Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland)

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is a public school district that serves Montgomery County, Maryland. With 208 schools, it is the largest school district in the state of Maryland, and the 14th largest in the United States.[5] For the 2017–2018 school year, the district had 13,094 teachers, 86.4 percent of whom had a master’s degree or equivalent, serving 161,936 students at its 205 schools.[1] In 2010, MCPS was awarded a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.[1][6] The county spends approximately half of its annual budget on its public school system.[7] The Board of Education includes a student member, elected by all secondary students, who has full voting rights, except for negative personnel action. The superintendent of schools is Dr. Jack R. Smith.[8][9]

Montgomery County Public Schools
, Montgomery, Maryland, 20850
United States
Coordinates39°05′41″N 77°09′27″W / 39.09484°N 77.15749°W / 39.09484; -77.15749 (Montgomery County Public Schools)Coordinates: 39°05′41″N 77°09′27″W / 39.09484°N 77.15749°W / 39.09484; -77.15749 (Montgomery County Public Schools)
District information
GradesPre-K–12 (including Head Start)[1]
EstablishedFebruary 4, 1860; 161 years ago (1860-02-04)
SuperintendentDr. Monifa McKnight (interim)
School boardMontgomery County Board of Education
Chair of the boardPresident:
Brenda Wolff
Governing agencyMaryland State Department of Education
BudgetUS$2.6 billion fiscal year 2019[2]
NCES District ID2400480[3]
Students and staff
Students162,680 (2018–2019)[2]
Teachers13,094 (2017–2018)[1]
Staff10,253 (2017–2018)[1]
Student–teacher ratio12:1 (2017–2018)
Other information
ScheduleM-F except county holidays



Until 1860, only private schools existed in Montgomery County for those who could afford an education. Montgomery County Public Schools was established in 1860 for white children. The school system got off to a shaky start when the Civil War caused local schools to be disabled, vandalized and closed. Depredations by both Union and Confederate armies caused schools to close in 1862 and they didn't reopen until 1864.[10]

In 1872, the Maryland General Assembly appropriated state money so there could be schools for children of color and the county established a segregated school system.[11]

In 1892, Rockville High School opened; it was later named Richard Montgomery High School. The high school is the oldest in the county. The first class of 12 seniors graduated in 1897.[12] Gaithersburg High School, the second high school to serve the county, was established in 1904.

In the 1900s, the school budget started to see the effects of suburbanization. In 1908, there were 6,483 students and a budget of US$76,000. The school system saw even more growth in 1912 after the United States Congress passed a "non-resident" law that excluded Montgomery County school children from enrolling in Washington, D.C., schools, which were known for their higher quality. By 1921, the school budget had grown to more than US$316,000.[11]

The county's first Board of Education was named by legislative enactments in 1817; the first Board consisted of nine men.[13] A woman was appointed to the board in 1920: Mrs. A. Dawson Trumble, who served a five-year term that led to a steady succession of female members.[13]

Edwin W. Broome, who was superintendent during 1916–1953, combined one-room schoolhouses into multi-room operations at the beginning of his tenure, reducing the number of schools from 108 to 66 by 1949. At that point, school enrollment was over 22,000. When Broome took the job, there were five high schools, all in the northern portion of the county. He built two secondary schools for Silver Spring and two for Bethesda, and also pushed high schools to add the 12th grade.[10]


In the early 1950s, elementary students of color attended one of four elementary schools – Linden, Ken-Gar, Takoma Park, and River Road – all of which were considered substandard.[14][15] Older students of color attended Lincoln Junior High School and George Washington Carver High School in Rockville.[14][15] Montgomery County was the one of the first seven counties in Maryland to start to desegregate its public schools, which it began in September 1955, following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that ordered the desegregation of all schools nationwide.[16][17][18] Montgomery County completed the integration of its schools in 1960–1961.[10]

In 1961, the school system had 85,000 students and a US$70 million budget, having become the largest system in the Washington suburbs.[10] Prior to 1961, separate schools were maintained for black children. At that time, students from Rockville's George Washington Carver High School were rezoned to the previously all-white schools across the county.[19]

Woodward High School's parking lot, in Bethesda, May 1973, from the U.S. National Archives.

