Draft Minutes- MCCPTA Delegates Assembly

November 22, 2005

Carver Educational Services Center




Welcome: Cindy Kerr, President MCCPTA and Vice President, Councils MD PTA

Program Opening: Tom Murphy and Suzanne Weiss, Co-chairs Legislative Committee introduced our speakers for the 2006 legislative update, Honorable Senator Ida Ruben and Honorable Delegate Charles Barclay. Senator Ida Ruben is the Dean of the Montgomery County delegation in the senate. Delegate Charles Barclay is the Dean of the Montgomery County delegation in the general assembly. The Maryland legislative session begins in January 2006. Our guests are familiar with Montgomery County’s education needs.

Senator Ida Ruben spoke about our delegation’s top priority – education. She praised Montgomery County Public Schools and cited successes such as blue ribbon schools, reading benchmarks of kindergartners, and closing the gap.  She attributed these successes to the cooperation between parents, teachers and administrators. It is essential for parents to stay actively involved. She mentioned some of what the legislature can do: fund the construction of new schools, raise pensions of teachers and set benchmarks for achievements. Her remarks included comments on: importance of teachers;

diversity; priority of physical education to curb childhood obesity;  past legislative session’s  law to require Maryland State Department of Education to hire full-time director of Physical Education; school nutrition; recent state laws requiring schools to promote physical activity; county authority to install timing devices on vending machines; language and social barriers; expanded opportunities for adult education for parents to learn English; increased funding for county school renovations and construction; (FY 06 $251.8  million has been allocated statewide of which $30.4 million is for Montgomery County schools);  a two year public school construction task force in 2003 identified a minimum of $3.85 billion necessary over the next 8 years needed to bring schools up to basic standards (state to provide $2 billion and local $1.85 billion over 8 yrs.); future school funding as a problem; governor’s capital budget for FY06 capital vs. legislative recommendation ($157.6 million vs. $251.8 million) for school construction; Maryland Association of Boards of Education recommendation of $400 million for school construction; governor’s commitment to school construction  vs. legislature’s; health and safety issues; portable classrooms; ongoing implementation of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence in the Public Schools Act of 2002 is a significant factor driving increases in cost of  K – 12 education (e.g. increases of  $321 million in FY 05 over FY 04); if Thornton’s fully implemented spending will increase $400 million in FY 06, $752 million in FY 07 and $1.3 billion (goal of Thornton) by FY ’08; dollar shortfall because governor never fully funding Thornton through Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) formula which allocates funding through cost of teaching in each jurisdiction including special needs students, etc.; FY 06 MCPS shortchanged approximately $12.1 million by state, but if GCEI FY 07 MCPS would get $17 million;



Montgomery County delegation pushing for GCEI formula and full funding of Thornton;

No Child Left Behind act as an unfunded educational mandate; states spending own money to meet standards; some states resistance has resulted in more flexibility;

lowest state teachers retirement pension system in the nation; prioritizing education means recruitment and retention of teachers; and higher education tuition increases (Maryland tuition has risen nearly 40% since 2002). She will continue to fight for vocational options and affordable higher education. She concluded that state administration must understand fully funding Thornton and our two and four year higher education institutions are solid investments in the future of our students and work force.

Other issues she did not have time to cover tonight include: charter schools, private schools, military recruiting, sex education, gang violence and bullying.


Following Senator Ruben’s remarks, Jinhee Wilde, Vice President for Legislation introduced Delegate Barclay.

