June 23 // State lawmakers from Prince George’s seek broad probe of graduation rates

State lawmakers from Prince George's County are urging the Maryland State Department of Education to investigate claims that school officials altered the grades of hundreds of students to meet graduation-rate targets. In a letter dated Thursday and shared with The Washington Post, the leaders of the county's State House delegation said an inquiry by state officials several months ago — which was triggered by an anonymous complaint — was not sufficiently impartial and did not go far enough in investigating claims similar to those levied this month by four members of the county Board of Education. (Wash. Post)

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Project aims to create quality youth sports programs in Baltimore

When Keney Davis played soccer or tennis, it elicited her aggression, but in the pool as a member of the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School swim team she found peace and motivation. She's found she can channel those positive feelings to other parts of her life and now understands the importance of picking the right sport. That's the goal of a three-year initiative that's been launched in Baltimore to transform the state of youth athletics by studying the quality and accessibility of programs, directing teams to available facilities and connecting kids with the most appropriate sports. (Balt. Sun)

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New superintendent in Howard County pledges transparency on school information requests

The acting superintendent for Howard County schools is vowing to reform how the system handles requests for public information — a source of complaints during the previous administration that last year prompted a state ombudsman's audit. Michael J. Martirano, who was named acting superintendent in May after the sudden departure of superintendent Renee Foose, said this week the system will create a website that documents requests made to administrators through the Maryland Public Information Act. (Balt. Sun)

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Johns Hopkins receives $150 million pledge to establish forum for civil discussion

The Johns Hopkins University will establish a forum for the civil discussion of divisive issues with a $150 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The university will use the gift to open the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute, which will serve as a center for public discourse and the exchange of ideas in the spirit of the agora of ancient Athens. (Balt. Sun)

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Two University of Maryland employees allege racial discrimination in lawsuit

Two University of Maryland employees filed a lawsuit this week against the state's flagship university in College Park alleging they were discriminated against because of their race. Michael Bell and DuRay Jones, facilities management workers who are both black, said the university fostered a hostile working environment, retaliated when they complained about misconduct and inflicted emotional distress. The men are each seeking $1.5 million, according to the lawsuit. (Balt. Sun)

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School board policy now discourages transferring bullied students

A change to the Frederick County Board of Education's bullying policy acknowledges that transferring a bullied student to a new school is not a preferred method of addressing the problem. In the past, transferring a student wasn't always treated as a last resort. Instead, it was left up to school administrators. (News-Post)

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Allegany County Board of Education launches new technology program

The Allegany County Board of Education is launching a new program that will allow high school students to receive a college degree in cybersecurity. The P-Tech program — Pathways in Technology Education College High School — was created in Maryland in 2016, in collaboration with IBM. The program blends high school, college and workplace experience for participating students. (Times-News)

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Health literacy program to grow in Worcester County

By the fall, Worcester County’s health literacy program will be fully implemented in local schools. The Integrated Health Literacy Program (IHLP), launched through a partnership between Worcester County Public Schools, Atlantic General Hospital and the University of Maryland’s Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, was first introduced to local students in 2014. Though initially offered to a small group of students, the program’s success has encouraged school system officials to expand it gradually. (Dispatch)

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