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Montgomery BOE approves new boundaries

  • Published in Local

MoCo BOEROCKVILLE — The Montgomery County Board of Education voted Monday night to approve new boundaries for the Richard Montgomery High School cluster to address enrollment at the fifth elementary school in the cluster, which is slated to open next year. 

The Board considered five proposed options to redraw the zoning boundaries. Option B, which was ultimately approved by the Board, calls for the reassigning students in zones currently served by Beall Elementary, College Gardens Elementary, and Ritchie Park Elementary – all of which are operating at over 120 percent capacity – to the as-yet-unnamed school currently designated as “Richard Montgomery Elementary School Number Five.”  Enrollment and zoning will be unchanged at Twinbrook Elementary, which is also over capacity, but to a smaller degree than the other three schools.

“Obviously, this school has been much needed and much desired by the community, and we're all very thankful to have the school,” said MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith at the beginning of the meeting.

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Two more candidates file for County Council

  • Published in Local

Dalbin Osorio (Democrat)

New York born social worker Dalbin Osorio filed to join the race to replace out going District-1 Council member Roger Berliner last week.

Osorio said he decided to run for County Council because there needs to be more people who are the ground level and are personally affected by the issues facing the County representing people in local government.

“I noticed there was a lack of representation for people who had actually done the direct work that politicians and their policies usually impact,” Osorio said.

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Board of Education discusses restorative justice

  • Published in Local

MoCo BOE

ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery County Board of Education discussed restorative justice April 22 as part of an effort to improve student relations and reduce suspensions and other punitive measures.

“Restorative justice really is about a change in mindset from one in which we think the only way to address issues that students may present in school is through the use of student code of conduct,” said Dr. Jonathan Brice, an Associate Superintendent at the MCPS Office of Student and Family Support Engagement.

Discussing the numerous advantages of restorative justice techniques, Brice emphasized that the approach allows students to learn social and emotional skills by understanding harm that can be caused by certain kinds of behavior.

“We’re changing a mindset from wrongdoing and misbehavior on one where there are opportunities to learn about social and emotional skills like empathy and compassion and to really repair the harm that has been done in the school community,” said Brice.

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Snow days could lengthen public school year

  • Published in Local

MoCo BOE

The Board of Education voted to adopt its calendar for next school year at a meeting Tuesday, including two possible makeup days during spring break for “snow days.” 

School board president Michael Durso (District 5) said the school board members wanted to give families extra notice about the calendar.

“We understand how important it is for our families to have a calendar as soon as possible to begin planning their year,” said Durso.

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Union says budget cuts harm food programs

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – Funding the school system over the minimum required by state law for the first time in seven years is far from saving Montgomery County Public Schools from financial woe, according to a MCPS union.

Members of SEIU Local 500, a union for support staff in MCPS, told the Montgomery County Board of Education Thursday that schools are short-staffed and students are underserved as a result of budget cuts.

Dozens of schools routinely have problems such as: students skipping school-provided meals, student tardiness or absences when a bus driver is sick and students learning in dirty classrooms because staff ran out of time to clean them.

“The kids (who) are not eating the lunch are the ones who need it most, which are the kids who are on low income," said Walter Johnson High School Cafeteria Manager Leshia Murray, who also works at Argyle Middle School. “A lot of these kids only eat at school.” 

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Six Board of Education candidates vie for three seats

  • Published in Local

BOE Candidates for 3 seatsAbove, left to right - Phil Kauffman, Jeanette Dixon and Rebecca Smondrowski. Bottom row - Brandon Rippeon, Angie Reed Phukan and Shebra Evans. 

Three Montgomery County Board of Education slots are up for election this year and six candidates will be listed on the ballot, two for each slot, in the At Large, District 4 and District 6 races.

School board elections are non-partisan. Each term lasts four years.

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Educators discuss race and equity issues

  • Published in Local

MoCo BOE

ROCKVILLE – Members of the Board of Education and representatives from the Montgomery County Educational Association (MCEA) discussed race and equity issues facing the school system Thursday at the Carver Educational Services Center.

One of the issues focused on finding ways to ensure teachers and instructors are properly resourced.

“We need to have more resources to improve reading at the first grade” said Georgene Fountain, a music teacher at Daly Elementary School in Germantown.

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Board members speak out against late school start

  • Published in Local

MoCo BOE

Board of Education members said they oppose Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) executive order pushing back the start date for public schools to after Labor Day because they want local control over the school calendar.

“Maintaining local board authority on educational policies and administration is essential to the success of our public schools,” said Board of Education member Michael Durso (District 5).

School districts officials who want their districts to be exempt from the governor's new executive order can apply for a waiver with the state Board of Education.

“Local boards of education are best positioned to establish policies and operational processes, as well as to balance educational practices, academic needs of students, available resources, and community interests.”

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Student B.O.E. member to receive expanded voting rights

  • Published in Local

MoCo BOE

ROCKVILLE – Student democracy in Montgomery County will be enhanced when the student member of the Board of Education (SMOB) receives full voting rights July 1.

The expansion allows the SMOB to vote on numerous issues previously limited to the adult members such as budgets, union contracts, and jurisdictional demarcation.

“It adds increased power and increased importance on issues which will have greater effect in the classroom” said student member Eric Guerci.

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