Enrollment topped out around 126,000 in the mid-1970s and dropped to below 100,000 in 1980, causing some schools to close. Enrollment continued to decline through the mid-1980s. However, with more than 96,000 students and 13,000 staff members in 155 schools in 1986, the school system was still one of the 20 largest in the nation.[11] Enrollment was back over 100,000 by 1990.[10]

Dr. Paul L. Vance became the county's first black superintendent in 1991, when there were 107,000 students and 174 schools. When he left in 1999, MCPS had 129,000 students in 185 schools. Over the next 10 years, enrollment grew to more than 150,000.[10]

In 2014, the Board modified the school calendar to remove all references to the Christian and Jewish religious holidays of Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah. The amendment was in response to a campaign by the initiative “Equality for Eid” (E4E), which sought for Montgomery County Public School closures on the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.[20][21][22] The amendment received some media attention.[23][24] Criticism of the amendment came from a variety of sources, including Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Congressman John Delaney.[25]

For the 2018–2019 school year, the district has 206 schools and an enrollment of 162,680 students.[2]

Governance and budgetEdit

MCPS is governed by a Board of Education that provides leadership and oversight for MCPS by setting goals, establishing policies, and committing resources to benefit its student population. The board’s work is guided by its vision, mission, core purpose, and core values.[26]

In 1977 the Maryland General Assembly amended Section 3-901 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland to create a student member of the board of education with a one-year term.[27][28] Since 1978, the eight-member school board has included a seat for this student board member.[29]

Between 1978 and 1982 a small representative assembly of students selected the student member.[28] David Naimon, the first student member of the board, served during the 1978–1979 school year.[30][29] Traci Williams, who served during the 1980–1981 school year, was the first African American to serve as student member.[29][31]

Since 1982, all middle- and high-school (secondary) students enrolled in the public school system directly elected student board members.[28] Kurt Hirsch, the first student member directly elected by secondary students, served during the 1982–1983 school year.[28][29] During the 1989 session of the Maryland General Assembly, Section 3-901 was again amended and established a limited vote for the student member.[28] In 1995 Charles McCullough was the first African American to be directly elected as student member of the board, serving during the 1995–1996 school year.[28][29][32][33]

Since 2016, the student member has full voting rights, except for negative personnel.[30][34] The student member of the board can vote on matters related to collective bargaining, capital and operating budgets, and school closings, re–openings and boundaries. The student member of the board cannot vote on negative personnel actions. The student member of the board is not paid but receives a $5,000 college scholarship, student service learning hours, and one honors-level social studies credit.[34][35]

An MCPS school bus depot in Potomac, March 2010.

The Board of Education student member for the 2021–2022 school year is Hana O'Looney, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School.[36] O'Looney was elected with 78.3 percent of the vote, with nearly 33,000 students voting.[37]

MCPS funding comes mostly from Montgomery County (66%) and the State of Maryland (27%), with additional funds from federal government grants (3%), enterprise funds (3%), and other sources (1%).[38]

MCPS operates under the jurisdiction of an elected Board of Education. Its current members are:[39]

Name District Term Ends
Patricia O'Neill District 3, Vice President 2022
Brenda Wolff District 5 2022
Lynne Harris At Large 2024
Karla Silvestre At Large 2022
Judith Docca District 1 2022
Rebecca Smondrowski District 2 2024
Shebra L. Evans District 4, President 2024
Hana O'Looney At Large, Student Member N/A
Dr. Jack Smith Superintendent 2020


The MCPS student population has continued to grow over the years. The district saw a record enrollment of more than 161,000 students at the start of the 2017–2018 school year.[40] MCPS serves a diverse student body, with 31% Hispanic, 28% White, 22% Black, 14% Asian, and 5% two or more races.[41]

Graduates from the class of 2018 earned $364 million in college scholarships, an increase of more than $14 million over the previous year.[42]

