Draft Minutes- MCCPTA Delegates Assembly
November 22, 2005
Welcome: Cindy Kerr, President MCCPTA and Vice President, Councils MD PTA
Tom Murphy and Suzanne Weiss, Co-chairs Legislative Committee introduced our
speakers for the 2006 legislative update, Honorable Senator Ida Ruben and
Honorable Delegate Charles Barclay. Senator Ida Ruben is the Dean of the
Senator Ida Ruben spoke about our delegation’s top priority – education. She praised Montgomery County Public Schools and cited successes such as blue ribbon schools, reading benchmarks of kindergartners, and closing the gap. She attributed these successes to the cooperation between parents, teachers and administrators. It is essential for parents to stay actively involved. She mentioned some of what the legislature can do: fund the construction of new schools, raise pensions of teachers and set benchmarks for achievements. Her remarks included comments on: importance of teachers;
diversity; priority of physical education to curb childhood obesity; past legislative session’s law to require Maryland State Department of Education to hire full-time director of Physical Education; school nutrition; recent state laws requiring schools to promote physical activity; county authority to install timing devices on vending machines; language and social barriers; expanded opportunities for adult education for parents to learn English; increased funding for county school renovations and construction; (FY 06 $251.8 million has been allocated statewide of which $30.4 million is for Montgomery County schools); a two year public school construction task force in 2003 identified a minimum of $3.85 billion necessary over the next 8 years needed to bring schools up to basic standards (state to provide $2 billion and local $1.85 billion over 8 yrs.); future school funding as a problem; governor’s capital budget for FY06 capital vs. legislative recommendation ($157.6 million vs. $251.8 million) for school construction; Maryland Association of Boards of Education recommendation of $400 million for school construction; governor’s commitment to school construction vs. legislature’s; health and safety issues; portable classrooms; ongoing implementation of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence in the Public Schools Act of 2002 is a significant factor driving increases in cost of K – 12 education (e.g. increases of $321 million in FY 05 over FY 04); if Thornton’s fully implemented spending will increase $400 million in FY 06, $752 million in FY 07 and $1.3 billion (goal of Thornton) by FY ’08; dollar shortfall because governor never fully funding Thornton through Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) formula which allocates funding through cost of teaching in each jurisdiction including special needs students, etc.; FY 06 MCPS shortchanged approximately $12.1 million by state, but if GCEI FY 07 MCPS would get $17 million;
No Child Left Behind act as an unfunded educational mandate; states spending own money to meet standards; some states resistance has resulted in more flexibility;
lowest state teachers retirement pension system in the
nation; prioritizing education means recruitment and retention of teachers; and
higher education tuition increases (
Other issues she did not have time to cover tonight include: charter schools, private schools, military recruiting, sex education, gang violence and bullying.
Following Senator Ruben’s remarks, Jinhee Wilde, Vice President for Legislation introduced Delegate Barclay.
Delegate Charles Barclay gave his educational
background in Montgomery County Public Schools. He provided a factual packet
for delegates. He commented on the budget surplus, educational issues and the
county’s priorities. First, the $1 billion budget surplus sounds like a lot of
money, but it quickly reduces with our $200 million deficit from last year, changes
in teachers’ education retirement and pension for 100% actuarial funding ($180
million), and Thornton ($500 million). His education talking points in
Jinhee Wilde directed a question re: strategies on getting
funding from the state since
Senator Ruben replied that
Delegate Barclay replied that the times are changing since
Suzanne Weiss asked, “What we can do to get more money for our schools?”
Senator Ruben replied that it’s important to for us to reach
out to our counterparts in other jurisdictions, like
Cindy Kerr introduced Vicki Rafel, president of the Board of Directors of MCCPTA- EPI for a brief review.