Delegate Charles Barclay gave his educational background in Montgomery County Public Schools. He provided a factual packet for delegates. He commented on the budget surplus, educational issues and the county’s priorities. First, the $1 billion budget surplus sounds like a lot of money, but it quickly reduces with our $200 million deficit from last year, changes in teachers’ education retirement and pension for 100% actuarial funding ($180 million), and Thornton ($500 million). His education talking points in Annapolis are pre K through 16. He called attention to the Thornton formula chart in the packet he distributed. Revenues and projections for FY 07 and 08 are included for Montgomery County showing an additional $30 million for last year and a scheduled $53 million in Thornton funding. School construction was a major issue last year. The legislature can increase the capital budget. The Kopp commission said we could do $250 million a year for 8 years. Montgomery County’s $30 million last year was about three times the amount it got the previous year. This session we’re asking for at least another $250 million. Senator Ruben mentioned the Maryland Association of Boards of Education’s recommendation of $400 million. The Maryland Association of Counties also thinks that figure is realistic. The “big 7” say that use to pay go money for the schools. Montgomery County’s request for FY 07 is $125 million. The county is contributing $275 million. Statewide school construction requests for FY 07 are $750 million. The governor is up to $170 million now, but needs to increase the state aid. He mentioned 17,000 students in portables. Senator Ruben mentioned the teacher pension movement. If counties were required to contribute Montgomery County would pay $800 million. Under the current system a teacher retiring with 30 years experience contributes gets 38% of their salary in retirement. Can teachers afford to stay in Montgomery County with that retirement income? The proposal from the Maryland State Teachers Association and other groups is to increase teacher contributions from the current 2% to 5% for a retirement benefit of 60%. After school programs will pay dividends in addition to ESOL and adult literacy. His remarks on higher education included the University of Maryland at Shady Grove and their cooperation with Montgomery College and seven other schools to enable students to finish their degrees at Shady Grove. There should be limits on tuition increases at University of Maryland. Make it affordable and accessible. Immigrant students currently in Maryland high schools should be charged in state tuition rates. 

Montgomery College is expanding, too with a capital request of $19.9 million. He advised that we should call our delegates and senators to support the educational issues covered tonight to remind them, and tell them about local schools issues such as mold and needed renovations. Also, in tonight’s packets are the other priorities for the county delegation for the 2006 legislative session. The Montgomery County delegation works as a team. We’ll be glad to come back in December for the meet and greet for more discussion.


Jinhee Wilde directed a question re: strategies on getting funding from the state since Montgomery County has always been the biggest contributor of revenue to the state, yet we get proportionately less than other jurisdictions.


Senator Ruben replied that Montgomery County gets about 24 cents back on the dollar that we contribute. Our state formulas are all based on need. Montgomery County pays 75% of our school construction while others pay 25%. Yes, we do give more money. There’s no way to change that, but we can say what we need for our students. We can push for the GCEI to level the playing field. She advises other jurisdictions against the TRIM cap. TRIM hurts our students, schools and teachers.


Delegate Barclay replied that the times are changing since now the Montgomery County delegation is now the biggest in the state. If others want votes, we have negotiating power. Our delegation keeps telling people to come to the county to do site visits to see what we’re like. We remind them that we have more ESOL students in this county than the rest of the state combined. We should get our proportional share of that ESOL funding. It’s a slow process, and the state has to pay attention to our wants and needs because we have the votes.  


Suzanne Weiss asked, “What we can do to get more money for our schools?”


Senator Ruben replied that it’s important to for us to reach out to our counterparts in other jurisdictions, like Baltimore County, and tell work with them to get that GCEI money. It may mean a tax increase. Let’s put money in our education system instead of the juvenile system to save our students and our parents.


Cindy Kerr introduced Vicki Rafel, president of the Board of Directors of MCCPTA- EPI for a brief review. 

Educational Programs, Inc. (EPI): EPI is a separate non-profit corporation from MCCPTA that runs under the auspices of MCCPTA. EPI provides high quality programs for the local PTAs in Montgomery County taught by talented teachers using a special curriculum. Tonight we focus on Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES) and Hands on Science (HOS). Previously EPI had Creative Enrichment for a kindergarten complement program, and fortunately it was put out of business last year. EPI runs the cultural arts showcases every fall, too. Vicki introduced Mary Shafer from Hands on Science and Kirsten Rhodes from FLES.


