Schools Roundup: Achievement Gap, Special Education, Kindergarten Orientation
Catch up on school news from this week.
What's been going on with Montgomery County Public Schools this week? Here are a few education headlines you might've missed:
Achievement Gap Grows Wider in Some Areas
MCPS Superintendent Joshua P. Starr and other county officials have repeatedly emphasized their goal of narrowing the achievement gap that separates white and Asian students from black and Hispanic students.
But a 130-page report released this week found that the gap in scores for Advanced Placement exams, SAT tests and state-level math exams has actually grown wider for MCPS students, The Washington Post reported.
Next month, the county’s Office of Legislative Oversight will update a 2008 OLO report that basically concluded that while Montgomery County Public Schools narrowed some gaps, the school system missed closing gaps on a long list of key achievement outcomes. My prediction is the updated 2013 OLO report will come to the same conclusion.
There was some good news though. The OLO report found that students made gains in other areas, such as higher scores on the Maryland State Assessments and declining suspension, academic ineligibility and graduation rates, The Gazette reported.
Watkins Mill Student Struck While Walking to School
There have been 12 pedestrian and bicyclist collisions in Montgomery County this year—including one involving a Watkins Mill High School student. The student was struck by a car about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday while walking in a crosswalk adjacent the school, Principal Scott Murphy wrote in a letter to the community.
The student was taken to a hospital and was expected to be released Tueday evening. Read more on Montgomery Village Patch.
Raises for Montgomery County Teachers?
A tentative contract agreement for MCPS employees includes $18.6 million in pay raises. That's on top of the $22.1 million in raises that will kick in this May. The total comes to more than $40 million. Click here to read the full story on The Washington Post.
Special Education: Who Has the Burden of Proof?
It's a long-standing debate: Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, school systems have a responsibility for providing an appropriate education for special needs students. But if the parents do not think this is being done, is it up to the parents to prove it? Or should the school system have the burden of proof?
A bill in the Maryland General Assembly would place the burden of proof on the school system, The Gazette reported. The county's Board of Education discussed the bill this week, but could not come to a consensus.
Kindergarten Orientation Programs
Children who will be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2013, may enter kindergarten in the fall. Eligible children and their families are invited to attend an orientation to meet the principal, teachers and other staff members at their school. Use the school district's School Assignment Locator to determine what school your rising kindergartner will attend in the fall.