Educational Programs, Inc. (EPI): EPI is a separate
non-profit corporation from MCCPTA that runs under the auspices of MCCPTA. EPI
provides high quality programs for the local PTAs in
Kirsten Rhodes, Director (FLES) has offered foreign
language instruction through the PTA since 1975. Partnering with MCPS FLES provides an opportunity
to learn foreign language K to 6. FLES works directly with parent volunteers
and PTAs to set up and administer before and after school classes. Last year
FLES enrolled nearly 4500 students in French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese classes.
This year more than 90 elementary schools and 12 middle schools have FLES
programs. She introduced the French and Chinese coordinators with her tonight.
FLES has a staff of 120 teachers this year. There are 175 coordinators from
local PTAs who help us with registration, finding rooms, encourage parents to
sign up their children, and talk about FLES, so we thank those PTAs. FLES is
based on a solid curriculum and new initiatives. It’s clear that foreign
language is important to parents, children and administrators in this county. American
Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages declared 2005 to be year of languages.
Speak a foreign language and the world is yours. Our goal is to open the world
through foreign language. Second language learning is commitment throughout
(A sheet was distributed listing the schools that do not have FLES classes.)
Draft Minutes- MCCPTA Delegates Assembly
November 22, 2005
Call to Order: President Cindy Kerr called the meeting to order at 8:40 PM.
Agenda: Corrections include: removing presentation of executive board summer resolutions/motions since that was a misprint from last month; Jim Keenan speaking about CIP. Deb Kritzman will speak for Tracy Fox.
Approval of Minutes:
The minutes from the October 25, 2005 Delegate Assembly were reviewed and stand approved as written.
Treasurer Juan Johnson presented the treasurer’s report of October 25 through November 22, 2005, the profit and loss budget vs. actual for July 1 through November 22, 2005, and the balance sheet as of November 22, 2005. Copies were distributed for those who wanted them. Income of $12,233.25 is all membership dues including a few prior membership dues paid from last year. Expenses of $3,857.00 for printing and reproduction are for the blue book (MCCPTA directory) costs. Convention costs for officers and training are $510. Committees are not spending much money, yet. General administrative costs are about right for this time of year. We’re $8,000 in the black. Everyone needs to pay their dues, but only 40 schools of 180 have paid. We currently have $38,000 in bank. Receivables are for those schools that still have not paid insurance from last year. Insurance bills have come in and invoices will be going out at the first of the month. The treasurer’s report will be filed for audit. Cindy and Juan are working on how MCCPTA will change our insurance to the coverage provided by MD PTA which saves each local PTA about $100 a year.
Cindy Kerr mentioned that each month we will include the MCCPTA Delegate’s Assembly General Protocol Sheet. We’re trying to abide by it to become more aligned to business National PTA business protocols, for example three microphones and time keeping. Our membership totals now are 22,000. Last year we had 54,000 members by January. Please pay your dues. MCCPTA has encouraged most of our Board of Education members to join local PTAs. Many state PTA officers will join locals, too.
At MD PTA fall convention the National Secretary Treasurer
from South Carolina spoke National PTA’s move to “take back recess.” It’s a
national stand requiring physical activity and recess as a reaction to concern
about teaching to the test. National PTA will have a position on this that will
eventually come down to us. The hurricane relief program continues partnering
with schools that need relief in
Vice President - Educational Issues: Shirley Brandman directed delegates to the handouts on the draft for public comment on policy IQD and fine print handout on academic eligibility for extracurricular activities which is a short guide on this policy. Shirley gave a quick background on the current policy: MD high school students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and no more than 1 failing grade to be academically eligible to participate in interscholastic sports, school sponsored drama, or any other activities that receive stipends pursuant to an agreement by the Board of Education. Not all extracurricular activities fall into this category and this distinction is important because some other extracurricular activities are open enrollment and are not governed by eligibility standards (and all schools will be required to offer some of these as well). Every first time 9th grader is automatically eligible in their first quarter. All parents need to pay attention because of what the policy means for academic achievement. Academic eligibility has become a serious concern since 20% of all 9th to 12th graders in the county are not academically eligible.
