Make sure the right medicine gets to the right patient at the right time.
That’s the job of the folks in Suburban Hospital’s Pharmacy Department, and it’s a job Bethesda-Chevy Chase student Ryan Greenhouse got a firsthand look at on Thursday.
Greenhouse was one of six B-CC students who shadowed nurses, doctors and other professionals in different departments around the hospital as part of the annual B-CC Career Partnership Day.
Nineteen Bethesda businesses and organizations hosted B-CC students throughout the day, including Suburban, the 2nd District Police station and the Bethesda Urban Partnership. The program is organized by Junior Achievement of Greater Washington with help from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce.
For Suburban Hospital, where access can be limited because of the primary duty of non-stop patient care, it’s a unique opportunity to stoke the interest of prospective nurses, surgeons, pharmacists and therapists.
“We really want to give the students as much exposure as possible because in a clinical facility, it’s difficult if you don’t have the training to get that exposure,” said Suburban community outreach health educator Patricia Rios. “The staff here at the hospital, they really take the time to explain what they do. A lot of the clinicians here, this is something extra that we add on. You can see the team, the different individuals who play a role in making sure a patient gets their medicine.”
Daniel Albrant, staff clinical pharmacist at Suburban, gave Greenhouse the rundown of how the Pharmacy Department operates — from filling patient prescriptions, to transporting those prescpritions in a vacuum tube to other departments to the daily rounds pharmacists make to consult with doctors.
Rios gave the students, each who got one-on-one time with clinicians in two different departments, a brief orientation before dropping each one off at their first destination.
For the students, who all said they’re interested in a medical career, it was an eye-opening look at a day in the fast-paced environment of a hospital.
Last year, B-CC celebrated its 20th year of Career Partnership Day. Suburban has participated since 2008.
The program matches up about 200 B-CC juniors and seniors with professionals to explain the ins and outs of a work day, an attempt to teach students the connection between learning and earning money.
Marla Caplon, director of food and nutrition services for MCPS, said the milk will no longer be in school cafeterias once students return to school from winter break on Jan. 5.
The half-pint bottles have 120 calories, five milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, no grams of fat and 22 grams of carbohydrates, according to MCPS food data. But parents, including groups such as the Real Food for Kids Montgomery nonprofit, were more concerned with the Red Dye No. 40, high fructose corn syrup and sugar in the milk.
There is evidence that certain food dyes — including Red Dye No. 40 — contribute to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The discontinuation of strawberry milk was called “incredible news” by one poster on a local neighborhood listserv:
….. the incredible news that MCPS is discontinuing the strawberry-flavored milk as of the first of January 2014! This is a big win for the kids in MCPS. Getting rid of the strawberry milk, as it contains Red Dye #40, artificial chemical flavor, high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol and 25 grams of sugar – more sugar than a Snicker’s Bar is wonderful news! We say good riddance to the pink milk, and hello to calmer, better behaved children ready to learn!
The poster also asked parents to thank Caplon for making the change.
The Real Food for Kids Montgomery group has called for the removal of strawberry and chocolate milk from MCPS cafeterias. According to the group, which in May made a request to remove additives in all cafeteria foods, MCPS believed flavored milk encourages students to consume calcium.
Caplon said she’s always open to suggestions.
“The goal of my division is to always provide the best for our students,” Caplon wrote in an email. “We are always open and willing to make changes and improvements.”
Flickr photo by Tim Nagoogly
The county’s Department of Transportation is offering an award of up to $2,000 to teams of high school students that create posters, paint sidewalks, hold school-wide assemblies or take other measures to “educate high school students about the importance of pedestrian safety.”
Safe Kids Worldwide, a D.C.-based nonprofit, recently reported one in five high school students cross the street while distracted. The report also claimed a 25 percent increase in pedestrian injuries among those ages 16 to 19 over the last five years.
Some of that, at least in the examples of educational material the county provided, is due to kids with headphones or kids texting while crossing the street.
