2014

ANNUAL REPORT

TO THE COMMUNITY

Our Mission

To ensure every student has the academic, creative problem solving, and social emotional skills they need to be successful in college and careers.


Printable Summary of the Annual Report

Introduction

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is more than a school system, it is a community. It's a community of people working together to provide our students with an education that prepares them for success today, tomorrow, and in the years to come. That is our core purpose: to prepare our students to thrive in their future.

The Annual Report to the Community for the 2013-2014 school year tells the story of MCPS—the factors that are driving change in our district; the strategies we are using to close the achievement gap and prepare our students for success in the 21st century; and the operational and student performance data we use to monitor our progress. Along the way, you will meet some of our outstanding students and staff who make MCPS what it is today and what it will be in the future. A printable summary of this report and feedback survey are available.

Overview

How the Strategic Planning Framework Guides Our Work

The Strategic Planning Framework—Building Our Future Together: Students, Staff, and Community—is designed to set clear expectations for all schools, while allowing our schools to be innovative and thoughtful in serving students so we can close the achievement gap and prepare them for the future.

The Framework is built on the five core values, adopted by the Montgomery County Board of Education, that define what it means to be a public education system: learning, relationships, respect, excellence, and equity. The Framework identifies the three competencies students need for success in the 21st century—academic excellence, creative problem solving, and social emotional learning—and provides specific expectations for what students will know and be able to do in these areas. It also lays out what MCPS staff will do to help students meet those expectations. The Framework also affirms the district's ongoing commitment to operational excellence.

Data is monitored at five important milestones in a student's educational journey—Grades 3, 5, 8, 9, and graduation. All of our schools have aligned their improvement plans with the vision, mission, and goals of the Strategic Planning Framework. The milestones data, and other important information, is a part of the School Support and Improvement Framework (SSIF), which is used to provide customized support and services to schools to improve teaching, learning, and outcomes. Each school's SSIF report can be viewed online.

Strategic Planning Framework

The Strategic Planning Framework

The Framework sets goals for schools and staff to help students meet specific expectations.


The Forces Driving Change in MCPS

Growth

Growth

Enrollment in MCPS has grown by more than 14,000 students in the past six years—enough to fill more than 18 elementary schools to capacity. While we are pleased so many people want to send their children to school in our district, this does create space and resource challenges. Enrollment growth is expected to continue in the years to come.

See How Enrollment has Grown

Meals

Increasing Needs

More students are coming to MCPS needing services and support to ensure their success. For instance, over the past six years, the number of students receiving free and reduced-price meals and English for Speakers of Other Languages services has grown dramatically. MCPS is committed to providing all students with a high-quality education and will need the resources to keep up with its changing demographics.

See How Student Needs are Increasing

ESOL

Closing the Gap

Overall, MCPS students achieve at a very high level and outperform their peers across the state and the nation. While progress has been made in some areas, achievement and opportunity gaps persist in our schools. MCPS and the Board of Education are committed to closing the gaps so all students are college- and career-ready.

See How MCPS is Working to Close the Gap

Demographics

Preparing for the Future

The demands of the workforce have changed and that means we must change, too. Our students need strong academic knowledge, but they will also need to be able to think creatively, work collaboratively, and solve real-world problems. We also must make sure they have the social emotional skills that will allow them to thrive in their future and contribute to society.

See How MCPS is Preparing Students for the 21st Century


Common Core State Standards and PARCC

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are an internationally benchmarked set of expectations for what students need to know and be able to do in mathematics and English. The CCSS focuses on building a deep understanding in these core content areas, and the standards are aligned to the expectations of higher education and the workplace.

MCPS, like school districts across the state and the nation, has been aligning its curricula to the CCSS for the past few years and training its teachers on how to effectively deliver instruction. MCPS Curriculum 2.0 is fully aligned with the CCSS. The rollout of the CCSS and Curriculum 2.0 is requiring a significant investment in professional learning.

Starting in spring 2015, Maryland public school students will begin taking new, Common Core-aligned state assessments. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests will be given in math and literacy in Grades 3 through 8 and will be given to students taking Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and English 10.

Learn more about the Common Core State Standards
Learn more about Curriculum 2.0
Learn more about PARCC

Steven Katz

Steven Katz

Teacher, Westland Middle School

Common Core math encourages students to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

Listen to an Interview with Steven Katz
PARCC Night

PARCC Information Night for Parents

MCPS, the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, and the NAACP Parents' Council hosted two information sessions for parents during the 2014-2015 school year.

Closing the Gap

Overview

THE URGENCY OF ACTION

Perhaps no school district in the nation has shown a greater commitment to closing the achievement gap than Montgomery County Public Schools. This commitment has borne results. The gap in performance among racial subgroups has narrowed in many areas, including graduation rate, dropout rate, and access to rigorous classes (AP and IB). But in other areas, these gaps have persisted and, in some cases, grown.

Equity is one of our most important core values. MCPS is committed to ensuring that student outcomes are not predictable by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or educational need. There is a sense of urgency to closing the gap and that urgency becomes even greater as MCPS becomes a more diverse school district.

See How Demographics Have Shifted in MCPS

There isn't just one answer to closing the gap. Rather, it requires outstanding teaching and learning and a comprehensive system of supports and strategies that allow schools to identify and meet the individual needs of students. MCPS as a district is using five strategies to support school improvement efforts and align the district's work with the Strategic Planning Framework.

Designing and implementing a rigorous and culturally proficient curriculum and instructional program.

