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FY 2018 Operating Budget: Learn More, Provide Input
Last month, Superintendent Jack Smith proposed a $2.52 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to the Board of Education. MCPS wants to hear your thoughts and ideas on the budget. The district has created resources to help staff, parents, students and community members understand the budget and advocate for its funding. These resources can be found on the MCPS budget webpage.
Be sure to share your ideas and views on the importance of funding the MCPS operating budget with our elected Montgomery County officials—the Montgomery County Board of Education, the County Executive, and the Montgomery County Council—through emails, letters, and testimonials. The Board of Education will hold its second public hearing on the Wednesday, Jan. 11. The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Carver Educational Services Center.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will be holding forums this month to seek input from residents about the county’s FY 2018 budget priorities. The three remaining forums are scheduled for January 18, 25 and 30 at locations across Montgomery County.
Five Education Budget Meetings presented by Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice, Superintendent Jack Smith and Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard, are scheduled for February and March. Find out how budget decisions are made, what the county is doing today to get ready for FY 2018 and beyond, and the opportunities residents have to influence budget decisions. The meetings will take place from 6:30–8 p.m. at the following locations:
- Wednesday, Feb. 15, Northwest High School, 13501 Richter Farm Road, Germantown
- Wednesday, March 8, Montgomery Blair High School, 51 University Blvd. E., Silver Spring
- Wednesday, March 15, Montgomery College (Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus), Catherine F. Scott Building Room 211, 7600 Takoma Avenue, Takoma Park
- Wednesday, March 22, Walter Johnson High School, 6400 Rock Spring Dr., Bethesda
- Wednesday, March 29, Richard Montgomery High School, 250 Richard Montgomery Dr., Rockville
The County Executive will announce his Recommended FY 2018 Operating Budget on March 15. In April, the County Council will hold public hearings and approve the operating budget at the end of May.
Operating Budget website
Operating Budget in Brief
Providing a Safe and Welcoming Environment for All Students
Dear MCPS Families:
Happy New Year! As we begin 2017, we want to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for every MCPS student to learn.
Montgomery County has experienced an increase in hate-based incidents in the community in recent months, including some that have affected our schools. While these incidents are not unique to our county and are a reflection of what we are seeing across the nation, please know that MCPS is working with the Montgomery County Police Department and is taking all necessary steps to address these incidents. These hate-based actions by a small handful of people are wrong and antithetical to our core values of respect and equity, which are fundamental to ensuring student learning. As Superintendent Jack R. Smith has stated, MCPS will not tolerate this behavior.
Disciplinary action represents only one tactic MCPS uses to ensure our schools remain welcoming and safe for all. MCPS takes proactive steps to promote cultural understanding and celebrate diversity in our classrooms and schools. From English and social studies to physical education and health education, MCPS students are exposed to diverse perspectives; examine the cultural beliefs, customs and traditions of people from different backgrounds; are taught about acceptance and respect for others; and learn about culture as part of building cultural awareness and appreciation for others.
Through our Study Circles program, we provide students, staff and parents with resources to engage in uncomfortable but critical conversations about race, religion and culture. These conversations allow us to hear about and learn from different perspectives other than our own. In partnership with the faith communities of Montgomery County, MCPS also has developed Guidelines for Respecting Religious Diversity. These guidelines are part of our commitment to ensuring all of our students have the right to express their religious beliefs and practices, free from discrimination, bullying or harassment.
[Read the Guidelines for Respecting Religious Diversity]
Cultural competency training is also a key component in our effort to ensure a welcoming learning environment for students. We know that race and culture have a direct influence on teaching and learning. Through the MCPS Equity Initiatives Unit, we help our educators build cultural proficiency so they can successfully incorporate classroom practices, structures and processes that eliminate inequities based on race and ethnicity and build successful relationships that nurture high achievement across all diverse backgrounds. The MCPS Office of Human Resources and Development also is proactively recruiting more educators from historically underrepresented communities so that students have diverse role models in their schools.
[Watch a Video about our Equity Initiatives]
We also have heard your concerns regarding the welfare of undocumented students. Let me be clear, MCPS remains a welcoming learning environment for all students, regardless of immigration status. While as a general matter, Immigration and Customs Enforcement treats schools as sensitive areas where arrests, interviews, searches and surveillance will not occur; MCPS administrators are closely monitoring the situation. We have, and will continue to, inform our staff that they should not take any actions that may discourage the participation or lead to the exclusion of students based on immigration status. Supporting students and their families is a priority for MCPS. The Montgomery County Council recently passed a resolution on this issue.