The $2,000 Walk Your Way grant are meant to piggyback on programs at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring and Seneca Valley High School in Germantown.
Students must work in teams of at least two and have a teacher or staff sponsor. Applications (see PDF below) are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16. The project must be completed by April, 30 2014.
Photo via MCDOT
Officials at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center want kids of wounded veterans living on-base assigned to Bethesda Elementary School, not split between two other schools as determined by Montgomery County Public Schools.
Horace Franklin, the school liaison officer at Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB), said children of wounded warriors have attended Bethesda Elementary School for years.
That was in doubt though, when a 2010 Board of Education boundary study resulted in a rezoning for kids who live on the base. For the 2013-2014 school year, kindergartners, first graders and second graders who live on the base with their families were assigned to Rosemary Hills Elementary. Third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders were assigned to North Chevy Chase Elementary.
This, Franklin said in testimony before the BOE earlier this month, threatened to cause further disruption for kids who already “experienced the life changing injuries of their parents,” and have had to move to NSAB “while their parents undergo rehabilitation that could last years.”
With the help of the principals at all three elementary schools, NSAB students got transfers “as a temporary measure for the children to remain at Bethesda.” Franklin also said the base wants sixth graders on the base rezoned back to Westland Middle School.
A public affairs official at NSAB said she couldn’t provide the number of elementary school students who come from the base and did not return a request for more information.
The reassignments were made to ease overcrowding at all three schools and simplify the cluster’s pairing process of splitting K-2 and 3-6 schools.
It appears MCPS will change the assignment back to Bethesda Elementary.
On Nov. 18, the Board of Education approved a new school assignment study “to consider the reassignment of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from Rosemary Hills and North Chevy Chase elementary schools to Bethesda Elementary School.” That study will be conducted this winter with a recommendation planned for the BOE in February and action set for March.
The Paddington Square Apartments in Silver Spring were also reassigned from Bethesda Elementary. In the reassignments, the East Bethesda community was rezoned for Bethesda Elementary. Kindergartners, first graders and second graders from that neighborhood had attended Rosemary Hills up to this school year.
Bethesda Elementary is 109 students over capacity this school year. Rosemary Hills is 166 students over capacity and North Chevy Chase is 136 students over capacity.
Franklin argued the boundary study was done before the “Warrior Care” component of Walter Reed moved to Bethesda in August 2011. The public hearings on the boundary changes were held on Nov. 10 and Nov. 14, 2011.
Lerner Enterprises, the developer of the mall, hasn’t confirmed any tenants in its redevelopment plan. But its sketch plan approved last year involves shrinking the so called south elementary school site at the southern end of its property.
MCPS and the county Board of Education took exception to that. In October, the Board approved a letter asking for the school to instead be built on a north parcel of the property. It would be colocated with a park for outdoor activity space.
At a meeting of the Garrett Park Estates/White Flint Park Citizen’s Association on Wednesday, county planner Nkosi Yearwood said planners are working with Lerner Enterprises to restore the Sector Plan-recommended four acres for the south school site. A revised road alignment in the developer’s sketch plan put the site at 3.6 acres to accommodate a certain unnamed tenant.
“That road, because White Flint Mall, they want to get a specific tenant in there and that tenant essentially is generating a lot of traffic and especially a lot of truck traffic on that side. So they made that change to really accommodate that,” Yearwood said. “So we’re going back to them and saying, ‘OK, we know what you’re trying to do on the north side of the street. How can you shift the road a bit farther north to accommodate that tenant as well as the school site?’”
Yearwood, not wanting to speak for Lerner Enterprises, wouldn’t confirm the name of the tenant.
The Planning Department and the school system agree the new elementary school will be sorely needed to service the projected 9,800 new units built over the next roughly 30 years in the White Flint Sector Plan area. About 25 percent of those new units will come from the White Flint Mall site, which will be redeveloped into a mixed-use, town square-oriented development.
On Wednesday, MCPS long range planner Bruce Crispell pitched Garrett Park and White Flint Park residents on the idea of an elementary school colocated with the existing park.
