2021 | Schools

School Notes: Board of Education meeting Tuesday to discuss reopening plans, anti-racist audit

Plus: Student school board member election on Thursday, Friday; RespectFest starts Sunday

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Board of Education meeting on Tuesday

The Montgomery County Board of Education will meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss school reopenings, the recent state legislative session, an ongoing “anti-racist system audit” and the possible historical designation of a school facility.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Some school board members will attend in person while others will log on virtually.

The board will first discuss the possible historical designation of the Edward U. Taylor Science Materials Center, according to the meeting agenda.

According to state records, the center, which is in Boyds, was built in 1951. It was named for Edward U. Taylor, the “Supervisor of Negro Education in Montgomery County” from 1923 to 1951, according to the state records.

It previously served as a school for Black students when schools were segregated. The school was desegregated in 1961, the file says.

The school board will then discuss its reopening plan and the legislative session, which concluded on Monday. Staff reports about the discussions were not yet available on Wednesday.

Board members will then discuss its ongoing “anti-racist system audit,” started in November to find areas in which the school district could improve inclusion and diversity.

The school board in November authorized MCPS to spend up to $450,000 on the audit.

Consultants with Bethesda-based Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium are leading the one-year project.

The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at about 9:40 p.m.

Student school board member election will be next Thursday, Friday

The election of the next student member of the Montgomery County school board will be on Thursday and Friday.

All MCPS middle and high school students are eligible to vote in the election.

The two finalists for the position, Hana O’Looney and Henry Kaye, are juniors at Richard Montgomery High School.

The current student member, Nick Asante, is a senior at Richard Montgomery High School.

The student school board member receives a $5,000 college scholarship, student service learning hours and one honors-level social studies credit.

Both Kaye and O’Looney wrote in their candidate biographies that they decided to run for the position because they have seen “disparities” in educational opportunities available to students in different parts of the county.

O’Looney wrote that her top three goals if elected are to reopen schools safely, diversify the district’s staff and curriculum, and close the “opportunity gap.”

Kaye wrote that he aims to address addiction to nicotine and substance abuse, increase students’ access to counselors and mental health services, and improve the nutrition of food available in schools.

RespectFest starts Sunday

RespectFest, a weeklong event dedicated to raising awareness about teen dating violence, begins on Sunday.

All events throughout the week will be held virtually on Zoom
The week starts with a welcome ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday, during which a survivor of dating violence will share their story.

Through the week, there will be games, workshops, panels, question-and-answer sessions, and self-defense classes. Winners of a student public service announcement contest will also be named.

The full schedule is available online.