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New Middle School Proposed for Bethesda-Chevy Chase

The Gazette reports that a new middle school could be built in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area if a recommendation by Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast is included in the school system's 2013-2018 Capital Improvements Program next fall.

The new school is needed to relieve overcrowding at the area's existing middle school and elementary schools, and to streamline sixth grade, which is now offered at two elementary schools as well as the area's middle school, Weast wrote in a recommendation released today.

The announcement comes in a school year when staff cuts at elementary schools have resulted in abbreviated curriculum offerings for sixth graders and led parents to question whether an elementary school is a suitable setting for students typically considered middle schoolers.

Chevy Chase and North Chevy Chase are the only elementary schools in the county that offer sixth grade.

Study Touts Economic Integration In Md. Schools

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) ? A new study shows low-income students in Montgomery County perform better when they attend affluent schools instead of schools with high poverty.

Human Rights Office Announces Annual Contests For Students to Highlight Human Rights Day

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (OHR) is sponsoring essay, poster and video contests for students -- with the theme “The Faces of Human Rights, Then and Now” --  in conjunction with its annual Human Rights Day Celebration. 

Participation will be open to all students who attend Montgomery County public schools, as well as private and parochial schools in the County, children who are home-schooled and students living in the County and attending school elsewhere.

Winners will be announced at the annual Human Rights Day celebration on Friday, December 10, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus, Arts and Theatre Building.

Graduation Rate Rises to 90 Percent for Class of 2010- Rate Jumps for 24 of 25 MCPS High Schools

The graduation rate for Montgomery County Public Schools increased to 90 percent in 2010, spurred by dramatic gains among the district’s African American students. The graduation rate for the MCPS class of 2010 showed an increase of more than 2½ percentage points over the Class of 2009, with African American students gaining more than 4 percentage points.

“This is outstanding news for our district. More of our students are graduating on time with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful,” said Patricia O’Neill, President of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “Congratulations to the students, parents and staff that made these results possible.”
   The MCPS graduation rate of 90 percent is 3.4 percentage points higher than the rate for the state of Maryland (86.6 percent).

4-H Youth Learn and Lead on Water Quality and the Environment

The third annual 4-H National Youth Science Day will bring together hundreds of thousands of young people across the nation to simultaneously conduct the 2010 National Science Experiment, 4-H?O.

Washington, DC students from Hearst Elementary School, Sidwell Friends School and homeschools will come together to participate in an event to celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day and conduct this year’s National Science Experiment.  For this public/private partnership event, more than 200 students will learn about the importance of water quality and its impact on the environment as they complete a three-tiered experiment to discover how to reduce their own carbon footprint.

157 Montgomery County Public School Students Are National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

There are 157 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in the 2011 competition, eight more than the previous year. The semifinalists will go on to compete nationally for scholarships that will be offered in the spring. The competition is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

The MCPS semifinalists come from 16 high schools. The schools and their number of semifinalists are:

Bethesda-Chevy Chase: 8
Montgomery Blair: 40
Blake: 1
Winston Churchill: 13
Clarksburg: 1
Einstein: 1
Poolesville:  9
Quince Orchard: 2
Richard Montgomery: 30
Rockville: 1
Seneca Valley: 1
Springbrook: 3
Walter Johnson: 7
Walt Whitman: 24
Watkins Mill: 1
Wootton: 15

Rock Creek Forest Elementary School in Chevy Chase gets Safety Upgrades

The Gazette reports that there are new pedestrian safety improvements along Grubb Road, intended to benefit Rock Creek Forest Elementary School and the surrounding Chevy Chase community, are expected to slow drivers traveling from Washington, D.C.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced Tuesday $15,000 in upgrades between the lanes of traffic near the school. The flat median, where pedestrians can wait to finish crossing traffic, resulted in narrower lanes, which the county hopes will slow traffic. The county also added a marked crosswalk, school crossing signs, "stop for pedestrian" signs, lane markings and raised pavement markers.

The county took action on the request of the school's parent-teacher association.

"It just calls attention to drivers who are heading north out of D.C.," said David Chia, the school's principal. "It just reminds them – well, you might see that green light, but there could be kids crossing."