Mary Shafer, Montgomery County Coordinator (HOS): HOS has provided after school science instruction for 25 years for more than 100,000 students in 123 elementary schools. HOS especially reaches out to young girls, minorities and underserved populations. HOS uses fun, child-centered fully hands on and inquiry based approach to science. Our children are the scientists. All materials are consumables and go home with the children for further exploration at home. HOS is for grade levels K-1, 2-3, and 4-6. Fall, winter and spring sessions are based on a 3 year thematic cycle. Summer classes are available, too. Well-designed activity guides are provided for adult leaders, who can be parents, teachers, volunteers, scientists, and others from the community members. You don’t have to be a scientist since HOS provides ongoing training in our approach to science. HOS needs your help getting into every school in the county. Currently HOS is in 60 elementary schools. Parent volunteers are needed to coordinate programs at the school level and providing us with adult leaders. If you provide the people, HOS will provide training materials, guides, registration materials, and support. Tonight’s packet includes a brochure with a business card if you have further questions, or you can e-mail Mary through first class.


Kirsten Rhodes, Director (FLES) has offered foreign language instruction through the PTA since 1975.  Partnering with MCPS FLES provides an opportunity to learn foreign language K to 6. FLES works directly with parent volunteers and PTAs to set up and administer before and after school classes. Last year FLES enrolled nearly 4500 students in French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese classes. This year more than 90 elementary schools and 12 middle schools have FLES programs. She introduced the French and Chinese coordinators with her tonight. FLES has a staff of 120 teachers this year. There are 175 coordinators from local PTAs who help us with registration, finding rooms, encourage parents to sign up their children, and talk about FLES, so we thank those PTAs. FLES is based on a solid curriculum and new initiatives. It’s clear that foreign language is important to parents, children and administrators in this county. American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages declared 2005 to be year of languages. Speak a foreign language and the world is yours. Our goal is to open the world through foreign language. Second language learning is commitment throughout Europe as early as third grade. We need to make that commitment here, too. If don’t have a FLES program at your school, we are ready to offer exciting, enthusiastic teachers, a solid curriculum and support for before or after school classes in your elementary or middle school.

(A sheet was distributed listing the schools that do not have FLES classes.)












Draft Minutes- MCCPTA Delegates Assembly

November 22, 2005

Carver Educational Services Center


Business Meeting


Call to Order: President Cindy Kerr called the meeting to order at 8:40 PM.

Agenda: Corrections include: removing presentation of executive board summer resolutions/motions since that was a misprint from last month; Jim Keenan speaking about CIP. Deb Kritzman will speak for Tracy Fox.

Approval of Minutes:

The minutes from the October 25, 2005 Delegate Assembly were reviewed and stand approved as written.

Treasurer’s Report:  

Treasurer Juan Johnson presented the treasurer’s report of October 25 through November 22, 2005, the profit and loss budget vs. actual for July 1 through November 22, 2005, and the balance sheet as of November 22, 2005. Copies were distributed for those who wanted them. Income of $12,233.25 is all membership dues including a few prior membership dues paid from last year. Expenses of $3,857.00 for printing and reproduction are for the blue book (MCCPTA directory) costs. Convention costs for officers and training are $510. Committees are not spending much money, yet. General administrative costs are about right for this time of year. We’re $8,000 in the black.  Everyone needs to pay their dues, but only 40 schools of 180 have paid. We currently have $38,000 in bank. Receivables are for those schools that still have not paid insurance from last year. Insurance bills have come in and invoices will be going out at the first of the month. The treasurer’s report will be filed for audit. Cindy and Juan are working on how MCCPTA will change our insurance to the coverage provided by MD PTA which saves each local PTA about $100 a year.

President’s Report:

Cindy Kerr mentioned that each month we will include the MCCPTA Delegate’s Assembly General Protocol Sheet. We’re trying to abide by it to become more aligned to business National PTA business protocols, for example three microphones and time keeping. Our membership totals now are 22,000. Last year we had 54,000 members by January. Please pay your dues. MCCPTA has encouraged most of our Board of Education members to join local PTAs. Many state PTA officers will join locals, too.


