Some of Montgomery County Public Schools’ top administrators will step into different roles this school year—at least temporarily.
Members of the school system’s central office staff will, from time to time, serve as substitute teachers in schools.
The idea started with Matt Post, the former student member of the Board of Education, who wrote a memo to Superintendent Jack R. Smith in June proposing the idea.
“…A common frustration among our teachers and students is the occasional disconnect between central office staff and the daily realities of modern classrooms,” Post wrote in the memo. “Given that many of our staff have not been in schools in several years and the exponentially increasing rate of social/technological progress, this gap of understanding is natural, but it is also preventable.”
Post asked Smith to examine a program in which central office staff would be required to spend at least one day each school year as a substitute teacher.
“Experiencing the daily classroom environment firsthand will give our central office staff valuable perspective to how classrooms operate in actuality, not just through the means of a memorandum or regulation,” Post wrote. “For our staff that have been working in the central office for many years, it can lend insight to the ways student dynamics and [classrooms] have evolved over the years. Additionally, it could be helpful for central office staff to personally interact with their school-based colleagues and peers.”
Smith sent a response memo earlier this month to the board, letting them know that Maria Navarro, the district’s chief academic officer, started working on a plan for central office substitutes that will be ready to implement when the school year begins.
More information will be shared with the board in a presentation later this fall.
At least one member of the school board was already excited about what the pilot program may yield.
In a tweet, Jill Ortman-Fouse called the program a “win-win” for the school system.
So glad @mattlpost moved forward with this idea before he left. A number of school staff have recommended that central office staff substitute at least one day a year in schools. It’s a win-win! Thrilled the superintendent is supporting it. pic.twitter.com/nWtKfDBcSb
— Jill Ortman-Fouse (@Jill4allMoCo) August 5, 2018
Post served as the student member of the board last year. He is now studying at Yale University.