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School Notes

To have an item listed mail to 10220 River Road, Suite 303, Potomac, MD 20854, e-mail to almanac@connectionnewspapers.com, or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is Thursday at noon for the following week’s paper. Photos and artwork encouraged. Unless otherwise noted, all events are in Potomac. If you have any questions, call Matthew Razak at 703-917-6457.

The Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education (MCBRE), in collaboration with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), has established the first annual MCPS Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors an alumnus whose achievements have made a significant, positive contribution to society.

The 2006-2007 Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented on April 26, at the fifth annual Champions for Children Awards Gala. The winner will be honored along with ten other awardees, including the Montgomery County Teacher of the Year.

Nominations should be submitted via the online form located at www.mcbre.org/AlumniAwardForm.shtml. Nominations deadline is Friday, Feb. 23. A winner will be selected on March 1, by a committee of educators, philanthropists, and business partners.

The Walt Whitman High School Mulch Sale is March 2 and 3. Three cubic feet shredded hardwood mulch costs $5/bag. Proceeds benefit all 33 sports programs at Whitman. Contact David N. Wall at 301-229-3751 or dnwall1@verizon.net.

Montgomery County parents who wish to request a change in school assignment for their children from their home school may begin the process during the current transfer season, which will be held from through April 2.

For more information about the transfer process, parents are asked to contact the principal of their home school. Non-English speaking parents may receive more information by calling the Spanish Hotline at 301-230-3073 or the ESOL Parent Center at 301-230-0674. Language Lines also are available to leave a message for someone to return the call—Spanish, 301-230-5403; Cambodian, 301-230-5427; Chinese, 301-230-5428; French, 301-230-5429; Korean, 301-230-5430; and Vietnamese, 301-230-5432.

Fourth Presbyterian School students participated in various missions projects throughout December as part of an expanded missions focus this school year. Various grade-level activities include:

* The Pre-Kindergarten class supported a Gaithersburg family which includes two young children.

* Fourth School 1st grade students wrote letters to their Beulah Cornerstone School 1st grade pen pals, in Washington, DC, inviting them to visit the school, after which they crafted colorful, soft "tie blankets" as a Christmas gift for each pen pal.

* Second graders sold centerpieces from the school's Christmas luncheon to purchase books for abandoned and orphaned students with disabilities at The Sunshine School in Arad, Romania.

Walt Whitman High School senior David Chen was chosen as a semi-finalist in the 66th Intel Science Talent Search, one of the most prestigious national high school science competitions in the U.S.. David was chosen from among a record 1705 entrants representing 487 high schools in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico as well as five overseas schools. Each of the 300 Semi-finalists will receive a $1,000 award for their outstanding science research, and their schools will receive $1,000 to support their science and math instruction. Since the beginning of his junior year David has worked with Dr. Paul Roepe from the Chemistry Department at Georgetown University and studying drug resistance in malaria. His research project was entitled "A Five Residue Amino Acid Sequence Predicts Sodium Hydrogen Exchanger Membrane Localization."

Fourteen high school students who have participated this year in the Superintendent’s Leadership Program (SLP), an honors course for a select group of high school seniors, have been invited to attend the national conference of the World Affairs Councils of America at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. The topic of the conference is “Bridging the Desert: The Middle East in the Next Decade.” Students will have an opportunity to attend panel discussions and workshops. More information about the conference is available at www.worldaffairscouncils.org/natconference.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) announced the creation of three green industry programs to be piloted at nine high schools in the fall. The announcement was made at the Montgomery Green Industry Youth Summit at Brookside Gardens on Thursday, Feb. 1.

Each curriculum pathway will include a multi-year course of study, research, advanced placement courses and college credit, and capstone experiences that include internships. Business and postsecondary partners will serve as technical advisors and leverage resources to link classroom learning with college programs and the workplace.

Forty-five percent of graduating seniors in Montgomery County scored a 3 or higher on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam during their high school careers which is triple the national average of 15 percent and double the Maryland average of 22 percent, according to the Advanced Placement Exam Participation and Performance Report for the MCPS Classes of 2002 to 2006.

“Faces of MCPS,” a new television feature, makes its debut this month on Education Matters, the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) video production hosted by Board of Education President Nancy Navarro. “Faces of MCPS” showcases the school system’s rich student diversity and features students talking about their experiences, challenges, and needs.

“Faces of MCPS” appears as a part of Education Matters on Comcast Channel 34 during February and March at the following days and times:

Mondays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) employees will receive negotiated salary increases of 4.8 percent in Fiscal Year 2008, 5 percent in Fiscal Year 2009, and 5.3 percent in Fiscal Year 2010 under the new contracts between MCPS and the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), the Montgomery County Association of Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (MCAASP), and SEIU Local 500. The three associations represent teachers, principals and other school-based and central services administrators, and support professionals, respectively. The vote was seven to one for the SEIU and MCAASP contracts and six to two for MCEA.

The Board of Education unanimously voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Jerry D. Weast for an additional four years.

Jewish Social Service Agency offers "Educational Consultation and Support" for parents of children who have been identified with a learning, attention, or other disability that impacts academic performance. This program helps parents identify and implement the services a child needs to achieve academic success. Available to families in Montgomery County. Adjustable fees based on family income. Other services to children with learning, attention or other disabilities include social skills therapy groups, workshops on parenting challenging children, individual and family counseling, and support groups. JSSA is located at 6123 Montrose Road, Rockville. Call 301-816-2633 or 703-204-9100 for more.

Montgomery College offers an array of new, non-credit courses that were formerly offered by Montgomery County Public Schools. These courses, offered primarily during evenings or weekends in public schools and other convenient community locations, are in addition to hundreds of other non-credit courses available through the College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education unit. A complete schedule of course offerings can be found online at www.montgomerycollege.edu/wdce. Also, printed copies of the fall non-credit course schedule can be found at libraries, community centers and other such locations around the county. For questions about continuing education courses or to request a copy call 301-279-5188, visit

www.montgomerycollege.edu/wdce/mcps/mcps.html.