The class of 2017 outperformed their peers in the state of Maryland, and the nation as a whole, on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, based on AP Cohort Results released by the College Board. In 2017, more than 7,000 MCPS graduates (66%) took one or more AP exams. The percentage of students receiving a college-ready score of 3 or higher on at least one exam rose to 52%; this was higher than the 31% of the public school graduates in Maryland and 23% of the national graduates.[43]


MCPS has established certain criteria for students to graduate high school. Students must achieve 22 credits to graduate, with each semester course worth 0.5 credits.[44] The necessary credits include, among others, the following requirements for the class of 2025:[45]

  • 4 credits — English.
  • 4 credits — Math: At least 1 Algebra and 1 Geometry.
  • 3 credits — Science: At least 1 Life science (e.g., Biology), and 1 Physical science.
  • 3 credits — Social studies: 1 credit each of Government, U.S. history, and World history.
  • 1 credit — Technology: Students can choose among Computer Science, Engineering, or other technology-related courses.
  • Other credit requirements include: Physical Education, Health Education, Fine arts, and Electives.

In addition to these credit requirements, other requirements for graduation include: four years of enrollment, student service learning, and assessments.[46]

During the 2017–2018 school year, the district launched data dashboards to focus on learning, accountability and results. Continuous monitoring of students' progress ensures that students have timely support, focused interventions, acceleration, and enrichment. Readiness data helps the district to monitor students' progress and plan accordingly.[47]

The district has placed an emphasis on preparing students for both college and career. In April 2018, the College Board and Project Lead the Way awarded more than 3,000 students in the U.S. for their accomplishments in the 2016–2017 school year. Compared to other school districts, MCPS had the most students who'd earned the AP + PLTW Student Achievements, followed by districts in Illinois and Texas, and its neighboring Howard County Public School System in Maryland. Wheaton High School, which focuses on project-based learning, had the second-most students with the achievement, behind Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Illinois.[48]

Every high school offers courses linked to a variety of careers. A program implemented at Magruder High School during the 2018–2019 school year allows students to get a head start on careers in aviation.[49]

In May 2018, students from Northwest High School were the first in the district to graduate with a two-year degree in general engineering from Montgomery College as well as a high school diploma.[50] In May 2018, five Northwood High School students were the first MCPS students to complete the Middle College Program at their school, which allowed them to earn an associate degree from Montgomery College as well as a high school diploma.[51]

MCPS is one of the few school districts in the nation that offers comprehensive services at the elementary, middle, and high school level for twice exceptional students. Twice exceptional students have a unique profile of significant strengths and weaknesses – they are gifted and talented and also meet the criteria for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a Section 504 plan. Twice exceptional students access accelerated and enriched instruction with appropriate supports and services at their local school, within a magnet/choice program, or within a special education discrete service.[52]

Language immersion programs are offered at several elementary and middle schools.[53]


MCPS has 206 schools, comprising 134 elementary schools, 40 middle schools, 25 high schools, 5 special schools, 1 career and technology center, and 1 alternative education program.[54]

MCPS publishes school data annually. Its “Schools at a Glance” document provides information about enrollment, staffing, facilities, programs, outcome measures, and personnel costs for each school.[55]

The district has 39 National Blue Ribbon Schools, a designation that recognizes public and private schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.[56]

The school system is piloting extended school years at two elementary schools – Arcola and Roscoe Nix elementary schools – during the 2018–2019 school year.[57] The plan aims to help economically disadvantaged students, who lose the most ground during long summer breaks.