Focus areas

  • FULLY IMPLEMENT MCPS Curriculum 2.0 in all areas, ensuring alignment with the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core State Standards) and the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • INCREASE OPPORTUNITIES for project-based and problem-based learning throughout the district to build creative problem solving skills and social emotional competencies in all MCPS students.
  • IMPROVE the timeliness and quality of interventions, using data to identify students who are struggling and using programs and partnerships aimed at keeping students on track for graduation and postsecondary success.
  • PROVIDE DIVERSE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES based on the identified needs and unique interests of students, including services and programs for students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP); have been identified as highly gifted; have specific career interests; or may not have succeeded in traditional school environments.
  • INFUSE TECHNOLOGY in the classroom to enhance creativity and collaboration, individualize instruction, and provide students with 21st century skills and knowledge.

Learn more about Academic Rigor and Culturally Proficient Instruction

Investing greater resources and support to schools with greater needs.

Focus areas

  • PROVIDE PREKINDERGARTEN for students whose families are living below, at, or near the poverty line in order to build a strong foundation of learning.
  • KEEP CLASS SIZES LOWER in kindergarten through Grade 2 in the elementary schools most impacted by poverty in order to improve student achievement in core areas, especially reading.
  • USE PERFORMANCE DATA to allocate resources to schools based on the needs of their student enrollment and areas of lower-than-expected student performance.
  • IN PARTNERSHIP with the community, use extracurricular programs to provide additional academic support to students and foster relationships that keep students engaged in school and on track for graduation.

Learn more about Equitable Funding and Support

Recruiting, retaining, and developing the best employees in public education

Focus areas

  • RECRUIT AND RETAIN a highly qualified teacher workforce that is reflective of the diversity of our student population.
  • IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATIONS, maintain and improve the MCPS Professional Growth Systems to foster continuous improvement in our employees and provide pathways for growth and advancement.

Learn more about Human Capital Management

Working with community partners and engaging families in order to support student success and achievement

Focus areas

  • SUSTAIN AND EXPAND existing partnerships that meet the in-school and out-of-school needs of students and families, including Linkages to Learning, the Kennedy Cluster Project, and Excel Beyond the Bell.
  • BUILD COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TEAMS that develop community leadership capacity, enhance and expand partnerships, and help meet the needs of students and families in our schools.
  • FACILITATE TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION with parents, students, employees, and community members using a wide array of tools to engage and inform.
  • IN PARTNERSHIP WITH COMMUNITYWIDE ORGANIZATIONS, engage, support, and inform families and community members, providing opportunities for them to advocate and interact directly with their schools.

Learn more about Community Engagement

Provide world-class services for students and remain highly committed to continuous improvement.

Focus areas

  • USE A BALDRIGE-GUIDED PROCESS to build and maintain world-class services to schools, ensuring efficient and timely operations; secure and modern facilities; and nurturing, 21st century learning environments.
  • USE DATA from local, state, and national assessments and other sources to evaluate programs and services; guide school and office improvement efforts; and develop a values-based, needs-driven budget.
  • PROVIDE INCREASED OPPORTUNITIES for collaboration among educators and staff using the myMCPS portal and other tools.

Learn more about Operational Excellence and Continuous Improvement

Spotlight

Sara Rodriguez Kelley, parent educator, Capt. James E. Daly, Jr., Elementary School

For more than 15 years, MCPS has provided additional funds to the elementary schools that are most impacted by poverty. These 67 schools receive—on average—about $2 million in additional funding that is used to provide prekindergarten, smaller class sizes in early grades, and individualized support for students and families. Not every school uses the funds the same way.

At Capt. James E. Daly, Jr., about 70 percent of students receive free or reduced-price meals and more than a third are English language learners. Principal Nora Dietz and her staff recognized that parent engagement was a major challenge in their school, as many of the families do not speak English or are unaccustomed to interacting with the school. So Dietz decided to use some of their additional funding to hire a parent educator—Sara Rodriguez Kelley. Read More

Ms. Kelley is a bilingual master teacher, whose job it is to bring the school into the community and the community into the school. She conducts home visits, arranges meetings at all times of the day and night, and helps students and families navigate the systems inside and outside of the school. She leads bilingual instructional tours, where parents are invited into the school to see teaching and learning in action. She coordinates a program that provides dental services to students at the school and much more. Her work has helped increase the number of parent volunteers and has created a more inclusive and welcoming school environment.

Spotlight

Community Engagement and Partnerships

MCPS cannot alone meet all the needs of our students and their families. That is why we work with other government agencies, nonprofits, and community organizations to provide wraparound services that support the success and well-being of our children and families.

For instance, 12 MCPS schools have health centers in their buildings that are run in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. The Kennedy Cluster Project focuses on closing the academic achievement gap by working to increase equitable practices, improve student health and well-being, and engage more parents. And the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program is a collaboration with Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove designed to increase college going and completion, especially among students traditionally underrepresented in higher education, and/or the first in their family to attend college.

One important, ongoing partnership is Excel Beyond the Bell. In partnership with the Montgomery County Recreation Department and other organizations, EBB provides safe, high-quality, low-cost afterschool programs. These programs not only keep students engaged in the school community, but allow them to explore areas of interest—from sports to the arts to technology.

MCPS is also committed to engaging and empowering our parents to support and advocate for their children. Every year, we host dozens of MCPS Parent Academy sessions that are free and provide helpful information about parenting, academics, child safety and much more. In May 2014, MCPS hosted its first Special Education Summit. The event provided parents of special needs students with access to resources, information, and expertise so they can work with the school to ensure the well-being and success of their children.

