Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is a public school district that serves Montgomery County, Maryland. With 204 schools, it is the largest school district in Maryland and the 17th largest in the United States. As of the 2016–2017 school year, the district had 12,673 teachers serving 159,242 students at 204 schools. In 2010, MCPS was awarded a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The county spends approximately half of its annual budget on its public school system. The Montgomery County Public Schools had an approved annual budget of $2.52 billion for the 2018 fiscal year, a 2.6% increase from the 2017 annual budget of $2.46 billion. The Board of Education includes a student member of the board who has full voting rights, except in certain cases. The superintendent of schools is Dr. Jack R. Smith.`
Until 1860, 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—the Civil War caused local schools to be disabled, vandalized and closed. Depredations by union and confederate armies caused schools to close in 1862 and they didn't reopen until 1864.
In 1872, the Maryland State Assembly appropriated state money so there could be schools for children of color and the county established a segregated school system.
In 1892, Rockville High School opened; it later was named Richard Montgomery High School. The high school is the oldest in the county. The first class of 12 seniors graduated in 1897.
In the 1900s, the school budget started to see the effects of suburban growth. In 1908, there were 6,483 students and a budget of $76,000. The school system saw even more growth in 1912 after the U.S. 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 $316,000.
Edwin W. Broome, who was superintendent 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 upcounty. He built two secondary schools for Silver Spring and two for Bethesda, and also pushed high schools to add the 12th grade.
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. Older students of color attended Lincoln Junior High School and Carver High School in Rockville. Montgomery County was the one of the first seven counties in Maryland to desegregate its public schools, which it did in September 1955 following the ruling by the United States Supreme Court that ordered desegregation of all schools in the nation. Montgomery County completed desegregation of its schools in 1960–1961.
In 1961, the school system had 85,000 students and a $70 million budget, and had become the largest system in the Washington suburbs.
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. Enrollment was back over 100,000 by 1990.
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.
On November 11, 2014, the Board approved an amendment introduced by Rebecca Smondrowski to modify the school calendar to delete all references to religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. The amendment was in response to requests by an interfaith organization called Equality for Eid which asked that the listing for the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha be listed alongside Yom Kippur, which occurred on the same day.
The Smondrowski amendment received both national and international attention. Criticism of the amendment came from a variety of sources, including Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, and Congressman John Delaney.
The following are statistics for the 2008–2009 school year. All special programs span all grades at that school unless otherwise stated.
Point maps for all Montgomery County public schools referenced by elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and for each of the school clusters are published by Connected Communities Newswire.
All middle schools in Montgomery County range from 6th to 8th grade.
Starting with seniors graduating in 2011, 75 student service learning hours are required to graduate. All high schools in Montgomery County range from 9th to 12th grade.
Former high schools include Charles W. Woodward High School (closed 1987) and Robert E. Peary (closed 1984).
Thomas Edison High School of Technology is the place for advanced career technical education at the secondary level. It provides students with the technological, academic, and interpersonal skills needed to achieve excellence in their chosen careers and to serve as the foundation for their continuing education. Students from all areas of Montgomery County are eligible to attend.