At MD PTA fall convention the National Secretary Treasurer from South Carolina spoke National PTA’s move to “take back recess.” It’s a national stand requiring physical activity and recess as a reaction to concern about teaching to the test. National PTA will have a position on this that will eventually come down to us. The hurricane relief program continues partnering with schools that need relief in Mississippi. Schools are in tents, have lost libraries and supplies. Companies such as Office Depot are partnering to provide supplies and art kits. PTAs can partner with a PTA in the hurricane area at holiday time to meet their needs. National PTA is overseeing a sunshine fund to help with future disaster relief.


Officer Reports:

Vice President - Educational Issues: Shirley Brandman directed delegates to the handouts on the draft for public comment on policy IQD and fine print handout on academic eligibility for extracurricular activities which is a short guide on this policy. Shirley gave a quick background on the current policy: MD high school students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and no more than 1 failing grade to be academically eligible to participate in interscholastic sports, school sponsored drama, or any other activities that receive stipends pursuant to an agreement by the Board of Education. Not all extracurricular activities fall into this category and this distinction is important because some other extracurricular activities are open enrollment and are not governed by eligibility standards (and all schools will be required to offer some of these as well). Every first time 9th grader is automatically eligible in their first quarter. All parents need to pay attention because of what the policy means for academic achievement. Academic eligibility has become a serious concern since 20% of all  9th to 12th graders in the county are not academically eligible.

The Board of Education is not considering any change to the 2.0 requirement for eligibility. At present, a student is automatically ineligible if he/she misses the 2.0 cut off irrespective of whether there is some family crisis that may have caused the fall off in grades. MCPS had convened a workgroup to review the policy.  The work group included one teacher, many coaches, some students who had been ineligible, and some parents. The work group made recommendations to stick with 2.0 cut off, but parents on this committee advocated for more flexibility. The parents on the work group filed a minority report with an alternative proposal which would allows for some flexibility and a provisional period of eligibility rather than an automatic cut off. To be provisionally eligible you must participate in an academic support program by showing up, making  a good faith effort to improve academic performance, and showing steady increase in performance. Do we as organization want to support some kind of a provisional opportunity for academic eligibility? Shirley provided background to the minority report, including research documenting that participation in extracurricular activities reduces absenteeism and drop out rates. She also discussed the recognition that a disproportionate number of  ineligible students are minority students who are disadvantaged and vulnerable to gang recruitment in the absence of  opportunities to be connected to school activities in the school hours. The alternative proposal is an effort to use an extra “hook” to motivate students to bring up their grades and get back to eligibility. Parents understand and the Board of Education should understand that participation in extracurricular activities is a powerful motivation to want to stay in school.

Shirley did point out that some changes to the policy recommended by the Board of Education  are positive steps as a result of listening to parents, such as creating an obligation of the school system to provide students with support for maintaining academic performance and eligibility.

Some questions and discussion followed including information from a local PTA that principals as a group have taken a position that supports the policy as written because ineligibility only lasts one quarter, and the provisional period is not necessary because it’s against the push for excellence. It wad discussed that providing academic supports that only come if you stay connected to extracurriculars supports the importance of academic performance. A question was also raised about where the money for high schools to offer tutoring to ineligible students would come from? Coaches who don’t teach and aren’t in the schools to tutor before school, at lunch or after school don’t have that connection to offer guidance and supervision, so real changes would have to be made. Some schools use their existing homework club or Honor Students tutoring programs to meet the need without additional cost. Discussion also followed regarding the connection between academic ineligibility and the need for real graduation rates. We should be asking MCPS to provide academic help for all students who need it, not just the athletes.      

After having provided background so local PTAs can discuss the draft policy, final consideration was delayed until January. In January we will decide if we, as MCCPTA, want to support provisional eligibility. We can discuss implementation strategies such as the Board draft (see page 3) stating that, “All secondary schools should provide and communicate opportunities for all students…” to change the word should to must. Please forward questions and generate discussions at your locals.