Spotlight

Monica Colbert

Monica Colbert

Teacher, Forest Oak Middle School

Thanks to the new curriculum, math is now something they can relate to... They can see that math actually matters.

Listen to an Interview with Monica Colbert

Monica Colbert, Math Focus Teacher, Forest Oak Middle School

Armed with a bubbly personality and a passion for helping kids learn algebra, Monica Colbert knows that being a good teacher isn't only about teaching. It's about building relationships with students so they can see their own potential and learn to believe in themselves.

Art Williams, the principal at Forest Oak Middle School, hired her for the start of the 2014–2015 school year. But over the summer, he found himself in a jam. He had a reteach course for students who had failed their final exam in algebra and no one to teach the class. So he called Colbert. Of the 33 students in the class, 32 ended up passing the exam.

I start at square one and maybe even negative 1. I need to know what they know. For instance, at the beginning of the reteach/reassess course, I narrowed algebra down to six main concepts—like exponential equations, quadratic equations, linear regression—and wrote each of them down on a beach ball. I tossed the ball around the room and when they caught it, whatever concept their right thumb landed on, they had to tell me everything they knew about that concept.

I wanted to hear what everyone knew about each of them. The floor was open to share what they knew. That gave me quick insight on where they were as a class. I also gave them a pre-assessment to see where they were individually. It seems like that got them right away. What student doesn't want to say what they know? I had to erase some misconceptions. But we worked from that point on. Every night, I was burning both ends of the candle to create lesson plans for them. I tried to incorporate games to help them learn. I would teach for an hour, then take 10 minutes off and play a math game, just different things to sharpen their math skills and increase their fluency.

I saw the gears clicking and I was looking forward to their test day. I felt good about it and I think they did, too.

I do a lot of one on one. In every 45-minute period, I'll make an assignment to the class. Then I can go to those who need more help and ask them what they aren't understanding.

In the morning, we have Cougar Time. It's before first period; some students use it as a study hall. I will pull kids as I need to, if I see that so-and-so isn't quite getting the concepts we're studying.

During lunch, I'm always with a student. After school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have an extended-day program. There's consistently 10 students who show up; these are kids who are not doing well in algebra. I turn it into games and we work out problems I know are really complex but that tackle each skill or concept they're having a tough time with.

If there is a topic that a certain group of students need help with, I will help them with it. A lot of times, I will pair students who are at opposite ends of the spectrum—those who are really achieving and those who are struggling—to brainstorm together. Hearing it from another student can help.

Every student who has consistently attended the extended-day program passed the most recent semester exam, except for one. These are kids who showed major difficulty early on. Their confidence has soared. I had a couple students who were really struggling, who wouldn't open their mouths in class, even if I called on them. Now, they will raise their hand in a heartbeat. They're willing to share. It's like they found their place in math.

I work toward it every single day. Allowing students to experience success lets them see that they're capable of getting further than they ever imagined. If I'm showing them what learning can be like and how it can be fun and engaging, I'm planting a strong seed. Then, they are experiencing something they haven't before. That can be motivational.

If they can achieve one small thing, they can achieve a lot. Figuring out their goals and dreams, even if it doesn't seem reachable, they can see that working toward this 'A' in math can help them get to that other goal over there.

I've had some students who lacked motivation in math, but their abilities were out of this world. There were two in particular, they were friends and they were having behavior problems in class and it was difficult managing them. I decided to forge a stronger personal relationship with them. I moved away from being a disciplinarian, and just said, 'Let's get to know each other.' I took the time to be a caring adult to them, and to not always talk about class.

That really worked. Just last week, students were turning in an assignment, and those two were not in class. I opened my door and they were sitting outside in the hallway doing the assignment. I would never have expected that. They went from 'I don't have it' to being willing to be late to class to make sure they had their homework done. They didn't want to disappoint me. I was so caught in the moment, tears almost came to my eyes. It matters because they see that I care about their success and living up to their own potential. Moments like that I live for.

Spotlight

Preparing English Language Learners for Success

MCPS supports about 20,000 students through the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, which helps students develop proficiency in the academic English needed to be successful in school, the work place, and beyond. The education of English-learning students is a collaborative effort shared by the ESOL teacher, the classroom teacher, ESOL counselors, and parent community coordinators, as well as other MCPS staff.

The parent outreach staff works to empower the parents of ESOL students to help them be engaged in their children's education, with the goal of improving student achievement. Meet parent community coordinator Saida Hentati and learn how she supports students and their families.

21st Century Skills and Knowledge

Overview

The world is changing and is demanding more of our children. That means we must change, as well, and demand more of our schools. Academic knowledge is still at the heart of the work we do every day, but our students need more than that. They need to be able to apply what they are learning; they need to be able to work with others in a collaborative, respectful way; they need to be able to analyze information and develop creative solutions to real-world problems. That is why the Strategic Planning Framework is built around the three core competencies that our students need in order to thrive in their future:

Academic Excellence

It is imperative that we make sure our students are prepared for success when they graduate high school. That means they must be engaged in challenging content and given access to rigorous classes; they must have a deep understanding in core areas, such as literacy and math, and be able to apply that knowledge in different ways; and they must have the opportunities to explore their areas of interest and develop work-ready skills. Our staff must have high expectations for all students, deliver content in a culturally relevant way, and use meaningful data and information to assess where students are and provide the differentiation and support they need.

