpayers with stable, thriving families, too many of our students are consigned by failed MCPS education to struggle to find gainful employment or to pay for remedial classes to learn what they should have mastered in the public education system.

The data and analyses contained in the MCPS Choice Study make clear that MCPS is not serving all students equitably. The programs are too limited, information is available preferentially to parents who know how to go find it, and application processes are cumbersome, set up—whether intentional or not—to leave certain students out. As a result, students have very different educational opportunities and experiences within the same school system, and sometimes within the same school.

MCPS gives white and high SES students priority access to these special academic programs and minority and underserved students are left out. We ask: what child would not benefit from

  1. engaging, inquiry-based curricula
  2. mastery of a second language beginning in kindergarten
  3. highly-trained teaching staff
  4. exploration via high-impact field trips, and
  5. participating in regional and national competitions?

Why are these outstanding opportunities only available to a small segment of the student population?

One of the reasons for this disparity is that politics drive decision-making about education, which rewards the “squeaky wheels” of politically-savvy, well-connected and often affluent parents- those families whose children already have distinct education advantages. We intend to add another voice to the conversation, perhaps one that has not been heard from . One Montgomery supports MCPS’ professed Vision, “We inspire learning by providing the greatest public education to each and every student.” We are committed to holding the Board of Education and MCPS leadership accountable to deliver on this promise.

It is incumbent upon the community and public services, including MCPS, to make up for various disadvantages faced by students, and that this is the only way to truly address the achievement gap.  In accord with the Metis Report findings, One Montgomery Leadership Team member Will Jawando, recently filed a civil action with the Office for Civil Rights charging that “MCPS has violated and continues to violate Title VI with respect to the manner in which it administers recruitment and selection of students for admission to its highly-popular, language immersion programs at the elementary school level.” He specifically argues that his child and other children of color are excluded from MCPS special programs. This civil rights charge makes clear that it is time for MCPS to take action on the MCPS Choice Study findings.

MCPS needs to expand the capacity of choice programs, both to meet growth in enrollment and demand, and to improve outreach to underserved communities. Our school system is the cornerstone of our county’s success, and it only works when all students have access to a high-quality education regardless of race or background.

 

Categories
2016 Elections Uncategorized

Sebastian Johnson for Board of Education at-large

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2016

Contact: Dan Reed
ph: 202/256-7238
onemontschools@gmail.com

One Montgomery endorses Sebastian Johnson for the Montgomery County, Maryland Board of Education at-large seat in the April 26 primary election.

one montgomery stickerOrganized in 2013, One Montgomery is a grassroots organization of parents, teachers, and community members in Montgomery County that is dedicated to public school improvement as a means for creating a stronger community. The group seeks a school system committed to school equity, transparency, collaboration, and accountability.

As a recent MCPS student, a former student member of the Board, and a former teacher in a high-needs school, Sebastian brings new, much-needed perspective and dedication to the Board of Education. His story illustrates how strong schools can help close the achievement gap for disadvantaged students and help them excel. He has a keen understanding of the challenges our school system faces. He is willing to work with all parties, from parents to Board colleagues and MCPS leaders to the County Council and state leaders, to make sure that MCPS is equipped and accountable to help every student, regardless of background or zip code.

Candidates endorsed by One Montgomery have records of community and political activism that prove their commitment to closing the achievement gap. This endorsement was made based on candidate questionnaires, interviews, and public statements.

A recent report on school performance by Montgomery County’s Office of Legislative Oversight shows that the achievement gap in county schools has grown in recent years, particularly between schools in the Northeast and Downcounty consortia and the Upcounty and schools in the more affluent western side of the county. Because geographical boundaries almost always determine school assignments, school quality is closely tied to neighborhood stability and the health of our local economy.

