When more than 151, 000 Montgomery County Public Schools students begin returning to school today, many will be greeted with significant changes.
The school system expanded the roll out of its controversial new curriculum, developed as Project North Star and now known as Curriculum 2.0, to grades four and five. In addition to the opening of four new modernized schools the system also replaced computers and installed wireless networks in more than a hundred schools.
Montgomery Blair High School was one of the schools that had its networks upgraded during the summer. The well-known Blair magnet program no longer boasts its own computer network. Students attending the prestigious math, science, and computer science magnet program will discover that they will no longer be assigned to special counselors. Instead, they will receive counselor assignments like the rest of the student population. The magnet program will also be missing one of its luminaries, math teacher Eric Walstein, who retired at the end of last year. School officials claim that the upgrade in technology will increase digital learning as part of the effort to improve classroom learning.
High school students will also undergo baseline concussion testing. For the first time, students are also expected to participate in surveys intended to measure “hope” and other indicators of their well-being.
The school system’s highly touted Seven Keys to College Readiness, have undergone a significant makeover. Third grade students will no longer be required to be reading at advanced level to be “college ready.” Instead, they will be expected to be reading at proficient or advanced levels. In fifth-grade students will also have their hope, engagement, and well-being measured. There is little evidence, in the form of peer reviewed research, that supports the system’s new measurements of success.