Shirley also reviewed the revised draft of advocacy priorities for 2005-2006 that were included in the delegate packets. These are ranked in order. The top categories of concerns  in order were: academic (ES), facilities, academic (MS), academic (HS), staffing and support service, safety/health and parental involvement/communication (tied) and accountability. In addition, the top 15 advocacy priorities were listed: ranked by single issues across categories, aggregated by like issues across categories, and ranked numerically. Those issues getting less that 10 votes were not included. This information will be sent out electronically on the MCCPTA Bulletin.  We charge our committees to be proactive on these priorities as they do their work. When officers meet with the Board of Education or county council we use these as a working document. Delegates were also asked to consider these priorities in reviewing the MCCPTA Operating Budget Compact.



Vice President – Programs: The Board of Education agenda will include the calendar on December 13 at 11 AM. Local PTAs may make comments. Sharon St. Pierre gave the MCPS 2006-2007 calendar update. The calendar includes 184 school days, 9 professional days and 13 holidays. School will begin on Monday, August 28 and end on Friday June 15. Tuesday Sept. 12 is the primary election and Tuesday, November 7 is the general election. We brought up changing the start date from Monday, August 28 to Tuesday, August 29 to allow for open houses on Monday. We were told that would force the end date to be Monday June 18. Twenty-two of twenty-four counties start school before Labor Day because it maximizes the number of instructional days before the Maryland School Assessments (MSAs) and high school assessments (HSAs). Contingency dates for weather emergencies try to minimally impact family plans, camps, etc. in June. They tried to put professional days on Mondays and Fridays. There are 2 professional days on Tuesdays – November 1 and March 27. There are 2 professional days on Monday and Tuesday, January 22 and 23, too. Friday, October 20 is marked “Hold” because of Maryland State Teachers Association and teacher contracts, but it won’t be a school day.

Comments included being closed on four Mondays in January. Holidays account for 3 of those Mondays. Parents had previously asked for Monday or Friday off. Please send your calendar comments to Robin_Confino@mcpsmd.org.


Vice President – Legislation: Jinhee Wilde reminded us of the 7:30 to 9 PM meet and greet arranged by Tom Murphy and Suzanne Weiss for the Montgomery County delegation on December 15 at Carver. A light dinner will be served. There will be opportunities for one on one discussion on educational issues.


Committee Reports:

List Serves: Committee Chair Patti Twigg asked for volunteers to tally the results of the ballot (survey) to resolve listserve issues (11-22-05) included in the delegate packets tonight. The tally hopefully will show a consensus, so that we know how to proceed.  


CIP: Jim Keenan, CIP co-chair said that the CIP testimony was well done and most speakers used the MCCPTA theme, and brought out needs identified. There was no Saturday workshop prior to testimony because the attendance was light for the CIP forum, and at cluster coordinator training. We will push harder next year.


Policy FAA- RA work group update: We have 10 slots for the work group on the long term educational facility planning policy. The concern is that at the last meeting only 5 of the representatives showed up, and Joe Lavorgna made comments about our poor turn out. We need to have a better to showing. Members should try to come to the next meeting a week from tomorrow night, or let Jim or Marney know if you can’t attend. The document is now being gone through word by word. Our emphasis is for increased parental involvement. Jim thanked Lilo for her comments. We’re trying to get PTAs recognized. The work group works well together.


Operating Budget: Jane deWinter, Operating Budget chair, referred to the MCCPTA FY 2007 Operating Budget Compact draft that was distributed to delegates in their packets. It will be used for advocacy. The compact came from the last year’s advocacy points with the counts and order of issues. CIP points were not included. A special Delegates Assembly will be held on Monday, January 9 with a panel of county council members, the new president and vice president of the Board of Education, and a representative from the county executive’s office. There will be questions and answers following their brief remarks. Following this we will discuss and vote on our compact. Please take it home and read it, so you can make suggestions for changes. Please e-mail any changes to Jane ahead of time, so she can have overheads prepared. Saturday, January 7 there will be an operating budget workshop at Gaithersburg High School. Wednesday, December 14 Dr. Weast presents his FY 2007 operating budget at Rockville High School. There is money for middle school reform, but we won’t know specifics until spring. There may be a small multi-year initiative for languages and communication. Overall MCPS is not anticipating significant enrollment growth for next year, but they are opening 5 new schools that must be staffed.


