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New Roberto Clemente Middle School Principal Hopes to Encourage Parent Involvement


Jeffery Brown knows he has large shoes to fill when he takes over as principal of Roberto Clemente Middle School.

When it was announced in May that current Roberto Clemente Middle School Principal Khadija F. Barkley would be leaving the school to take a new post as Executive Director of The George B. Thomas Sr. Learning Academy Inc., it came a surprise to many in the community. Barkley served as principal at Clemente Middle School for six years.

Last week, on June 16, Associate Superintendent of MCPS Middle Schools Darryl L. Williams announced that Jeffery T. Brown would be replacing Barkley. Brown has been with MCPS for 11 years, serving as a career and technology teacher at Poolesville Middle School, and an assistant principal at Richard Montgomery High School. Most recently, Brown was serving as principal intern at Thomas S. Wootton High School.

“I am very excited to make the transition to middle school,” said Brown. “I believe a middle school has a greater role in supporting students as they develop an identity, which is much more than merely an academic identity. Our students are becoming adults and that means physically, emotionally, and socially too. I look forward to working to enhance school programs that facilitate this transition.”

In his letter to the school community Williams told parents that, “Brown has effectively demonstrated his ability to collaborate well with his colleagues to improve teaching and learning for all students. I am confident that Mr. Brown understands how to respond to the diverse learning needs of students and will work collaboratively with the staff and community to further the high academic achievement and standards of Roberto W. Clemente Middle School.”

“I also believe that middle school plays a significant role in opportunities for students,” said Brown. “Students can right wrongs made in elementary school and pave a road to great success for high school and beyond. It is a unique time for young people, one that no other levels experience with the same significance. I’m looking forward to working with adolescents, leading adults, and support a wide and varied instructional program, all attributes of successful schools I am very familiar with.”

Coming with Brown to Clemente next year is the Middle Years Programme. The Middle Years Programme was developed by the International Baccalaureate Organization and prepares students in grades 6 through 10 for the rigorous IB program by developing critical thinking skills and engaging in research. Upon completing the three-year MYP, students are better prepared for challenging course work in high school, according to the Montgomery County Public Schools website.

“I look forward to taking Roberto Clemente’s academic program to the next level with a school wide Middle Years Programme,” said Brown, “and an equally dynamic extracurricular and social/emotional support program. I also look forward to developing a sense of family and unity amongst this community.”

When Brown takes over the helm at Clemente on July 1, he will be stepping into a school that has been grabbing headlines for both good and bad reasons in recent months. RCMS is the second largest middle school in Montgomery County with 1,264 students. There is always something happening at Clemente.

“When I look at Roberto Clemente Middle School I see fun, talented, and bright students that represent the diversity of the world around us, staff that genuinely care for their students, a school program that offers more course selections than most other MCPS middle schools, and a community that wants to see their students do well. I am eager to begin working in this vibrant community.”

Brown said the he the much acclaimed Clemente Rocks! Music program is in good hands, “The music program at Clemente has a strong reputation, for good reason. The music staff is passionate and driven to develop an interest in the music related arts school wide. Music transcends many contents and seems to be an excellent ‘hook’ to engage high performing and reluctant learners. There is no reason to offer this program anything but the highest support.”

Brown also hopes encourage parental involvement in the school. “Parental involvement is vital to the success of a school program,” he said. “I want to open the school doors to our parent community to strengthen the existing partnership. Parents have a place in a school building and it is not just sitting in chairs at meetings. I look forward to creating opportunities for parents to volunteer in the building and in our after school programs.”

“I believe parents need to be informed and have input on the instructional program and I plan to develop vehicles to do so. However, the question always remains on how to engage all parents. I will be working closely with the school staff and parent leaders to find ways for all parents to get involved that are specific to the Roberto Clemente community.”

Photo by Germantown Pulse

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