Assignment Education

QO Cluster Capacity Forum Set for Sept. 30

Concerned about school overcrowding? Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m. Bruce Crispell, director of Long Range Planning for Montgomery County Public Schools, will present studies done on the QO Cluster and neighboring communities, and the public will be invited to ask questions and make suggestions. Local elected officials may attend. This forum will be held in the Quince Orchard High School auditorium, and it is scheduled to conclude at 9 p.m.

RCES PTA Fall Appeal More Than Halfway There

The 2015-2016 PTA Fall Appeal is in full swing at Rachel Carson. So far, nearly $13,000 has been raised. The fall fundraising goal of $25,000 will support classroom supplies, math and writing workbooks not provided by Montgomery County Public Schools, staff appreciation events, Brainpop software, recess equipment, cultural arts assemblies, instrumental music support and more. The PTA estimates that it will spend nearly $60,000 in direct monetary support of Rachel Carson this year. Fall appeal fundraising concludes Oct. 1.

#FirstArmy Returns Oct. 2

Were you in one of the original Quince Orchard High School classes—1990, 1991 or 1992? If so, be sure that you don’t miss the big reunion weekend! On Oct. 2 and 3, the Quince Orchard Class of 1990 celebrates its 25th reunion with the classes of 1991 and 1992 that opened the school in 1988. Activities include a home football game against Gaithersburg on Oct. 2, a post-game get-together at Quincy’s Bar and Grille, a family-oriented picnic at High Point Farm in Clarksburg on Oct. 3, followed by an adults-only party at Growler’s in Olde Towne. Visit and get your tickets today. Prices go up on Sept. 19.

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists Announced

Local seniors Tanay V. Wakhare (Quince Orchard High School) and Christine Y. Ahn and Natalie T. Chao (both Northwest High School) are among the 138 National Merit Scholarship competition semifinalists from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The students were selected from among high school juniors who were top scorers on the 2014 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Approximately 16,000 semifinalists across the nation will be considered for advancement to the finalist stage of the competition. MCPS students account for about 45 percent of the semifinalists in the state of Maryland.

Finalists will be considered for $2,500 National Merit scholarships, plus additional corporate-sponsored and college/university-sponsored scholarships that will be announced later in the school year.

BOE Seeks Input on School Calendar

Do you have suggestions for the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) calendar? The Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) would like to hear them.

The BOE has tentatively approved a new policy that will guide procedures to develop, adopt, and disseminate a school year calendar. The new policy comes as Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has worked to improve communication about this important issue, including a new calendar tool and guidelines for respecting religious diversity. Policy IDA—School Year Calendar is posted for public comment until Oct. 9, 2015.

Comment using an online comment form at Comments on the policy also can be submitted by email to or by mail to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 850 Hungerford Drive, Room 122, Rockville, Maryland 20850. All responses on the policy will be shared with the BOE and the interim superintendent of schools.

MCPS School Calendar and Religious Diversity

Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill explained, “In discussions about the calendar, many people were unclear about our policies and protocols for allowing our students to participate in religious practices and celebrations during the school year. I am pleased that we could work with the faith community to develop this unique guide that provides clear answers and helpful information.”

The publication, Guidelines for Respecting Religious Diversity, was developed in partnership with members of the Montgomery County Executive’s Faith Working Group, which includes representatives from several different religious and cultural organizations.

Guidelines mirror Policy IDA in affirming that a student who misses school in order to celebrate a cultural or religious holiday will receive an excused absence and must be given a reasonable opportunity to make up any work that was missed.

MCPS Reassesses Testing

High school end-of-semester exams may be eliminated, starting next year. The Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) voted Sept. 8 to tentatively approve a proposal to replace two hour, end-of-semester exams with assessments that would be given each marking period during regular class periods.

Final exams for MCPS middle school students were eliminated by BOE vote in July.

MCPS hopes these changes will help maximize instructional time, increase accountability, and provide schools with timely information that can be used to improve teaching and learning and offer timely support to students.

The BOE is seeking public input about this potential assessment and grading change. Learn more and offer your comments at The deadline for submitting comments is Oct. 19.