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21 MCPS Students Named Achievement Scholarship Semifinalists

Twenty-one Montgomery County Public Schools students have been named semifinalists for the National Achievement Scholarship. The scholarship program, administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, recognizes promising African American students throughout the nation.

More than 1,600 public, private and home school students, nationwide, were identified as semifinalists for the 2011 scholarship program, based on their performance on the PSAT. These students can now compete for up to 800 Achievement Scholarships.

Last year, 14 MCPS students from six schools were named semifinalists for the award, and eight received the scholarship. This year, the 21 MCPS semifinalists are from seven high schools across the county—Blair, Blake, Magruder, Richard Montgomery, Poolesville, Watkins Mill and Whitman. Overall, MCPS accounts for more than one-third of the public school semifinalists in the state of Maryland.

 

157 Montgomery County Public School Students Are National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

There are 157 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in the 2011 competition, eight more than the previous year. The semifinalists will go on to compete nationally for scholarships that will be offered in the spring. The competition is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

The MCPS semifinalists come from 16 high schools. The schools and their number of semifinalists are:

Bethesda-Chevy Chase: 8
Montgomery Blair: 40
Blake: 1
Winston Churchill: 13
Clarksburg: 1
Einstein: 1
Poolesville:  9
Quince Orchard: 2
Richard Montgomery: 30
Rockville: 1
Seneca Valley: 1
Springbrook: 3
Walter Johnson: 7
Walt Whitman: 24
Watkins Mill: 1
Wootton: 15

Proposal For Changes to Wheaton HS, Thomas Edison HS & Watkins Mill HS

The Parents' Coalition obtained a copy of a federal grant application submitted by MCPS to transform three local schools: Watkins Mill HS, Thomas Edison HS of Technology, and Wheaton HS. According to the grant abstract:

"Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Maryland is requesting federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) funds to transform two of its lowest performing, highest poverty high schools-Wheaton and Watkins Mill-into whole school magnets. Wheaton High School and the collocated half-day Thomas Edison High School of Technology career and technology education program will be transformed into the comprehensive Montgomery County High Tech High School (MCHTHS). Watkins Mill High School will become the International Baccalaureate School of Engineering, Digital Design, and Performing Arts (IBEDPA) at Watkins Mill."

Maryland schools battle with limited funding and space as enrollment grows by Michael Bimbaum, WAPO

Michael Bimbaum for the Washington Post reports: More than 200,000 Maryland students streamed back to crowded classrooms Monday as school systems dealt with growth but little money to hire more teachers.

In Montgomery County, the state's largest school system, parents said they were anxious about increased class sizes but sanguine about the schools' future under a successor to Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, who is retiring in June. Enrollment swelled by 2,200 students -- 1.5 percent -- this year, hundreds more than forecast. Howard and Charles counties also returned to school Monday.

School Lunches Affected by Slow Economy and Budget Cuts

Education Week reports that due to summer school and transportation budget cuts in Montgomery County schools (and in counties across the country) fewer children are getting free lunches in at least one school district.

The recession has made an impact in school lunch and nutrition programs funded by the Department of Agriculture.  The number of free lunches provided to children in the summer has dropped drastically, and the outcome is proving to be detrimental to low income families.

While the cuts in free lunch assistance are heavy this summer, the program should be stabilized for the fall school year.

To read more, visit: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/08/16/01nutrition.h30.html?tkn=MMLFZq6PoVB8iFvgg7dQ1KSCyQH0m549TsDC&cmp=clp-edweek