Health: Deb Kritzman is collecting the Physical Education, Music and Arts Survey. The wellness survey is time sensitive, but she didn’t have much time to talk about it. The draft is due to MCPS at the end of this month. Information will be shared on the list.


Safety: Pam will wait until January.


Middle School: Juan will report in January due to time constraints.


Grading and Reporting: Shirley Brandman referred to the proposed resolution on grading

and reporting resolution included in the delegates packets. Do we really know what’s going on in all of the schools? The committee is recommending that there be more monitoring so, we can see how changes are being implemented this year. Please look the resolution over and e-mail questions to Shirley. We’ll vote in January.

Proposed  Resolution from the MCCPTA Grading and Reporting Committee  11/22/05:


WHEREAS MCPS has specifically adopted grading and reporting procedures for grades 6-12 which govern reteaching/reassessment, homework and grading; and


WHEREAS these procedures indicate that they "will be applied consistently within and among schools"; and


WHEREAS the MCCPTA Grading and Reporting Committee is aware that there have been several instances where these procedures were incorrectly applied in a secondary class such as, for example, where students were only permitted to take a reassessment if they earned below a 70% on the original task or where students’ grades on a reassessment were capped at 85%; and


WHEREAS we cannot necessarily equate the small number of complaints that MCPS has received from parents with a conclusion that the grading and reporting policy has been implemented successfully; and


WHEREAS the MCCPTA Grading and Reporting Committee believes that in the interest of fairness to all students, MCPS needs to be more proactive in monitoring compliance with the grading and reporting procedures;


BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that MCCPTA requests that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) immediately require that Community Superintendents working with local school principals review school wide, department wide and course specific grading practices to ensure that they are in accordance with MCPS procedures and to ensure the immediate correction of any practices that contradict the stated procedures.




Business Items:

This directory resolution was referred to the executive board for language clarification at the October Delegate Assembly. We sent out the resolution on the CRC use. We can take this position in the future. The group consensus was to put this on the January agenda.


Directory Resolution: (Draft as distributed)

            WHEREAS each school year the local PTA units of the Montgomery County Council

of PTAs (MCCPTA) typically compile and publish student directories that include

personal and potentially sensitive information such as names, street addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of students whose parents have agreed to have such information

included; and

WHEREAS in granting permission to be listed in the directory students and their guardians/parents are not granting permission to share that information more broadly; and


WHEREAS by common knowledge and accepted practice these directories are intended

exclusively for the private use of the PTA/PTSA and the local PTA/PTSA communities to facilitate communication within their communities, and are not intended to be used for any other

purpose; and

WHEREAS the information contained in the directories are the property of the local  PTA/PTSA; and

WHEREAS local PTA/PTSA units do not intend nor give permission for these directories to be used for solicitations, advertising, mass mailings, or any other purposes unrelated to the mission, objects and policies of the local PTA/PTSA or by any organization other than the local PTA/PTSA; and

WHEREAS the local PTA/PTSAs are justifiably concerned that fears about potential misuse of student directories could lead parents to withhold student directory information, thereby impairing a critical PTA/PTSA asset;

NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the MCCPTA Delegates oppose the use of student directories for any purposes not expressly approved by the local PTA/PTSA; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCCPTA Delegates expressly oppose use of the student directories by non-PTA/PTSA sanctioned organizations for any purpose.


Proposed alternative language:

(1)     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCCPTA Delegates oppose the use of student directories for any purpose not in accordance with the objectives and mission of PTA, or by any organizations not expressly authorized by the local PTA to use the student directory.

(2)     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCCPTA Delegates oppose the use of student directories by any group other than the PTA.


May Delegates Assembly:

A motion was passed at the October 25 Delegate Assembly to have a May Delegate Assembly. The proposed new date is Tuesday, May 30, 2006. The fourth Tuesday is the night before the presidents and principals dinner. We’ll put this out on the list for alternative dates and bring it back in January.