MCPS will continue to strengthen its commitment to equity and equality in our schools. The recommended operating budget for next year, which serves as a moral document for supporting student success, reflects this commitment through dedicated funds for equity initiatives, such as the Minority Scholars Program for students and implicit bias training for staff.
[Read the Fiscal Year 2018 Recommended Operating Budget]
The mission of our school system is to ensure every student will have the academic, creative problem solving, and social emotional skills they need to be successful in college and career. To make sure we can assist them in achieving this goal, we must first provide a safe, welcoming place for all students to learn. The Board of Education has and will continue to strongly advance and enact policies that support the well-being of all students and protect them from all forms of harassment, bullying or discrimination.
We wish you and your family the best for the new year.
Nine Educators Achieve National Board Certification; 47 Staffers Renew
Nine MCPS educators achieved certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in 2016. Forty-seven educators renewed their National Board Certification. This brings the number of Board-certified teachers in MCPS to 857. Montgomery County far surpasses all other districts in Maryland, and MCPS is ranked eighth in the top 30 districts for the total number of National Board-certified educators.
The number of new certifications is lower than usual because the NBPTS has revised its certification assessment process. In 2014, the group began a three-year rollout of updating its assessment process, which candidates can now complete in up to three years.
National Board Certification, a voluntary program established by NBPTS, is achieved through a performance-based assessment. It is designed to measure what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. The process requires teachers to demonstrate how their activities, both inside and outside the classroom, strengthen student performance and contribute to student achievement.
Educators earn National Board Certification after completing a series of assessments that include teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes, and rigorous analyses of their classroom teaching and student learning. Candidates also complete a series of written exercises that probe the depth of their subject-matter knowledge and their understanding of how to teach those subjects to their students.
Full-time, non-administrative MCPS educators receive an additional $2,000 in their MCPS salary each year as long as they retain valid certification. The state also provides a stipend to certified teachers who meet certain qualifications, pending annual funding.
MCPS uses the rigorous standards of NBPTS as part of the Professional Growth System for all teachers in the school system. The certification process is open to anyone with a baccalaureate degree and three years of classroom experience. The certificate is valid for 10 years, after which a teacher may seek renewal.
List of 2016 NBCTs
National Board Certification
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Five Questions … With Lauren Mangrum, Coordinator, Infants and Toddlers Program, Downcounty Site
If Lauren Mangrum had to pinpoint one reason why she is doing the job she is doing today, she would probably say it’s because of her mother.
Mangrum grew up in Silver Spring and graduated from Springbrook High School. Her father, Joseph Latta, was a dentist, and her mom, Barbara Latta, was the head nurse at the Soldier’s Home in Washington, D.C. When her mother was in her late 40s, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Doctors performed surgery to remove the tumor, which turned out to be benign. But they weren’t able to remove it all. Two years later, she underwent a second surgery, which resulted in a stroke.
“She had to learn how to be a person again,” Mangrum says. “My whole growing up was watching her re-learn to walk and talk, eat and dress. I remember vividly going to some of her water therapy with her. And watching her learn how to button her shirts again.
“She is such a survivor. If she can get up every day and do life, anybody can. She is the reason I am who I am.”
While she was in college at Hampton University, Mangrum began taking psychology courses. After just one semester, she knew that wasn’t the right field for her. Then, she did what she has often done through her life—she talked to her mom.
“She encouraged me to look into physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology,” Mangrum recalled. “She said, ‘I think you would enjoy these fields. You should go down to NIH and shadow someone.’ My mom had a lot of connections at NIH and she called one of her therapists for me. I did what she said and I loved it.”
She later transferred to Howard University, married and had her first child. She finished her undergrad degree, and later received a master’s degree. She was now a speech language pathologist.
Today, Mangrum is one of five coordinators for the Infants and Toddlers Program’s five sites; she has been in the job since August 2016. She is the youngest of the five coordinators and the only African American. “I’m very proud of that,” she says. “I think being the youngest helps with the technology piece of what we do; I’m always the one saying, ‘Shouldn’t we take a course on that?’ I want to make sure we’re always moving toward the latest innovation.
“As I’ve gotten older, I have a real recognition of my mom’s strength and how she has continued to want to be independent,” Mangrum says. “That’s what I want—to make sure the work I do allows kids to be the best version of themselves. To help these kids be successful and independent.”
When did you come to MCPS and what were you hired to do?
I was hired at Strawberry Knoll Elementary School in 2002 as a speech language pathologist. I was there for two years when I interviewed for a position in the Infants and Toddlers Program. I immediately knew I wanted to be in early intervention. I wanted to work with families in their homes and I knew the benefits of that. Early intervention is everything.
