School system to develop integrated curriculum
Board approves union deals
The county school board Tuesday approved a contract between the school system and Pearson Education Inc. to develop an integrated curriculum for the county's elementary schools.
Under the deal, Pearson will be allowed to use the school system's logo on the developed curriculum, known as North Star. Pearson will contribute up to $4.5 million to the effort. In turn, the school system will get a fully developed curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade and receive at least 2.5 percent in royalties from sales of the curriculum.
On Monday, the Parents Coalition blog chastised the school system for selling out to the Pearson company. Directly after the vote, the blog claimed that the board had violated its policy on letting new business items lay over until the following board meeting. School board member Laura V. Berthiaume expressed concerns about not getting the Pearson contract until a day before the meeting.
Berthiaume (Dist. 2) of Rockville and school board member Michael A. Durso (Dist. 5) of Silver Spring voted against the contract.
According to the school system, the curriculum will integrate the core subjects of reading and math with science, social studies, art, music and physical education.
The school system and Pearson will collaborate over the next two years to develop the curriculum.
After the vote, school board President Patricia B. O'Neill (Dist. 3) said the partnership was a "win-win" for the school system that is worth pursuing in a time when the school system has little money to spend.
School board OKs
The school board voted Tuesday to approve four-year negotiated contracts with the employee associations representing teachers and support professionals.
A contract with the school system's principals union was approved by the board on May 25.
The negotiated agreements forgo all raises for employees in fiscal 2011, including both cost-of-living and step increases. The contracts also include an opportunity for negotiations on salary increases to be reopened in subsequent years of the contract.
The contracts give teachers more authority in the management of their preparation time for instruction.
"While the fiscal realities of the county's budget mean that MCEA members will forgo any increase in pay, this new contract will expand the ability of teachers and other educators to influence the day-to-day decisions that most affect their work with students," teachers union president Doug Prouty said in a statement.
Merle Cuttitta, president of SEIU Local 500, said, "We were also successful in creating contract language which looks to the future of training and development of support staff as leaders and their continuing role in student achievement."
Montgomery College will host events at all three of its campuses this month to help students with the enrollment process. Representatives will be on hand to assist with admissions, financial aid, counseling and advising.
The first event occurs from 9 a.m. to noon June 12 in the Charlene R. Nunley Student Services Center on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus. Contact Jonathan.Howie@montgomerycollege.edu or call 240-567-5802.
The second event takes place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. June 17 in the High Technology and Science Center on the Germantown campus. Contact Cathy.Kwolek@montgomerycollege.edu or call 240-567-7816.
The third event will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 19 in the Rockville Campus Center. Individual academic advising will not be available during this session. Contact Maria.Adams@montgomerycollege.edu or call 240-567-5039.