Monday, October 3, 2016

Update on MCPS Efforts to Reduce Class Size and Address the Opportunity Gap

Tune in to County Cable Montgomery at approximately 1:45 tomorrow to see the update from Montgomery County Public Schools on its efforts to reduce class size and address the opportunity gap. In approving the Fiscal Year 2017 operating budget in May, the Council provided significant new funds that would go toward those purposes. If you aren't able to watch the meeting live, you can get it on demand about 24 hours later.

New MCPS Superintendent of Schools Jack Smith, Chief Academic Officer Maria Navarro, Associate Superintendent of Elementary Schools LaVerne Kimball and Associate Superintendent of Secondary Schools Darryl Williams are among the MCPS representatives expected for the update on schools.

The FY17 budget for MCPS resulted from a historic collaboration between the Board of Education and the Council. Together we agreed to redirect significant resources to reduce class size and address the opportunity gap. Specifically, the Council's appropriation for MCPS was $89 million above the State-mandated Maintenance of Effort minimum spending level, with $37.9 million redirected within the budget directly for class size reductions and closing educational disparities by adding instructional and support staff.

On September 13, MCPS staff briefed the Board of Education on how it is allocating the additional resources in FY17 and the metrics that will be used to measure the success of these efforts. The Board of Education found the briefing to be very timely, detailed and informative, and expressed a strong desire for the superintendent to request to provide the same update to the Council.
Superintendent Smith’s presentation to the Board of Education addressed the following planned actions:

  • Reducing average class size and targeted staffing to provide closer monitoring and supports for students 
  • Leveraging resources to increase staff capacity to meet student needs in schools with the largest learning disparities 
  • Focusing efforts on increasing the academic success of Black or African American students, Hispanic/Latino students and students impacted by poverty to mitigate disparities in learning opportunities 
  • Developing instructional supports and programmatic options to increase learning opportunities for students receiving special education services and our English language learners 
  • Providing enhanced curricular and instructional options 
  • Increasing programmatic access by removing barriers and increasing opportunities for learning

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