The mission of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is to ensure every student has the academic, creative problem solving, and social emotional skills to be successful in college, career and community, regardless of his or her background. While many of our students achieve at the highest levels, not all have had opportunities, support and resources needed to meet their full potential. MCPS is committed to addressing disparities in student outcomes by closing gaps in opportunity and achievement for all students, in all classrooms and in all of our schools.
Access precedes achievement. That is why MCPS is committed to providing and expanding access to and increasing instructional time in a variety of programs that are proven to enhance student learning for all students.
Expanded Language and Literacy Enrichment Opportunities. In addition to our traditional language immersion programs, MCPS now has two-way local school immersion programs. Students in these programs receive 50 percent of their instruction in English and 50 percent of their instruction in another target language. MCPS has also expanded access to elementary enrichment with additional seats and universal screenings, and more home school enrichment to ensure all students, regardless of ZIP code, are considered for the program.
Extended Learning Time. Data show that additional meaningful instruction time not only helps prevent learning loss, but also improves student outcomes. This is particularly important for families impacted by poverty, who are most affected by summer learning loss. To combat this, MCPS is expanding access and instruction time to existing summer programs (ELO SAIL, ELO STEP and the BELL program) and, in July 2019, MCPS expanded the school year by 30 days at two Title I elementary schools (Roscoe R. Nix and Arcola).
Early Exposure to Learning. It is never too early to begin the journey of learning. Research shows that students with access to early learning opportunities have greater short-term and long-term success. MCPS is providing these early opportunities by increasing Pre-K seats and expanding to full-day learning experiences across the county; embedding Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) opportunities in the elementary core curriculum; and expanding art initiatives in schools with a high number of students impacted by poverty.
It is our responsibility to ensure students leave our schools with meaningful options for their futures. These options can be credit-bearing college courses; the skills and licenses needed to begin a meaningful career; or for many of our students, both.
Breaking Barriers to Rigorous Coursework and College Assessments. Time after time, we see that when students are challenged and supported, they rise to the occasion. MCPS has adopted a rigorous curriculum better aligned to state standards. MCPS has also expanded access to Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, with a focus on increasing participation by typically underrepresented student groups. In addition, all MCPS students have access to an assessment (SAT, ACT or Career Certificates) to support post-high school plans.
Career and Community Ready. One of our fundamental responsibilities is to prepare students to lead the workforce of the future. MCPS has enhanced and expanded career-ready offerings. Programs range from information technology and engineering to aviation, finance and teaching. Some programs offer a two-year associate degree by the time students graduate from high school, at no cost or at a reduced cost. MCPS is also expanding the Career Readiness Education Academy (CREA) to serve students who are unlikely to meet all graduation requirements prior to turning 21 and to students with limited or interrupted formal educations.
Support for Students. MCPS is committed to supporting students toward success. Our investment in programs like Minority Scholars and Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) help our students who come from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds by providing mentors, coaching and a sense of belonging.
Student learning is our purpose, and we know that students perform better academically when they are healthy in body, mind and spirit. Academics and well-being go hand in hand to produce young people who are successful in school and in life.
28 Schools with Career Readiness Programs
34 Career Readiness Programs of Study
Broadcast Media Technician • Interactive and Multimedia Technologies • Graphics Communication (Print ED) • Academy of Finance • Accounting and Finance • Business Administration • Business Management • Marketing • Carpentry • Construction Electricity • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) • Masonry • Plumbing • Principles of Architecture and CAD Technology Design • Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, National • Cosmetology • Hospitality Management • Professional Restaurant Management Culinary Arts (ACF) • Certified Professional Horticulturalist • Academy of Health Professions: Certified Nursing Assistant • Academy of Health Professions: Pharmacy Technician • Academy of Health Professions: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant • Academy of Health Professions: Physical Rehabilitation • Biomedical Sciences: Project Lead the Way (PLTW) • Biotechnology • Early Child Development • Fire Science and Rescue • Law Enforcement: Homeland Security • Justice, Law, and Society • Teacher Academy of Maryland • Academy of Information Technology (NAF) - Web Design • Computer Science/Code.org • IT Networking Academy (CCENT) • IT Networking Academy (CCNA) • Network Operations • Pathways in Networking & Information Technology (PTECH) • Advanced Engineering Technology: Project Lead the Way • Automotive Technology • Foundations of Automotive Technology • Local Automotive Collision Repair • Autobody/Collision Repair Technician • Automotive Technology Maintenance • Aviation and Aerospace Program • College/Career Research and Development
Successful student learning requires intentional and informed teaching. This requires looking beyond aggregate data from standardized testing and asking the following questions for each student:
Data does not define a student, but it can help educators better understand how the student is learning. Doing this requires looking at multiple measures of a student’s learning to determine where they are making progress and where additional support may be needed. These measures include quizzes, exams and essays at the classroom level, as well as standardized state testing data. Using new, robust data tools, educators will better monitor student performance and implement supports or offer greater challenges to meet the needs of the student.
To be as efficient as possible, the human brain takes shortcuts in processing information. Unfortunately, these shortcuts can sometimes unintentionally create bias and lead to stereotyping. For educators, this can lead to expectations for a student based on race, ethnicity or gender, instead of ability. To combat this implicit bias and to help teachers better connect with students of all backgrounds, MCPS has developed mandatory cultural competency training for all educators.
Research demonstrates that student outcomes increase when a student has access to an educator in the school building who has a similar background. To ensure that our growing diverse student body has access to high-quality teachers from backgrounds as diverse as they are, MCPS has engaged in targeted recruitment to encourage more diverse applicants to become educators in our system. We are also creating pathways to develop our diverse pool of support professionals into certified teachers.
While student learning starts in the classroom, it continues at home. That is why MCPS is committed to providing supports and identifying resources for families through our team of multilingual parent community coordinators and pupil personnel workers. Additionally, we continue to invest in our language services work to increase access to timely translations and interpretations for families where English is not the primary language.