Students voice concern in MCR general assembly


Photo by Julia Eisen

Students from across the county meet together in breakout groups to discuss what is important to them in the coming years for MCPS. A variety of topics were discussed such as Montgomery College classes, final exams and IB programs.

The Montgomery County Regional General Assembly is a monthly gathering of students across the county to voice concerns and questions they might have over the direction in which MCPS is heading towards. Hosted at Magruder High School, students represented 20 high schools.

The assembly, ran by the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association (MCR-SGA), followed an agenda that included a speech and Q&A from Scott Murphy, Director of Secondary Curriculum and Districtwide Programs, breakout groups and SMOB candidate introductions.

Murphy discussed many programs that will be implemented throughout MCPS high schools in the following years. These initiatives include the SAT administered during the school day, expanding music and foreign language programs in middle schools and “Summer Rise,” an internship opportunity for Montgomery County students to learn about employer expectations for the future.

“What stuck out the most from Mr. Murphy’s speech was the way he emphasized their focus on innovation in the curriculum and what that looks like,” freshman Maeve Sanford-Kelly said.

Students were generally very appreciative that Murphy had taken the time out of his day to appear at the General Assembly to speak with students directly and to let their voices be heard. Breakout groups were lead by different representatives from different schools who were involved in different aspects of the MCR-SGA. Groups of four to eight students were randomly paired together to discuss ideas following the theme of “Expanding Opportunity.”

Students discussed issues between different high schools and how some offered more advanced classes, others discussed how some schools had better infrastructure or sports, leaving some high schools in the upper-county districts behind.

High schools such as Einstein, Richard Montgomery and Edison add to this criteria by allowing students across districts within Montgomery County to take part in their advanced programs in art, technology or the IB program.

“In my breakout group we talked about how students feel unprepared for college because we don’t have final exams and that some classes don’t even use Progress Checks,” senior Corey Criss said.
Student involvement is greatly encouraged by the adults behind the scenes because it allows them to understand what students are looking for in their curriculum.

“The student voice in our education and government is vital. The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow. By using our voice to fight for change we are not only preparing ourselves for our future, but ensuring that our education system works for each and every one of us,” senior and MCR Finance Director Drew Skilton said.

Montgomery County is the largest district in Maryland, the 14th largest school system in the country and with a budget of $2.6 billion, the employees in the MCPS central office are working to expand opportunity for students and keep up growth and academic excellence.