August 27, 2013
MCPS opened the 2013–2014 school year on Aug. 26 with the highest enrollment in the district’s history and a strong focus on providing students with the knowledge and skills they need for success in the 21st century.
MCPS continues to implement the Common Core State Standards throughout the district this year, including elementary schools, where the standards are a part of Curriculum 2.0. And MCPS staff will spend this year aligning its work to the new Strategic Planning Framework—Building Our Future Together.
MCPS also continues to see significant growth. Enrollment is expected to top 151,000 students this year, an increase of about 2,300 students from the 2012–2013 school year. Enrollment has grown by more than 10,000 students in the past five years and is expected to top 159,000 students by 2018-2019.
MCPS celebrated the new school year on Aug. 26 with an event at Weller Road Elementary School, one of four new, modernized schools. The other modernized schools are Glenallan Elementary, Herbert Hoover Middle and Gaithersburg High. The modernizations were part of a dozen major construction projects that MCPS completed over the summer, including six additions that added a total of 83 classrooms.
To meet growing enrollment, MCPS added more than 120 elementary and secondary positions, as well as 22 positions to serve an additional 900 students that require English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services. MCPS also added more than 100 positions to increase individualized services for special education students.
Building Our Future Together
At the event, Board of Education President Christopher Barclay and Superintendent Joshua Starr spoke about the district’s new Strategic Planning Framework—Building Our Future Together—which was approved by the Board of Education in June and will guide the work of MCPS in the years to come. The Framework is built upon five Core Values: Learning, Relationships, Respect, Excellence and Equity.
The Framework is focused on the three competencies that students need for success in the 21st century—Academic Excellence, Creative Problem Solving, and Social Emotional Learning—as well as a strong commitment to Organizational Effectiveness. All MCPS schools and offices will align their work to the Strategic Planning Framework throughout the school year.
The opening day event also celebrated the many partnerships that MCPS has with government agencies, non-profits and businesses that help the district meet the needs of a growing number of students and their families.
Weller Road has one of nine School-based Health Centers operated in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. The centers provide physical and mental health services to students and their families in the school building. The centers are under the umbrella of Linkages to Learning, a program in 28 MCPS schools that provides holistic support to families, leading to a brighter future for students. MCPS and the county work in collaboration with many local non-profit agencies to provide services through Linkages to Learning.
Dr. Starr also highlighted the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program, which is a collaborative effort among MCPS, Montgomery College, and the Universities at Shady Grove. The program will be in 10 MCPS high schools this year and will provide targeted interventions and supports to students in order to keep them on track for college enrollment and completion. Those supports will continue throughout college.
The community also has come together to support the ACES program by donating money that can be used for scholarships, breaking down financial barriers to college enrollment. Dr. Starr recognized Pepco for its $25,000 donation to the ACES scholarship fund.