School Notes: Maryland State Report Cards To Be Released Tuesday

Plus: County school board to take action on proposed extended calendar for two Silver Spring schools; school board to begin discussions about fiscal 2020 operating budget

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Maryland state report cards will be released Tuesday

For the first time since 2014, the Maryland State Department of Education will release state report cards, which will assign each school a rating ranging from one star to a maximum of five stars.

The factors used to determine the ratings include academic achievement on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests, absenteeism and graduation rates, and access to a well-rounded curriculum.

County school board to take action on proposed extended calendar for two Silver Spring schools

The Montgomery County Board of Education on Tuesday is expected to take action on a proposed extended school calendar for two Silver Spring elementary schools.

With the new calendar, students at Arcola and Roscoe R. Nix elementary schools would report for classes on July 8, 2019 and be dismissed for summer break on June 11, 2020. The calendar would largely follow the traditional Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) calendar, observing school closures required by the states on 14 dates throughout the year. Winter break between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1 would remain, as would a 10-day spring break. Schools would also be closed in observance of the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on Sept. 30 and Oct. 9,  respectively.

Differences from the traditional calendar include a two-week break in late August and 11 scheduled early release days.

The goal of the extended school calendar is to allow those schools, which have large numbers students from low-income households, to have more instructional time. The Maryland State Board of Education approved a wavier request on Sept. 25 for the two schools to run on the extended calendar.

School board members have asked at previous board meetings to get additional feedback on how the extended school year would affect students, as well as teacher salaries. Additionally, according to a memo sent from MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith to the board, more than 30 public comments have been received through the MCPS website, mainly praising the calendar, and requesting that it be aligned with the traditional calendar to minimize disruptions for families with students in multiple schools. A few parents criticized the calendar, arguing that an extended school year would cut into time for families to take their summer vacation.

MoCo Board of Education to begin discussions about fiscal 2020 operating budget

The county school board is expected to begin discussions on Tuesday about MCPS’ fiscal 2020 operating budget.

The school board recently finalized its proposed fiscal 2020 capital budget to send to the Montgomery County Council for consideration, and is poised to dive into its next fiscal endeavor. No information about the operating budget discussion was available Monday morning.

In June, the school board adopted a $2.6 billion operating budget for fiscal 2019 that included a roughly 3 percent increase in spending compared to the prior fiscal year.

The $77.2 million spending increase provided money for the opening of Bayard Rustin Elementary School in Rockville in September and for several program expansions.

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