The Board of Education is not considering any change to the 2.0 requirement for eligibility. At present, a student is automatically ineligible if he/she misses the 2.0 cut off irrespective of whether there is some family crisis that may have caused the fall off in grades. MCPS had convened a workgroup to review the policy. The work group included one teacher, many coaches, some students who had been ineligible, and some parents. The work group made recommendations to stick with 2.0 cut off, but parents on this committee advocated for more flexibility. The parents on the work group filed a minority report with an alternative proposal which would allows for some flexibility and a provisional period of eligibility rather than an automatic cut off. To be provisionally eligible you must participate in an academic support program by showing up, making a good faith effort to improve academic performance, and showing steady increase in performance. Do we as organization want to support some kind of a provisional opportunity for academic eligibility? Shirley provided background to the minority report, including research documenting that participation in extracurricular activities reduces absenteeism and drop out rates. She also discussed the recognition that a disproportionate number of ineligible students are minority students who are disadvantaged and vulnerable to gang recruitment in the absence of opportunities to be connected to school activities in the school hours. The alternative proposal is an effort to use an extra “hook” to motivate students to bring up their grades and get back to eligibility. Parents understand and the Board of Education should understand that participation in extracurricular activities is a powerful motivation to want to stay in school.
Shirley did point out that some changes to the policy recommended by the Board of Education are positive steps as a result of listening to parents, such as creating an obligation of the school system to provide students with support for maintaining academic performance and eligibility.
Some questions and discussion followed including information from a local PTA that principals as a group have taken a position that supports the policy as written because ineligibility only lasts one quarter, and the provisional period is not necessary because it’s against the push for excellence. It wad discussed that providing academic supports that only come if you stay connected to extracurriculars supports the importance of academic performance. A question was also raised about where the money for high schools to offer tutoring to ineligible students would come from? Coaches who don’t teach and aren’t in the schools to tutor before school, at lunch or after school don’t have that connection to offer guidance and supervision, so real changes would have to be made. Some schools use their existing homework club or Honor Students tutoring programs to meet the need without additional cost. Discussion also followed regarding the connection between academic ineligibility and the need for real graduation rates. We should be asking MCPS to provide academic help for all students who need it, not just the athletes.
After having provided background so local PTAs can discuss the draft policy, final consideration was delayed until January. In January we will decide if we, as MCCPTA, want to support provisional eligibility. We can discuss implementation strategies such as the Board draft (see page 3) stating that, “All secondary schools should provide and communicate opportunities for all students…” to change the word should to must. Please forward questions and generate discussions at your locals.
Shirley also reviewed the revised draft of advocacy priorities for 2005-2006 that were included in the delegate packets. These are ranked in order. The top categories of concerns in order were: academic (ES), facilities, academic (MS), academic (HS), staffing and support service, safety/health and parental involvement/communication (tied) and accountability. In addition, the top 15 advocacy priorities were listed: ranked by single issues across categories, aggregated by like issues across categories, and ranked numerically. Those issues getting less that 10 votes were not included. This information will be sent out electronically on the MCCPTA Bulletin. We charge our committees to be proactive on these priorities as they do their work. When officers meet with the Board of Education or county council we use these as a working document. Delegates were also asked to consider these priorities in reviewing the MCCPTA Operating Budget Compact.
Vice President – Programs: The Board of Education agenda will include the calendar on December 13 at 11 AM. Local PTAs may make comments. Sharon St. Pierre gave the MCPS 2006-2007 calendar update. The calendar includes 184 school days, 9 professional days and 13 holidays. School will begin on Monday, August 28 and end on Friday June 15. Tuesday Sept. 12 is the primary election and Tuesday, November 7 is the general election. We brought up changing the start date from Monday, August 28 to Tuesday, August 29 to allow for open houses on Monday. We were told that would force the end date to be Monday June 18. Twenty-two of twenty-four counties start school before Labor Day because it maximizes the number of instructional days before the Maryland School Assessments (MSAs) and high school assessments (HSAs). Contingency dates for weather emergencies try to minimally impact family plans, camps, etc. in June. They tried to put professional days on Mondays and Fridays. There are 2 professional days on Tuesdays – November 1 and March 27. There are 2 professional days on Monday and Tuesday, January 22 and 23, too. Friday, October 20 is marked “Hold” because of Maryland State Teachers Association and teacher contracts, but it won’t be a school day.
