MoCo BOE Unanimously Approves More Professional Days and Fewer Disruption: MCPS 2023-2024 School Calendar

Heather Jauquet

Board member shares concerns about lack of representation in the responses
August 2023Photo byHeather Jauquet/Author

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Thursday, December 6, 2022, at Rockville’s Carver Educational Services Center at 12:30 pm. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the meeting began with community comments from MCEA president Jennifer Martin, teachers, parents, and students. Next, the meeting covered the proposal and approval of the 2023-2024 school calendar.

On November 7, 2022, MCPS sent out a survey to staff and families while meeting with small community groups to gather input and perspective on the proposed 2023-2024 calendars. The survey was open until November 30, providing time for stakeholders to respond to the four proposed calendars. This year 10,595 participants responded to the survey, up from the 4,284 respondents from last year. Thirty-eight percent of the respondents chose option D based on the dates for the first and last day of school.

Dana Edwards and Douglas Hollis, Jr. from the office of Chief of District Operations presented the Superintendent’s proposed 2023-2024 MCPS school calendar and the changes made from the current school calendar based on feedback from community surveys.

Responding to community feedback that there were too many disruptions to the current school calendar, the proposed calendar notably includes fewer early release days impacting the schedule. In addition, MCPS will implement innovative “Out of School Time” where students can participate in free enriched or academic learning opportunities during specific teacher professional days outlined as PD/I on the calendar.

Lack of representation concern for board member

However, in reviewing the breakdown of those who responded to the surveys, newly elected board member Grace Rivera-Oven shared her concern over the lack of representation from communities of color. Rivera-Oven said, “When I see 44 Latinos taking place in this survey, that’s not even one student per school,” she said. “It concerns me.”

Of the 160,554 students in MCPS, students who identify as Hispanic or Latino are 34.6% of the school district’s student body, making up the largest share of any racial or ethnic group in the school system.

Although Rivera-Oven quote misreads the provided data, as the number of Hispanic or Latino respondents nearly doubled from last year. With 983 giving feedback on the proposed calendar, they still made up only 9.3% of the gathered responses.

To combat the disparity in representation within the school system, Rivera-Oven suggested looking for ways outside of emails to gather feedback, as she said, “The voices of these communities are very important.” To address the need for voices from other communities, she asked MCPS, “What do you have in store with future engagement?”

Outreach efforts included an online survey and in-person discussions. However, Edwards responded that one of the areas of that need they need to build on is capturing how many people attended and how they fit into the system: parent, student, teacher, and community member. As they move forward, they will look for ways, in addition to surveys, to engage with all of the communities represented in the school system.

After the discussion revolving around representation, professional development, and the importance of uninterrupted learning, the Montgomery County Board of Education passed Superintendent McKnight’s recommended calendar by an unanimous vote.

Notable changes from the 2022-2023 school calendar

  • 5 Early Release Days as opposed to the 8 that included in the 2022-2023 school year.
  • 3 of the 6 professional days are newly designated “professional development and instruction” days (noted as PD/I on the school calendar) that will allow staff to participate in learning while students participate in enrichment or academic learning opportunities. MCPS will provide detailed information to the community later in the school year.
  • 6 systemwide closures are on the calendar. The 2022-2023 school calendar started with only two designated systemwide closure days. However, on October 25, 2022, the Montgomery County Board of Education modified the calendar to add four more systemwide closure days.
  • Winter break is extended by one day.
  • 11 pay periods will include 10 days in a paycheck, instead of the current 8 pay periods with 10 days.
  • 3 times in the year, pay periods will include less than 9 days due to Thanksgiving, winter break, and spring break. This year there are 5 pay periods with less than 9 days.
  • Limited instructional disruptions and more full days of instruction.

Comments / 2

Published by

Certified educator K-12 and Reading Specialist with a focus on the adolescent brain. I write about how educational decisions affect parents, students, and staff. As an educator and parent I also focus on community events for the whole family.


More from Heather Jauquet

Comments / 0