[October 14th] On Tuesday, October 9th, the Montgomery County Board of Education met to discuss recent policies, reforms, and the status quo. The board convened from 9:00 A.M to around 4:35 P.M, its discussion ran the gamut from limitations on price of student-to-teacher gifts to updates on school programs offered. The board meeting enjoyed a harmonious, calm atmosphere.
One key item discussed was the establishment of OPDSS (Office of Professional Development and School Support), dedicated to oversee PLC(s), acronym for Professional Learning Committees. In its establishment, the Board seeks to provide opportunities for teachers to familiarize with new instructional methods. The office allows stationing of Human Resources staff at all schools, organization of more workshops, and creation of a prospective system for principals to exchange skills and knowledge.
However, as one Board member puts it, “Staffing and teaming does cost a little more.”
In response, Dr. Starr, superintendent of schools, offered; “It’s in our shared responsibilities that we promote adult learning.”
As projected, the Montgomery County Public School system has been growing and expanding. In the school year of 2012-2013, MCPS experienced an enrollment increase of 2,000 students. The Board also perceived a rise in the level of diversity among students, according to the most recent demographics update, 32.9% of MCPS students are Caucasian, 26.7% Hispanic, 21.3% African American, 14.3% Asian, and 4.6% being of two or more races. Furthermore, in school year 2011-2012, 79% of students eligible for FARMS received free meals. Taken into account of current budget, the increase in FARMS (free and reduced-price meals) participation may become a potential strain.
Board members cited both pros and cons for issue discussed. Despite occasional disagreement, the Board reached consensus for all matters brought to the table.