Montgomery County Board of Education, At Large – Shebra Evans

1) What experience uniquely qualifies you for this position?

I have been an active education advocate for the past 6 years serving the students of this county in many capacities. As an elected officer with the Montgomery County Council of PTAs I served as Recording Secretary for the Delegate Assembly, Vice President for Programs and Vice President for Educational Issues. These positions allowed me to spend time learning the needs of the community and better understanding the workings of our large and diverse school system. In addition I represented the Wheaton Cluster for many years and am intimately familiar with the challenges facing our schools serving populations with high rates of poverty and a growing number of students for whom English is not their first language. My experience and leadership with the local and county PTAs have enabled me to build strategic alliances that are critically important in moving MCPS forward in educating students.

2) The achievement gap has been a never ending issue for Montgomery County. How do you propose finally closing it?

Many issues impacting academic achievement stem from factors outside of the school. It will take a collaborative effort from teachers, students, families, and the community to help bridge the achievement gap. The school system can give additional training to teachers and supporting staff in the area of cultural competency. Review current policies and programs for unintended consequences. Collaborating at the state level to intervene early on educating our students prior to Kindergarten will give students greater academic, social, and emotional skills. Engaging community partners in support of students to increase enrichment opportunities beyond the school day and grant students access to career mentors. Expanding current initiatives such as Linkages to Learning providing more counseling services, health and parent education activities, and social services to students and their families.

3) What are your positions/attitudes on Curriculum 2.0 and the Common Core?

Curriculum 2.0 will provide our children with more in depth learning that will help to develop critical and creative thinking skills. Future considerations should be given to curriculum implementation. Studies show that professional development and training is critical to student achievement.

4) What changes, if any, do you feel are necessary regarding physical education?

Physical education plays a vital role in the students’ development and growth. I am satisfied with the physical education curriculum in elementary and secondary schools. However, I would like to increase the frequency of physical education activities available to elementary school kids. Studies have shown that physical activity helps students perform better in school, focus better in the classroom, and behave better in school.

5. How do you balance the budget while reducing class size and renovating facilities?

MCPS has recently modified the budget development process to include a multiyear plan. The new process will allow the school system to focus on aligning the resources of the system with the strategic plan and priorities. Board members must exercise oversight to ensure that budget dollars are well spent as well as to ensure that the system is making appropriate progress at an appropriate pace.

6. Are you satisfied with Montgomery County’s approach to special education and gifted and talented?

The school system has to improve its partnership with all parents but especially with parents of our special education students who face unique challenges.  The board has put money into the budget to fund an external audit of special education and I think that the results of the audit will be critical to drive needed reform. Creating a culture of partnership with more focus on collaboration is a critical piece of the puzzle. In the area of gifted and talented the school system will have to take an ongoing approach to finding the right balance of resources to keep students challenged. Meeting the needs of each student will be important to foster an engaged and excelling student population.

7. Are students getting adequate arts education?

Arts education is of critical importance. Students will need to have a creative edge to be competitive in the global workforce. MCPS could stand to expand our arts education to students in elementary and secondary schools.

8. Are you satisfied with school lunches?

Montgomery County Schools system has made a tremendous effort in recent years to provide students with healthier menu choices. They also have initiatives and programs with various stakeholders and the county government for students who live in poverty: Maryland Meals for Achievement, Summer Program, After School Snack Program and more.

Progress can be made with continuous education and outreach about the benefits of a healthy diet (e.g. health education curriculum, parent workshops, etc.,). If we expand some of the existing food programs to reach more students such as the Maryland Meals for Achievement, we can affect positive change in areas such as the academics, attendance, and behavior problems.

9. If you could enact a single change to the Montgomery County school system, what would it be?

Real engagement around college and career readiness.  The State has imposed new requirements upon all school systems to better define college and career readiness and to better prepare students to be college and career ready. As a school system, we will have to think about how we really engage students to think about their skills and their passions and how to build upon those to give them choices coupled with understanding of what it takes to follow their dreams. For example, how do we help the student who wants to be a graphic artist understand the skills involved and engage her to learn and prepare for her future.  There is a role for our schools but also for our business partners and we must work together to make the promise of college and career readiness real.

10. Please list endorsements.

• Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA)

• Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats of Maryland (CAPAD)

• Casa In Action

• SEIU Local 500

• African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County

11. Please provide contact information and social media links.

Friends of Shebra Evans
P.O. Box 502
Clarksburg, MD 20871

Phone: (301) 284-8976
E: shebra4boe@shebraevans.com
Facebook: Shebra4boe
Twitter: @shebraevans

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