I worked as a speech language pathologist for Infants and Toddlers for nine years. Then, I became the program support specialist for Infants and Toddlers, which is sort of equivalent to being an instructional specialist.
Did you always want to be in this line of work?
I’ve always wanted to be a helper. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer. In order to help people in law, you had to believe what they were telling you. I wasn’t sure I could always believe what people told me, so I knew that was not the right path.
When I was in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Howard, you could specialize in different things—school age children, adult care or early intervention. I did a lot of babysitting as a teenager; I always loved young children. Even now when I go to an adult party, I tend to be the person in the corner playing with the children. It’s very natural for me.
Tell me about the Infants and Toddlers Program. How do you help children and families?
We serve more than 500 children and families each year. We empower families to teach their children. You know that old saying that parents are their child’s first teacher? That is the heart of our program. We have skills that we were taught, but we are only coming in a child’s home for an hour, maybe two hours a week. As the parent or childcare provider, they’re with the child the majority of the time. We’re able to teach them so they can use these skills when we’re not there. We are there to support them and to make sure they are able to advocate for their children. We serve families from birth to the beginning of the school year following a child’s fourth birthday.
Most of our referrals come through parents, but they also come in through pediatricians and hospitals. The [Montgomery County] Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is our lead agency. Our [clients] come in through HHS.
For instance, if a child is born with Down Syndrome or born premature, one of the things a hospital will do before discharging them is to refer them to us. Sometimes, a child will have a screening during a medical appointment, and the pediatrician will suggest that the child is developmentally not meeting their milestones, and encourage the parent to call us. When they call us, we go out and do a formal evaluation. All of our services are offered in the natural environment, so it’s often in the home. It could also be in a childcare center, at a park or community center.
When we do a formal evaluation, there are three ways a child can be eligible for our services. They can have a 25 percent delay in one of several areas—speech, cognition, fine motor skills, gross motor skills or social emotional skills. They can fall into the automatically disabled category; these are children who are born premature, with some type of genetic issue or have fetal alcohol syndrome. Or they’re in the atypical category, which is found when our diagnosticians see behaviors that other children don’t display. A big area for this is articulation—children not talking that well—or not showing eye contact, not going to their parent for comfort.
We know what the developmental milestones are, and there are red flags from very early on.
The hardest cases for everyone are not knowing. You know the child is not meeting milestones but the doctors can find no actual cause. That’s the majority of cases. That’s hard to hear for families and providers. Recognizing that a child has a disability is a grieving process for parents. Sometimes families never leave the denial stage the whole time they’re in our program. We work to help them in the here and now. We ask what part of their day is difficult, and we work on making that easier.
We deal with everything. We have vision specialists here, we have hearing teachers who are special education instructional teachers; they understand how to teach children to hear sounds when they get a hearing aid or cochlear implant. We have children with social emotional issues and that looks different for each child. Sometimes it’s an attention issue; it can be behavioral; there are children who are not connected to their parents; they’re not interacting.
We’re in discovery mode from the moment we meet a child. We find out what their strengths and what their needs are, and determine how to use their strengths to bring their needs along.
At about 24 months old, we start talking to families about transitioning to what’s going to happen in the next year. If a child needs services after age 3, do they need some exposure to a classroom environment to find out if a particular intervention will work for them? What are the strategies we can put in place so children can succeed?
What do you like best about what you do?
Helping people. One of the things that has been a constant in my job has been helping people learn. As a speech language pathologist, I’ve been able to help a child learn or help their family learn how to help the child learn. One of my challenges is to continually see the value in learning. I feel like I learn something new every day.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
Most of my weekends are hanging out with friends and family. I’m one of the main caregivers for my mom. She lives with my sister. We manage her health and go to doctors’ appointments and do things for her on the weekends.
One of the main things my husband John and I do is hang out in downtown Frederick. When we moved there, I never thought I would have loved it so much. It’s a very quaint, hip area. We go dancing sometimes. If I could do anything in the world and get paid for it, I would be a dancer. One of the places I feel the most free is the dance floor. I was a ballet dancer; I went all the way up to pointe and quit.
We have two kids. John is in his sophomore year at Hampton University, studying aviation. My daughter Jazmine is in her freshman year in high school. She’s a competitive cheerleader and track runner. My sister has two beautiful girls.
Nominations Open for Distinguished Service Awards
The Montgomery County Board of Education is accepting nominations for the 2016–2017 Awards for Distinguished Service to Public Education. The awards are sponsored by the Board to recognize and show appreciation to those who have made exemplary contributions to public education, including students, groups and organizations. Any individual or group may make nominations.
