School Notes

Thursday, January 8, 2009

4th-Graders Invited to Pen 'If I Were Mayor' Essays

In a statewide essay contest, the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Mayors' Association are inviting fourth-graders to explain what they would do as a mayor.

Participants are asked to answer the following question in 275 words or less: "If you were Mayor, how would you encourage your citizens to get on board and 'GO Green?' "

One winning essay will be selected from each of the league's 11 regional districts. Montgomery and Howard counties make up one district; Montgomery municipalities include: Barnesville, Brookeville, Chevy Chase, Chevy Chase Section 3, Chevy Chase Section 5, Chevy Chase View, Chevy Chase Village, Friendship Heights, Gaithersburg, Garrett Park, Glen Echo, Kensington, Laytonsville, Martin's Additions, North Chevy Chase, Oakmont, Poolesville, Rockville, Somerset, Takoma Park and Washington Grove.

Each winner will receive a $250 savings bond and a plaque. Municipal League officials will select two entries at random from each district to receive runner-up prizes.

Gaithersburg officials will independently select one participant from the statewide contest to be a local winner. The local student will be named Gaithersburg Junior Mayor and participate in several special events throughout the year. The winner's essay will be published on Gaithersburg's Web site and in its quarterly newsletter. Gaithersburg students who enter the statewide contest will automatically be considered for the local honor.

Essays are due by March 6. For statewide contest rules and information, call 800-492-7121 or visit For Gaithersburg contest information, call 301-258-6395 or visit and search for "Community Services."

Public Comments Sought On School Planning Policy

The Montgomery County Board of Education is seeking public comment on proposed changes in its "Policy AEB, Strategic Planning for Continuous Improvement."

The policy addresses the school system's budgeting and planning process to:

· use the Malcolm Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence.

· develop an ongoing multiyear plan that describes the goals of the school system and methods to reach those goals.

· maintain the school system's core values.

· provide for ongoing monitoring and continuous improvement.

· ensure the county school system's strategic plan is aligned with state and federal requirements.

The draft is available through the public information office at 301-279-3853 or at

The public can submit written comments through Jan. 23 to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, Room 122, 850 Hungerford Dr., Rockville, 20850.

Scholarships Aim to Aid Students in Hunger Fight

The Sodexo Foundation is seeking applications for the STOP Hunger Scholarship Program, which helps students who are committed to relieving hunger in their communities.

Up to five national winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship award and a matching $5,000 grant in their name for the hunger-related charity of their choice. Up to 20 regional winners will receive a $1,000 grant in their name to donate to hunger-related charity of their choice.

To be eligible, applicants must:

· be enrolled in an accredited education institution in the United States -- kindergarten through graduate school.

· demonstrate an ongoing commitment to hunger-relief activities in their community through volunteer services in the United States within the past 12 months.

· provide those services to non-family members.

Multiple applications for the same student will not be accepted; if more than one application for an individual is received, only the first application will be accepted and reviewed.

Applications are due by Feb. 27. The scholarships will be presented June 4 at the Sodexo Foundation Dinner in Washington. For guidelines and information, visit

Highland Elementary Wins Blue Ribbon Designation

Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring was named last month as a 2008 Maryland Blue Ribbon School by the Maryland State Department of Education.

The Blue Ribbon Schools program is a state and national program that honors schools exhibiting high performance and/or significant improvement in reading and mathematics achievement, as measured by the state's assessment under the No Child Left Behind Act. The Maryland schools selected go on to compete for National Blue Ribbon Awards, which will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education in September.

Highland Elementary School has a poverty rate of 81.6 percent, one of the highest among schools in Montgomery County, school officials said in a statement. Approximately 60 percent of Highland students participate in the English for Speakers of Other Languages program.

In the 2004-05 school year, the school was identified for corrective action by state officials for missing Adequate Yearly Progress targets on the Maryland School Assessment exams for four consecutive years. The school was taken off the school improvement list just two years later, after achieving annual targets for two consecutive years.

"Highland Elementary's overall success is helping to shatter the stereotype that students in poverty and those who are learning English can not achieve at the highest levels," Superintendent Jerry D. Weast said in the statement.

The school's administration has focused on setting high standards for all students and developing an active program of parent engagement. A schedule was developed that allows teachers to team together in classrooms. Limited English Proficient and special education students have complete access to mainstream curriculum.

Highland Principal Ray Myrtle called the Blue Ribbon designation "an extraordinary tribute to our students, to their families, and to our great staff."

Class Trains Teenagers To Work in Youth Programs

Teenagers from 14 to 18 years old who are interested in working with youth are invited to enroll in the new "Youth Workers Training Course" offered by the City of Gaithersburg.

The six-week course prepares teens to work with elementary and middle school students in recreational settings such as summer camps and after-school programs. Topics addressed include activity planning, safety, conflict resolution and the needs of a diverse population. The course includes five classroom sessions and one session with on-site, hands-on experience.

The 75-minute classes will meet on Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 21, at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg. The registration fee for the entire series is $40 for Gaithersburg residents and $47 for nonresidents.

Online registration is available using RecXpress at Designate class #26584. For more information, call the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture at 301-258-6350.

Blake Principal Honored As Outstanding Leader

James Hubert Blake High School Principal Carole C. Goodman was recently chosen as the Outstanding Leader/Principal by the University of Maryland College of Education. She was honored at the university's annual alumni dinner and awards ceremony.

The College of Education and Phi Delta Kappa invited alumni, faculty and staff to submit nominations for 13 alumni awards. The Outstanding Leader Award is for an alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding administrative leadership either in or outside of the field of education.

Goodman has been principal of Blake High School since it opened in 1998. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park and has worked for Montgomery County public schools since 1973.

-- Compiled by SARAH MARSTON

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