2021 | Schools

School board to meet Tuesday and discuss charter schools, fall mask guidance

Plus: School board to ‘correct’ name of McNair Elementary; Students of color invited to event about college admissions process

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School board to meet Tuesday to discuss charter schools, fall mask guidance

The Montgomery County Board of Education will meet on Tuesday and make decisions about two charter school applications and mask requirements for the fall semester.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at noon.

Previously, the school board was expected to finalize mask guidance for students and staff members by August, but MCPS wrote in a community message this week that it will release its guidance during Tuesday’s meeting.

Montgomery County’s top health official, Dr. Travis Gayles, said recently he believes people who are not vaccinated — including children younger than 12, who are not eligible for a vaccine — should continue to wear face coverings.

MCPS officials have recommended conditional approval for one charter school proposal for a business-focused school. But MCPS opposes an application for single-gender programs.

The school board also seemed to support the college preparatory and vocational school for students interested in business.

The proposal was for the Mentoring by Example College & Career Academy Business Learning Institute, which would be in the Takoma Park/Silver Spring area.

The idea would be to first begin with about 100 students in both sixth and seventh grades, then expand annually with one new grade until the school served students through 12th grade.

MCPS officials have recommended conditional approval, giving school leaders three months to prove they can identify reliable funding and that there is community interest in the idea.

The second proposed charter school calls for single-gender programs for elementary school students.

In its application, the Washington-McLaughlin School for Boys and Washington-McLaughlin School for Girls wrote that dividing students by gender allows them to be more “comfortable” and accommodates the different ways in which their brains develop.

MCPS raised a lengthy list of concerns about the proposal, alleging it didn’t provide “clear” funding plans, location plans or proof of community interest, all of which founder Paulina Washington disputed.

If either application is approved, the schools would open in September 2022.

School board to ‘correct’ name of Ronald McNair Elementary

The Montgomery County Board of Education plans to “correct” the name of Ronald McNair Elementary School in Germantown, according to a resolution introduced during a July 15 school board meeting.

The resolution says that the school’s namesake — an astronaut killed when the Challenger space shuttle exploded in 1986 — had earned a doctoral degree, and that the school’s name should reflect “the full breadth” of his achievements.

The school would be renamed “Dr. Ronald E. McNair Elementary School” by December, if approved by the school board. The item is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.

McNair Elementary first opened in 1990, according to MCPS records.

Students of color invited to event about college admissions process

MCPS on Aug. 5 will hold a virtual event for high school seniors of color to learn about the college admissions process.

Information will be provided about financial aid and scholarships and the admissions process, according to a notice from the school district.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. and be held via Zoom.

People can register for the event online.