Up to three awards will be given in each of the following categories: Community Individual, Community Group, Business, MCPS Staff, School Service Volunteer and Individual Pioneer.
Completed nomination forms must be received in the Board office by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 3. Complete and submit forms online or send completed forms by mail, email or fax to: Montgomery County Board of Education, 850 Hungerford Dr., Room 123, Rockville, MD, 20850; fax to 301-279-3860, or email to Becky Gibson.
Nomination forms are available here.
The Jan. 13 deadline is nearing for several competitions to honor outstanding teachers and principals. They are—
Marian Greenblatt Excellence in Education Awards: The Marian Greenblatt Excellence in Education Master Teacher Award recognizes three full-time teachers in kindergarten through Grade 12 who have a demonstrated record of promoting student success, such as closing the achievement gap. One of the Master Teacher Award winners is chosen as the MCPS Teacher of the Year and goes on to represent the school district as a contender for the Maryland State Teacher of the Year award and could become the National Teacher of the Year. More information is available here. One award winner will be named for each level: elementary, middle and high school. Each will receive a $2,000 monetary award. More information is available here. Deadline: 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017
The Marian Greenblatt Excellence in Education Rising Star Teacher Award recognizes a first-, second-, third- or fourth-year full-time teacher in kindergarten through Grade 12 who has a demonstrated record of promoting student success. The teacher contributes to a professional learning community of students, staff, parents and community. The winner will receive a $1,000 monetary award. More information is available here. Deadline: 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017
The Washington Post Principal of the Year Award (formerly the Distinguished Educational Leadership Award): This award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. In presenting these awards, The Washington Post Company Educational Foundation hopes to encourage excellence in school leadership and contribute in a substantive way to the improvement of education in the Washington metropolitan area. Nominations may be submitted by teachers, students, former students, parents, administrators or the general public. The winner will receive a trophy, a $7,500 monetary award and a profile in The Washington Post. Deadline: Deadline: 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017
The Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award (formerly the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award): The Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award recognizes a full-time teacher in prekindergarten through Grade 12 who instills in students a desire to learn and achieve. Each nominee must have a minimum of five years teaching experience, three of which must be in MCPS. This teacher also must understand the individual needs of students, encourage their talents and foster their self-esteem. He or she will demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and possess the ability to share it effectively with students. The nominee fosters cooperative relationships with his/her colleagues and the community and demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities. The winner will receive a trophy, a $7,500 monetary award and a profile in The Washington Post. Deadline: 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017
The Shirley J. Lowrie Thank You for Teaching Award: The Shirley J. Lowrie “Thank You for Teaching” Award honors extraordinary elementary school teachers who have a deep dedication to the teaching profession. These elementary school teachers, prekindergarten through Grade 5, must work directly with students in the classroom on a daily basis, demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the subject matter, and effectively communicate that subject matter to students. The nominee should be a teacher who goes the extra mile to ensure that students receive the support they need to succeed. Deadline: 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017
The Superintendent’s Annual Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award: Established in 1991, this award honors MCPS principals who excel in promoting academic excellence, positive human relations and community outreach. These qualities were exemplified by Mark Mann, a former principal of Parkland Junior High School, who died in 1988. Nominations made in previous years may be resubmitted. Deadline: Deadline: 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017
2016 Tax Forms to Be Available Soon
Permanent employees of MCPS can begin accessing their annual tax forms via Employee Self-Service (ESS) within the next two weeks.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandates that all employers provide W-2s to their employees by January 31, 2017, and 1095-Cs by March 2, 2017. MCPS employees will receive their W-2s and 1095-Cs by these deadlines. Those who authorize web delivery of their tax forms by the January 13, 2017, deadline will receive them earlier than those who wait for delivery of hard copies.
For those employees who do not authorize web delivery by January 13, 2017, hard copies of their tax forms will be prepared and delivered to schools and offices.*
For more information about W-2 and 1095-C distribution and for details that will assist you with filing your 2016 taxes, visit the Tax Information web page beginning the week of January 23–27, 2017.
* Tax forms for Department of Transportation employees, temporary part-time employees, substitute teachers and employees who are on long-term leave, retired or terminated will be mailed to their home addresses.
Remembering George B. Thomas, Sr., Founder of Saturday School
Dr. George B. Thomas, Sr., founder of The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy’s Saturday School, passed away on December 25, 2016. He was 87.
Dr. Thomas was a pillar in the Montgomery County community who dedicated his professional life to closing achievement and opportunity gaps in education. An educator, leader and innovator, he founded Saturday School in 1986 to help level the education playing field for students in Montgomery County. In addition to Saturday School, Dr. Thomas served students as a teacher, administrator, professor and college president. Watch this MCPS-TV tribute, which honors Dr. Thomas’ contributions.
