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School board members take oath of office; Silvestre elected president

by Judith Hruz


The newly elected members of the Montgomery County Board of Education — Grace Rivera-Oven (District 1) and Julie Yang (District 3) — and re-elected members Brenda Wolff (District 5) and Karla Silvestre (At-large) took their ceremonial oath of office Dec. 1.

Silvestre, now serving her second term, was unanimously elected by her school board colleagues during the new board’s first business meeting on Dec. 6.

She was elected to her first four-year term in 2018.

Shebra Evans was elected vice president. She was elected to her second four-year term in 2020.

In accepting the position of president, Silvestre said she is reminded of the school board’s priorities:

Improve math and literacy for all students. “This is at the core of why we are here,” she said.

Build an inclusive and safe school climate. She said this is “vital so our students can learn, our teachers can teach and so that all students can stay engaged in school.”

Improve two-way communication between schools and family. This priority is vital so that “families can be active partners in their children’s education,” she said.

Improve the recruitment, retention and distribution of a diverse workforce at all levels. “All the words in the statement are equally important and need attention,” she said.

Wolff, who just completed her term as school board president, was elected to her first four-year terms in 2018.

Yang succeeds Dr. Scott Joftus, who was appointed in December 2021 to fill the seat left vacant by the passing of Patricia O’Neill, and Rivera-Oven succeeds Dr. Judith Docca, who did not seek re-election.

A video recording of the ceremonial swearing-in is available at https://www2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/boe/meetings/live/.


School board approves 2023-2024 MCPS calendar; classes to start Aug. 28


The Montgomery County Board of Education approved the school year calendar for 2023-2024 for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) at its Dec. 6 business meeting.

The calendar is responsive to community comments by offering limited instructional disruptions and highlights the system’s continued investment in its employees by including six professional development learning days, according to an (MCPS) press release.

Highlights for the 2023-2024 school calendar include:

For Traditional Calendar schools: First day of school for students is Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, and the last day is Thursday, June 13, 2024.

For Innovative Calendar schools: First day of school for students is Monday, July 10, 2023, and the last day is Thursday, June 13, 2024.

District-wide professional days include Oct. 9, 2023; and Friday, Feb. 16, and Monday, April 22, 2024. April 22, 2024, aligns with Passover.

In addition to the three district-wide days of professional learning, a new designated “professional development and instruction” day will allow staff to participate in learning while students continue to participate in school or other enrichment opportunities. The dates will be Nov. 10, 2023; and Feb. 15, and May 15, 2024. Detailed information will be provided to the community later in the school year.

The calendar includes five scheduled early-release days, three less than the current school year. Half days include: Sept. 22 and Nov. 20-21, 2023 (designated for student conferences); and March 1 and June 13, 2024.

Extending winter break by one day — beginning Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, and ending Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024.

Spring break begins on Saturday, March 23, 2024, and ends Monday, April 1, 2024.

The calendar maintains 182 days of instruction, including six built-in contingency days within the school year. Those dates are in addition to holiday closures required by state law.

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