But the residents, many who have been involved with the White Flint Sector Plan process from the start, said they will continue to support the Sector Plan-recommended south school site, or another school site more central to the Sector Plan area.
Many argued colocating an elementary school at the park would essentially close off the park to the public during school hours, when the school would use fields and other open space for physical education classes and recess.
Included in MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr’s proposal to move back high school start times is a proposal to extend the elementary school day by 30 minutes.
It’s not sitting well with a few county parents.
A parent of an elementary school student Silver Spring has started a petition against extending the final bell for any level of school past 3:30 p.m. There is a second similar petition that agrees with moving high school start times back, but in a way that would not extend the elementary school day.
Starr’s proposal would maintain current elementary school start times (8:50 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.) but extend the school day by 30 minutes so school ends at 3:35 p.m. and 4 p.m.
The change would make the elementary school day six hours and 45 minutes, the same length as middle and high schools.
Starr said the extra 30 minutes for elementary school would come out to an extra 14 days of instruction. A full-cost analysis and public input is expected by spring of 2014. MCPS is going through a series of public meetings about the proposals in the Bell Times plan.
Starr has said the later high school start time and 10-minute earlier middle school start time is unconnected to the elementary school proposal in terms of transportation and other logistics.
The petition from Flora Singer Elementary School parent Lisa Rigazio says the elementary school proposal puts parents who support later high school start times “in a very difficult situation.”
Our kids will be going to high school very soon so want what is best for them then, but not at the expense of their many years in ES now.
I have started a petition asking the superintendent and the board to support a Bell Times proposal that DOES NOT END ANY SCHOOL LATER THAN3:30PM. This does NOT address directly adding 30 minutes to the ES day in general. It simply opposes adding them to the END of the already late day for elementary schools.
I urge you to read the petition for details and to bring this concern of ES parents to your PTA’s. I am glad that MCPS is taking this year to fully research the impact of the current proposal on our entire community. And I am hopeful that open and frank discussions of both the great benefits and challenges of the Superintendent’s proposal will bring about a greater solution. One that will serve ALL of our students every step of their way through our wonderful school system.
The second petition, from Michael Lee, also expresses support for later high school start times, but claims a later end to the elementary school day will limit extracurricular activities:
However, pushing the end of the day for elementary school students later by a half hour, especially for those enrolled in tier two schools, significantly limits opportunities for these students to engage in extracurricular activities and also makes it more difficult to complete the increasing volume of homework assignments, especially given their generally earlier bedtimes compared to high school students.
Before this school year began, all Montgomery County Public School high school athletes went through baseline concussion tests to establish their normal levels of balance and brain function in case of concussion-like symptoms.
After the first fall sports season in which the tests were mandatory, the school system’s athletic director said the new procedure went “as smoothly as could be expected,” with about 45 students taking a follow-up test to check for concussions and ongoing symptoms after a concussion.
Some of those students took multiple retests, for a total of about 60 retests though testing information from all schools is not yet in.
“School personnel — athletic directors, coaches, and IT specialists — worked closely with their respective vendors in implementing tests in an organized and timely manner,” MCPS Athletic Director Dr. William Beattie wrote in an email. “Parents and students were carefully informed about the tests, and it appears in large measure that both embraced the tests as positive and proactive.”
Beattie said about 10,250 fall student-athletes took the baseline test. The school system expects about 7,000 to 8,000 more baseline tests before the end of the 2013-2014 school year for students who did not play a fall sport or have not voluntarily taken the test before. The tests are good for two years, according to the MCPS guidelines.
The test, administered through a computer program, establishes standard measures for a student’s memory skills, quickness of thought and problem solving ability.
Under the MCPS guidelines, a parent can request the free retest, administered by the school or MCPS-selected healthcare vendors for each school. Walter Johnson and Whitman are covered by Columbia-based MedStar. B-CC is covered by Silver Spring-based Metro Orthopedic & Sports Therapy.
