2021 | Schools

School Notes: USDA extends waivers for free meals through June 2022

Plus: MCPS will solicit proposals for search firm for next superintendent; 18 MCPS teachers receive national certification

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USDA extends waivers for free meals through June 2022

The United States Department of Agriculture announced this week it is extending waivers through the 2021-22 academic year that allow school districts to distribute meals to children at no cost.

The extension will last until June 2022. Before this week’s announcement, the waivers would have expired in September.

The waivers, used by MCPS, allow meals to be served at no cost, in bulk and to parents without their children being present. They were first passed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as worries about food insecurity rose.

MCPS has distributed more than 13 million free meals to students since the pandemic began in March 2020.

“USDA will remain relentless in ensuring our nation’s children get the critical nutrition they need,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “States and districts wanted waivers extended to plan for safe reopening in the fall. USDA answered the call to help America’s schools and childcare institutions serve high quality meals while being responsive to their local needs as children safely return to their regular routines.

“This action also increases the reimbursement rate to school meal operators so they can serve healthy foods to our kids. It’s a win-win for kids, parents and schools.”

MCPS will solicit proposals for search firm for next superintendent

The Montgomery County Board of Education this week said it plans to issue a request for proposals on May 3 looking for a search firm to lead its hunt for the next superintendent.

Superintendent Jack Smith announced earlier this year that he plans to retire June 1. His second-in-command, Deputy Superintendent Monifa McKnight, will serve as interim superintendent through the 2021-22 school year.

The school board has said it plans to conduct a nationwide search for the next superintendent and that it will hire a search firm to assist in the process. It is common practice for the district to use a firm when hiring a new superintendent.

The school board did not say when it plans to select a firm.

18 MCPS teachers receive national certification

Eighteen MCPS teachers received national board certification in 2020, according to a school board presentation.

National board certification is a voluntary program and requires educators to pass an assessment measuring educators’ ability to strengthen student performance through activities both in and out of the classroom.

The assessment is broken into four sections: assessment of content knowledge, reflection on student work samples, video and analysis of teaching practice, and documentation of the impact of assessment and collaboration on student learning.

County teachers receive a $2,000 annual pay increase for achieving and maintaining certification.

There have been 985 MCPS teachers who have received national certification.

The newly-certified teachers in 2020 were:

• Allison Adams, Richard Montgomery High School
• Joseph Evans, Takoma Park Middle School
• Lynnette Evans-Williams, Sherwood High School
• Samantha Fowler, Northwest High School
• Eliah Galdi, Seneca Valley High School
• Cynthia Galusha, Cold Spring Elementary School
• Heidi Hazel, Potomac Elementary School
• Christina Jenkins, Woodfield Elementary School
• Jeffrey Johns, Willian H. Farquhar Middle School
• Pamela Kasayan, Clarksburg High School
• Alyssa Lauer, Watkins Mill Elementary School
• Christopher Lee, Clarksburg High School
• Tammy Lee, Ritchie Park Elementary School
• Lisa Melmed, Montgomery Blair High School
• Rebecca Sutton, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
• Marie Crenwelge Tilkens, Herbert Hoover Middle School
• Katherine Young, Walt Whitman High School
• Odessa Zabala, Northwest High School