"Learning Garden" donated to Baltimore school

Thanks to donations from national food purveyors, a Baltimore City school was able to build a small garden to their Central Forrest Park campus. Jacob Klein of Klein's Shoprite of Maryland and Dole Packaged Foods teamed with the Captain Planet Foundation to donate a Learning Garden to Liberty Elementary School in early June. (WMAR-TV)

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July 5 // What happens when schoolchildren live in violent neighborhoods? The effects are broader than previously known, a study finds.

Researchers have shown — and teachers know — that schoolchildren exposed to neighborhood violence can have a tougher time learning, experiencing more stress and depression than their peers growing up in safe neighborhoods. But a Johns Hopkins University sociologist discovered that the consequences of neighborhood violence reach further than previously known, even spilling over to students who come from safe neighborhoods. Using crime and student data from Chicago, Julia Burdick-Will linked exposure to neighborhood violence to a drop in test scores, an effect that extended to students coming from communities that experienced little or no violence. (Wash. Post)

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Maryland State Education Department releases updated free, reduced meals guidelines

Revised Income Eligibility Guidelines for free and reduced-price meals allows for families to make a bit more money than last year and still qualify for the program. The Maryland State Department of Education released the guidelines, which are set by the federal government, according to a news release from MSDE, on Tuesday. The guidelines determine eligibility for the time period of July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. “Every year they adjust a little,” said Karen Sarno, supervisor of food services Carroll County Public Schools. This change is based on the consumer price index, she said. (Carr. Co. Times)

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BCPS continues public input sessions to address high school overcrowding

Baltimore County Public Schools is continuing its series of public input meetings about how to address a shortfall of about 1,700 seats in area high schools projected over the next decade. The first in a series of three meetings, which stakeholders in any area of the county’s high schools may attend, will take place on July 9 at 7 p.m. in Catonsville High School’s cafeteria. The feedback process began with a series of focus groups hosted by BCPS in June, during which stakeholders were presented with different school overcrowding strategies and asked their thoughts on each. Data from those focus groups was used to further develop overcrowding strategies, which will be presented at the summer input meetings. (Balt. Sun)

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July 3 // Former Kentucky superintendent appointed head of Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic schools

Donna Hargens, the former superintendent of a large public school system in Kentucky, will head the 44 Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic schools beginning Monday. After an extensive search for a new superintendent, the archdiocese made the decision to hire Hargens in the past week, said Lauren Robinson, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese. Hargens led the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville for seven years, but stepped down in April after calls for her resignation. She reached an agreement with the county school board for her to leave the $276,000 post, according to The Courier-Journal. (Balt. Sun)

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Youthworks Helps Teen Who Dreams Of Being OBGYN Get Real-Life Experience

Baltimore City leaders know that getting kids summer jobs will help them have a better chance for college or a career. The city’s summer Youthworks program helps place students with local businesses. DeArra Harris-Crews is an intern at Shock Trauma where on Monday she was learning how to set up the simulated resuscitation room. The University of Maryland Medical Center pays 70 students like DeArra to be here as a part of the mayor’s Youthworks program. At 17, DeArra knows she wants to be an OBGYN. “Because I delivered my own baby,” she said. (WJZ-CBS)

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Pre-K to expand during Washington County 2018-19 school year

For the first time, students across Washington County will have access to prekindergarten this coming school year. With the opening of pre-K programs at Boonsboro, Fountain Rock, Pleasant Valley and Greenbrier elementary schools in September, classes will be available at every primary site in the Washington County Public Schools system. The only exceptions, according to Stacy Henson, coordinator for early learning for WCPS, are Eastern Elementary School, which has grades three through five, and Fountaindale, which sends students to the North High Little Hubs program at North Hagerstown High School. (Herald-Mail)

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Two years after social host ordinance, complaints of off-campus parties near Towson University plummet

Two years after the social host ordinance took effect, a Baltimore County initiative designed to quell disruptive and loud college parties in residential neighborhoods, residents say they are seeing positive results. “You can tell from the numbers,” said Greg Bauer, president of the community association for Burkleigh Square, one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by raucous students from Towson University. “If we’re not pleased, something’s very wrong.” Bauer was referring to the number of complaints of off-campus disruptive behavior, which have plummeted since the social host ordinance went into effect in February 2016. (Balt. Sun)

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