Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr isn't the type to sit back and make decisions from his desk. Instead, he's hitting the ground for a better perspective on the schools he oversees.
Today, he was asking students what they're learning, so he can craft better policies for tomorrow. It's day one of six scheduled community day visits, each of them designed to give him a closer look at the county schools.
"I just want to see, I want to hear, first hand from them," Starr says. "So you have to see what's going on."
And he saw the sights and sounds of Mrs. Hinkelman's classroom that center around a make-believe gingerbread girl.
"I told him I was a really good writer," says Izzy Smith, a kindergartener at Lois P. Rockwell Elementary School.
And as the region grows, the students could see an increase in their class size. Starr will soon be faced with decisions about how to ease overcrowding, and how to bring advanced technology to the classroom.
"When you see things first hand, it kind of enables you to have that in the top of your head, or in the back of your head I should say, so when you go into board meetings," Starr says. "It's important and I love coming into the schools."
By the end of the year, Starr plans to see every school in Montgomery County, nearly 200 total.
And most of those schools and their students are doing well. The number of students who took an advanced placement exam hit a record high. Roughly 75 percent of them earned a college-ready score, making Montgomery County one of the highest achieving school systems nationwide.