Montgomery County schools will replace its ubiquitous “Seven Keys to College Readiness” and develop a plan to hold schools more accountable for closing achievement gaps under a new “strategic planning framework” the Board of Education is expected to approve Monday night.
The Seven Keys has been replaced with “Five Districtwide Milestones,” which outline academic and social-emotional benchmarks students should reach in grades 3, 5, 8 and 9 and at graduation. Many of the Milestones are similar to the Seven Keys: reading at proficient or advanced levels at third and fifth grades, or passing Algebra 1 with a C or higher in eighth grade. The Milestones, however, now include measures for student engagement and well-being starting at fifth grade.
Moving to the Milestones reflects changes under more challenging Common Core State Standards, resulting in more rigorous state standardized tests, AP exams and SATs.
The switch from the Seven Keys and the new strategic planning framework also reflects Superintendent Joshua P. Starr’s efforts to broaden the definition of student success. Starr said students shouldn’t just master academic skills by the time they graduate, but they should also know how to problem solve and possess social and emotional skills.