Montgomery Public Schools Report Card
Study up on the latest updates from Montgomery Public Schools.
Montgomery Public Schools have been under a microscope in recent months. And with good reason. The system’s past poor performance across a range of categories has put the futures of area students at risk. Plus, the plight of Montgomery’s public education is tied to the progress and prosperity of the entire capital city, making education news and business news one and the same. MBJ asked Dr. Ann Moore, Superintendent of MPS for a snapshot of where things stand now as well as future plans.
1 /What is the current status of MPS accreditation?
MPS is accredited by AdvancED. We are under review. The AdvancED team will be back in December to look at our progress. We have been working very hard to address the issues they presented. We have six priorities we are focused on, and we are working daily to meet the requirements and ensure we pass our review. We will continue our efforts, and I am confident we will not only meet the required progress in December, but we will have our accreditation renewed in the spring.
2 / What steps have been taken to make and show the improvements needed to better the accreditation situation?
Each priority identified by AdvancED has a team dedicated to ensuring we will meet the associated standard. Many of the items were actually already done, the issue was that we had not properly documented it. We are now keeping careful records.
3 / How can MPS ensure quality instruction in all of its schools?
There are basically four parts to that answer. We have to work with colleges and universities to ensure the graduates from their teacher programs are prepared to go directly in the classroom. We have to do an excellent job of providing additional professional development in both the areas of subject matter and teaching/classroom management skills. We have to work to ensure that our evaluations of teachers are productive and help each person discover strengths and weaknesses and correct the latter. And we must be sure certain curriculum is aligned with state standards.
4 / What can concerned parents, community members and business leaders do to help?
Parental involvement is critical. Students need to know that parents see education as important, and that parents have expectations they have to meet. Parents should keep up with student grades and assignments. We make that easy with the MPS Parent Portal. They can see their child’s grades and other important information online. They should also be in communication with teachers and school administration. And they should be members of the school’s PTA/PTSA and attend meetings.
We have incredible support from many community members and business leaders. That was especially evident during the days immediately following the BTW fire. We always need more volunteers and partners. The easiest thing to do is to go to your neighborhood school and say “how can I help?”
5 / What is needed to ensure futurefinancial stability for the system?
We hope that the community and business leaders will get behind the work the Montgomery County Commission is considering that would allow for a vote to raise the ad valorem taxes to support schools. We are at the state minimum of 10 mills – the lowest of any school system our size in the state.
6 / What is currently being done to enact and show fiscal responsibility (cutting waste, apply staff reductions to reflect loss of students, etc.)?
Our finances are literally open books. Anyone can come and look at the “books.” Much of our information is online, including our checkbook. Many people think we are top heavy in the central office, but that is not true. In fact, the state says that 5 percent or less of a system’s budget should go to central administration. We are under 4 percent. We need to cut approximately $9 million out of our 2018-2019 budget to maintain our state mandated reserve of about $19 million. We are working on ways to do that.