Students are not required to take the retest in order to resume participation after a suspected concussion, but they are required to have approval from a doctor.
Flickr photo by markxmas03
MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr on Monday touted project-based learning programs, Common Core standards and “hope” as measures of the school system’s innovative strategies for dealing with growing enrollment and a growing achievement gap.
Starr spoke in front of about 750 teachers, administrators, staff members, students, parents and elected officials in his 2013 “State of the Schools” address at the Music Center at Strathmore.
Starr has spoken often in the last year about the concept of hope as a way to measure engaged students who will likely perform better in school and who will be more well-rounded once they leave MCPS.
“For students, there’s a direct connection between their success in school and their level of hope, engagement and well-being,” Starr said. “That’s why we’re using survey data and making it part of our Strategic Planning Framework. Hope matters. Hope travels from person to person.”
MCPS had a Gallup poll of students conducted last fall that found 54 percent of students felt “hopeful,” 32 percent felt “stuck,” and 14 percent felt “discouraged.”
In concrete terms, Starr said the way to encourage more hopefulness in students is through more hands-on learning and by giving teachers more space to be creative with students. He showed a video of Springbrook High School students tasked with applying physics lessons to building a cardboard boat. Those students brought their boats to a local pool. Two students got in each boat, with the goal of getting to the other side of the pool first.
“Hope is the engine of innovation,” Starr said. “We are working hard and we are collaborating in the face of new opportunities and longstanding challenges because if we embrace the new, if we innovate, our children will thrive in the future.”
The school system has 151,289 students, making it the 17th largest in the country with a projected 2,500 additional students expected to enroll in the next few years. That has caused overcrowding issues in virtually ever district, but Starr didn’t take up the county’s recently announced push for more state school construction funding in his address on Monday.
Instead, he focused much of his remarks on the achievement gap between white students and black and Hispanic students, one that has grown in the county in the past few years.
Despite SAT scores, AP test results and graduation rates that outpace the state and national averages, black and Hispanic SAT test scores are on average more than 300 points lower than white students in MCPS.
Black students make up 21 percent of student enrollment, but account for 54 percent of all non-mandatory suspensions.
“We must accept that the strategies we have used up to this point — while effective — will not get us to the top of the mountain,” said Starr, who then detailed a project-based learning program and a long list of county agency partners, businesses and nonprofits that are taking part in programming at Wheaton High School.
“We have not run from change. We’ve welcomed it and leveraged our current structures to provide our students with education, the support and services they and their families need,” Starr said. “We embrace the new and that for me is the definition of innovation.”
Based on an appeal from a group of parents and a work group report, Starr earlier this month recommended moving the starting bell for high schools back 50 minutes, from 7:25 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.
Though Starr admitted the evidence linking later start times to more sleep and better school performance is inconclusive, he told Nnamdi it would better the well-being of MCPS students.
“This is not a panacea for academic achievement, as measured by standardized test scores or anything like that,” Starr said. “This is about the state in which our kids come to school. We want our kids to be well-rested.”
Starr’s recommendation would also include moving middle school start times up 10 minutes, from 7:55 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Starr said that was included in the recommendation simply to make the bus schedules work.
“Ten minutes is not going to make or break a kid’s success,” Starr said, after a caller to the show questioned if middle school students would be poorly affected.
Starr did say the first of four public forums, which happened this week in Silver Spring, brought up a number of practical concerns that rescheduling high school times could impose. Some students are worried about how the later start time and later ending time would affect after-school jobs and athletics. Parents who work during the day rely on older, high school-aged kids to look after younger siblings. Staff members are also worried about commuting difficulties later in the morning.
“That’s why we’re doing so much community input,” Starr said. “The intent is to get as much input from as many different folks in as many different situations to figure out how disruptive it would be to our community.”
The changes also include extending the elementary school day by 30 minutes, though Starr indicated that recommendation is unconnected to the high school start time changes.
One caller, from Potomac, told Nnamdi she supports moving the start time back.
