McKnight community meeting

Nicole Weaver

More stories from Nicole Weaver

More stories from Maeve Sanford-Kelly

Superintendent Monifa McKnight held a MCPS community discussion at WJ on Wednesday, April 27. The discussion focused on the community’s strengths and places of improvement and made a particular effort to highlight student input on the challenges in MCPS.
Student leaders from WJ and other county schools lead the tables in conversations on issues like rebuilding community trust, supporting student mental health and equitable education access. After each table discussion, community members had the opportunity to share their perspective and what they learned at their table.
The first part of the discussion was focused on what makes MCPS special. Junior and incoming WJ SGA President Ethan Mendes got up to speak about what he sees as the highlights of the WJ community.
“I feel like our school is so big in population and so diverse that there’s a friend group for literally everyone, there’s someone out there for everyone. Everyone can find a friend,” Mendes said.
Eventually the conversation moved to where the gaps are in MCPS. Many community members mentioned overcrowding, bureaucracy and inequity.
Yvonne Sanya, principal intern at Roberto Clemente Middle School and an MCPS parent, spoke about wanting MCPS to prioritize the student perspective and diverse experiences.
“It’s important for students to have an opportunity to build communities and establish relationships and make connections. The strength of our system is our diversity whether it be how that shows up in terms of opportunities or in terms of representation,” Sanya said.
At certain points, Superintendent McKnight shared her own thoughts on the different discussion points.
When discussing her own priorities for innovative learning in MCPS, McKnight was focused on ensuring the County provides equitable learning opportunities for all students rather than focusing on the college-bound or traditional learners.
“We need to teach whole. We have to build a teaching and learning structure that meets the needs of all our different learners and we’re not going to get there through a one-size fits all model,” McKnight said.
This meeting was a part of a series of three meetings held by McKnight and the Central Office with others at Magruder HS April 20 and Paint Branch HS May 7.