The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a hybrid (virtual and in-person) business meeting on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
During the meeting, the Board received an update on fall reopening; took action on two charter school applications; made several administrative appointments; and took action on previous new business items. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.
Watch the recording of the July 27, 2021, meeting.
Fall Preview: Opening Schools with Innovative Calendar
The Board received an update and held a discussion on the reopening of schools. All schools will return to their pre-COVID schedules, including bell times, bus schedules, number and length of class periods per day, lunch and recess. All Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face coverings in school buildings this fall, regardless of vaccination status. This decision aligns with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as local health officials. COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the nation and in Montgomery County, and students under 12 do not have access to vaccines. Masking requirements will be reviewed regularly and are subject to change as the district reviews guidance from federal, state, and local health officials.
Charter School Applications
The Board received an update from MCPS staff and took final action on two applications for charter schools in Montgomery County—the Washington-McLaughlin Charter School for Boys, Inc. and the Washington-McLaughlin Charter School for Girls Inc. and the M.E.C.C.A. Business Learning Institute Charter School.
On June 29, 2021, the Board received a presentation and recommendation regarding the strengths and areas of concern for The Washington-McLaughlin Charter School applications.
Interim Superintendent, Dr. Monifa B. McKnight, did not recommend Board approval of the application for The Washington-McLaughlin Charter School for Boys, Inc. and The Washington-McLaughlin Charter School for Girls Inc., because the charter school application did not demonstrate the following:
- clear understanding of the federal requirements to operate a single-sex school;
- justification for the proposed-single sex structure, including distinct learning strategies for male and female students;
- plan for the preparation of the school site;
- plan for maintenance and operations;
- viable financial plan; and
- viable plan for enrollment or demonstrated community interest.
The Board unanimously voted to deny the application.
On June 29, 2021, the Board of Education discussed the M.E.C.C.A. Business Learning Institute’s (MBLI) public charter school application. MBLI seeks to open a public charter school in the 2022–2023 school year. The school would be a business academy for middle and high school students with the vision to prepare students to lead, manage, and competently conduct business in a rapidly-changing society by teaching them essential skills and a respect for core values of integrity, accountability, diversity, courage, respect, and community. At the June 29 Board business meeting, staff presented an overview of MBLI’s strengths and weaknesses as identified by the Charter School Application Review Panel.
During the July 27 discussion, Dr. McKnight also did not recommend Board approval of the M.E.C.C.A. charter school application, because it did not demonstrate the following:
- evidence of necessary funding supports;
- a complete transportation plan;
- a clear revenue stream (before- and after-school program) that can generate the needed funds; and
- details of arrangements, including repayment structure, for addressing the shortfall in revenues.
The Board voted unanimously to deny the application.
The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments:
Natasha D. Bolden, currently principal, Mill Creek Towne Elementary School, as executive director, Office of Teaching, Learning, and Schools (OTLS)
Tracy D. Oliver-Gary, currently content specialist, Pre-K-12 Social Studies, Department of Pre-K-12 Curriculum, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs, OTLS, as supervisor, Pre-K-12 Social Studies, OTLS
Vincent R. Liburd, currently assistant principal, Montgomery Village Middle School, as principal, Montgomery Village Middle School
Nichola A. Wallen, currently assistant principal, Galway Elementary School, as principal, Wyngate Elementary School
Previous New Business Items
The Board approved new business items resolutions from the July 15, 2021, Board business meeting that were lying on the table pending further action by the full Board. The resolutions approved were as follows:
- The Board adopted a resolution amending its previous Examination of Student Achievement Data for English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Latino Students resolution (Resolution 381-20) to remove the specified project completion date of March 31, 2021, and allow respondents to submit proposed project costs.
- The Board adopted a resolution directing the superintendent of schools to correct the name of Ronald McNair Elementary School by amending the school’s name to “Dr. Ronald E. McNair Elementary School” no later than December 2021.
The Board is scheduled to hold its next business meeting on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. The agenda is subject to change. Please check the Board website and meeting calendar for further information.
About the Board of Education
The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.
Montgomery County Board of Education: Mrs. Brenda Wolff, president; Ms. Karla Silvestre, vice president. Members: Dr. Judith Docca, Mrs. Shebra L. Evans, Ms. Lynne Harris, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Ms. Hana O’Looney, student member. Dr. Monifa B. McKnight, interim superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030.