Report highlights MCPS’ strengths, accomplishments


Photo by Pablo Roa.

MCPS released its annual report which includes information regarding the county’s recent accomplishments.

By Pablo Roa, Senior Writer

MCPS released its annual report Feb. 24 which focuses on a wide variety of topics relating to the county’s recent achievements and policies.

With the accessible, digital format of this year’s report, MCPS hopes that parents, teachers, students and community members will be encouraged to read about the county, its goals and its employees.

“The new, online format provides an opportunity to tell the stories of the people who make MCPS one of the best school districts in the nation,” O’Neil wrote in a public email to the MCPS community.

According to the report, the county has made strides in recent years to reduce the achievement gap.

“MCPS students achieve at a very high level and outperform their peers across the state and the nation,” MCPS officials wrote in the report.

While progress has been made, the report acknowledges that an achievement gap still exists in MCPS and that more work must be done to close it.

“Equity is one of our most important core values,” MCPS officials wrote in the report. “MCPS is committed to ensuring that student outcomes are not predictable by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or educational need.”

Principal Joan Benz agrees with the report’s conclusion that the achievement gap is still an issue and that the county must do what it can to work with teachers toward finding a solution.

“I think it’s incredibly important that they try to develop new strategies and instruction methods to encourage all students to be as successful as possible and to get ready for college,” Benz said.

The annual report also underlines achievements and improvements the school district has made in the last year including the county’s improved environmental awareness.

According to the report, conservation efforts across MCPS have reduced energy consumption by 12 percent since 2003. Furthermore, county-wide efforts to increase recycling have led to an 11 percent reduction in solid waste in MCPS. The school district also takes the environment into account in its construction projects. Every new building in MCPS incorporates “green” practices, such as vegetative roofs, that reduce runoff and geothermal heating and cooling systems.

While many agree that MCPS must be conscious of the environment, they also believe that MCPS should focus its resources more on issues that directly affect teachers and students every day.

According to senior Alex Papermaster, the growing student population and the need for more teachers and classrooms throughout the county should be at the forefront of the county’s priority list.

“I would like to see MCPS hire more teachers and teacher aides to help students who struggle with getting their work done,” Papermaster said. “Personally, I have also seen that smaller classes yield more productive and attentive students, so the county could also hire more teachers for this purpose.”

The report also helps shed light on important issues affecting the county that may otherwise go unnoticed, such as the growing poverty within the school system.

According to the report, the number of students receiving free and reduced-price meals has grown dramatically over the last six years. With growing diversity within the county, MCPS has also seen the need for services such as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) increase substantially.

A large portion of this year’s report focuses on MCPS’ efforts to prepare its students for success in the 21st century including the installation of wireless networks in every building. MCPS believes that its improved technology will not only help create modern and efficient school buildings, but also help students get a better education.