High schoolsEdit

Name Location Principal Mascot Notes
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Bethesda Dr. Shelton L. Mooney Barons
Montgomery Blair High School Four Corners Mrs. Renay C. Johnson Blazers Named after Postmaster General Montgomery Blair
James Hubert Blake High School Colesville Mr. Robert Sinclair Jr. Bengals Named after Musician James Hubert Blake
Winston Churchill High School Potomac Mrs. Brandice C. Heckert Bulldogs Named after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Clarksburg High School Clarksburg Mr. Edward K. Owusu Coyotes
Damascus High School Damascus Mr. Kevin D. Yates Hornets
Thomas Edison High School of Technology (10-12) Wheaton Dr. Jeanette Brooks Named after Inventor Thomas Edison
Albert Einstein High School Kensington Dr. Christine C. Handy Titans Named after scientist Albert Einstein
Gaithersburg High School Gaithersburg Mr. Cary D. Dimmick Trojans
Walter Johnson High School Rockville Mrs. Jennifer A. Baker Wildcats Named after baseball player Walter Perry Johnson
John F. Kennedy High School Glenmont Dr. Joe L. Rubens Jr. Cavaliers Named after President John F. Kennedy
Colonel Zadok A. Magruder High School Rockville Dr. Leroy C. Evans Colonels Named after Colonel Zadok Magruder
Richard Montgomery High School Rockville Mr. Damon A. Monteleone Rockets Named after General Richard Montgomery [58]
Northwest High School Germantown Mr. James N. D'Andrea Jaguars
Northwood High School Silver Spring Mrs. Mildred L. Charley-Greene Gladiators
Paint Branch High School Burtonsville Mrs. Tracy D. Pettis-Jones Panthers
Poolesville High School Poolesville Mr. Mark A. Carothers Falcons
Quince Orchard High School Gaithersburg Mrs. Elizabeth L. Thomas Cougars
Rockville High School Rockville Ms. Billie-Jean Bensen Rams
Seneca Valley High School Germantown Dr. Marc J. Cohen Eagles
Sherwood High School Sandy Spring Dr. Eric L. Minus Warriors
Springbrook High School White Oak Dr. Anthony Williams Blue Devils
Watkins Mill High School Gaithersburg Ms. Carol L. Goddard Wolverines
Wheaton High School Wheaton Dr. Debra K. Mugge Knights
Walt Whitman High School Bethesda Dr. Robert W. Dodd Vikings Named after poet Walt Whitman
Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School Rockville Ms. Kimberly M. Boldon Patriots Named after founder of Montgomery County, Thomas Sprigg Wootton

Middle SchoolsEdit

Elementary SchoolsEdit

List of elementary schools

Notable alumniEdit

The school system has several prominent graduates or former attendees, including:


  1. ^ a b c d e "At a Glance — School Year 2017–2018 — Department of Public Information and Web Services — Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD" (PDF). February 2, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "About us — Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD". Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  3. ^ "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Montgomery County Public Schools". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  4. ^ "Board of Education — Members — Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD". Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence — Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD". Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  7. ^ Turque, Bill (April 17, 2013). "Spending on schools likely to skyrocket". The Washington Post. p. 1B.
  8. ^ "Dr. Jack Smith Conditionally Appointed as Next Superintendent of Schools". February 4, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  9. ^ "Superintendent of Schools — Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD". Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Offutt, William (Spring 2016). "The Superintendents of Our Schools". The Montgomery County Story. Vol. 59. The Montgomery County Historical Society.
  11. ^ a b c "Our History and Government - Montgomery County, MD" (PDF). Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  12. ^ "History of Richard Montgomery High School — About Our School — Quick Links". Richard Montgomery High School. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "For first time, Montgomery school board will be entirely led by women". The Washington Post. June 29, 2018. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Stern, Laurence (June 5, 1955). "Montgomery Plans Integration in Part". The Washington Post. p. A9. ProQuest 148713856.
  15. ^ a b Stern, Laurence (June 18, 1955). "136 Negro Secondary Students Request Transfers to White Schools". The Washington Post. p. 17 – via ProQuest.
  16. ^ "Integration in 7 Md. counties: Report two minor incidents". Baltimore Afro-American. September 17, 1955. p. 14. ProQuest 531919592.
  17. ^ "School Bells Call 156,000 Back to Classes Today: Fares Go Up, Too". The Washington Post. September 12, 1955. p. 1. ProQuest 148597687.
  18. ^ "Court Orders School Desegregation On Local Basis". The Baltimore Sun. June 1, 1955. p. 1. ProQuest 541518934.
  19. ^ "From Segregation to Integration: Two Black Teachers Look Back — Integration in Montgomery County was slow, but fairly smooth". Potomac Almanac. Alexandria, Virginia: The Connection Newspapers. February 14, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  20. ^ "CAIR-MD Launches 'Equality for Eid' Campaign for Muslim School Holidays". May 1, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  21. ^ St. George, Donna (November 14, 2014). "Holidays' names stricken from next year's Montgomery schools calendar". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  22. ^ Henneberger, Melinda (November 12, 2014). "No Muslim holiday on Montgomery County school calendar isn't fair or 'PC'". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  23. ^ "Maryland county: No school holiday for Eid ad-Adha, and none for Christmas, Yom Kippur either". Haaretz. November 14, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  24. ^ Delaney, John (November 12, 2014). "Delaney Statement on Montgomery County Board of Education Decision on Religious Holidays" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Congressman John Delaney. Archived from the original on December 6, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  25. ^ "Board of Education — Members — Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD". Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  26. ^ Md. Code Ann., Education § 3-901 (2020).
  27. ^ a b c d e f Guterman, Rebecca (2009). "Spotlighting a best practice, student voters and representation in Montgomery County (MD)" (PDF). Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  28. ^ a b c d e "Montgomery County Public Schools, Past Student Board Members". Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  29. ^ a b St. George, Donna (March 16, 2016). "Legislation would expand student voting rights on Maryland school board". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  30. ^ "Montgomery County Board of Education, Resolution Traci L. Williams, SMOB 1980-1981" (PDF). Montgomery County Public Schools. January 13, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  31. ^ "Montgomery County Board of Education, Meeting Minutes" (PDF). Montgomery County Public Schools. May 5, 1995. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  32. ^ Beadle, Andrew D (May 12, 1995). "RM junior elected to school board". The Montgomery Journal. pp. A1, A7.
  33. ^ a b Chowdury, Maureen (March 31, 2016). "Bill that expands student voting rights on montgomery county school board passes state legislature". Montgomery Community Media. pp. A1, A7. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  34. ^ "Montgomery County Public Schools, Student Leadership, Student Member of the Board". Montgomery County Public Schools. 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  35. ^ "Richard Montgomery junior elected next student member of Montgomery school board". Bethesda Magazine. May 21, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  36. ^ "Hana O'Looney Elected as Next Student Member of the Board". Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  37. ^ MCPS – About MCPS.
  38. ^ "MCPS School Board Members". MCPS. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  39. ^ St. George, Donna (September 5, 2017). "School year opens in Maryland with enrollment surge in Montgomery County". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  40. ^ MCPS – About us
  41. ^ "MCPS Seniors Earn More Than $364 Million in Scholarships" (Press release). Rockville, Maryland: Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  42. ^ "MCPS Students Lead State and Nation in Advanced Placement Success" (Press release). Rockville, Maryland: Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ "MCPS Data Dashboard — Strategic Planning Committee". Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  47. ^ Rodgers, Bethany (April 23, 2018). "MCPS Takes First Place in Ranking on College-Preparedness, STEM Career Readiness". Bethesda Magazine. Bethesda, Maryland: Kohanza Media Ventures. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  48. ^ Hicks, Mitti (May 15, 2018). "Magruder High School takes new flight with aviation program". MyMCMedia. Rockville, Maryland: Montgomery Community Media. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  49. ^ MCPSTV (May 30, 2018), Northwest MC2 2018 graduates, retrieved August 8, 2018
  50. ^ MCPSTV (May 30, 2018), Northwood High School MC2 2018 Graduates, retrieved August 8, 2018
  51. ^ Twice Exceptional Students and Services, MCPS.
  52. ^ "Montgomery County Public Schools: Special Programs — Foreign Language Immersion Programs". Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  53. ^ MCPS schools, Accessed 5-12-2019.
  54. ^ "At a Glance Reports — Office of Shared Accountability (OSA) — Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD". Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  55. ^ "Bannockburn and Luxmanor Elementary Schools Selected as Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools" (Press release). Rockville, Maryland: Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  56. ^ St. George, Donna (December 23, 2017). "As poverty rises, one Maryland school system tries a longer school year". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  57. ^ "Richard Montgomery HS - Who is Richard Montgomery? | Richard Montgomery HS". Retrieved June 9, 2020.

External linksEdit