Proposal to change the Delegates Assembly start time from 7:30 PM to 7:00 PM.

The goal of this proposal is to see if we could finish our meetings before 10 PM.

Mark Loberg made a motion to change the starting time of the Delegate Assembly from 7:30 PM to 7:00 PM. The motion was seconded. Discussion included opposition based upon child care, working times, filling the extra time no matter when we start, and time constraints. The motion failed on a voice vote.    


New Business Item: New motions or Resolutions presented by delegates

MCCPTA Gifted Child Committee Proposed Resolution:


o        The MCPS Board of Education has stated that increasing rigor is on e of its main goals

o        Providing a general continuum of services is one of the MCPS guiding policies

o        Over 300 students prepared for accelerated work will be graduating this school year

from the competitive middle school programs in MCPS, while only 200 slots are

available at the high school level for the whole county

o        Expanding the number of spaces available in these programs increases opportunities

for all students down county and upcounty

o        Existing programs of this nature generate and share best practices of excellence within

the communities where they operate, thus indirectly improving the educational level

for all students

o        The current upcounty middle school program at Roberto Clemente  enrolls significantly

higher proportions of African American students than its sister down county programs

o        The name recognition and prestige of Montgomery County is constantly enhanced by its

great school system, of which its well-known magnet programs are a highly visible element; thus attracting desirable organizations and increasing job opportunities for all

o        The existing HS magnet programs were created a long time ago when the student population

of Montgomery County was approximately half of what it is today, and their number of

spaces has not grown at all since then

o        The bulk of new development and growth in the county is taking place within the upcounty area

o        Current busing of upcounty students to won county programs incurs significant costs:

Financial (the cost of transportation) and human (wasted student-hours each day and disruption to family schedules

o        Deserving upcounty students who currently miss the opportunity for more enriched education as either themselves or their parents are unwillingly/unable to make the sacrifices implicit in attending at locations far removed from their homes

o        The recent Report from the Deputy Superintendent Advisory Committee on GT Education indicates as one of its recommendations that : “MCPS must meet the need for additional seats

in centers and secondary magnet programs. Of critical concern is the establishment of an upcounty high school program to align with the Roberto Clement model.”

o        The cost of this program (expected to be less than $500,000 p.a. when fully operational; less during its initial years of  operation) represents approximately 3/100 of 1% (three hundredths of one percent) of the overall MCPS yearly budget of $1.7 billion; and


That MCPS should establish upcounty high school programs for the highly gifted, along the lines of the successful middle school programs at Roberto Clemente Middle School.


[1] /The word “upcounty”, as normally used by MCPS, refers to the northern area of Montgomery County as defined by the area covered by the two northern groups of clusters, i.e., the northwestern quad-cluster of: Northwest, Poolesville, Quince Orchard and Seneca Valley HS; and the northeastern penta-cluster of: Clarksburg, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Magruder , and Watkins Mill HS.

[2]/the expression “along the lines of the successful programs at Roberto Clemente Middle School” is intended to convey the many design aspects that have made such programs so successful. Among them: the proposed HS programs should: a)offer open enrollment; b)include both, math-science-computer science and humanities programs (i.e., no IB program, their curricula will be based on Blair’s math-science-computer science magnet and on its CAPS humanities program); c)attract underserved minority students, just as the middle school programs at Roberto Clemente are doing currently; etc


A date change has been made to allow for flexibility. An alternative proposal had been made today as an amendment. It can’t be an amendment, but it can be an alternative resolution, so the author can make it a resolution tonight.


