Montgomery County schools reach accord with ACLU over student rights

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland stepped in eight months ago to defend the right of a Damascus High School student to stay seated and not participate while her class recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Enidris Siurano-Rodrigues, then a sophomore, said she had been standing as instructed by her teacher because she believed she had to obey the teacher. But ironically it was in her Advanced Placement government class that she learned the teacher was violating her rights, so she stopped standing during the pledge. (Gazette)

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NDHS cheer team performing at Gator Bowl, nationals

New Year’s Day has long been a college football tradition with bowl games being played in vacation destinations around the country. The North Dorchester High School cheer squad will join the tradition this New Year’s Day 2014 as the team will perform at the prestigious Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., which features Nebraska and Georgia. The performance coincides with North Dorchester’s invitation to compete in the Gator Bowl Cheer Nationals, the school’s first trip to nationals since 2003. (Star Dem.)

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Resident inducted into private university honor society

A Cheltenham resident has been inducted into an honor society recognizing academics and community service. Michea Bryant was inducted into the Philadelphia-based La Salle University’s Alpha Epsilon Society, which recognizes academic achievement and community service, according to a La Salle University press release. Bryant is a senior at La Salle University studying communications. (Gazette)

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Talbot County students honored for service

“We have extraordinary children that can do extraordinary things,” Interim Superintendent Kelly Griffith said, and Cassidy Stewart and Abigail Heinsohn are prime examples, winning 2013-2014 Service Star Awards for the Talbot County school system. The Maryland Department of Education developed the Service Star Award in 1997 to recognize young people who have made exceptional contributions to the community at large through service and service learning. Two students from each school system in Maryland win every year. (Star Dem.)

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Dec. 26 // Prince George’s schools chief adds executive-level positions and attracts criticism

Prince George’s County Schools Chief Executive Kevin M. Maxwell, who came to the district as part of an overhaul of the school system, has added four new executive-level positions to his administration, hires he said will improve academic achievement. Maxwell, who took the school system’s top job in August, has spent $1.53 million to hire a chief of staff, a diversity officer, a health officer, a performance and evaluation officer and 10 employees to assist them. He said the hires were necessary because he noticed that some jobs were not being done adequately and children were not being properly served because there was less coordination. (Wash. Post)

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Morgan State student takes a stand for gay rights at historically black university

Brian Stewart’s rejection letter from a fraternity at Morgan State University in Baltimore stated that members had reviewed and vetted his application and that, unfortunately, not enough brothers wanted him to join. He was disappointed, as are many of the thousands of students across the country who rush Greek houses each year and aren’t accepted. But Stewart is convinced that he was rejected by Kappa Alpha Psi because he is gay. (Wash. Post)

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Md. colleges join movement to snuff out student smoking

About one-third of Maryland colleges and universities have decided to follow a recent national trend to ban smoking on college campuses. The majority of institutions clearing the air are community colleges and the 10 campuses within the University System of Maryland, which adopted a system-wide smoke-free policy last year. Only two private schools in the state, both with religious affiliations, have enacted smoking bans. (CNS/Daily Record)

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Schools save money with solar, but pay higher bills

Solar power is cheaper, the schools are finding out, but electricity bills are not necessarily smaller. It depends whether they’re using more — or not. To save money with renewable energy, Kent County Public Schools partnered with two local governments to draw on solar power. In August, the county government learned much the same lesson. It discovered electric bills were much higher after a faulty meter at the Worton wastewater plant was replaced — something that had no direct link to its three solar energy projects. (Star-Democrat)

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