MCPS QuickNotes Newsletter - September, 2007
Vol. 3, No. 2: September, 2007
Sign Up to Speak Up at Community Forums
Parents, staff, students and other community members are invited to give their input on important issues affecting Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) at two community forums scheduled this fall. The information shared at the forums will be used to help update and revise the school system's Strategic Plan, "Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence," and to help set priorities for the Fiscal Year 2009 Operating Budget.
Participants will have an opportunity to share their thoughts about aspects of MCPS that are working well and those areas needing improvement. Individuals or group representatives may sign up to schedule a time to speak by calling the Board of Education office at 301-279-3617. Each participant will be given three minutes to speak.
The forums this year are scheduled as follows:
Parents of secondary students can use Edline, a classroom-to-home communication system, to track their children's academic progress on assignments, tests and grades, and to communicate with teachers by computer. More information on accessing the system is available on the Online Achievement and Reporting System web site.
During this school year, five schools — Benjamin Banneker, Sligo, Roberto Clemente, Montgomery Village and Earle B. Wood — are participating in the first phase of middle school reform. Middle school reform is a three-year, $10 million effort to revamp the county's 38 middle schools.
Over the summer, teachers at these schools received additional training to assist them in boosting academic achievement. Interactive technology is also playing an important role in the classroom to enhance students' learning experiences.
Two new courses will be offered at the five schools:
Middle School Reform
The Montgomery County Board of Education has announced significant changes to enhance the operation of its business meetings, beginning with its Sept. 11 meeting.
The Board will reserve ten of the fifteen slots for public comments for speakers who wish to comment on issues that are on the agenda for that day's Board meeting. The other five slots will be reserved for speakers who wish to comment on other issues that are not specifically on the agenda. The Board of Education Office will be accepting phone calls for individuals to sign up to speak on the Monday before the Board meeting.
The time period from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. will be for speakers who wish to sign up to speak on issues relating to the day's agenda, and 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will be the sign-up period for speakers who wish to speak on other issues. Individuals wishing to provide comments should call the Board office at 301-279-3301 at the appropriate time to reserve a slot.
In addition, the evening Board meetings will now begin at 6 p.m. immediately after the Board's closed session at 5:30 p.m. with adjournment scheduled for no later than 9:30 p.m. Each evening business meeting will be focused on a key issue that is aligned with the strategic plan in order to provide the Board ample time for in-depth discussion and appropriate action.
Board of Education
A new extended-day program to help high school students who have failed courses required for graduation is being introduced this school year. High School Plus will allow students to retake these courses for credit in their home schools. During the 2007–2008 school year, the program will be available to 9th and 10th graders at all high schools.
The free High School Plus classes will be offered during the school day or scheduled after the regular school day ends. The program will offer rigorous academics, teaching, and assessment, monitoring of student performance and support for success on the Maryland High School Assessments. Each high school will set its own course schedule. More information is available from the counseling office at your child's high school, and on the High School Plus web site.
Starting this school year, middle school students will be allowed to possess cell phones and pagers on school property and at MCPS-sponsored activities. Students may not turn on or use these devices until the end of the instructional school day. High school students also may have cell phones and pagers at school, but elementary school students may not have them without a waiver from the school principal. The regulation regarding middle school students was revised this past summer. Read the full regulation (PDF).
The new MCPS Parent Academy will help parents become active, aware and informed about their children's education. Its free workshops will start in October and will focus on a variety of topics, including understanding state assessments, high school graduation requirements, helping your child get the most out of homework, the transition to middle school and understanding the school system. Some of the workshops will be offered in multiple languages.
The classes will be open to all MCPS parents and guardians, and will be taught by MCPS staff, community members and MCPS partners such as the Potomac Ridge Behavioral Health System, the state's attorney's office and the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County.
Registration for classes is required. Individuals can register by calling 301-517-5940, by fax at 301-279-3815 or by mail to The Parent Academy C/O Division of Family and Community Partnerships, 451 Hungerford Drive, Suite 508, Rockville, MD 20850.
More information is available at the Parent Academy Web site. Check back often as classes will be added throughout the school year.
Students interested in earning Student Service Learning (SSL) hours for service done over the summer must submit MCPS Form 560-51, Student Service Learning Activity Verification, to their school SSL coordinators by Fri., Sept. 28. Verification forms are available in middle and high schools and on the Student Service Learning Web site.
An open house will be held for parents of 6th graders who will be participating in the residential outdoor education program this year. Parents are invited to tour the cabins and grounds of the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center, visit the wetlands, observatory and planetarium, and preview the academic activities the program offers. The open house will be held Thurs., Sept. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Smith Center, 5110 Meadowside Lane in Rockville. A Spanish-speaking interpreter will be available. Call the Smith Center at 301-924-3123 to RSVP or with questions.
Check out this new addition to our web site: The 2007-2008 Counseling Calendar lists testing dates, college fairs, important deadlines and more in an easy-to-follow format.
Students can turn to The Math Dude for Algebra on demand. The show’s host makes key Algebra I concepts come alive. The Math Dude airs on MCPS Cable Channel 33 at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Shows also are available online and can be downloaded as a podcast.
The Math Dude
The first SAT of the 2007-2008 school year will be given on Sat., Oct. 6. Students can get ready by taking a preparation program from The College Board, developers of the SAT. All MCPS high school students have free access to the program, which provides in-depth test coverage in math, critical reading and writing. Information on accessing the course is available on the SAT Prep Course web site.
High school seniors who are at least 16 years old can apply to participate as student pages for the Maryland General Assembly during the 2008 session. The opportunity is open to seniors attending public or nonpublic high schools in Maryland. Applicants should have an interest in government and history, a record of good conduct and an average or above-average academic record. Applications are available at all high schools, on the MCPS Web site or from the Student Affairs Office by calling 301-670-1419.
Send completed applications to Karen Crawford, 850 Hungerford Drive, Room 211, Rockville, MD 20850 by the deadline, Fri., Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.
Maryland Page Program
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Last edited by Howard Hartman; 04-05-2008 at 09:28 AM.
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