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For Immediate Release (01-16)
Date: February 28, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952 (Montgomery College)
Kate Harrison, 301-279-3853 (Montgomery County Public Schools)

Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College Launch Newsletter with College Preparation Advice for Parents, Students
"PrepTalk" Being Distributed Through All County High Schools, Middle Schools

As part of the growing academic partnership between Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Montgomery College (MC) to help prepare high school students for success at the college level, top officials from both institutions today introduced a new outreach tool aimed at reaching both parents and students in Montgomery County.

PrepTalk, an informative and colorful newsletter co-produced by MC and MCPS, is intended to provide advice for parents and students on college preparation and is being distributed to every high school and middle school student in the school system. The first edition, of three to be produced annually, is going out this week and was unveiled by MCPS Superintendent Jerry D. Weast and Montgomery College President Charlene R. Nunley, in a joint press conference today at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. County Council President Blair G. Ewing, County Council Education Committee Chair Michael L. Subin and School Board President Nancy J. King also were on hand for the announcement, along with teachers, staff and students from both Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College.

"The Montgomery College/Montgomery County Public Schools Partnership is pleased to provide PrepTalk as part of our parent and community outreach effort on the issue of preparing for success at the college level," said Dr. Weast. "The newsletter is full of practical information that will help middle and high school students, and their parents, plan for college."

PrepTalk is one more tool in our combined effort to improve the readiness of our high school graduates for the rigors of a college education and for the skills they will need for the rest of their life," said Dr. Nunley. "Its purpose is to provide helpful tips and information -- for parents and students -- that will put them on a course to ensure that they are ready for the challenges of college-level work."

The MC-MCPS Partnership, created in 1996, was forged in response to the needs identified by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Maryland Student Outcomes and Achievement Report (SOAR). The annual report consistently presents sobering news: far too many graduates of Maryland's public schools are in need of developmental courses in college, before being able to move on to full college-level work. The partnership addresses this need through a variety of initiatives:

1. Supports for Student Success

  • Ongoing identification and monitoring of students' readiness for college-level studies. These efforts include the Criterion Referenced Test (CRT) scores and Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) performance.
  • Literacy programs implemented by teachers, under the tutelage of literacy specialists at each high school. These services are offered to students whose assessment scores and teacher referrals indicate that, with intervention, these students will make viable candidates for success in college.

2. Professional development

  • Jointly developed in-service courses for MCPS secondary teachers on how to infuse strategy instruction into course delivery.
  • Workshops, mentoring, monitoring, networking and ongoing training of literacy teachers to help them become change agents and effectively lead the institutionalization of strategic and performance-based instruction in all content areas.
  • Alignment of school and college coursework, and expectations to support a seamless transition for students from high school to post-secondary study.

3. Parent and Community Involvement

  • Meetings designed to communicate information to enhance parent understanding and ability to support student success.
  • Parent help sheets/newsletters developed and disseminated to assist parents in giving direct support to their children's literacy development.
  • Workshops developed to address parents' specific concerns related to improved student performance.
  • Technical preparation of students for careers identified as critical needs within the community made available to a wider range of students, through collaboration of Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools and local businesses.
  • Identification of and support to high school students interested in a career in education.

4. Joint Program Development, Implementation, Evaluation and Coordination

  • The college involves instructional faculty, counseling faculty, as well as continuing education from all three MC campuses.
  • MCPS school-based administrative, teaching and counseling staff directly involved in partnership activities, in addition to central office personnel from diverse departments and divisions.
  • Outreach programs engage the efforts of parents and community members.

Click here to view a PDF* version of PrepTalk newsletter.  

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