Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Northern Ireland school district plans no future visits by Weast

No future trips to Northern Ireland's Department of Education are planned for Superintendent Weast, according to Joanne Eland, Senior Press Officer of the Northern Ireland Department of Education.

In an email to the Parents' Coalition, Ms. Eland wrote:
"Our schooling system has had an ongoing link with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) since 2004 initially as an appropriate partner for a headteacher exchange programme, more latterly given our wide ranging reform agenda, as a schooling system which offers important insights on issues of underachievement and schooling system effectiveness."
Exchange program? Anyone know of any teachers or principals from Northern Ireland or from MCPS who participated in an exchange program?

"An important element of the Northern Ireland reform agenda has involved the setting up of a new Education and Skills Authority (ESA). The Department of Education and ESA officials have visited Montgomery County to access for themselves those aspects of the MCPS system which with contextualisation may add value to local endeavours. We are grateful to MCPS for facilitating the involvement of its superintendent Dr Jerry Weast in the strategic discussions and thinking underpinning our change programme."
Who in MCPS authorized Dr. Weast to provide (free) consulting services to the Northern Ireland Education Department? Did the BOE give their approval?

"Dr Weast’s recent trip to Northern Ireland was funded and organised by the Regional Training Unit (RTU), which has responsibility for leadership training across our system and which has an ongoing relationship with MCPS. Over the course of the week, Dr Weast had discussions with local educationalists, political representatives and journalists."
“No further trips are planned at this time.”

In the meantime, MCPS has its own issues to deal with, mostly in Weast's absence.


  1. Walter Johnson High School generously donated a week of their principal's time!

    Dr. Garran will be taking part in a principal
    exchange this month in Belfast for one week.

  2. Here is a June 30, 2009 Press Release from a group of educators that came to Montgomery County from Northern Ireland. They wrote up what they "learned" - like how the "Seven Keys" were working! Which is INCREDIBLE since they were just introduced earlier this year! What incredible results!!,12843,en.php

  3. our ongoing Headteacher exchange programme with Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland,

    How many principals have we sent to Northern Ireland??

  4. Gazette article from 2006 on the "Principal Exchange" program. Most interesting is where they say the money will come from to send our people to Northern Ireland. Be interesting to see exactly whose pockets it has come out of.

  5. And it looks like MCPS has an employee whose job it is to facilitate these principal and employee "exchanges" (among other things):

  6. Barbara Haughey, principal at Ashburton Elementary School in Bethesda, also had a chance to travel to Ireland twice and said the use of technology was something that was both similar and somewhat different in the school systems.

    That would be former Board of Education member Charles Haughey's wife. So apparently Board of Education members were well aware of this exchange program, just didn't discuss it in public?

  7. The Gazette article referenced speaks to a Coordinator of this Northern Ireland exchange program. Here is the 2006 information on the salary for this MCPS (non-classroom position) employee:

    Shmookler, Sandra G. Coordinator Special Init N $107,771.00

  8. Principals and teachers exchanging with other countries is not an unusual concept. We have Teachers in MCPS who go every year through the Fulbright Exchange program.


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