“We have to wake up at 6 a.m. to stand at a dark bus stop at 6:30 a.m. It’s horrific,” she said. “We are like zombies.”
How about you?
Flickr photo by MCBREOfficial
County officials, MCPS officials, state delegates and state senators gathered at a middle school in Rockville to ask the state for a similar bill passed earlier this year for Baltimore City Public Schools.
The county wants $20 million from the state to go with $40 million from the county to support $750 million in construction bonds to fund new school projects over the next five years. County Executive Isiah Leggett said the county would be able to construct 56 projects to add capacity for a school system that has grown by 14,599 students since 2000.
That’s more than the growth of school systems in Anne Arundel, Howard, Frederick and Baltimore Counties combined.
“We are known nationally for our school system, which contributes directly to our ability to attract and retain an educated workforce, business and industry,” Leggett said, according to a prepared release. “To maintain the county’s role as a key economic engine of the State of Maryland, we cannot allow our double-digit school enrollment increases — the highest in the State — to jeopardize our attractiveness as a place to work and live.”
MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr and Council President Nancy Navarro referred to the system’s growing population as a “capacity crisis.” Nearly half of MCPS schools are projected to be over-capacity by the 2018-2019 school year. The system is expected to grown by another 14,000 students in the next six years.
“The Montgomery County delegation unanimously supported last year’s legislation to assist Baltimore City schools because of their unique situation, but now Montgomery County is in the midst of its own unique crisis that threatens to jeopardize our ability to provide an economic boost to other jurisdictions,” District 18 State Sen. Rich Madaleno said. “We need help now, before the County and the state suffer economically.”
District 20 State Sen. Jamie Raskin, who serves as chairman of the county’s Senate Delegation, compared the upcoming effort to secure the funding in Annapolis to last year’s push for the gas tax hike to fund transportation projects.
“We are going to Annapolis in January determined to invest in the capacity and modernization needs of our County schools, which are overflowing with students,” Raskin said. “To keep producing the number one schools in the country, we need to have the number one infrastructure for the learning and teaching environment.”
On Monday, Starr released his recommended five-year, $1.55 billion capital budget, which he said was about $700 million less than what would be needed to address all the system’s capacity needs. A Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School addition was included. The school is over capacity now and is expected to surpass 2,000 students by 2016.
The Baltimore City Public Schools Construction and Revitalization Act of 2013 will support $1 billion in construction bonds over 10 years, overseen by the Maryland Stadium Authority.
According to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education on Wednesday, the four-year graduation rate for students who entered high school in the class of 2012 was 87.4 percent, up 1.3 percent from two years ago and 3.8 percent higher than the rate for the state of Maryland.
The state’s graduation rate also rose, by 0.6 percent.
Walter Johnson High School had the biggest one-year increase in the 25-high school system. Walter Johnson’s graduation rate increased by five percentage points for a 96.7 percent graduation rate. That gave it the fourth highest rate in MCPS ahead of Walt Whitman High School, which had a 95.1 percent graduation rate.
A dozen of the 25 high schools saw a one-year increase and 17 saw a two-year increase. The dropout rate for the Class of 2012 was 6.8 percent. The state rate was 10.2 percent.
The numbers also show gaps between black and white students and Hispanic and white students are narrowing. The gap in graduation rate between black students and white students closed by 3.9 percent. The gap between Hispanic students and white students closed by 2.1 percentage points.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr on Monday released a recommended $1.55 billion capital budget program that includes additions for Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and North Bethesda Middle School.
The schools, which MCPS planners say have experienced a large increase in students over the past 10 years, were the only two new projects added to the capital program, or CIP. Starr recommends a schools CIP every two years before County Executive Isiah Leggett comes out with his overall CIP.
Starr’s $1.55 billion recommendation is a $184 million increase compared to the current CIP for years 2013-2018. MCPS claims it would need $2.2 billion to meet all of its capital needs.
“I am hopeful that a solution can be found, but I have to develop my budget based on what I know, not on what I hope,” Starr said.
