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MCPS bus driver charged with second-degree rape

  • Published in Crime

080618 Kabongo Etienne 225x300Etienne K. Kabongo. COURTESY PHOTOMontgomery County Public Schools bus driver Etienne K. Kabongo has been charged with second-degree rape and other sexual abuse crimes for an incident that took place on a Montgomery County school bus.

According to Montgomery County Police, footage from a school-bus camera shows Kabongo, 62, of the 7800 block of Mineral Springs Drive in Gaithersburg – also known as “Mr. Steve” to students – sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. Police said the incident took place on July 31, while Kabongo was transporting kids who receive special-education services.

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County to consider naming school after Henson

  • Published in Local

Josiah Henson bwFormer Montgomery County slave turned author, abolitionist and minister Josiah Henson. COURTESY PHOTOThe County Council president and the County Executive’s First Lady say a former Montgomery County slave never received the recognition he deserved. 

“Naming a high school in his [the Rev. Josiah Henson’s] honor would serve to pay tribute to his achievements, reminding our community of our unique history and the role of African-American leaders in our County since its earliest days,” County Council president Hans Riemer and First Lady Catherine Leggett said. “It will give our residents and children some ownership of the fight for freedom that Josiah Henson embodies. It will help portray our County in its true light.”

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Lack of space noted in plans to meet preschool needs

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoROCKVILLE — The Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent of schools and two department directors in MCPS said Tuesday they must provide preschool to more students who need it, but they don’t have enough classroom space. 

MCPS is increasing its total number of full-day preschool classes from seven to eight and will provide more children with summer preschool programs in Fiscal Year 2019, thanks to State Department of Education funding, federal grants to the state and additional County funding, Superintendent of Schools Jack Smith said.

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New MCPS program to help teens struggling with drugs

  • Published in Local

MCPS logo

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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