As a result, Montgomery County Public Schools needs to dedicate adequate staffing and implement programs for high-needs schools to ensure high-performance by schools in all parts of the county. We endorse Sebastian Johnson because he understands these needs and can be expected to hold MCPS accountable to address them. One Montgomery has produced a set of recommendations for ways MCPS can do that, using feedback from community workshops and education forums it has organized or participated in over the past two years.

For further information on One Montgomery, visit its website or Facebook page. Follow One Montgomery on Twitter @onemontschools, or join One Montgomery’s listserv. One Montgomery can be contacted at onemontschools@gmail.com.

Categories
School equity Superintendent search

Seeking a new superintendent who knows how to close the gap for Latino students

As MCPS continues its search for a new superintendent, will school system officials choose a leader who can address the needs of all students? This morning, a coalition of groups urged the Board of Education to pick a new superintendent who has had success closing the achievement gap for Latino students, which are the largest minority group in MCPS. The following is their press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 13, 2015

CONTACT:
Diego Uriburu:
301-518-8705
duriburu@identity-youth.org

Antonio Hernandez Cardoso:
240-605-6174
HerCarAnt@gmail.com

Newly Formed Coalition Urges Montgomery County School Board to Choose Superintendent who will Advance Achievement of Latino Students

Latinos Are One-Third of Student Body: New Superintendent Must Institutionalize Greater Cultural Competency and Inclusiveness in Schools

The Montgomery County Latino Advocacy Coalition (MCLAC) called upon the Montgomery County Board of Education to hire a superintendent with a track record in advancing the achievement of Latino students. The goal is to improve academic achievement, career readiness, and increase Latino family involvement in local schools. The MCLAC applauds the Board of Education for implementing an extensive process to gain meaningful community input in the selection process for the new superintendent. The new school superintendent must be ready to work with the Latino community on a number of key issues to ensure that the school district:

  • Provides staffing at schools that reflect the student population in an effort to become a culturally and linguistically competent system. There is an inadequate number of Spanish-speaking staff members available to speak with Latino parents to answer their questions and generally assist them in supporting their students.
  • Provides ongoing professional development to teachers and staff to support them in affirming cultural diversity in MCPS classrooms.
  • Allocates the necessary college and career resources to ensure that all Latino students have paths to future success. This includes prioritizing a career readiness program for students enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and older students with interrupted educations; ensuring small class sizes for students with increased educational load; and providing mentoring and additional supports for students who may struggle academically.
  • Provides meaningful access to policy and decision-making processes for the Latino community. To further this inclusive process, the new superintendent should articulate a clear strategy and create mechanisms in MCPS and the Board of Education to facilitate the participation of the Latino community in key debates and crucial policy decisions. This includes strategic plans for the county, the budget process, and other policies having large-scale impact.
  • Engages in system-wide transformative reform to ensure that MCPS adopt policies and practices that enable Latino families to participate in the school lives of their students.

###

Montgomery County Latino Advocacy Coalition (MCLAC) is a group of community leaders and organizations that support the achievement of Latino youth and the wellbeing of community members. MCLAC includes organizations such as CASA de Maryland, Identity, Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers and numerous other organizations as well as parents and business leaders.

For more information, you can read MCLAC’s Letter to the BOE and a MCLAC Fact Sheet.

Categories
Achievement gap Education policy Events Montgomery County School equity

Join us and MCEF for a community forum on the superintendent search

mcef flyer

As Montgomery County Public Schools seeks a new superintendent, how can we ensure that high-needs schools will have the leadership they need? Join us and the Montgomery County Education Forum for “What the Next Superintendent Must Deliver,” a community forum on how the next superintendent of MCPS can best meet the needs of a growing and diverse school population. We’ll have speakers including both education experts and MCPS students and take a detailed look at our 13 questions that the Board of Education should consider in finding a new superintendent.

The meeting’s next Thursday, March 19 from 7 to 9:30pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building, located at One Veterans Place in downtown Silver Spring. For more information or to RSVP, check out our Facebook event page.

