The Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joshua Starr, held the second Student Town Hall meeting at Einstein High School on November 14th in order to gather student opinions to improve Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).
On important issue brought up by students is the health value of school lunches.
Student Member of the Board, John Mannes, said that the Board of Education is looking into healthier options for the school lunch menu.
“The Board just purchased $350,000 worth of whole wheat buns,” Mannes said. He also explained that the MCPS food budget is self-sustaining.
“Our school lunches operate on an enterprise fund—what goes in comes out.”
One topic that caused Mannes to receive several emails after the Town Hall was school start times. Mannes said the Board is looking into a later start time for high schools.
“In about a month, we are looking at the budget. We have to deice though. If we wanted to change school start times, is that really more important than Curriculum 2.0?
A sophomore at Einstein, Vidya Shaker, talked about the academic intensity at Einstein that includes the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and the Visual Art Center (VAC). Students in similar programs have difficult time with fitting physical education courses into their schedules, and she wanted to know if there are other ways students can receive a physical education credit.
“I was wondering if MCPS would consider giving PE credits to those participating in competitive sports after school,” Shaker said.
The Superintendent appreciated the suggestion and noted that other school districts have started to do the same to accommodate student schedules.
“There are no plans to do that right now… I think it’s a great idea. It’s something I’ve always been interested in seeing how you can implement it. You should be able to get credit for [doing a competitive sport],” Starr said.
Another of the questions was about the negative connotation of the D-CC schools. A senior at Einstein was concerned about the bad reputation of “schools such as Einstein which are demonstrating so much potential.” She wanted to know if Dr. Starr would consider renaming the consortium.
Dr. Starr responded to her question by talking about the inaccuracy that sometimes goes along with labels.
“We don’t want labels to pull attention away from the work that is actually going on in our schools,” Starr said.
Dr. Starr expressed that the he and the Board of Education do not have any plans to change the name of the Down- County Consortium at present, though he appreciated the question.
Article by Christina McCann, SAC press correspondent