Creative Problem Solving

The ability to critically and creatively solve complex and unfamiliar problems is a must-have skill in the 21st century workplace. Our students must graduate with the ability to apply what they are learning to solve real-world problems; they must be able to analyze information and articulate their thoughts and ideas in different ways; and they must be able to use technology as a powerful tool that unlocks their creativity and allows them to collaborate with their teachers and peers. MCPS must provide students opportunities to develop creative problem solving skills, allowing them to take ownership of their learning.

Social Emotional Learning

Ensuring the health and well-being of our students is a key component to providing a 21st century education. Our students must be resilient and self-aware; value and respect diversity; and make constructive, healthy decisions that allow them to be good people and good citizens. MCPS staff must make sure they are building relationships with students so our children know that there is at least one person at their school who stands ready to help and support them. We must also model the resilience, perseverance, and respect for others that we want to see in our students.

Spotlight

Supporting Student Success

Last year, the Children's Defense Fund recognized two MCPS students who have overcome extremely difficult circumstances and are on a course to a successful future. For both students, the school was an important part of their academic success and their social emotional development.
Learn more about the Children's Defense Fund

Monica Chica, Grade 12, Springbrook High School

Monica came to the United States from El Salvador in 2012. At first, she struggled to fit in at school and felt lonely, a feeling that was heightened when her mother had to return to El Salvador due to an illness. In just two years, however, Monica has mastered English and enrolled in International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Being on the school's basketball team has allowed her to develop a connection to the coach, her team, and the school. She has a 4.0 grade point average and uses her experiences to help tutor and mentor other English language learners.

Hally Moreno, Grade 12, John F. Kennedy High School

Hally was significantly impacted by domestic violence in her home and feared for her mother's safety. The situation followed her into the school, where she performed poorly and was even held back a year in elementary school. But inspired by her mother and motivated by her teachers, Hally is now excelling in her classes, including IB, AP, and honors courses, and has a 3.9 grade point average. She is also tutoring elementary school students through the George B. Thomas Learning Academy and plays tennis and the violin.

Spotlight

Opportunities for Academically Gifted Students

MCPS provides students with a variety of opportunities and options to enhance their knowledge and skills. This includes several magnet programs, centers, and academies that serve students who have been identified as gifted or have a specific area of interest.

Some of these programs nurture interest in Science, Technology, and Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields and the students in these programs participate in national and international competitions. Yizhen Zhang, who is part of the International Baccalaureate magnet program at Richard Montgomery High School, is one of two MCPS finalists in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search. Listen to Yizhen talk about her project.

Spotlight

Using Technology to Build 21st Century Learning Spaces

The MCPS Technology Initiative is about more than just putting devices in the classroom. It's about creating an environment where a student can explore, collaborate with others, and engage in a broad array of learning opportunities. During the 2013-2014 school year, MCPS completed upgrades to the technology infrastructure of its schools, including the installation of wireless networks in every building. On this foundation, MCPS launched its 21st Century Learning Spaces initiative in 2014.

About 40,000 devices—mostly Chromebook laptops—have been deployed to students in Grades 3, 5, and 6, as well as students in high school social studies classes. Additional grades and subjects will be added next school year.

At the heart of the initiative is a secure, cloud-based learning environment available to all students through Google Apps for Education. This environment allows students and staff anytime, anywhere access to their work and provides more opportunities for collaboration and real-time support. Technology is only a tool and is most powerful when it is integrated into outstanding teaching and learning. That is why MCPS has been training teachers and sharing best practices throughout the year to ensure our students get the most out of this investment.

Organizational Effectiveness

Overview

World-class Services for a World-class System

Montgomery County Public Schools has been nationally recognized for its outstanding operations and services to students. We can provide a world-class education to all students because of the excellence and dedication of our support professionals, whether they are working in the classroom, the warehouse, or the school's front office.

Our commitment to operational excellence allows us to safely transport up to 100,000 students to and from school each morning; serve 470,000 nutritious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to students each week; clean and maintain 202 schools; and make sure our teachers have the materials and supplies they need.

Over the past 10 years, MCPS has opened nearly 100 construction projects, adding much-needed classroom space throughout the district. These projects have been delivered on time and on budget. Many of our paraprofessionals work directly with teachers and staff to deliver instruction and provide vital services to students with disabilities or those who need to learn English. Organizational Effectiveness is the foundation of excellence in MCPS!

See How we Measure Organizational Effectiveness  

School Lunches

MCPS serves more than 470,000 nutritious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to students each week.

Spotlight

George Kelly

George Kelly
Driver of the Warehouse on Wheels (WOW) Truck

I love my job. I love all the stops I get to make. I've got to have a word of encouragement and inspiration for every person I see.

George Kelly, Driver of the WOW Truck

MCPS tries to make sure that our schools and classrooms have all the materials they need to serve students. But, sometimes, something unexpected pops up. That's when George Kelly rolls in with supplies in his truck and a song in his heart. Mr. Kelly is the driver of the Warehouse on Wheels—or WOW—truck.

The WOW truck was established more than 10 years ago by the Division of Materials Management to deliver emergency supplies to schools in between their regular orders, so that teachers and staff have everything they need as soon as they need it. But Mr. Kelly does much more than make deliveries. A gifted singer, he usually announces his arrival with a song, making sure our employees have a smile on their face when he leaves.

A Few Questions with George Kelly

I've been driving the WOW truck for 12 or 14 years. It was a vision of Giles Benson [former director of the Division of Materials Management]. He established it because there were many building service managers who were leaving school, [and] coming to the warehouse to pick up light tubes or paper towels or toilet paper. Three hours later, they'd come back to the school. Giles started the truck with emergency supplies in between their regular orders, so that they wouldn't have to leave the school. He said this will just be a pilot program; he needed someone who could make it work. Before that, I was driving pony routes for 15 years. I'd be getting off and on the truck 50 times a day and I had just come back from knee surgery. I went to Giles and said, "I'm your man."

