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.

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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.

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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.


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.


Meet your Board of Education candidates at events this fall

While the primary election feels like a distant memory, the general election is less than six weeks away! Because Board of Education races are non-partisan, there are still competitive races for all four seats on the ballot (Districts 1, 3, 5, and At-Large) this year.

You’ve seen our endorsements for Board of Education, and now here’s your chance to meet the candidates. This page will be updated throughout the fall with debates and candidate events as we hear about them.

Don’t forget: Election Day is Tuesday, November 4 from 7am to 8pm. Early voting runs from October 23 through October 30 at polling places around Montgomery County. And you’ve got until October 14 to register to vote.

Upcoming Board of Education Candidate Events

Saturday, October 11th: 8:45 – 11:00 a.m.,
Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Dr. Rockville
Sponsored by NAACP Parents Council

Tuesday, October 14th: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.,
Silver Spring Civic Center, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring
Sponsored by the Montgomery County Education Forum (MCEF)

Wednesday, October 15th: 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
River Falls Club House 7915 Horseshoe Lane, Potomac, MD.
Sponsored by the Whitman High School Cluster

Tuesday, October 21: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.,
Long Branch Community Center, 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring
Sponsored by Safe Silver Spring and MCCPTA

Passed Events

Monday, September 29: The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations are hosting a candidate forum with both incumbents and challengers. The event starts at 6:30pm at the Carver Educational Services Center, located at 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.

Tuesday, September 30: The Montgomery County Taxpayers League, Montgomery County Civic Federation, and Parents Coalition of Montgomery County host a forum for challengers only. That event starts at 7:00pm at the Rockville Library, located at 21 Maryland Avenue in Rockville.

Saturday, October 5th: 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.,
Garrett Park Town Hall, 10814 Kenilworth Avenue, Garrett Park
Sponsored by Start School Later, Inc.

Wednesday, October 8th:7:30 – 9:00 p.m.,
Aspen Hill Library, 4407 Aspen Hill Road, Rockville
Sponsored by The Library Advisory Committee and the Strathmore-Bel Pre Civic Association


One way to help your local school this month: hand out One Montgomery sample ballots

one montgomery stickerIn order for all of Montgomery County’s students to get the resources they need, we need elected officials who are willing to advocate for our schools and demand accountability from Montgomery County Public Schools. That’s why One Montgomery has made endorsements for the 2014 primaries in select County Council, State Delegate, and Board of Education races.

The election is June 24, but from this Thursday, June 12, to next Thursday, June 19, there will be early voting at nine sites throughout Montgomery County. We’re looking for volunteers to hand out our sample ballot at the Silver Spring Civic Building and the Praisner Recreation Center in Burtonsville at the following times:

  • Thursday, June 12 from 6-8pm
  • Monday, June 16 from 6-8pm
  • Tuesday, June 17 from 6-8pm
  • Wednesday, June 18 from 6-8pm
  • Thursday, June 18 from 6-8pm

This is a great way to get the word out about candidates who are truly committed to making our schools stronger. If you’re willing to give even an hour of your time to help, please send us an email at onemontschools at gmail dot com.