In introducing the resolution, Diane McHale, chair of the Gifted Child Committee, said that the upcounty magnet school would be modeled after Blair High School. It is needed because the students are graduating from the Roberto Clemente Middle School next year. This proposal came as a result of an upcounty work group whose parents worked with Dr. Weast and the Board of Education. In addition, Diane served on the Deputy Superintendent’s Advocacy Committee for Gifted Education who also recommended an upcounty program.  The MCCPTA executive board has endorsed it. The committee is took out “by the fall of 2006” in the resolves statement. Lauren Ingraham talked about the resolution, too. Upcounty parents have concerns about the early and long commute to Eastern Middle School. The advantage of the resolution is countywide because it would open up more seats. Jim Keenan, Quince Orchard cluster coordinator and CIP co-chair, asked why this resolution was necessary if a program at Poolesville was already identified and published in the CIP. He’d like Eric Lang (MCPS) to open his work group on planning and curriculum to more parents and involve Quince Orchard’s quad cluster. Diane responded that the process started before the CIP. Knowing that MCCPTA supports it may make a difference, and there’s still work to be done. The study is a done deal. Further discussion included: Blair and Richard Montgomery comments about equivalency; replication of existing down county programs; parallel program planning at Clemente, Eastern and Takoma Park and  Blair and upcounty; separate IB programs other than Richard Montgomery; open enrollment vs. set aside seats; Clemente seats in the cluster are set aside unlike at Eastern; keeping students from Clemente through the high school level; wherever the program is located they will open seats (e.g. Poolesville students don’t count against the seat limit) and recruitment of minority students.


Paul Wexstein, Piney Branch delegate, proposed an amendment to the resolution:


The teaching methodologies used in magnet programs, and in particular the use of sustained student inquiry into real-world matters, would benefit all students and have been shown to result in major boosts in achievement across all students groups and to correspond to both adult intellectual achievement and the way the human brain builds new knowledge.



That MCPS should establish and begin to implement a plan for ensuring that the pervasive use of sustained student inquiry into real-world matters through projects and other methodologies used in magnet programs for the highly gifted not be limited to the students selected for the limited seats in those programs but instead be provided to all students in MCPS.


It was not seconded.


He said that teaching methodologies used in magnets should be used for all students. Procedural comments said it looks like a substitute resolution. It can be an additional motion, but it changes the intent of the resolution. Two separate issues are being requested. There is a possibility of bringing this up separately in January.


Andrea Abrahams, Brookhaven delegate called the question. Voice vote passed calling the question. The resolution as written passed on a standing vote.


Alternative resolutions can go out in the January packet because of time constraints. David Lechner read portions of his resolution that had bee distributed. It was seconded and it will be referred to the January meeting. The operating budget committee will work with him on the facts.


David Lechner’s proposed amendment on the resolution on a new magnet high school:

Whereas in-school programs are generally more cost-effective and can be made open to all students willing to meet entrance requirements and pursue the more rigorous curriculum, and


Whereas there appears to be no “very large grants from the Federal Government” available to create a new upcounty program (like there was for the Blair program when originally created), and


Whereas retention of highly capable High School students in their own home schools will help ensure that the home schools have better MSA Test Scores to meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals per NCLB Act, and


Whereas an International Baccalaureate (IB) program provides a standards based and world-wide recognized curriculum in a challenging program for highly motivated and capable students using a criterion referenced grading system, and


Whereas program opportunities in upcounty High Schools will open up additional program “slots”

At the Blair Magnet program for all MCPS students to apply towards;



Be it Further Resolved:

1)       That MCPS should alternatively consider creation IB programs at all upcounty high schools, and

2)       That MCPS shall additionally create or maintain complementary program components that focus on Science, Computers, and Mathematics at these High Schools, and

3)       That such new programs shall be open to students at those schools and from any other MCPS High School who are able to meet the program entrance criteria and provide their own transportation to the school or one of the bus stops supporting those schools.


The resolution was seconded. It will be referred to the January meeting and he agreed that the operating budget will work with him for factual accuracy.


Motion to move business items to the beginning of the Delegate Assembly:

Blair Wilson, Sherwood Cluster, made a motion to amend the agenda from this day forward to always have business conducted prior to any and all visitors and other speakers. It was seconded. It passed on a standing vote.


No other business was proposed.



The business meeting was adjourned at 10:10 PM.