2020 | Schools

School Notes: School board seeks comments on activities, food policies

Plus: MCPS has distributed more than 7 million free meals to children

School board seeks comments on activities, food policies

The Montgomery County school board is soliciting public feedback on proposed changes to the policy that determines when students are eligible for extracurricular activities and a new policy about food services.

Proposed changes to the policy about extracurricular eligibility include removing the requirement to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average for activities other than sports, and making all students eligible for sports for their first year of high school.

School board members have said the goal is to ensure students have motivation to stay engaged with school.

Sometimes it is the only reason they remain engaged and if they are ineligible for activities, they might give up, board member Pat O’Neill said when the review began.

The current policy says middle and high school students must maintain a 2.0 grade-point average or higher and have no more than one failing grade in the previous grading period to participate in extracurricular activities. The policy was last amended in 2011.

In February, a school board committee recommended that all freshmen be eligible for extracurricular activities for their first year in high school.

The current policy allows first-year high school freshmen to participate in sports through the first quarter. Then, their eligibility is based on their grades.

Separately, the school board has drafted a new policy that “sets forth guidance regarding the ways in which MCPS is a partner in efforts to address childhood hunger in Montgomery County in order to support students’ ability to learn, grow, and maintain health,” according to the district’s website.

It also establishes strategies to help students and families apply for federally funded free and reduced-price meal programs.

Comments and feedback about both policies will be accepted until Feb. 12.

MCPS has distributed more than 7 million free meals during pandemic

MCPS has provided more than 7 million free meals to Montgomery County children since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When school buildings first closed in March, MCPS set up dozens of sites across the county where children could receive free breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.

Recently, MCPS passed 7 million meals given to students. That is about 1 million more meals than the population of Maryland.

From 10 a.m. to noon on weekdays (excluding Thursdays), MCPS operates more than 60 meal sites to provide free meals to children.

Thirty sites run by community organizations also distribute free meals.

Children younger than 18 and MCPS students of any age can receive the meals; student identification is not needed. Each site has both a drive-through and walk-up format.

A list of MCPS meal distribution sites is available on the school district’s website.