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Immigrant fear continues

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Local children apparently afraid while at school parents will be deported

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Anxious calls of concern are coming into both the Montgomery School District’s main offices and individual schools as parents work to deal with their fears about whether they or their children might be deported due to their immigration status.

“Parents are concerned,” said Montgomery County Public School District Spokesman Derek Turner. “We’ve heard from up-county, and we’ve heard from down-county,” he said, explaining that the calls aren’t just coming from a few isolated areas.

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Parents and students talk inclusion at local schools

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ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Public Schools’ parents and students said the school system’s intentions of not tolerating hate are clear, though their levels of satisfaction varied.

Richard Montgomery freshman Isabelle Young, co-founder of school club RM Huddle, said MCPS responded in a satisfactory manner to incidents of discrimination that she and her little sister observed at school. Her sister witnessed a friend who was Muslim being called a terrorist at her elementary school.

“There had been a student, I don’t know where he had heard it from but he had said some pretty nasty things,” Young said, “but their school counselors actually handled it really well and talked to all the kids.”

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Teachers lose scheduled grading time in MCPS 2017-2018 calendar

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ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to approve MCPS staff’s 2017-2018 school year calendar that management adjusted to comply with the governor’s executive order, on Monday.

Chris Lloyd, president of teachers union Montgomery County Education Association, said he is concerned about how the new school year calendar will affect teachers’ ability to enter grades into the server and plan for their classes.

“I think it’s going to be very hard for teachers,” Lloyd said shortly after the board approved the calendar and he heard the changes for the first time.

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Living "Under the radar"

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Outgoing MCPS CFO quietly put time in and kept the school system on target

CFO Sue DeGraba- courtesy 2Outgoing MCPS CFO Susanne DeGraba   COURTESY PHOTO 

Montgomery County Public Schools’ chief financial officer is retiring Dec. 1 after working for MCPS for 14 years.

Susanne DeGraba, the school system’s CFO, said she “lives to stay under the radar.”

“I’m one of those people you never hear about but my team helps MCPS do all the things we do,” said DeGraba, who started as MCPS’ CFO in 2002.

She said part of her job involved keeping MCPS in compliance with new laws at various levels of government.

“The schools always keep me on my toes,” DeGraba said. “New laws -- federal, state, local. It’s been a real challenge but a job. I will often say I have the most interesting job in Montgomery County.”

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MCPS asks to start school earlier

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The Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education is asking Gov. Larry Hogan (R) for a waiver to start classes before Labor Day next year.

On Monday, school board members directed the superintendent to request a waiver from the governor’s executive order.

If the waiver is approved, classes would begin Aug. 28, 2017, the Monday before Labor Day and the last day of school for students would be June 14, 2018, according to Board member Rebecca Smondrowski (District 2).

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Letters to the Editor, September 15, 2016

Get Back Jack! Jack goes right!

To the editor;

Get it right

Right foot braking when driving automatic transmission vehicles is the way to stop your moving vehicle. By taken the right foot off the accelerator pedal and applying pressure to the brake pedal with the right foot is the right maneuver, no matter what Trevor W. Frith the unreal blame game man says.

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MCPS investigating racial chant on middle school bus

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Children chanting racial slur on school busChildren chanted racial slurs on school bus Tuesday. Links to the video are available on our media option and bottom of this page.

A student from Robert Frost Middle School recorded her classmates on the bus singing a song that included a racial slur Tuesday.

In the video posted online, students sang, “One, two, three, four, how many (n-word) are in my store?”

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said the Office of School Support and Improvement reported the incident to MCPS.

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Educators discuss race and equity issues

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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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New superintendent concerned about readiness

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ROCKVILLE –Montgomery County Public Schools’ new superintendent told the County Council Monday he is concerned about how well students are prepared at the end of high school for college or careers. 

MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith pointed out that not every senior desires to take college courses after finishing high school, and that a number of students are graduating unprepared for either college or a career. He told the County Council and the Board of Education that MCPS should be able to prepare students across the county for either college or a career, whichever they decide. 

“We need that collaborative effort, and then we need to be able to tell students, ‘Whether you want to get a career right out of high school or (attend) Montgomery College; College Park; UVA; the University of California, Berkeley, we don’t care,’” Smith said. “‘We want to make sure you are well-prepared.’”

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New school chief begins

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superintendent JackSmith-courtesyMCPSNew MCPS superintendent Jack Smith. COURTESY PHOTO 

Jack Smith, the new superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools, said he will not turn a blind eye on one of the school system’s continuous goals: reducing the achievement gap between racial groups.

Smith brings more than 25 years of experience in education, including 2.5 years at the Maryland State Board of Education.

Smith’s term began July 1, the start of the MCPS fiscal year. Smith hasn’t said how he plans to reduce the achievement gap but said he plans to prioritize it.

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