Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Floyd Starnes remains principal despite complaints from former school employees
Montgomery County has settled out of court with a group of teachers who brought a lawsuit against the county's board of education and Floyd Starnes, the principal at Kemp Mill Elementary School since 2007, The Washington Post reported. The former school employees accused Starnes of "unabated and outrageous bullying behavior directed toward the Kemp Mill teachers, as well as the administrative and custodial staff," according to the lawsuit. Both sides signed a confidentiality agreement preventing them from disclosing the terms of the settlement, The Washington Post reported. When the suit was filed in March 2012, MCPS released this statement: “It is unfortunate that a group of people is using the media to make accusations—thus far proven to…
Monday, April 29, 2013
A new model for underperforming schools will work to close the county school system's achievement gap, school officials said.
Ten "Innovation Schools" within Montgomery County Public Schools will receive "shoulder-to-shoulder" support from the system's central office under a new program that will work to close the achievement gap. The new program, announced at the April 23 meeting of the Montgomery County Board of Education, will hire a new position—a chief school improvement officer—to work directly with the leadership staff at the selected schools. This dedicated central office position is new to the system's approach to working with struggling schools, said Deputy Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez. "We're limiting the number of schools so that (the improvement officer) can be on the ground working shoulder-to-shoulder with the leadership team on their …
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I still don't like going to IEP meetings where the school and I figure out what special education services my son will get, but they have gotten exponentially easier than when we started.
My 9-year-old, Jack, is a wonderful fourth grader full of intelligence and humor and fantastic hugs. He is creative and loves to read and is a master at Minecraft. He is also autistic and a student who needs a good amount of help at school, which means he needs an IEP—an Individualized Education Program—to help him access the same curriculum at school that other fourth graders use. Jack's IEP team had our meeting yesterday to hammer out the details of his plan for next year, something that the families of all special education students in Montgomery County do at least once a year. As my husband and I sat with Jack's team and breezed through our meeting, it occurred to me how much IEP meetings have changed for my family. I vividly remember …
Monday, April 22, 2013
Incident is fourth such occurrence since 2005.
The Maryland Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently announced that for the fourth time in eight years, it has taken action against Montgomery County Public Schools regarding a student’s right to decline to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. This most recent incident involved Enidris Siurano-Rodriguez, a 10th-grade student at Damascus High School, who was protesting U.S. government policies toward Puerto Rico, which is her family's native country. According to the ACLU’s press release, Siurano-Rodriguez initially was sent to the principal’s office, where the assistant principal “improperly demanded to know why she persisted in sitting during the Pledge.” The school then contacted the student’s mother, stating …
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Learn when each Montgomery County public high school will hold its graduation ceremony.
Montgomery County Public Schools on Thursday tweeted a link to a schedule of high school graduations this spring. All ceremonies at DAR Costitution Hall in Washington, D.C. will be streamed online, the school system's website said. The graduations season begins with a ceremony for the school system's Alternative Programs on May 24 and wraps up with June 12 with ceremonies for Watkins Mill High School, the Longview School and the Gateway to College program. Click here to read the full schedule on the MCPS website.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Unseasonably warm temperatures lead to questions about school air conditioning.
On Wednesday, several Magruder High School students were overcome by the heat. No wonder that MCPS has been getting questions about the process of changing over from heat to air conditioning in the schools. MCPS posted on its website an explanation about the conversion process. Have your students reported being overheated this week? What do you think about MCPS' answer?
Friday, March 15, 2013
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr said he is disappointed in the County Executive's budget plan.
The amount of aid for county schools proposed by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett in his fiscal 2014 county budget plan falls short of what's needed, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr said Friday. Leggett's plan calls for a schools budget of $2.23 billion—an increase of $65.8 million, or 3 percent more than the budget approved for the current school year. "The County Executive's recommendation would fund 100 percent of the [school board]'s request," according to Leggett's budget proposal. Click here to read more on Leggett's fiscal 2014 budget plan and here to hear the County Executive discuss the proposal. The proposal is a slight increase in spending for MCPS, to the level required by the state's …
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Winter storm closes federal and county offices.
Schools and government offices are closed Wednesday, as the first significant snow storm in two years made its way across the region. Montgomery County Public Schools and their administrative offices are closed and all activities in school buildings are canceled, the school system announced. Federal government offices in the Washington, D.C., area will be closed and non-emergency federal employees will be granted excused absences, the Office of Personnel Management said on its website. Montgomery County goverment offices are closed. "Essential personnel should report to work," the county's website said. Montgomery College is closed and testing deadlines will be adjusted by one day, the college's website said. The Universities at Shady …
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
More than half of the county school system's graduating seniors last year earned at least one college-ready AP score.
News about the county's high-performing high-school students just doesn't stop. According to a Montgomery County Public Schools' statement, 52.3 percent of the county's public school students graduating from high school in 2012 earned a college-ready score (a score of 3 or higher) on at least one Advanced Placement exam, "far outperforming their peers across the state and nation." That's an increase of nearly 3 percentage points from 2011. Nationally, only 19.5 percent of graduating seniors last year earned at least one college-ready AP score. Across the state, 29.6 percent of graduating seniors in 2012 earned at least one college-ready AP score. No state had a higher percentage of students earning at least one AP score of 3 or higher, the…
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Tell us what you think.
It’s budget season in Montgomery County, and at least one local parent wants to know what county leadership is doing to protect students—protection that can’t come from armed guards and locked doors. Football season is recently concluded, hockey season is underway and sporting concussions continue to pose health risks to high school, college and pro athletes across the country. While state and county lawmakers have made strides in requiring concussion-training for high school coaches, local advocate and Patch blogger Tom Hearn says it’s not enough. Hearn, whose own son sustained a concussion playing JV football at Whitman High School in 2011, urges the county school board to include $500,000 in funding for high school athletic trainers in…