The Meet and Greet with the Board of Education meeting was held on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. See our meeting recap below submitted by Angela Jones, our Co-Chair of the NAACP Parents’ Council.
The BOE meeting was informative and engaging. We separated everyone into four groups and it was great to have Board Members sit within each group allowing one on one interaction and conversations with Parents´ Council representatives and other attendees to discuss key topics during the meeting.
Following the group discussion there was a Q&A session between all BOE members and those in attendance.
Topic: Equity Implementation – District’s Top Future Challenges
In order to promote equity there needs to be more transparency behind the decision making at MCPS. This should include obtaining input from the educational community and reaching out to members who are hesitant to share their concerns about inequity at their respective school. Advocacy efforts are needed to give title one parents the opportunity to have their voices heard. This could avoid inequities among title one schools.
Fiscal management was also discussed to address financial resources needed to tackle equity concerns.
Transparency is also needed when it comes to prioritizing resources for the budget to ensure monies and resources are distributed fairly.
Magnet programs should be expanded to allow more students of color to participate in these programs.
There needs to be a continued increase in Language Immersion programs throughout the County to include transportation.
Group acknowledged the many challenges ahead of MCPS, but a major challenge included the need to expand the ESOL program. When a student has a parent that can not speak English it is difficult for the student to continue the learning process at home.
MCPS should continue to increase the number of family events to promote an inclusive atmosphere regardless of what country a student is from. This includes promoting more skype events for families to participate in when they are not able to attend a PTA meeting.
Student feedback should also be reinforced within MCPS because it is just as important to hear what students are thinking since they are normally impacted the most.
Parent outreach should be reinforced to include free seminars, workshops and conference calls for parents to keep them updated regarding MCPS activities.
Topic: Discipline Disparity, Budget Priorities-Closing the Gap Goals
A stronger emphasis on the need for mediation to eliminate the suspension rate among students of color.
Ongoing training is needed to teach staff members how to approach situations as they occur. There should also be an emphasis on restorative justice.
Having an increased number of teachers of color could address the achievement gap.
Increasing the number of lower level magnet programs within MCPS would expose more students to being identified as high learners.
Groups were glad to see the BOE acknowledge the need to increase diversity within MCPS and were appreciative of efforts made to tackle this issue.
Topic: Boundary Policy Reform – Integrated vs Segregated Schools
Cultural training should be reinforced and all administrative staff should participate in diversity training with a concentration in implicit bias training.
Diversity among the BOE would also be helpful to address integrated vs segregated schools.
MCPS should continue to support minority programs like the Minority Scholars. The success of this program should be celebrated and shared with MCPS to ensure all students can benefit from what this program offers.
The group suggested increasing the central office staff to make sure schools have the resources to teach successfully and not use this department to cut staff during budget cuts.