In January 2015, the Board contracted with Metis Associates to conduct a review of choice programs in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).
The study was designed to focus on the following four main objectives:
Throughout fall and winter 2015 and 2016, Metis engaged in extensive fact and data gathering. After hearing from numerous stakeholders including staff, students, parents/guardians, and community members, reviewing an extensive collection of historical documents, and consulting with experts, Metis developed a report detailing its findings and offering eight recommendations.
On March 8, 2016, Metis presented the report to the Board and provided detailed information about the methodology and engagement efforts. Staff was charged with addressing Metis’ key recommendation and immediately began engaging the community in conversation about the findings, the recommendations, and a collective vision of choice within MCPS predicated on equity of access and excellence in teaching and learning.
There were three community dialogues held April 6, 2016, at Gaithersburg High School; April 18, 2016, at John F. Kennedy High School; and May 5, 2016, at Walter Johnson High School. More than 800 community members participated in the forums, engaging in a deep and sometimes difficult conversation about the role of choice. In addition to these community dialogues, staff met with various groups including the Division of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction Feedback Committee, the 1977 II Action Group, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Parent Council, the Latino Student Achievement Action Committee, the African American Student Achievement Action Committee, and the Montgomery County Latino Advocacy Coalition to review Metis’ findings and recommendations. The community also was afforded the opportunity to share reactions, comments, suggestions, and questions about the report online and, as a result, almost 600 community members shared comments.
On September 26, 2016, staff presented a multiyear blueprint for MCPS’ response to the Choice Study. Below please find the priority strands of work identified for 2016–2017 and 2017-18.