Categories
Achievement gap Budget Events School equity

Give feedback on the superintendent search, and meet your Board of Education members in Burtonsville

People discussed issues affecting Montgomery County schools in breakout sessions. Photo by Adrienne Lees.
A community meeting in East County. Photo by Adrienne Lees.

Next week, you’ll have a chance to give feedback on MCPS’ new superintendent in Gaithersburg, and meet your Board of Education members in Burtonsville.

Montgomery County Public Schools’ search for a new superintendent is underway, and to collect community feedback, they’re holding a series of public forums around the county. Parents, students, staff, and community members will be able to talk to representatives from the executive search firm MCPS is using to find a new superintendent and discuss their hopes and wishes for the school system’s new leader.

The next one is this Tuesday, March 10 at 7pm at Gaithersburg High School, located at 101 Education Boulevard in Gaithersburg. Unfortunately, there won’t be another forum in East County; there were meetings at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring and Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda in last week, but a scheduled forum at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville was cancelled due to snow. If you’d like more information, or can’t attend the meeting in Gaithersburg and want to share your thoughts with the decision-makers who’ll hire the next superintendent, visit the MCPS website.

However, the Board of Education will be coming to Paint Branch on Thursday for a cluster meeting, the first one in four years. You’ll be able to talk to board members about issues affecting East County schools, including the superintendent search, the school system’s persistent achievement gap, next year’s budget, and other concerns. That meeting will be on Thursday, March 12 from 7 to 9pm at Paint Branch High School, located at 14121 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville. For more info, contact Larry Edmonds, Paint Branch cluster coordinator, at 240/381-3984 or by email at larrye14 at verizon dot net.

Categories
Achievement gap Budget

Six principles for school equity in next year’s MCPS operating budget

Each spring, the Board of Education crafts its operating budget for the following school year, which is then submitted to the County Council for approval in May. Here’s our testimony for the 2015-2016 operating budget, which One Montgomery’s Dan Reed delivered to the Board of Education last month:

Good evening. My name is Dan Reed and I live in Silver Spring. I’m a 2005 graduate of James Hubert Blake High School and my brother is a current student at Paint Branch High School. I’m here on behalf of One Montgomery, a new organization of parents, community members, and educators coming together to better understand, support and improve Montgomery County
Public Schools.

We are deeply concerned about the growing inequality of our school system, which is turning MCPS into a system of haves- and have-nots. While I’m a proud product of MCPS, I’ve seen both firsthand and through the experiences of my brother that not all students in this school system are receiving what they need to excel, particularly minority, immigrant, or low-income students. A strong, equitable school system is the foundation of Montgomery County’s success, and school quality, whether real or perceived, effects everything from student performance to property values and the strength of our county’s economy.

As a new, volunteer organization, we don’t have the resources to give this budget the careful review and inspection it deserves. But we have outlined a set of six principles for closing the achievement gap that we urge you to consider as you develop the budget. For us, the issue is less about increasing the budget than it is ensuring that MCPS has the correct priorities and delivers the resources to where the needs are greatest, not simply to the people with the loudest voices.

These principles are:

EQUITY. Allocate resources according to educational load to ensure that each child receives instruction and supports according to her needs in order to receive a world-class education.

LEADERSHIP. Competent and effective leadership at all levels, with commitment to accountability, transparency and results.

ACCESS. Ensure that all students are able to access the excellent opportunities MCPS has to offer, according to ability and desire, and are actively recruited and encouraged to achieve.

DIVERSITY. Promote hiring practices so that professional staffing reflects student population.

COMMUNITY. Stimulate (support) use of school facilities as a center of community activities.

PARTNERSHIP. Actively seek to establish and maintain partnerships with businesses and non-profits for the benefit of students.

We urge you to consider these principles as you craft the budget. For many families, including my own, Montgomery County Public Schools have long offered the promise of a better future for our kids and for our county. It’s time that we ensure that this promise is delivered to everyone in Montgomery County. Thank you for your time.