Comments included being closed on four Mondays in January. Holidays account for 3 of those Mondays. Parents had previously asked for Monday or Friday off. Please send your calendar comments to Robin_Confino@mcpsmd.org.
Vice President – Legislation: Jinhee Wilde reminded
us of the 7:30 to 9 PM meet and greet arranged by Tom Murphy and Suzanne Weiss
List Serves: Committee Chair Patti Twigg asked for volunteers to tally the results of the ballot (survey) to resolve listserve issues (11-22-05) included in the delegate packets tonight. The tally hopefully will show a consensus, so that we know how to proceed.
CIP: Jim Keenan, CIP co-chair said that the CIP testimony was well done and most speakers used the MCCPTA theme, and brought out needs identified. There was no Saturday workshop prior to testimony because the attendance was light for the CIP forum, and at cluster coordinator training. We will push harder next year.
Policy FAA- RA work group update: We have 10 slots for the work group on the long term educational facility planning policy. The concern is that at the last meeting only 5 of the representatives showed up, and Joe Lavorgna made comments about our poor turn out. We need to have a better to showing. Members should try to come to the next meeting a week from tomorrow night, or let Jim or Marney know if you can’t attend. The document is now being gone through word by word. Our emphasis is for increased parental involvement. Jim thanked Lilo for her comments. We’re trying to get PTAs recognized. The work group works well together.
Operating Budget: Jane deWinter, Operating Budget
chair, referred to the MCCPTA FY 2007 Operating Budget Compact draft that was
distributed to delegates in their packets. It will be used for advocacy. The
compact came from the last year’s advocacy points with the counts and order of
issues. CIP points were not included. A special Delegates Assembly will be held
on Monday, January 9 with a panel of county council members, the new president
and vice president of the Board of Education, and a representative from the
county executive’s office. There will be questions and answers following their
brief remarks. Following this we will discuss and vote on our compact. Please
take it home and read it, so you can make suggestions for changes. Please
e-mail any changes to Jane ahead of time, so she can have overheads prepared.
Saturday, January 7 there will be an operating budget workshop at
Health: Deb Kritzman is collecting the Physical Education, Music and Arts Survey. The wellness survey is time sensitive, but she didn’t have much time to talk about it. The draft is due to MCPS at the end of this month. Information will be shared on the list.
Safety: Pam will wait until January.
Middle School: Juan will report in January due to time constraints.
Grading and Reporting: Shirley Brandman referred to the proposed resolution on grading
and reporting resolution included in the delegates packets. Do we really know what’s going on in all of the schools? The committee is recommending that there be more monitoring so, we can see how changes are being implemented this year. Please look the resolution over and e-mail questions to Shirley. We’ll vote in January.
Proposed Resolution from the MCCPTA Grading and Reporting Committee 11/22/05:
WHEREAS MCPS has specifically adopted grading and reporting procedures for grades 6-12 which govern reteaching/reassessment, homework and grading; and
WHEREAS these procedures indicate that they "will be applied consistently within and among schools"; and
WHEREAS the MCCPTA Grading and Reporting Committee is aware that there have been several instances where these procedures were incorrectly applied in a secondary class such as, for example, where students were only permitted to take a reassessment if they earned below a 70% on the original task or where students’ grades on a reassessment were capped at 85%; and
WHEREAS we cannot necessarily equate the small number of complaints that MCPS has received from parents with a conclusion that the grading and reporting policy has been implemented successfully; and
WHEREAS the MCCPTA Grading and Reporting Committee believes that in the interest of fairness to all students, MCPS needs to be more proactive in monitoring compliance with the grading and reporting procedures;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that MCCPTA requests that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) immediately require that Community Superintendents working with local school principals review school wide, department wide and course specific grading practices to ensure that they are in accordance with MCPS procedures and to ensure the immediate correction of any practices that contradict the stated procedures.
