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New MCPS program to help teens struggling with drugs

  • Published in Local

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Montgomery County Public Schools recently formed a new partnership to enable students struggling with addiction to both recover and graduate from high school.

Thanks to a grant from Governor Larry Hogan intended to target the opioid epidemic, MCPS can start enrolling students in the new program sooner than previously planned, said MCPS Student Health and Wellness Coordinator Elizabeth Rathbone.

MCPS will partner with Family Services, Inc., a local organization in Gaithersburg, which offers substance abuse recovery programs. 

“MCPS is now coming alongside [Family Services, Inc.],” said spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala. “They’ve been providing recovery support.”

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Northwest in lead for boys and girls track and field

  • Published in Sports

Northwest junior AJ Woods won the 100m dash with a time of 10.5 seconds, beating senior teammate Khaloni Mganga at 10.8 seconds and junior teammate Andrew Howard at 10.9 seconds at a track meet at Clarksburg High School Monday. 

Mganga and Howard took second and third places overall, respectively. 

Woods said his race had a positive tone to it, beginning when his feet left the starting blocks at the start. Woods, who has run track since he was in the first grade, earned a personal record along with the win.

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County names the Teacher of the Year

  • Published in Local

Kristen Kane has all the right ingredients of a new student. She’s eager to learn, likes to make new friends, and enjoys embarking on new experiences.

But Kane is not your average student. In fact, she’s not a student at all. The Silver Spring lifelong resident is the 2017-2018 Montgomery County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and is in the running to be Maryland’s Teacher of the Year.

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Public schools find high levels of lead in drinking water

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoAt least 12 Montgomery County Public Schools elementary, middle and high schools have one or more drinking water units with higher lead content than the Environmental Protection Agency recommends, and one elementary school’s water fountain exceeded the recommended level by a factor of 12, according to recent reports from MCPS.

As of Monday, MCPS employees posted reports from 31 of the 205 schools. Most of the schools tested so far are in Silver Spring and Gaithersburg.

EPA officials recommend acting to limit lead in water if lead levels meet or exceed 20 parts per billion due to the safety risks.

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Gaithersburg residents object to school plans

  • Published in Local

Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — More than two dozen city residents came to City Hall Monday night to voice opposition to a proposal by Montgomery County Public Schools to construct a new elementary school on the site of Kelley Park.  Located in the Saybrooke neighborhood on the city’s east side, the park includes green space, playground and baseball diamonds which are used in the summer by the Cal Ripken Collegiate League.

School construction has long been a hot button issue in Gaithersburg, where many of the MCPS elementary schools which serve the city are operating over capacity.

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MCPS prepared with mental health response to gun violence

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoIn response to the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. which left 17 students dead, mental health is a major concern within the public school community. 

Montgomery County Public Schools is taking a proactive approach to intervene early to prevent similar events from taking place, according to spokesperson Melissa Rivera. 

Within each school, MCPS relies on teachers and school psychologists to interact with students and initiate conversations about violence. 

“We try to help the psychologists to understand how to work with the students and how to talk with them about violence situations that occur,” said Dr. Christina Conolly.

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MCPS to review protocols after Florida shooting

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoROCKVILLE Montgomery County Public Schools officials will review emergency response drills and security practices after a number of County schools received threats in the wake of the Valentine’s Day school shooting which took the lives of 17 people in Florida.

Henry Johnson, chief of staff to MCPS superintendent Jack Smith, said MCPS administrators will work with Department of School Safety and Security employees to review emergency procedures for situations such as a school lockdown and consider changes, including modifications to current training programs.

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Two bomb threats phoned into Montgomery County high schools Wednesday morning

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoMontgomery County Public Schools officials evacuated two county high schools Wednesday morning after unknown persons called the schools with bomb threats.

The first of the two threats was phoned in to Winston Churchill High School in Potomac at approximately 7:20 a.m., after which school officials ordered the building evacuated. Following a short delay, students and teachers returned to the building by 8:30 a.m. after Montgomery County Police responded to the situation and cleared the school for re-entry, Montgomery County Public Schools Spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said.

 “Based on a very limited general call, we checked out the building and found nothing there,” said Montgomery County Police Spokesman Capt. Paul Starks. “They’re back to normal functioning.”

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School graduation rates vary across the County

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoMontgomery County public schools officials brag about its high school graduation rates that are higher than the state average, but that is only partially true, according to a new state report posted online last month. 

MCPS officials boasted that the county high school graduation rate for the adjusted 4-year cohort was 89.5 percent, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from 2016, but which was higher than the state average. 

However, nine of Montgomery County's 25 high schools' graduation rates dipped below the state graduation rate, which officials measure in terms of the “four-year cohort.”

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County school enrollment is “flattening”

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoThe superintendent of schools said the rate of student enrollment increase in Montgomery County Public Schools seems to be “flattening,” based on enrollment counts this year.

MCPS Superintendent of Schools Jack Smith said at the Jan. 25 County Board of Education budget work session that staff predicts enrollment will increase by 1800 or 1900 students for the 2018-2019 school year, a drop from the projection included in the proposed budget in December. 

Staff predicted a 2,472- student increase from the current fiscal year’s budget (161,302 students) for a total number of 163,774 students enrolled at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, according to Smith’s proposed budget.

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