School Notes: MCPS exploring ‘comprehensive’ plan to combat hate, bias

School Notes: MCPS exploring ‘comprehensive’ plan to combat hate, bias

Plus: Boundary analysis meeting on Saturday; 21 teachers receive national certification

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MCPS exploring ‘comprehensive’ plan to combat hate, bias

Montgomery County Public Schools staff members are working to develop a “comprehensive” plan to combat hate and bias incidents in schools.

Superintendent Jack Smith said this week that staff members are analyzing data about incidents of hate speech or actions to determine if there are any trends in the type or location of incidents. Simultaneously, the school district is exploring ways to incorporate more education opportunities in its health, history, science or English curriculum.

Hate and bias incidents could be about a person’s age, sexual orientation or religion, Smith said.

There have been some incidents of hate or bias in Montgomery County schools this academic year, Smith said, but he did not elaborate.

“This problem is not unique to Montgomery County. In fact, I would tell you as someone who served at state Department of Education for three years, there’s probably more resistance to hate and bias in this community than many other places,” Smith said. “… But that’s not good enough. We have to push back for the well-being of every student.”

Details were scant about the school district’s plan on Thursday, but Smith said more would be released in February.

Boundary analysis meeting on Saturday

Another meeting about the countywide school boundary analysis will be held on Saturday morning.

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring and feature a presentation from consultants hired by the school district to complete the study.

The countywide analysis was approved by the school board in January and tasks consultants with reviewing school usage, demographics and socioeconomic trends.

The consultants, working on a $475,000 contract, will provide data and resources to the school board in May, but will not recommend any specific boundary changes. The school board will then use the information “as it is relevant” to help shape future boundary decisions, according to MCPS staff members.

An identical meeting scheduled for Jan. 7 at Walter Johnson High School was postponed due to inclement weather. The meeting has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. on Jan. 23.

21 teachers receive national certification

Twenty-one MCPS teachers were certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 2019, bringing the district total to 668.

Teachers obtain national board certification, a voluntary process, by taking tests that measure “what accomplished educators should know and be able to do,” according to MCPS. Educators must demonstrate “how their activities both inside and outside the classroom strengthen student performance and contribute to student achievement.”

The certification process is open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree and three years of classroom experience.
MCPS has the 12th most teachers who are board certified in the country, according to the NBPTS.

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