Lynne believes in
Equity * Excellence * Engagement * Accountability
Remote Learning:
What's Next?

5 steps to improve Remote learning 

It's way too soon to know what school will look like this fall. For now, MCPS should: 

1. REVIEW spring distance learning as soon as school ends. Include students, families and staff in substantive conversations about what worked and what didn't. Balance engaging, rigorous instruction with appropriate pacing for students who need extra support learning online, including special needs and ELL learners. Listen to concerns about more live instruction (especially in secondary schools), videotaped lessons for self-pacing and smaller group instruction. Build in routine, continuous feedback for next fall and beyond. 

2. Provide LEARNING RECOVERY OPTIONS that are effective and student-centered. Identify students who need summer courses and additional support next fall to catch up. Ensure that cost is not a barrier to any student taking summer courses. Provide a clear path to turn "incompletes" into passing grades. Develop a systemwide plan to address lost instruction due to missed days and the slower pace of instruction in some classes.
 

3. FOLLOW THE SCIENCE. School should look different when we return: daily temperature checks. hand washing breaks, continuous cleaning and social distancing. Students must be safely spaced 6 feet apart in classrooms and common areas. 

4. Ensure EQUITABLE ACCESS to the tools students need to fully participate in remote learning: Chromebooks, Internet access and technical support.

5. LEARN from what's working in other school systems, in our region and across the country. Adopt innovative, creative ideas and adapt best practices. This summer MCPS should engage in a robust, nationwide conversation with other school districts to determine how we can effectively move to at least a partial digital learning environment. Seek ways to improve quality and clarify expectations for students. Show teachers how to use new digital tools to their advantage to best replicate - and even improve on - face to face instruction.  

"Lynne's TOP 10"

Here's what we can do the first year

  1. Complete secure entrances at every school.

  2. Review every school to identify those missing advanced courses and unique specials.

  3. Fix deteriorating buildings with paint, new furniture, fixtures, flooring, lighting, technology and interior-only modifications that don’t require major construction.

  4. Ensure office staff in every school can communicate with non-English speakers

  5. Protect the rights of undocumented and newly-arriving immigrant students. Train teachers, staff and administrators to ensure that their unique needs are met, inside and outside the classroom. 

  6. Use social media and student groups to promote the Safe Schools MD Hotline to anonymously report violence, bullying, drug use, and mental health crises.

  7. Consistently enforce existing cell phone policy.

  8. Ensure teachers and counselors encourage all students, including those who are college-bound, to consider Career Technology Education programs. 

  9. Ensure that every child has an engaged primary educational contact.

  10. Allow at least two excused absences for civic action each year.

EQUITY

“All Means All” cannot just be a slogan. MCPS must be consistent to ensure that every student receives a world-class education, no matter where they live.

  • Expand AP courses and regional IB programs - especially to students of color and special education students. Automatically enroll students who meet objective criteria.

  • Provide incentives for experienced teachers and principals to choose and stay in high-needs schools.

  • Expand mental health programs, including trauma-informed practices and restorative justice, in all schools to better serve all students and end disproportional discipline for students of color.

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  • Provide “wraparound” community services in every Title 1 school.

  • Review field trips for all schools, with the goal of providing equitable opportunities and funding, especially in middle and high schools.

EXCELLENCE

What we’re teaching and how we’re teaching it must meet high standards.

  • Develop criteria for what an excellent MCPS school looks like, and ensure that all schools meet this standard.

 

  • Innovate! Create “learning labs” where teachers develop unique new courses and try innovative new approaches to teaching.

 

  • Provide an experienced peer mentor for every new teacher.

 

  • Partner with county agencies and unions to make sure all pre-K providers use and effectively deliver the same high-quality pre-K curriculum, so all students are ready for kindergarten.

  • Provide Central Office oversight for courses to ensure students receive the same content, and that content prepares them for exams.

  • Expand the current pilot program to increase recess without reducing instructional time.

ENGAGEMENT

LISTEN to students, teachers, staff and families! They know things about our schools that decision-makers don’t. Reach them where they are.

  • Host student listening sessions in every cluster, every year. Appoint staff to follow up on common concerns.

  • Require that schools offer at least one morning and one evening parent-teacher conference session at a location in the community that is transit-accessible.

 

  • Create incentives for teacher home visits and door-knocking campaigns to reach families in high-needs schools with low engagement, and schools being considered for major program changes, construction projects or boundary reviews.

 

  • Require teacher, family and student input for Key Facility Indicators that determine which schools receive additions and new buildings.

 

  • Train centralized crisis response teams to ensure prompt, accurate, effective communication and support in emergencies – a standard approach across all schools.

 

  • Partner with Montgomery County’s Vision Zero program, school communities and county and state highway departments to identify the most dangerous routes to school and unsafe bus stops. Collaborate on smart policies to ensure that all students arrive safely.

ACCOUNTABILITY

All MCPS decisions, policies and practices must be based on transparent data and solid evidence. We must hold ourselves accountable for spending county and state funds wisely.

 

  • The Board of Education must have its own independent analysts to research issues, evaluate budgets, identify ineffective programs and suggest ways to more effectively spend our capital and operating budgets. 

  • Create an independent ombudsman with authority to address community, family and student concerns, including elevating those concerns to the highest level and mediating solutions.

 

  • The County Planning Department does a county-wide review of school capacity and plans for county development every four years. MCPS should partner in that review, and use it as a tool to assess how current school boundaries are serving our students.

 

  • Add safety supervisors and expand camera storage on special education buses to protect our most vulnerable students.

 

  • Provide easy access to comprehensive Open Data that is current, detailed and user-friendly, allowing comparisons between schools and clusters.

 

  • Sustainability. Require LEED certification for all new construction. Transform the MCPS bus fleet to all-electric vehicles. Include climate change education in the curriculum at all levels. Create an MCPS “sustainability team” that includes students from elementary, middle and high school. Read how our students are taking the lead on this.

 

  • Continuously look for good ideas and best practices from other similar-sized, high performing school systems.

WANT MORE DETAIL?
See Lynne's answers to questions posed by organizations across Montgomery County (listed alphabetically).

Lynne Harris

- FOR BOARD OF EDUCATION -

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