Proposed 2021-2022 Advocacy Priorities

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Mission: To make every child's potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.

Communication: Promote clear, simple, accurate, and timely communication to our diverse population in multiple languages and through multiple channels regarding the education (including performance metrics, selection criteria, standards, and school/program choice options) and wellbeing of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students. Implement feedback tools and procedures to eliminate the inequities speakers of other languages experience in participating in their student’s education.  Increase access to opportunities including academic, nutritional, mental health, and other holistic support services. Conduct robust outreach to obtain feedback from diverse groups proportional to the population before any major policy change and ensure transparency in reporting the results of any surveys and feedback. All data should be released as accessible data files.

COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Academics — Deliver the curriculum with fidelity to every student through the utilization of virtual and in-person learning in a developmentally appropriate manner. Provide resources such as tutoring and counseling support, to students who are experiencing significant learning loss, mental health, social or emotional distress, or other stressors so that they may thrive. Provide necessary resources to all students including equitable education by providing streamed or recorded instruction as needed, nutrition, and other supports to ensure holistic wellbeing. Facilities and Transportation — Continue to support the return to school buildings in the COVID-19 environment, guided by evidence-based, specific, and transparent criteria, including additional space, equipment and supplies that may be needed. Continue to maximize outdoor dining and learning as efforts continue to improve HVAC, ventilation, and air filtration systems in every school and on every bus with fidelity and transparency. Policy — Engage a medical adviser to provide, and a volunteer advisory panel to review safety and health policy and procedure recommendations. In consultation with medical experts, craft prevention and mitigation policies and procedures that prioritize evidence-based best practices in health and safety protocols with strategies that limit student impact and learning disruption. Develop and implement effective plans for the rapid vaccination of K-6 students as soon as the vaccines become available.

Curriculum: Implement a culturally inclusive curriculum that meets the needs of our diverse student population by including enrichment and appropriate challenges for all children using culturally relevant materials, training for teachers to implement teaching strategies and approaches for different types of learners, hands-on experiential learning, and alternate demonstration of learning methods. Provide additional enrichment, support, and tutoring programs to ensure that all students, across the academic achievement spectrum, receive appropriate instruction and curriculum support to be successful. Advocate for on grade level instruction, with adequate enrichments for above level, and more support for students who are learning below grade level.

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Ensure access to equitable opportunities and an excellent education for all MCPS students, especially students historically disadvantaged including those that are Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color, LGBTQIA+, those requiring Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans, and others.

Ensure comprehensive data collection within MCPS for all groups. Ensure equitable allocations of resources for school facilities and operations, sports and other extracurricular activities, and school support with funding, use of facilities, transportation, and opportunities to participate.  Provide clear direction and assistance to schools to reduce the disparity, and resultant inequities, in application of programs and policies. 

Empower all students and families by facilitating intentionally inclusive family and community engagement with MCPS that encompasses easily accessible continuous feedback and improvement. Identify and remove barriers to family access to participation. Identify goals and actions based on the findings of the Anti-Racist System Audit, the countywide boundary analysis, and the evaluation of the ESOL model.

Health, Wellness and School Climate: Provide all students equitable access to appropriate physical, mental, and nutritional support, indefinite continuation of destigmatized access to free, healthy, meals, appropriate for families with varied dietary or cultural needs, that will appeal to children from different backgrounds, and access to safe water by employing primary exposure prevention strategies.  Include information about access to additional food resources in multiple languages with student meal deliveries. Ensure sensitivity to students who are fasting when scheduling tests and other high value assignments.

Ensure that every school has multiple staff trained to administer life-saving medications, such as Narcan and EpiPens, with the commitment to meet or exceed the national student to nurse standard, and student to counselor standard, and provide training and staff to support the social and emotional wellbeing of all students.

 

Provide age-appropriate gun safety, violence, online bullying, childhood obesity, suicide, and substance use prevention lessons at all schools and grade levels. Address, track and reduce incidences of bias, discrimination, bullying, hatred, and sexual harassment of students. Engage MCCPTA in serious incidents so the appropriate members can be informed of the Incident and the Response.

Ombudsman: Designate an impartial ombudsman, external to MCPS and the Board of Education, to guide families in navigating the complexities of the system and ensure fair treatment.

Transportation and Facilities: Ensure a healthy physical environment for students in facilities and buses, providing spaces which are comfortable, safe, and not overcrowded. Work with other entities to provide safe passage to schools, including arrival and dismissal configurations and procedures. Expedite installation of the bus tracking systems to keep families informed of where their student’s bus is and when it will arrive.