Silver Chips Online

MCPS awarded federal grant and sponsorship

$5 million given to MCPS for development of new integrated curriculum

By Melissa Haniff, Online Managing Editor
August 10, 2010
MCPS was awarded $5 million in federal grant money from the Investing in Innovation (i3) program last Thursday. The program, which was started during the Obama administration, will help to develop advanced curricula for schools around the country; MCPS was one of 49 applicants to win the grant. The education publishing company Pearson awarded MCPS an additional $1 million, which was a twenty percent match to the federal grant. The grant will go toward MCPS’s work with Pearson to develop an integrated curriculum for elementary schools across the county.

Students and teachers such as those at Goshen elementary school in Gaithersburg will most directly benefit from i3's grant, which will speed up MCPS's development of a newly integrated elementary school curriculum. Courtesy of MCPS
Students and teachers such as those at Goshen elementary school in Gaithersburg will most directly benefit from i3's grant, which will speed up MCPS's development of a newly integrated elementary school curriculum.
The funded curriculum will fully integrate core subjects such as reading and mathematics with science, social studies, art, music and physical education, according to the MCPS Web site. The grant will help MCPS revamp its current curriculum and create an integrated one in three years instead of six, which is how long an integrated curriculum would have originally taken to develop without the grant.

MCPS public information director Dana Tofig believes that the grant will help ease concerns about the cutbacks of other, non-core subjects. "Many parents have become concerned that No Child Left Behind has put such a heavy focus on mathematics and reading that it has come at the expense of other, very important subjects," Tofig said.

Pearson and MCPS will market the curriculum to various school districts around the country. According to Tofig, all MCPS students will gain from selling the curriculum. "If it sells, Montgomery County will receive a 2.5 percent royalty, which will be used for the benefit of MCPS students," he said.

The partnership with Pearson combined with the grant should also help to build an online learning community in which teachers can interact with each other and share teaching lessons and strategies. The online community will aid teachers in solving instructional challenges through advice from their peers.

Tofig maintains that the marketing of the MCPS-developed curriculum should not cause any worries about quality control. "The curriculum is being written for MCPS students by MCPS educators, and MCPS will retain complete control over what is taught in our classrooms," he said.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/10228