The family has asked that contributions in Dr. Thomas’ name be made to The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc., 1401 Dennis Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20902 or online.
Getting the Most Out of Your Workouts
Is your regular workout routine not working for you anymore? Come and learn how to maximize your time at the gym or on the walking trail.
Thursday, Jan. 19
Shady Grove Bus Depot
16651 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville
Wednesday, Jan. 25
West Farm Bus Depot
11920 Bournefield Way, Silver Spring
Thursday, Jan. 26
Register for the seminar or webinar by emailing Well Aware with the date and time you plan to attend. If you register for the webinar, you will receive a link in your Outlook email, as well as an Outlook calendar reminder.
Don’t Miss the January Wellness Newsletter
In this month’s issue of Well Aware e-News, meet wellness championship team Fully-Crusted Chicken Pot Pies, whose healthy camaraderie and determination motivates them to compete regularly in Well Aware’s physical activity challenges. Also, find out about a new seminar/webinar from Cigna to maximize the benefit of your workouts; how to climb Mount Everest without leaving the United States; learn about the next InStep with Diabetes class, and pick up tips for stressing less and escaping the blues this winter.
Lunar New Year Banquet Set for Jan. 31
The League of Educators for Asian American Progress (LEAAP) is holding its Lunar New Year scholarship dinner beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at New Fortune Restaurant, 16515 South Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. (Snow date: Thursday, Feb. 2)
The annual event—this year celebrates the Year of the Rooster—is a scholarship fundraiser for MCPS Asian American high school students. Tables are $350 and seat 10 people. Individual seats are available for $35. Tickets will not be available at the door.
LEAAP encourages those who wish to come to send in a check to secure a seat. Checks should be made payable to LEAAP, and can be sent to Helen Blankfeld at 45 W. Gude Dr., Suite 4000 in Rockville. If you are unable to attend the event, donations are accepted.
For reservations or questions, contact Helen Blankfeld at 240-314-1093. For more information, visit LEAPP’s website or see the 2017 LEAAP Lunar New Year Flyer.
In addition, LEAAP is offering $2,000 scholarships to graduating MCPS high school seniors. Applicants must have plans to major in the field of education, be members of an Asian American club and/or be students who have earned Student Service Learning (SSL) hours supporting Asian American organizations. The scholarship deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 31.
View the LEAAP scholarship application 2017.
IRS decreases 2017 mileage reimbursement rate to 53.5 cents
The Internal Revenue Service has announced that beginning January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rate for the business use of an automobile will be 53.5 cents per mile, a decrease of 0.5 cents per mile from the current 54 cent rate. All mileage reimbursement requests from Montgomery County Public Schools employees for mileage incurred on or after January 1, 2017, will be processed using the 53.5 cent rate.
EAP Offers Support Groups, Workshops to Help Staff
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has resources available to help staff members resolve a number of personal concerns that may affect productivity at work. This winter, the EAP is offering:
An ongoing Caregiver Support Group provides helpful resources and establishes connections among the caregivers within the MCPS community. The meetings are held on Wednesdays from 4:15–5:30 p.m. in the Beech Room, 45 W. Gude Dr. in Rockville. Guest speakers present on important topics related to caring for a loved one. For more information or to register, contact the EAP by phone at 240-314-1040 or by email.
Coming on Thursday, Jan. 26, the EAP is presenting the workshop, Improve Your Sleep and Stop Feeling So Tired. Do you wish you had a better night’s sleep? The benefits of a good night’s sleep are well documented: more energy, faster metabolism, improved concentration and better memory are just a few of the positives. Whether this is a new problem or something you have been suffering with for some time, this workshop will cover myths about sleep and proven ways you can improve your sleep and sleep efficiency. Seating is limited. This event will be held from 4:30–5:30 p.m. in the Aspen Room at 45 W. Gude Dr. in Rockville. For more information, registration and to RSVP, contact the EAP by phone at 240-314-1040 or by email.
On Wednesday, March 1, a second workshop will explore another topic, Confidence Advantage: Building Your Assertiveness. Saying what you feel or think can be challenging. Lack of assertiveness interferes with relationships at work and home. It can also increase stress and negatively impact self-esteem. With the Confidence Advantage, you will learn techniques that will help you better assert yourself and boost your self-image. This event will be held from 4:15–5:15 p.m. in the Redwood Room, 45 W. Gude Dr. in Rockville. For more information or to register, contact the EAP by phone at 240-314-1040 or by email.