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Welcome back!

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Welcome to the new school year!

I have been a student in or worked for schools and school systems for most of my life. Even though I work 12 months a year, there is still an ebb and flow to the work in school systems. For me, there is an excitement inherent in the first day of school. There is a promise in new beginnings. A new school year provides a natural transition to improve my work, try new things, meet new people and recommit myself to the Montgomery County Public Schools’ mission of ensuring that, “Every student will have the academic, creative problem solving and social emotional skills to be successful in college and career.”

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In just a few days, the 2019-2020 school year will begin, and more than 164,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students will stream through the doors of Montgomery County’s 207 schools. We expect about 1,000 new students in 1st through 12th grades. We will have a total of more than 11,000 kindergartners.

Thanks to our 23,000 employees, we are ready to welcome these students and their families. Floors are shining; bus routes are finalized; staff are hired and trained; students are assigned to classrooms; supplies are purchased. … The list is endless.

In addition to new students, we are adding a new school—Snowden Farm Elementary in Clarksburg. The school is named after a dairy farm founded by Thomas Snowden in 1845. A short video explaining the origin of the school’s name can be found here. The name brings with it an interesting history and a hidden charge to all of us. We are challenged to build and invest in community.

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As Joann Woodson, great granddaughter of Thomas Snowden, says in the video, “The Snowden Farm was always a neighbor. They were always there to help when help was needed because this was a farming town. … They had to rely on each other to get things done.”

Principal Yolanda Allen says the school’s name screams community. “I hope the students will learn from the name Snowden Farm the idea of giving back, the idea of lifting each other up and the idea of community.”

As we look beyond our school community to Montgomery County, our state and our nation, it is apparent that to remain strong and vibrant, the education of our children is essential. Our society depends on a well-educated population. In addition to academic learning, we must help our children learn to be good neighbors, to help when help is needed, and to lift each other up.

I have seen that quality of community in how the employees of this school system work and interact with each other on a daily basis. I have also see a vibrant community in Montgomery County and how its citizens, organizations, government and businesses support our children. This community has a strong history of supporting the school system and its work. You are good neighbors, you give back, you help when help is needed, and you lift up our students and their families. You have always been there for our students. As a result, we have a school system of which we can all be proud.

So, whenever we hear the name of Snowden Farm Elementary School, let us remember that it is incumbent upon us to care for the well-being of each student and to ensure each child has the skills, knowledge and confidence he or she needs to contribute to and benefit from our community. Our future depends on it.

Dr. Jack R. Smith
Superintendent of Schools

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