This Week in Potomac

This Week in Potomac

Board of Education Seeks Comment on Revised Policy

The Board of Education has requested community comment on a revised policy (CNA) regarding informational material and announcements distributed in the Montgomery County Public Schools and sent home to parents.

The revised Policy CNA, Informational Material and Announcements, provides the criteria for posting or distributing informational materials and announcements in schools. This includes the provisions for sending information home and making information available to students and parents.

Copies of the revised policy is available through the Department of

Communications at 301-279-3391 or on the Web at

Individuals who wish to provide comments should respond in writing by March 15. All responses should be sent to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, MD 20850. The responses will be shared with the Board of Education.

New Chesapeake Bay License Plate Now Available

The new, full-color "Treasure the Chesapeake" license plate, featuring a blue crab and heron on a deep blue background, can now be purchased at any full-service center of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) or ordered through the mail. Forms for obtaining the plate by mail can be found on online at

The Chesapeake Bay license plate costs $20 in addition to the standard registration fee, plus a $5 annual renewal fee. Personalized and disability plates are also available. Visit the MVA or call 1-800-950-1MVA for more information.

The new design, unveiled in December 2003, replaces the original blue heron design that launched the program in 1990. Maryland drivers can continue to use the previous Bay plate design on their vehicles, but it will no longer be available for purchase.

The "Treasure the Chesapeake" license plate is one of the most successful commemorative plate programs in the nation. Proceeds from the plate help Maryland schools and communities play an active part in the Bay restoration. The Chesapeake Bay Trust, a private, nonprofit organization, distributes the proceeds to support hundreds of Bay and river restoration projects each year — projects that improve water quality, protect fish and crab habitat, plant trees to reduce pollution, and give students meaningful educational experiences with the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Since 1985, the Trust has awarded more than $14 million for 6,000 grants to approximately 3,000 community groups, schools, and organizations.

Education Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are being sought for the annual Marian Greenblatt Education Awards. Three veteran teachers in Montgomery County will each be given a $1,000 check and a plaque for excellent performance in motivating their students to achieve. One first-year teacher will be honored with a $500 award. The committee selecting the winners is composed of current and former teachers who seek to recognize those teachers who make a significant difference in their students' lives. They give public credit to those teachers who exemplify Marian Greenblatt's views that the classroom teacher is the centerpiece of the education system and that the master teacher needs appropriate recognition and encouragement.

Dr. Greenblatt was a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education from 1976-1984 and its president from 1978-1979. She served at director of the President's Academic Fitness Award Program from 1984 until her death in 1988.

Those interested in nominating a teacher should visit The site has all of the pertinent information and an application.

Ice Skating and the C&O Canal

With recent icy weather, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park cautions visitors regarding ice skating. Safety is the most important concert of the National Park Service. A recorded message regarding ice skating on the C&O Canal is available by calling 301-767-3707.

In Montgomery County and Washington, D.C., when ice is at least four inches thick, park rangers post signs reading "Ice Skating at Your Own Risk." If the signs read "Unsafe Ice" or there are no signs present, visitors are advised to stay off the ice.

In Western Maryland, ice skating is permitted only at the risk of the skater. Park staff does not monitor ice conditions and there for ice skaters should check the ice themselves. A thickness of at least four inches is recommended for skating.

Absentee Ballot Deadline Approaches

The deadline for receipt of an absentee ballot application for the March 2 presidential primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 24. Written requests must reach the elections office by Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 4:30 p.m., or be faxed to 240-777-8560 no later than midnight. Requests must include the following information: name, date of birth, Montgomery County address, the address to which the ballot is to be sent if other than the Montgomery County address, daytime telephone number, the reason for requesting an absentee ballot, and a signature. The absence of any of this information could result in a delay in processing the application.

The absentee ballot application can be found online at the Board of Elections Web site at Ballots will be mailed within three business days.

To pick up a ballot in person, the elections office is open weekdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturdays, Feb. 21 and 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The elections office is located at 751 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, in the former Broome Middle School. Voters qualify to vote by absentee ballot if absent from the county on Election Day, if recovering from an accident, are physically disabled or confined to an institution, if age 65 or older and current polling place is designated as non-accessible, if a death or serious illness has occurred in one's immediate family, or if a full-time college student at an institution of higher education located outside one's precinct but within the country and academic requirement prevent an appearance at the polling place on election day. Certain federal government and armed forces personnel may also vote by absentee ballot.

For more information, call the Absentee Office at 240-777-8550 on weekdays between 8:30 and 5 p.m., or e-mail

Alternate Polling Places For Those With Disabilities

Registered voters with disabilities who reside in precincts where the polling place is not accessible because of structural barriers may be assigned to an alternate polling place. Maryland Election Law permits reassignment if a barrier-free polling place is available in a precinct that has a ballot identical to the precinct in which the voter is registered.

To request an application for reassignment to an accessible polling place for the March 2 Presidential Primary Election, the voter much contact the Elections Office no later than Feb. 10, at 9 p.m. Election officials urge that the request for reassignment be made immediately.

To learn the accessibility of one's polling place, check the Voter Notification Card, call the Election Office at 240-777-8500 or visit If a satisfactory substitute polling place is not available, or if the voter with a disability does not wish to be reassigned, voting by absentee ballot is an alternative. Applications for absentee ballots to be mailed must be submitted to the Board of Elections by Feb. 24, at 5 p.m. For information on absentee voting, call the Absentee Voting Department, 240-777-8500, or e-mail

Teacher of the Year

One Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) teacher will be selected to represent the county in the competition for the 2003-2004 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Nominations for the county Teacher of the Year will be accepted until February 17, 2004.

Candidates must be classroom, resource, or media teachers who spend the majority of their time teaching and must have completed a minimum of five years of teaching.

Teachers may self-nominate or be nominated by someone else — students, colleagues, principals, supervisors, or parents.

The winner will be announced at the "Champions for Children" Awards Gala on Wednesday, May 5, at the Bethesda Marriott.

The county Teacher of the Year will be automatically entered into the

Maryland Teacher of the Year competition. The Maryland Teacher of the Year represents teachers on committees and advisory boards and is invited to speak throughout the year at a variety of conferences and conventions.

For nomination brochures and applications, available after December 15, contact Alan Rosenthal or Ginger Corpuz at 301-279-3270.

Completed nominations must be submitted no later than February 17, 2004, either by internal mail to the Office of Human Resources, Suite 401, or by U.S. mail to 7631 Calhoun Place, #401, Rockville MD 20855.