December 6 // Baltimore County parents, school board members ask state for audit of tech contracts

The Baltimore County school system plans to hire an outside accountant to audit its purchasing practices amid questions about the awarding of millions of dollars in technology contracts the past few years. But some school board members and parents want the state to intervene and hire the auditor rather than leaving the matter in the hands of county school officials. (Balt. Sun)

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Following fraud probe, a Md. district drafts plan to improve grading

Prince George’s County school leaders say they are tightening controls on student records, upgrading technology to improve graduation certification and rethinking credit recovery programs that allow students to make up for work they have failed. The efforts are part of a plan to address problems cited during an investigation of alleged grade tampering and fraud in graduation rates in Maryland’s second-largest school system. (Wash. Post)

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MCPS superintendent wants to try extended academic year at two elementary schools

A forthcoming budget plan by Superintendent Jack Smith will call for trying a lengthened academic year at two elementary schools in Montgomery County. Smith on Tuesday mentioned the initiative while describing in broad strokes the spending proposal that he will present to the school board later this month. The operating budget recommendation for fiscal year 2019 will not include class-size increases and will seek to expand opportunities for students, while preparing for the impact of the county’s fiscal struggles, Smith said. (Bethesda)

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Big pay hikes for teachers proposed

Big increases in teacher salaries along with the creation of a statewide career ladder that would put teachers in line with other “high-status professions” are among the key recommendations a statewide commission on school funding will make to the legislature. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, charged with looking at a wide range of education issues, will also recommend teams of teachers be given greater autonomy and spend less time in the classroom and more time collaborating on teaching strategies. (Times-News)

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Harford school board reviews policy to let employees give naloxone

All Harford County Public Schools employees will be authorized to give naloxone to any person suffering from an opioid-related overdose at a county school, pending approval by the school board of a new policy that would comply with a state law that took effect July 1. “The way the law is written, it’s any school personnel,” Patrick Spicer, general counsel for HCPS, said Monday in response to a question from board member Joseph Hau on which school employees could administer the medication. (Aegis)

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Six Maryland schools named blue ribbon schools

Six schools were named Maryland blue ribbon schools, an honor awarded to the state’s highest performing schools or those that have made significant progress. The schools were honored Tuesday by the Maryland State Board of Education. All of the six schools scored in the top 15 percent of schools on the state PARCC assessments. (Balt. Sun)

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Washington Co. BOE approves change to FY19 capital plan, adding fifth floor to downtown project

Regardless of the status of other downtown projects, the Washington County Board of Education is poised to keep its portion on schedule to begin early next year. The seven-member school board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a revision to its fiscal 2019 Capital Improvement Plan, allowing the board to seek nearly $2.9 million more to add a fifth floor to its component of the urban-improvement project in Hagerstown. (Herald-Mail)

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Williams, Stouffer re-elected Washington County school board president, vice president

Melissa Williams and Stan Stouffer were unanimously re-elected to leadership positions on the Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday night. For a second straight year, Williams, a second-term board member, will serve as president for the seven-member panel for the upcoming year. Stouffer, a first-term board member, will again serve as vice president. (Herald-Mail)

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