The Answer Sheet: Montgomery County Public Schools

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 01/27/2012

MoCo to drop standardized test for second graders (updated)

Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr has decided to stop giving he TerraNova standardized test to second graders in a move to save money and reduce the number of tests kids are forced to take.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 01/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 PM ET, 11/05/2010

Montgomery County admits kids were pushed too hard in math

The highly regarded Montgomery County Public Schools now admits that it has been pushing too many kids into accelerated math when they weren't ready and will stop it. A lot of parents are going to lose bragging rights at cocktail parties.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 PM ET, 11/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:30 AM ET, 06/09/2010

MCPS selling its reputation to Pearson

Some may call Project North Star a pretty smart deal. I would use less flattering words to describe the deal into which Montgomery County Public Schools just entered with the world’s largest for-profit educational publishing company to nationally “brand” a newly created K-5 curriculum.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:30 AM ET, 06/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 06/07/2010

Principal: Why Helen Thomas was dropped as school speaker

Here's the letter that the principal of Walt Whitman High School in Maryland sent to his community explaining why journalist Helen Thomas was being dropped as graduation speaker.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 06/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 04/23/2010

Who’s afraid of the TerraNova 2 test?

A Montgomery County mother writes about trying not to get stressed out about the standardized tests -- the TerraNova2 -- being given to public school kids next week. But, she finds, it isn't so easy.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:00 AM ET, 04/23/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 04/15/2010

Sexting scandal at Montgomery County schools

Some female students at Pyle Middle School and Whitman High School in Montgomery County willingly posed for inappropriate pictures and some students sold and bought access to the pictures and videos, resulting in a police investigation, according to a letter sent home to students today.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:45 PM ET, 04/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:44 PM ET, 03/17/2010

Moco schools won't make up snow days

Montgomery County public schools will not have to make up the five days that the schools were closed because of snow, a school official said today.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:44 PM ET, 03/17/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 03/16/2010

Principal scolds parents

The principal of Whitman High School scolds a group of parents and community residents for over-the-top opposition to a student-supported proposal to erect a cell tower on the school premises--and then pulls the plug on the project.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 03/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:49 PM ET, 03/08/2010

Eeek! Rats in MoCo school!

Rodent problems are a common occurrence in school buildings around the country -- including in some of the best schools, including Burning Tree Elementary in Montgomery County Public Schools. Forty-two traps have been set in and around classrooms.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:49 PM ET, 03/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:10 AM ET, 03/04/2010

Don't send grade hackers to jail

The criminal code of Maryland says that computer hackers can go to jail for several years. Should Churchill High School students who hacked into the school's computer system to change grades go to jail or face some other kind of punishment?

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:10 AM ET, 03/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 02/05/2010

Another tale of school bathrooms

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote about how some bathrooms at Montgomery Blair High School--one of the premier institutions in Montgomery County Public Schools, itself a leading school district--had to be closed during lunch because there wasn’t enough staff to keep it from being vandalized. Now we find that the bathrooms at the county’s Whitman High School--as good as a high schools gets--are also, in the words of a young journalist at the school’s student newspaper, black&white, “downright disgraceful.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 02/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 02/04/2010

MCPS orders teachers to change passwords

Montgomery County schools officials have ordered all employees to create new computer passwords after students hacked into the computers at Churchill High School to change grades. But it wasn’t the first time kids have hacked into school computers in the county, however; at Whitman High School, the student newspaper black&white reported on Sept. 30, 2009, that a student had broken through the security barriers on Whitman’s Pinnacle grading system and changed some grades.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:30 PM ET, 02/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 01/07/2010

Are sweatpants too sloppy to wear to school?-- Report from Walt Whitman High

They certainly are comfortable, especially when the temperature drops outside, but are they acceptable for students to wear to school? One student at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda doesn’t think so--at least not for boys--and wrote about it in the student newspaper black&white.... So do clothes affect the way a student approaches schoolwork?

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 01/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 11/10/2009

How can sick students catch up on schoolwork?

Here’s how Math Department Chairman Steve Katz is helping kids at Bethesda’s Westland Middle School keep up with their schoolwork when they are ill or simply need a refresher: He is “capturing” key parts of his lessons on video and posting the segments on a website available 24/7.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 11/10/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:51 AM ET, 11/05/2009

Should Montgomery schools pay millions in penalties?

I had only one response to the story about the state of Maryland considering fining Montgomery County tens of millions of millions as punishment for not spending enough money on schools: You’ve gotta be kidding.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:51 AM ET, 11/05/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:41 PM ET, 10/29/2009

Mom takes on critics over who is responsible for kids after school

Melanie Klein says this to her critics: Children should learn to be self-reliant step-by-step, given their individual strengths and weaknesses, and their circumstances. Does the foster child who is in his ninth placement of the school year, and his ninth school, know his way “home”? ... Just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t make it right, or the best way.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:41 PM ET, 10/29/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 10/27/2009

Who is responsible for kids after school?

A recent story on The Sheet about a 5-year-old boy who was mistakenly put on a school bus in Arlington and then let off in a strange neighborhood sparked a number of responses. One reader, Melanie Klein, shared a letter she had just sent to the school system’s director of transportation, Todd Watkins. Here is it. Do you agree with her, or the school system?

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:49 AM ET, 10/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)