This directory resolution was referred to the executive board for language clarification at the October Delegate Assembly. We sent out the resolution on the CRC use. We can take this position in the future. The group consensus was to put this on the January agenda.
Directory Resolution: (Draft as distributed)
WHEREAS each school year the local PTA units of the Montgomery County Council
of PTAs (MCCPTA) typically compile and publish student directories that include
personal and potentially sensitive information such as names, street addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of students whose parents have agreed to have such information
WHEREAS in granting permission to be listed in the directory students and their guardians/parents are not granting permission to share that information more broadly; and
WHEREAS by common knowledge and accepted practice these directories are intended
exclusively for the private use of the PTA/PTSA and the local PTA/PTSA communities to facilitate communication within their communities, and are not intended to be used for any other
WHEREAS the information contained in the directories are the property of the local PTA/PTSA; and
WHEREAS local PTA/PTSA units do not intend nor give permission for these directories to be used for solicitations, advertising, mass mailings, or any other purposes unrelated to the mission, objects and policies of the local PTA/PTSA or by any organization other than the local PTA/PTSA; and
WHEREAS the local PTA/PTSAs are justifiably concerned that fears about potential misuse of student directories could lead parents to withhold student directory information, thereby impairing a critical PTA/PTSA asset;
NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the MCCPTA Delegates oppose the use of student directories for any purposes not expressly approved by the local PTA/PTSA; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCCPTA Delegates expressly oppose use of the student directories by non-PTA/PTSA sanctioned organizations for any purpose.
Proposed alternative language:
(1) BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCCPTA Delegates oppose the use of student directories for any purpose not in accordance with the objectives and mission of PTA, or by any organizations not expressly authorized by the local PTA to use the student directory.
(2) BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCCPTA Delegates oppose the use of student directories by any group other than the PTA.
May Delegates Assembly:
A motion was passed at the October 25 Delegate Assembly to have a May Delegate Assembly. The proposed new date is Tuesday, May 30, 2006. The fourth Tuesday is the night before the presidents and principals dinner. We’ll put this out on the list for alternative dates and bring it back in January.
Proposal to change the Delegates Assembly start time from 7:30 PM to 7:00 PM.
The goal of this proposal is to see if we could finish our meetings before 10 PM.
Mark Loberg made a motion to change the starting time of the Delegate Assembly from 7:30 PM to 7:00 PM. The motion was seconded. Discussion included opposition based upon child care, working times, filling the extra time no matter when we start, and time constraints. The motion failed on a voice vote.
New Business Item: New motions or Resolutions presented by delegates
MCCPTA Gifted Child Committee Proposed Resolution:
o The MCPS Board of Education has stated that increasing rigor is on e of its main goals
o Providing a general continuum of services is one of the MCPS guiding policies
o Over 300 students prepared for accelerated work will be graduating this school year
from the competitive middle school programs in MCPS, while only 200 slots are
available at the high school level for the whole county
o Expanding the number of spaces available in these programs increases opportunities
for all students down county and upcounty
o Existing programs of this nature generate and share best practices of excellence within
the communities where they operate, thus indirectly improving the educational level
for all students
o The current upcounty middle school program at Roberto Clemente enrolls significantly
higher proportions of African American students than its sister down county programs
recognition and prestige of
great school system, of which its well-known magnet programs are a highly visible element; thus attracting desirable organizations and increasing job opportunities for all
o The existing HS magnet programs were created a long time ago when the student population
spaces has not grown at all since then
o The bulk of new development and growth in the county is taking place within the upcounty area
o Current busing of upcounty students to won county programs incurs significant costs:
Financial (the cost of transportation) and human (wasted student-hours each day and disruption to family schedules
o Deserving upcounty students who currently miss the opportunity for more enriched education as either themselves or their parents are unwillingly/unable to make the sacrifices implicit in attending at locations far removed from their homes
o The recent Report from the Deputy Superintendent Advisory Committee on GT Education indicates as one of its recommendations that : “MCPS must meet the need for additional seats
in centers and secondary magnet programs. Of critical concern is the establishment of an upcounty high school program to align with the Roberto Clement model.”
