On Aug. 28, the Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) and the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) jointly filed a formal notice of impasse with the Maryland Public Schools Labor Relations Board (PSLRB). The filing marked the first time in over twenty years that the two sides were not able to reach a contract agreement before the existing one expired. The two sides have since started a mediation process, as outlined in the current contract.
Following an announcement from MCPS on July 21 that students would not return to in-person school for at least the first semester, a large number of MCPS families opted to unenroll in favor of private education or homeschooling options. At the Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) meeting on Oct. 6, MCPS revealed that the enrollment total for the 2020-2021 school year is 161,150 students, marking a drop-off of more than 4,100 students since last year, when enrollment totaled 165,267.
On Sept. 18, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of pancreatic cancer at age 87 at her home in Washington, D.C. She served as one of the nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 27 years.
Community leaders, such as Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando and former MCPS Student Member of the Board (SMOB) Nate Tinbite, have called for the reduction or elimination of the School Resource Officer (SRO) program, which installs Montgomery County police officers in county high schools.
Governor Larry Hogan’s controversial highway expansion plan, which includes adding four toll lanes to Interstate Highways 270 and 495, will, if enacted, cut into Blair’s athletic fields and affect the entire capital suburban community.
On September 25, MCPS and three union associations (the Montgomery County Education Association, the local Service Employees International Union and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals) wrote a joint message to staff and faculty about the potential of reopening classrooms to students, formally providing employees the minimum 45-day notice required prior to reopening. Silver Chips reached out to Lynne Harris and Sunil Dasgupta, the at-large candidates for the Board of Education, for written statements in response.
MCPS will allow high schoolers to choose how their second semester grades appear on their transcript, the Board of Education declared in a 7-1 vote today. Students can opt for their transcript to reflect a “pass” or one letter grade higher than what they received in the third quarter. A COVID-19 marker will also be added to all transcripts for the second semester.
County Executive Mark Elrich signed the COVID-19 Renter Relief Act on April 24 prohibiting landlords from raising rent more than 2.6 percent during or for the 180 days after Maryland’s state of emergency.
Governor Larry Hogan announced Maryland’s reopening plan for the COVID-19 pandemic today in an afternoon press conference. Hogan said that his administration has been working hard to attain adequate testing, hospital capacity, personal protective equipment (PPE), and staff for contact tracing in order to start the process of recovery. Once these criteria are met and doctors begin to see a decline in the rate of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the reopening plan will begin.
Northwood High School media services technician Aaron Lamere was arrested on May 7 and charged with over a dozen counts of sex-related crimes, according to police reports. A letter signed by Northwood Principal Henry Johnson was sent home informing students about the situation on the day of the arrest.
The Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) released a report on county-funded alternative programs for students at risk of dropping out. The study was sponsored by the County Council to evaluate the success of these programs in preparing at-risk students for college and the workforce.
On March 14, in honor of Pi Day, Superintendent Joshua Starr tweeted a link to math teacher Jacob Scott's music video "Triangle Experts," raising the number of views of the video to nearly 7,000. Scott has gained countywide acclaim for pioneering a new genre of music: math rapping.
Blair is holding its first Advanced Placement (AP) boot camp this year with a grant from the Montgomery County Education Foundation. Media Specialist Andrea Lamphier worked with the social studies department to organize the boot camp for two Saturday sessions and two after-school sessions.
The Board of Education (BOE) unanimously agreed upon and announced a $2.13 billion operating budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2013. MCPS superintendent Joshua Starr initially requested a $2.1 billion budget.
On Feb. 28, the Maryland Department of Education (MSDE) adopted the first statewide policy on Gifted and Talented (GT) programs, which will establish minimum standards for such programs in school systems across the state.
The counseling office is mailing letters, making phone calls and sending emails to teachers, students and parents to make sure seniors who are missing Student Service Learning (SSL) hours get them. As of Feb. 10, roughly 30 percent of the class of 2012 did not meet the minimum number of hours needed to graduate, and about 20 to 30 students need 10 hours or less to do so.
Four new fine arts electives - Digital Photography, Digital Art 2, Fashion Drawing and Design, and World Drumming - will be offered at Blair in the 2012-2013 school year. New fine arts teacher Jacqueline Armstead will teach two of the new classes.
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