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About 10,000 Montgomery County Public Schools students are graduating from high school in ceremonies that continue through June 11. A variety of commencement speakers—ranging from local, state and national government officials to television news personalities, current teachers, a prize-winning author and a master storyteller—will address the graduating seniors. Last year, graduates entering college were awarded $91 million in scholarships.
The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy (Saturday School) has grown from 19 students and 21 volunteer tutors when it opened in 1986 to more than 3,000 students at 12 centers throughout the county, staffed by 300 volunteers and 176 certified teachers. At its May 27 meeting, the Board of Education congratulated the students awarded scholarships by Saturday School for their academic achievement and volunteer service to the learning academy.
The June Our Schools Today, a program for parents in six languages on Cable Channel 34 and the web, examines education options available to our students. Young students can become fluent in a foreign language. Middle schoolers can study aerospace engineering, computer science and performing arts. Older students can enroll in specialty academies, magnet and signature programs, the International Baccalaureate and 18 career and technology pathways.
Students provided a tour of the house they are building in Silver Spring during an open house on May 22. Through the Montgomery County Construction Trades Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit educational foundation that serves as a liaison between MCPS and the business community, students at Thomas Edison High School of Technology and Damascus High School design and construct the house. This 36th student-built house will be completed in May 2009.
Students from schools participating in the first year of middle school reform shared exciting things they are learning at the May 27 Board of Education meeting. From programming robots to interacting with Promethean whiteboards to analyzing data, students in five Phase 1 schools are benefiting from interactive teaching and learning. Reform efforts may be extended fully to six more schools and partially to another four schools next year.
Educators from about 20 different Montgomery County schools learned about building a character education program at a conference held recently at Thomas Edison High School of Technology. Ron Axelrod, a national consultant for the Character Education Partnership, was the keynote speaker. Newport Mill Middle School, named a 2007 National School of Character last year, sponsored the conference.
The Board of Education's evening business meeting will be webcast live starting at 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 27. You need the free Windows MediaPlayer on your computer to view the meeting.
Luxmanor Elementary School has begun a Young Minority Scholars Program for fourth and fifth grade students. Participants meet monthly to work on team building and goal setting, and hear about careers from guest speakers. The aim is to increase academic achievement, close the achievement gap and increase the number of students in accelerated academics. Students can continue with the program at Tilden Middle School and Walter Johnson High School.