Whatever song I'm singing when I get off the truck. Sometimes the secretaries will start singing with me. Sometimes I go in and I'm not singing and they'll say, "Why aren't you singing?" I'll say, "OK, I'll sing but you have to sing backup," and they say, "Oh no, I can't do THAT. I can't carry a note in a bucket."

I love my job. I love all the stops I get to make. I've got to have a word of encouragement and inspiration for every person I see. This is a ministry. I touch so many lives when I come to work. It's not always the same ones. People tell me their life stories. They complain about their bosses. They tell me about their kids. I'm making a difference.

When I was in elementary school, I was always in chorus and choir. In high school, I didn't sing a note. When I went to the military, we put a band together and sang in clubs. When I first moved to Maryland, I ran into some guys who were putting a group together. They were looking for a lead singer. Someone told me to call, so I did. I went down and auditioned. They said, "You've got the voice we're looking for." Choice Reunion was the band. We were together about a year. In the 1980s, we opened a show for Clarence Carter. We made an R&B album and a 12-inch single, It's Summertime. The manager and bassist of our group were twins and there was some sibling rivalry going on. Somehow, our music made it to England and they wanted us to tour. But the manger wouldn't let us go. For the life of me, I never understood that. After that, I realized I'm not good with other personalities. I would be better on my own.

Spotlight

Environmental Stewardship in MCPS

We want every MCPS student to respect and value the environment. And we practice what we teach. MCPS is committed to being a good steward of the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. We do this in a variety of ways.

All of our construction projects are designed to reduce the impact on the environment and use "green" construction materials and practices, including:

  • vegetative roofs that reduce runoff;
  • geothermal heating and cooling systems that reduce energy usage; and
  • big windows that maximize the use of natural light.

Conservation efforts across MCPS have reduced energy consumption by 12 percent since 2003. And districtwide efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle have led to an 11 percent reduction in solid waste in MCPS.

Spotlight

Behind the Scenes in MCPS

MCPS serves more students every day than the total population in the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg—combined. Providing a world-class education to this many students requires a network of systems and dedicated professionals who: provide a highly efficient transportation system and a world-class food service operation; build state-of-the-art buildings and keep them cleaned and maintained; and ensure our students and staff have the materials and resources they need.

Every day, a team of MCPS employees—many working behind the scenes—work tirelessly on behalf of our children and in support our core purpose: preparing all students to thrive in their future.

Spotlight

The Kaplan Family and MCPS

What makes MCPS special are the people—and sometimes families—who devote their lives to taking care of the more than 154,000 children we serve every day. For the Kaplan family, serving MCPS dates back to 1969 when Freda Kaplan began working the Paint Branch High School cafeteria. An immigrant from Croatia in 1952, she raised her children in the Paint Branch community where her son, Frank, graduated in 1973. For the last 15 years, Frank Kaplan has been the principal of Strawberry Knoll Elementary School in Gaithersburg building a caring, nurturing culture where students and staff thrive. Just as Freda, also known as Paint Branch Grandma, has been a friendly face and welcoming smile for thousands of Paint Branch students, Frank bonds with his students over lunch too.

Continuous Improvement

Overview

MCPS is committed to continuous improvement. Using a robust set of data and information, we are continually assessing what is working and where there needs to be change at every level.

Using our Professional Growth Systems, we monitor the development of our staff and provide targeted support to help them improve. Using robust data systems, we monitor the health of our schools and our district and hold ourselves accountable for results. The goal is to make a great school system even better.

Spotlight

School Support and Improvement Framework

In order for our schools to be successful, we must know what success looks like and then measure them against those expectations. That's the idea behind the School Support and Improvement Framework (SSIF). The SSIF is a tool that identifies the conditions for success around four key areas—Leadership, Implementation, Perceptual, and Student Outcomes.

Data and information is used in each of these areas to determine where each school is doing well and where there is room for improvement. A robust set of data and information allows the central office and school-based leadership to work together and develop customized support and improvement plans.

Explore the School Support and Improvement Framework

MCPS is committed to openness and transparency and shares data about performance, the budget, and facilities on its OpenDataMCPS portal:
Search OpenDataMCPS

SSIF

School Support and Improvement Framework

Each school's SSIF can be viewed online.

Spotlight

Leadership and Professional Development at MCPS

Professional Development is a key component of continuous improvement. With new standards and assessments and increased expectations for our students, our teachers need opportunities to learn and sharpen their skills. Professional learning opportunities are offered throughout the year at the school and district level.

Some of our most intense and effective professional development takes place over the summer. In July 2014, about 900 MCPS employees gathered to improve the way they deliver instruction and incorporate literacy across all content areas. Watch this video to learn more.

Budget

Operating Budget

Multiyear Budgeting Strategy

A budget is more than dollars and cents—it is a reflection of our values and priorities. Over the past three years, MCPS has employed a multiyear budgeting strategy that is allowing the district to:

  • Manage its continued enrollment growth and meet the increasing needs of its students;
  • Invest in key areas to narrow, and eventually close, the achievement gap; and
  • Prepare students for success in the 21st century.

More than 80 percent of every dollar in the MCPS budget is spent on classroom instruction and another 14 percent is spent on support services for our schools that ensure the needs of our students are met. Our employees are our strength and that is why more than 90 cents of every dollar in the MCPS budget is spent on our outstanding teachers, support staff, and administrators.

