Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr gathered with members of the school board, the county executive and council president and PTA representatives to open the academic year Monday morning at Flora M. Singer Elementary School in Silver Spring.
Singer Elementary School, which joins the Downcounty Consortium, is one of two new schools in the county, along with Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville. MCPS is seeking LEED certification for both buildings.
Speaking to the media in the elementary school's new library, Starr compared MCPS to NASA, whose space rover Curiosity recently touched down on Mars. Though NASA's mission has changed since it landed a man on the moon, its core purposes remain the same, Starr said.
Starr mentioned three core strategies that MCPS is pursuing: Professional development for educators, interventions for struggling students and community engagement -- working with businesses to identify what skills students need to succeed and with county agencies to help families in need.
Janette Gilman, president of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, stressed the importance of the school system to the county's reputation.
"Nobody moves to Montgomery County for our traffic; it's really for our school system," she said.