School’s Back With Record Enrollment
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) welcomed more than 159,000 students for the first day of the 2016–2017 school year on Aug. 29. This is more than 2,500 new students to the school system and represents the largest enrollment in the district’s history.
“We are thrilled to welcome back all of our amazing students and teachers to MCPS,” stated Michael Durso, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “We are also excited to welcome Dr. Jack Smith as he begins his first school year as superintendent of schools in Montgomery County.”
Superintendent Smith took the helm of MCPS on July 1 after serving with the Maryland State Department of Education as interim state superintendent. “I’m excited and grateful to take on the role of Superintendent of Schools for one of the largest, most respected school systems in this nation,” stated Smith. “My priority in this role is to both maintain the high level of student achievement that our school system is known for, and to help lift up those who are not performing as well, so that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language or disability can meet their full and true potential. We must close the opportunity gap. It is a moral imperative.”
MCPS now has significant new resources to help close the opportunity gap. The $2.46 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 provides $37.9 million of targeted funding that will allow MCPS to reduce class sizes in many classrooms across the district and accelerate efforts to close the achievement gap.
MCPS has hired more than 1,200 new teachers this year, thanks, in part, to the additional resources allocated in the budget. MCPS begins the school year with 12,673 teachers on staff.
Cougar Marching Band Yard Sale Planned
Head to Quince Orchard High School bright and early on Saturday, Sept. 17, for the Cougar Marching Band’s semi-annual community yard sale, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., for “new to you” finds. And if you have some treasures to pass on, donations will be accepted starting at 7 a.m.
MCPL Recognizes First Enrollees of Online Diploma Program
On Sept. 7, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) Director Parker Hamilton and Karen Radulovich from Gale Cengage Learning officially recognized the first enrollees in MCPL’s recently-launched Career Online High School Diploma. There are five candidates officially enrolled in the program.
MCPL is the first library system in Maryland to launch the Career Online High School, the world’s first accredited, private online school district. This past June MCPL began accepting applications for the program. Career Online High School is specifically designed to re-engage adults into the education system and prepare them for entry into post-secondary career education or the workforce. Currently, more than 60,000 adults over the age of 25 in Montgomery County lack a high school degree or equivalent.
MCPL to Launch Online Music and Art Education Program
September is Classical Music Month, and Montgomery County Public Libraries offers a series of solo guitar concerts featuring works from the best classical composers of Brazil. Free performances by Richard Miller, professor of guitar and music theory at Columbia University and director of education programs for the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance, will take place at the Gaithersburg Library on Sept. 17, 3 p.m., and the Twinbrook Library on Sept. 24, 3 p.m.
Before each concert, MCPL staff will introduce ArtistWorks, a new online program being launched by MCPL. ArtistWorks allows residents to take musical and art lessons with virtuoso musicians and artists from home 24/7. The presentation will include how to use the online program to learn piano, guitar and many other instruments, as well as how to improve your singing and visual arts abilities.
Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club Resumes
Heading into its third year, the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club co-facilitated by Quince Orchard Park resident Lucinda Marshall with Peggy Ruppel resumes Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the Gaithersburg Library. Open to teens ages 12 to 16, this free program of the Maryland Writers’ Association won the library’s award for best volunteer program last year. Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday of the month, 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Teen Lounge of the Gaithersburg Library. For more information, visit gaithersburgteenwritingclub.wordpress.com.