Public education is a priority in Montgomery County and our schools are a source of civic pride. That is reflected in the investment our citizens have made in our schools over the years—even in difficult economic times. Our community knows that a great education system is the key to securing the future of Montgomery County. And that is why we invest more in our schools with the greatest needs.

The majority of our budget increases over the past three years have simply allowed MCPS to keep up with its growth and manage the ongoing cost of doing business. However, our multiyear budgeting strategy has included new investments in key areas that will accelerate our efforts to close the gap and help students meet the new expectations of a 21st century workplace.

Among the areas we have invested in over the past three years are:

Math and Literacy

Adding more than 50 teachers to high-need secondary schools to provide more focused instruction to students who are struggling.

English Language Learners

Adding teachers, training, and support to better serve our students who are learning English as a second language.

Special Education Services

Investing in staff, training, and effective programs that allow us to meet the diverse needs of students with Individualized Education Programs.

Student Support Services

Adding counselors, school psychologists, and pupil personnel workers over the past three years to better meet the academic and social emotional needs of students.

Teacher Leadership

Allowing our teacher leaders more opportunities to provide professional development, coaching, and mentoring to our educators and school-based staff.


Where the Money Comes From and Where It Goes


Capital Budget

Capital Improvements Program

Building the Classrooms our Children Deserve

Montgomery County Public Schools is one of the fastest growing school districts in the state of Maryland and across the nation. Keeping up with this growth means adding classroom spaces for the children who are here today and those who will be coming in the future. Over the past decade, MCPS has opened 11 new schools and dozens of addition and renovation/expansion projects that have added much-needed space. These projects have opened on-time and on-budget.

The current $1.53 billion, six-year Capital Improvements Program includes more than 35 construction projects that would be completed by the 2020-21 school year and begins the planning process for several other additional projects.

Learn more about the Capital Improvements Program

School Lunches

Wilson Wims Elementary School Under Construction

Part of the Clarksburg Cluster, Wilson Wims opened in August 2014.

Measuring Our Success

Five Districtwide Milestones

Five districtwide milestones have been established to measure student progress. Performance targets are being set for these milestones and their corresponding data indicators to guide schools and departments in developing action plans to improve student achievement.

View School Support and Improvement Framework by School   

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)

Reading for Grades 3, 5, 8 and Math for Grade 5

As a result of the transition from Maryland School Assessments (MSAs) to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) chose to reinforce its use of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in monitoring system performance. MAP assessments are computer-based, adaptive tests designed around a continuum of skills in mathematics and reading. MCPS has administered MAP assessments for several years and has used the data to inform instruction and diagnostically determine intervention. In 2013-14, MCPS established a baseline for the district because a new version of these tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards was administered. Additionally, research has been done which established proficient and advanced benchmarks in reading and mathematics and monitors student progress towards meeting expected MCPS end-of-year performance. The charts to the right provide baseline data for reading in Grades 3, 5, and 8 and mathematics in Grade 5.

Overall reading performance in 2013-2014 indicates the majority of students in Grades 3, 5, and 8 met or exceeded the end-of-year benchmarks (75.2 percent to 85.5 percent). Variance within ethnic/racial categories as well as students receiving special services existed at each grade level. For Grade 3, the proficient range spanned from 89.4 percent for White students to 56.3% for Hispanic students. Additionally, 55.5 percent of students who received Free and Reduced-price Meal System services, 38.5 percent of students who received special education services and 56.5 percent of students identified as limited English proficient met or exceeded established benchmarks. In Grades 5 and 8 the percent meeting or exceeding the end-of-year benchmarks was higher overall and for most student groups as well.   Read More

Mathematics performance in 2013-2014 was informed by Grade 5 and 80.2 of all students achieved proficiency. Among Grade 5 students, 93.3 percent of Asian students, 66.8 percent of Black or African American students, 66.6 percent of Hispanic/Latino students, 93.8 percent of White students, and 87.8 percent of students identified as Two or More Races successfully met or exceeded the end-of-year benchmark. Additionally, 62.4 percent of students who received Free and Reduced-price Meal System services, 39.9 percent of students who received special education services, and 61.6 percent of students identified as limited English proficient successfully met or exceeded the end-of-year benchmark.


Gallup Student and Staff Engagement Survey

Montgomery County Public Schools launched a partnership with Gallup in 2012 to measure employee and student engagement, and to use the results to help guide the school system's improvement efforts.

MCPS students are:

53%

Hopeful

The ideas and energy we have for the future drives effort, academic achievement, credits earned, and retention of students of all ages.

51%

Engaged

The involvement in and enthusiasm for school reflects how well students are known and how often they get to do what they do best.

65%

Thriving

How we think about and experience our lives tells us how students are doing today and predicts their success in the future.

View Districtwide Student Survey Results

View Districtwide Staff Survey Results

Explore Survey Results by School


Algebra 1 by Grade 8

The Algebra 1 milestone is based on the successful completion of the course with a grade of C or higher by the end of Grade 8.