o The cost of this program (expected to be less than $500,000 p.a. when fully operational; less during its initial years of operation) represents approximately 3/100 of 1% (three hundredths of one percent) of the overall MCPS yearly budget of $1.7 billion; and
MCPS should establish upcounty high school programs for the highly gifted,
along the lines of the successful middle school programs at
 /The word “upcounty”, as
normally used by MCPS, refers to the northern area of
/the expression “along the
lines of the successful programs at
A date change has been made to allow for flexibility. An alternative proposal had been made today as an amendment. It can’t be an amendment, but it can be an alternative resolution, so the author can make it a resolution tonight.
In introducing the resolution, Diane McHale, chair of the
Gifted Child Committee, said that the upcounty magnet school would be modeled
Paul Wexstein, Piney Branch delegate, proposed an amendment to the resolution:
The teaching methodologies used in magnet programs, and in particular the use of sustained student inquiry into real-world matters, would benefit all students and have been shown to result in major boosts in achievement across all students groups and to correspond to both adult intellectual achievement and the way the human brain builds new knowledge.
That MCPS should establish and begin to implement a plan for ensuring that the pervasive use of sustained student inquiry into real-world matters through projects and other methodologies used in magnet programs for the highly gifted not be limited to the students selected for the limited seats in those programs but instead be provided to all students in MCPS.
It was not seconded.
He said that teaching methodologies used in magnets should be used for all students. Procedural comments said it looks like a substitute resolution. It can be an additional motion, but it changes the intent of the resolution. Two separate issues are being requested. There is a possibility of bringing this up separately in January.
Andrea Abrahams, Brookhaven delegate called the question. Voice vote passed calling the question. The resolution as written passed on a standing vote.
Alternative resolutions can go out in the January packet because of time constraints. David Lechner read portions of his resolution that had bee distributed. It was seconded and it will be referred to the January meeting. The operating budget committee will work with him on the facts.
David Lechner’s proposed amendment on the resolution on a new magnet high school:
Whereas in-school programs are generally more cost-effective and can be made open to all students willing to meet entrance requirements and pursue the more rigorous curriculum, and
Whereas there appears to be no “very large grants from the Federal Government” available to create a new upcounty program (like there was for the Blair program when originally created), and
Whereas retention of highly capable High School students in their own home schools will help ensure that the home schools have better MSA Test Scores to meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals per NCLB Act, and
Whereas an International Baccalaureate (IB) program provides a standards based and world-wide recognized curriculum in a challenging program for highly motivated and capable students using a criterion referenced grading system, and
Whereas program opportunities in upcounty High Schools will open up additional program “slots”
At the Blair Magnet program for all MCPS students to apply towards;
Be it Further Resolved:
1) That MCPS should alternatively consider creation IB programs at all upcounty high schools, and
2) That MCPS shall additionally create or maintain complementary program components that focus on Science, Computers, and Mathematics at these High Schools, and
That such new
programs shall be open to students at those schools and from any other
The resolution was seconded. It will be referred to the January meeting and he agreed that the operating budget will work with him for factual accuracy.
Motion to move business items to the beginning of the Delegate Assembly:
Blair Wilson, Sherwood Cluster, made a motion to amend the agenda from this day forward to always have business conducted prior to any and all visitors and other speakers. It was seconded. It passed on a standing vote.
No other business was proposed.
The business meeting was adjourned at 10:10 PM.