There are now 1,872 students enrolled at B-CC high school. That number is projected to grow to 2,000 by 2016 and 2,400 by 2023. The school’s current capacity is 1,692.
The addition project would be ready by 2017 and increase the school’s capacity to 2,399. The original target capacity number discussed in planning sessions was 2,200.
Starr’s recommendations also include an addition for North Bethesda Middle School in the Walter Johnson cluster. The school has 901 students with a capacity of 864 this year. The enrollment number is expected to surpass 1,000 in 2015 and hit 1,300 in 2023. The addition would also open in 2017 and mean a capacity for 1,208 students.
In his recommendations, Starr made a distinction between “addition” projects and “revitalization/expansion” projects, formerly known as “modernization” projects of existing buildings. No new revitalization/expansion projects were added to this year’s CIP.
“This was a very difficult decision, because I know the communities impacted by these delays have been waiting a long time for these projects to begin,” Dr. Starr said. “But as a steward of taxpayer dollars, I must use the available resources where they are needed most and will have the biggest impact.”
Plans for a new Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster middle school at Rock Creek Hills Local Park went unchanged, with a recommendation for funding in FY 2015 and completion in 2017.
A boundary study of the reassignment of elementary schoolers living on the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center base has been added to the recommendations. The recommendation is for that study to take place this winter.
Students from the base were recently switched from Bethesda Elementary School to Rosemary Hills Elementary School for grades K-2 and North Chevy Chase Elementary School for grades 3-6.
Those changes and other recent boundary changes were meant to ease overcrowding concerns at Bethesda Elementary, but MCPS has apparently been hit with a wave of transfer requests from families of kids who temporarily live on the base:
Officials at the Medical Center have expressed concern over the recently adopted school assignments. They report that families who temporarily reside at the Medical Center have enrolled their children in Bethesda Elementary School attendance for many years and disrupting this assignment would present a hardship for these families. This year families with elementary school students residing at the Medical Center were granted Change of School Assignments to Bethesda Elementary School. This provided the opportunity to review the school assignment for the Medical Center this year, without disrupting students enrolled at Bethesda Elementary School. Following the abbreviated boundary review, the superintendent’s recommendation would be provided for Board of Education action in spring 2014.
Dr. Starr’s recommendations will now be reviewed by the Montgomery County Board of Education, which will hold a CIP work session on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6 p.m. The Board will then hold two public hearings on Monday, Nov. 11, and Thursday, Nov. 14. More information about how to register to testify at those hearings is available on the Board’s public participation website.
The Board is expected to approve a CIP request on Monday, November 18. That request will then be submitted to the County Executive and County Council for consideration.
In August, Councilmember Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) said the county hasn’t moved fast enough to install the safety cameras on the stop arms of school buses. The County Council enacted the law allowing for the cameras in March 2012 with the expectation the cameras would be installed in six to 18 months, according to a County Council staff report.
Contractual issues held that process up, something Ervin said she didn’t know until an inquiry from a Washington Post reporter.
“It took longer than we would have hoped. It was certainly not intentional,” Manger told the Council’s Education and Public Safety Committees on Thursday. “We were hoping to bridge our contract with another local jurisdiction to avoid a lengthy RFP process. I guess if we had just put the RFP out day one, we probably would have been a little bit ahead of the game.”
Frederick County has an active school bus camera program, but Manger said the county did not like their contract for the program. Frederick County has issued a total of four violations since it began its program in September 2012.
Manger and an MCPS transportation official said the goal of the program was not to generate revenue, but to change behavior. A violation will cost $125. County revenue would come only from violations that don’t go to court, an amount that Council staff said was hard to predict.
Police say they don’t yet need additional staffing to manage and operate the program.
On Jan. 3, the first day back to school after winter break, there will be 25 cameras on buses and wiring for an additional 75 school buses so that cameras can be moved among high priority routes.
