Montgomery County School Board adjusts Peachjar policy

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This week, Montgomery County Public School Board modified policy defining what entities can communicate with parents and students through the portal on all MCPS websites called Peachjar.

Revisions approved by the school board will now permit all local, youth-oriented community organizations to advertise a maximum of four times a year.

MCPS Policy 2-2.3 had allowed non-profit youth-oriented organizations to distribute materials, but that included national tutoring companies and political ads.

Closing the policy to include only local nonprofits omitted organizations that might be helpful to parents and caregivers.

“We updated the policy to say only local nonprofits could be included, but that took out before and after childcare, Virginia Tech and afterschool camps,” Brenda Drake, MCPS public information officer said.

This tweak also reduces the number of announcements that parents were seeing who were reportedly inundated with messages causing them to ignore all Peachjar notices. Organizations will now be limited to four postings per calendar year unless more are approved by the superintendent.

“We asked “Is this important to parents?”” Drake said in figuring out what ads should have access to Peachjar’s district-wide forum.

Communication to parents that “add significant educational value” might be distributed when they’re approved by the relevant school principal, the policy adds.

This policy affects advertisement coming home with a child directly in a backpack, not at a baseball game in a banner.

“The goal is that these notices be useful, helpful beneficial for parent raising their kids in this area,” Drake said.

The policy will be updated on the MCPS website in BoardDocs shortly.