Algebra is considered an introduction to upper-level mathematics courses that lead to college and career success. Additionally, research points to long-term benefits for Grade 8 students who take an algebra course prior to high school, which includes leading to higher-level mathematics courses in later high school years. With the interest of preparing students for 21st century learning, MCPS encourages all students to pursue higher-level mathematics courses. The Algebra 1 milestone is based on the successful completion of the course with a grade of C or higher by the end of Grade 8.    Read More

In the 2013–2014 school year, 56.0% of Grade 8 students successfully completed Algebra 1 with a C or higher. From 2012 to 2014, the rate for successful completion of Algebra 1 by the end of Grade 8 at all middle schools decreased by 5.8 percentage points for all students (61.8% to 56.0%). It should be noted, however, that there was an increase in the number of Grade 8 students enrolled in the district—10,545 students in 2012 to 10,913 students in 2014. For the 2013–2014 school year, 79.0 percent of Asian students, 37.6 percent of Black or African American students, 33.5 percent of Hispanic/Latino students, 74.2 percent of White students, and 65.4 percent of students identified as Two or More Races successfully completed Algebra 1 with a grade of C or higher by the end of Grade 8. Additionally, 29.6 percent of students who received Free and Reduced-price Meal System services, 15.2 percent of students who received special education services, and 20.3 percent of students identified as limited English proficient successfully completed Algebra 1 with a grade of C or higher by the end of Grade 8.


Grade 9 English

The Grade 9 English milestone is based on the successful completion of an English course with a grade of C or higher.

Students entering Grade 9 begin an important academic and social transition. This transition can be the make-or-break year for completing high school. For the first time, students are required to earn passing grades in core courses needed for graduation. MCPS graduation requirements include earning four credits of English. The courses in the English curriculum are rigorous in order to prepare students to become college and career ready.    Read More

Thus, the successful completion of an English course in Grade 9 is a strong indicator of how well a student will perform throughout high school. The Grade 9 English milestone is based on the successful completion of an English course with a grade of C or higher.

In the 2013–2014 school year, 76.2% of Grade 9 students successfully completed a credit-bearing English course with a C or higher. From 2012 to 2014, the rate for successful completion of an English course by students in Grade 9 decreased slightly by 0.5 percentage points for all students (76.7% to 76.2%). It should be noted, however, that there was an increase in the number of Grade 9 students enrolled in the district—10,977 students in 2012 to 11,149 students in 2014. The largest increase was seen in the number of Hispanic/Latino students—a gain of 260 students. In addition to the growth in enrollment, the performance of Hispanic/Latino students increased slightly over the same period from 59.1 percent of Grade 9 students with a C or higher on English to 59.4 percent. For the 2013–2014 school year, 90.3 percent of Asian students, 65.2 percent of Black or African American students, 90.9 percent of White students, and 81.3 percent of Grade 9 students identified as Two or More Races successfully completed an English course with a grade of C or higher. Additionally, 57.1 percent of students who received Free and Reduced-price Meal System services, 53.7 percent of students who received special education services, and 62.6 percent of students identified as limited English proficient successfully completed an English course with a grade of C or higher in Grade 9.


Grade 9 Mathematics

The Grade 9 Mathematics milestone is based on the successful completion of a mathematics course with a grade of C or higher.

Course success or failure has been consistently reported as having a significant influence on whether a student will graduate from high school on time. Students in Grade 9 must earn a certain number of credits to be promoted to Grade 10. Public attention has been focused on the importance of mathematics as a critical element for MCPS students to be competitive in a global economy.   Read More

MCPS graduation requirements include earning four credits of mathematics—a requirement more rigorous than established by the state of Maryland—in order to prepare our students for college and/or entry to the workforce. Successful completion of a Grade 9 mathematics course is a strong indicator of whether a student will perform successfully during the remainder of their high school coursework leading to on-time graduation. The Grade 9 Mathematics milestone is based on the successful completion of a mathematics course with a grade of C or higher.

In the 2013–2014 school year, nearly 70.0% of Grade 9 students successfully completed a high school mathematics course with a C or higher. From 2012 to 2014, the rate for successful completion of a mathematics course by Grade 9 students at all high schools increased by 1.4 percentage points for all students (68.1% to 69.5%). This success could be seen across all racial/ethnic groups, except for students identified as Two or More Races (which remained virtually unchanged). Students who received Free and Reduced-price Meal System services and students who received special education services also saw increases in successful completion rates in mathematics. Among Grade 9 students in the 2013–2014 school year, 86.8 percent of Asian students, 55.9 percent of Black or African American students, 50.8 percent of Hispanic/Latino students, 86.3 percent of White students, and 74.2 percent of students identified as Two or More Races successfully completed a mathematics course with a grade of C or higher. Additionally, 48.9 percent of students who received Free and Reduced-price Meal System services, 44.7 percent of students who received special education services, and 47.9 percent of students identified as limited English proficient successfully completed a mathematics course with a grade of C or higher.


Grade 9 Eligibility

The Grade 9 eligibility milestone focuses on the percentage of Grade 9 students eligible two or more marking periods during a school year.

Transitioning to high school can be challenging for some students. MCPS believes one method to ensure students are engaged and have a well-rounded education is to provide an effective instructional program that includes extracurricular activities. High school students are afforded opportunities to participate in a variety of athletic and nonathletic extracurricular activities throughout the school year. Certain extracurricular activities require academic eligibility for participation—students must maintain a marking period average of 2.0 or higher and fail no more than one course per marking period.    Read More

Students who do not meet these academic standards are ineligible to participate in some extracurricular activities during the subsequent marking period. This Grade 9 eligibility milestone focuses on the percentage of Grade 9 students eligible two or more marking periods during a school year.