MCPS has 1,296 buses that transports more than 100,000 of its roughly 150,000 students each day. There are 1,100 bus routes with more than 40,000 bus stops.
At a school transportation safety event with federal officials in August, MCPS Director of Transportation Todd Watkins spoke about the importance of stopping behind buses that have stop arms out and lights flashing.
“When you see a stopped school bus on the road, no matter how late you are, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, stop,” Watkins said. “Because every time somebody makes a decision to pass a stopped school bus, it’s a potentially life-changing tragedy for some student and their family.”
At the Committee hearing on Thursday, Councilmember Craig Rice (D-Upcounty) said his daughter was nearly victim to a driver passing a stopped school bus, an incident he witnessed. MCP will launch a media campaign to make people aware of the safety issue and new cameras.
Flickr photo by ckphotography
Bethesda’s Imagination Stage and Montgomery County Public Schools are working to bring 3,300 third graders to a performance at the theater, a task that involves raising $150,000 for transportation costs.
So on Saturday, during Imagination Stage’s 2013 Gala, MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr was featured in a video driving a bus full of third graders to Bethesda before speaking to attendees in a bus driver hat.
“I value the arts and the way they complement academic learning in the schools. One of the pillars of our new strategic planning framework is social-emotional learning,” Starr said. “The arts provide a great way for children to build these essential life skills.”
The initiative would bring third graders from 27 Title I schools, schools that serve low-income communities, to a performance of “Cinderella: the Remix.” The program, which the theater and school system hope to start next year, would also include a pre-field trip video study guide and a workshop after the trip.
A live auction at the gala raised $120,000 for the first phase of the program.
Imagination Stage also put the fundraising effort on power2give.org, a Kickstarter-like fundraising site launched in June by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Five dollars will fund the bus cost for one student.
Photo and video via Imagination Stage
On Monday, the BOE agreed to send a letter to the Montgomery County Planning Board highlighting its concerns with plans for the school, which hit a road bump last fall when the landowner balked at donating the land.
The letter was on the recommendation of MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr, who said the school system should advise the Planning Board of its concerns before planners take up more of the redevelopment plan for White Flint Mall.
The 2010 White Flint Sector Plan puts the future school on a 4.2-acre site south of the existing mall. Planners, school officials and county policy makers agreed the school was necessary to support the estimated 410 new elementary students who will come from the full build-out of the Sector Plan.
Lerner Enterprises, which owns and hopes to redevelop White Flint Mall, thinks it’s unfair to have to donate all of the land for the school when only about a quarter of the 9,800 new units will come from its project. Last October, White Flint Mall attorney Robert Brewer said the developer would be willing to sell the land to MCPS or perhaps work a deal to do a partial dedication.
Also at issue is the apparent shrinking space dedicated to the school. According to Starr’s memo:
Since the White Flint Sector Plan was adopted in 2010, it has come to the Board’s attention that the designated White Flint Mall South site is now compromised by revised road alignments. What was originally a 4.2–acre site has been reduced to approximately 3.6 acres. MCPS Department of Facilities Management (DFM) staff evaluated the reduced White Flint Mall South site and has found it to be significantly compromised for the construction of an elementary school.
Starr and the BOE said they were rebuffed when they approached the Planning Department and Montgomery Parks about moving the school site north on the property, where a 2.5-acre school building could back up to the planned 8.5-acre White Flint Neighborhood Park and use the space for playfields:
Since the adopted sector plan currently requires the property to be dedicated in full to the Montgomery County Department of Parks, we anticipated that it would be dedicated in full to MCPS. This dedication would save the county the cost of acquisition of expensive land in the sector plan area; and in addition, the park portion of the site could continue to be available to the public. The collocation of schools with park properties is a common and effective method of land conservation in Montgomery County. This year, 46 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, and 7 high schools are collocated with parks.
The BOE will ask that if the school site can’t be moved, the full 4.2 acres at the preferred site be restored. It will also ask the Planning Board to require the partial dedication equal to the percentage of residential units the White Flint Mall project will provide.