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Participants at the Sept. 18 community forum held at Watkins Mill High School had an opportunity to share their views on priorities the school system should focus on for the 2009–2010 school year to improve achievement for all students. Interpreting services were provided in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and French. A second Board of Education-sponsored community forum is set for Oct. 16, 7–9:30 p.m., at Albert Einstein High School.
Parents are invited to a series of information meetings on the Downcounty and Northeast consortia choice programs. The evening meetings are scheduled throughout September, October and November for parents of students in grade 8. Students who live in either of these consortium areas can apply to their choice of area schools, offering academies or programs with a particular focus.
More of our students are attaining top scores on the PSAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, thereby becoming semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition. There are 146 semifinalists this year—22 more than last year. The semifinalists, who represent 15 MCPS high schools, were selected from among last year’s high school juniors. These students, now seniors, will go on to compete nationally for scholarships that will be offered next spring.
Parents and other community members can ask questions, find out about school system programs and services, and take home tips on how to help children succeed at a Sept. 26 “Ask MCPS” event. Bilingual staff will be available for coffee and conversation between 8 a.m. and 12 noon at 451 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Suite 508.
Michael Zarchin, principal of Thomas W. Pyle Middle School, is the winner of this year’s Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award, presented each year to an outstanding MCPS administrator. Zarchin was recognized for promoting academic excellence in a nurturing and respectful environment that takes into account the needs of the whole child. The award was presented Sept. 17 at the superintendent’s administrative and supervisory meeting.
Edline, a web-based communication tool, allows parents of middle and high school students to monitor their child’s grades and assignments. Parents should contact their child’s school for help activating or using their Edline account. Recently, more than 140 Wheaton High School parents received training on Edline at a workshop conducted in Spanish by staff from the school and the Department of Family and Community Partnerships.
Officials announced a new countywide pedestrian safety initiative on Sept. 5. An English-language instructional video, —illustrates the important elements of walking safety so that everyone, but especially young students and people learning English, can understand the signs and rules of the road. The video will be made available to all MCPS elementary schools.
About 50 students attended this year’s Emerging Student Leaders Program of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Sept. 8 at the Washington Convention Center. Students met with Hispanic members of Congress and other leaders, attended sessions and worked with mentors from the business community. A congressional reception for participants will be held in January. Sept. 15–Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month.