During the 2013–2014 school year, 85.0% of all MCPS Grade 9 students were eligible, a 1.7 percentage point increase compared to the 2011–2012 school year. Further examination by racial/ethnic groups reveals that among Grade 9 students, 97.0 percent of Asian, 76.2 percent of Black or African American, 72.1 percent of Hispanic/Latino, 95.7 percent of White, and 90.4 percent of students designated as Two or More Races were eligible during the 2013–2014 school year. It should be noted that the percentage of Hispanic/Latino students eligible showed a 3.8 percentage point increase compared to the 2011–2012 school year rate of 68.3%—the largest for any group. Among Grade 9 students, slightly more than 70.0 percent who received Free and Reduced-price Meal System services, 65.8 percent who received special education services, and 77.0 percent of students identified as limited English proficient were eligible during the 2013–2014 school year.


Algebra 2 by Grade 11

The Algebra 2 milestone is based on the successful completion of the course with a C or higher by the end of Grade 11.

Research, nationally and within MCPS, indicates that high school students who successfully complete Algebra 2 are less likely to need remediation upon entry to college and more likely to enroll in college, remain in college, and earn a bachelor's degree. Also, research studies have indicated a correlation between Algebra 2 content knowledge and the SAT mathematics section. Algebra 2 is one of the required high school courses for college admission in the University System of Maryland and many other colleges.    Read More

The Algebra 2 milestone is based on the successful completion of the course by the end of Grade 11. In the 2013–2014 school year, 63.9% of eligible students successfully achieved this milestone. From 2012 to 2014, the rate for successful completion of Algebra 2 by the end of Grade 11 increased by 1.4 percentage points for all students (61.9% to 63.9%). For the 2013–2014 school year, 81.1 percent of Asian students, 48.0 percent of Black or African American students, 45.0 percent of Hispanic/Latino students, 77.2 percent of White students, and 64.4 percent of students identified as Two or More Races successfully completed Algebra 2 with a grade of C or higher by the end of Grade 11. Additionally, 41.6 percent of students who received Free and Reduced-price Meal System services, 27.4 percent of students who received special education services, and 38.7 percent of students identified as limited English proficient successfully completed Algebra 2 with a grade of C or higher by the end of Grade 11.


Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs

The district milestone focuses on the percentage of graduates who earn AP exam scores of 3 or higher or IB exam scores of 4 or higher.

MCPS is committed to ensuring access to the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs and to raising the level of support for underserved students in AP or IB classrooms to provide preparedness for college and career. The AP and IB exams are indicators used to measure student readiness for college-level work and are used by colleges for possible course credit and advanced placement.    Read More

Students who earn AP exam scores of 3 or higher or IB exam scores of 4 or higher may receive college credit or advanced placement upon entry to college. The district milestone focuses on the percentage of graduates who met these benchmarks during the school year.

Of the 10,664 graduates in the MCPS Class of 2014, 53.0 percent earned a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam or 4 or higher on at least one IB exam, a slight decrease of 0.4 percentage points from 2012. Among racial/ethnic and service groups, an increase in the percentage of graduates who earned at least one AP exam score of 3 or higher or at least one IB exam score of 4 or higher was observed for Black or African American students (0.9 percentage point increase), White students (0.1 percentage point increase), students identified as Two or More Races (5.6 percentage point increase), students receiving Free and Reduced-price Meal System services (3.4 percentage point increase), and students identified as limited English proficient (2.8 percentage point increase) in 2014 compared to rates for 2012.


SAT/ACT Performance

The district milestone focuses on the percentage of graduates who earned a combined score at or above 1650 on the SAT or a composite score at or above 24 on the ACT.

MCPS is committed to successful performance among all students on the SAT and/or ACT as an approach to enhance academic pursuits after high school. The SAT and ACT are measures of student readiness for college-level work. This milestone highlights the percentage of graduate test takers who earned a combined score at or above 1650 out of a possible 2400 points on the three SAT subtests—critical reading, mathematics, and writing—or a composite score at or above 24 out of a possible 36 points on the four ACT subtests—English, mathematics, social science, and biology.    Read More

The SAT/ACT performance rate for MCPS graduate test takers increased from 52.7 percent in 2012 to 53.1 percent in 2014. From 2012 to 2014, the performance rates for Black or African American students, White students, and students identified as Two or More Races increased by 1.0 to 9.6 percentage points, while the rate for Asian students held steady. Additionally, rates for students receiving Free and Reduced-price Meal System services and students identified as limited English proficient increased 0.5 percentage points and 2.8 percentage points, respectively.


4 Year Graduation Rate

This district milestone focuses on the number of students who graduated from high school in four years.

For a school district, graduation rate is an important measure for all schools. It not only tells us how well our high schools prepared students for college and careers, but also indicates how well our students were prepared for success in earlier grades. This data point is based on the four-year cohort graduation rate calculation used by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).    Read More

Since MSDE switched to the cohort calculation for the Class of 2011, the graduation rate in MCPS has increased every year. The graduation rate for the class of 2014 was 89.7 percent, which represents a three-year increase of 2.9 percentage points. Over the past three years, the achievement gap has closed in all areas. Since 2011, the difference in the graduation rates of African American and White students in MCPS has narrowed by 3.8 percentage points and the gap between Hispanic and White students has narrowed by 3.4 points.


Organizational Effectiveness

Measuring our Commitment to Operational Excellence

Organizational effectiveness in Montgomery County Public Schools is demonstrated in several different ways. It is shown through our direct service to schools and students; our adherence to sound financial practices; our commitment to environmental stewardship; and how we hire, retain, and develop the best staff in public education. Measuring our success in these key areas is an important part of our ongoing effort to support the success of our students and demonstrates our dedication to continuous improvement.