Montgomery County to announce program aimed at helping low-performing schools

April 21, 2013

Montgomery County education officials will identify about 10 schools in the district for extra support and resources under a new program that aims to help individual campuses boost performance.

Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr is expected to announce the details of the program at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

The school system plans to announce which schools will receive help through the program on May 14.

Starr said the plan will match lower-performing schools with central office administrators to provide more customized support that could help narrow the achievement gap and improve academic performance.

School officials hope to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each school, trying to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Such a strategy will allow the system to develop focused plans for improvement and more direct support for the schools.

“We will not be imposing one single program on all schools,” Starr said. “It just doesn’t work.”

School officials are still working to develop the exact criteria a school would have to meet to receive additional resources through the program. The focus, however, will mostly be on student performance and “well-
being,” Starr said.

Some of the data the district is considering includes reading proficiency for third-graders and math proficiency for fifth- and eighth-graders.

The program would be different from the approach former superintendent Jerry D. Weast established, which was to designate “red zone/green zone” schools. That method allowed for more school spending at “red zone” schools, which were determined based on criteria such as the number of students who spoke English as a second language or qualified for free and reduced-price meals.

Lynh Bui is a Prince George's County public safety reporter and former Montgomery County education reporter.
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