Starr: Standardized tests shouldn't grade teachers

As a new state assessment for student performance approaches, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr said he will be looking to see how federal education officials expect the test results to affect teacher evaluations. “I think there’s a real question before us: to what extent will [the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers test] be used in teacher performance evaluations?” Starr said Wednesday. While he will follow the law, Starr said he will also guard the system’s current method for evaluating teachers. (Gazette)

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As temperatures dropped, questions raised at Upper Marlboro school

Temperatures dropped to as low as -11 degrees with the wind chill Jan. 7, but that didn’t stop Barack Obama Elementary School students from attending school — even though the building struggled to keep heat on most of the day. Parents have expressed frustration that they weren’t notified sooner that the school was having heating issues and question whether a process could be implemented that would allow them to decide whether to take their children out of school for the day. (Gazette)

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Naval Academy announces nuclear engineering major

U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen can now major in nuclear engineering, and the school is offering aerospace engineering majors a chance to specialize in rotorcraft engineering for Navy and Marine Corps leadership positions related to vertical lift aircraft. The academy announced Thursday that the nuclear engineering major will be available to the class of 2017. The rotorcraft engineering specialty will be the only formal undergraduate program of its kind in the nation, the academy said. (Capital)

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Transportation study for Harford schools supports bus route changes

A study by a school bus consulting firm, that included the consultants' support of unpopular cutbacks school officials made to transportation for the current school year, was presented to the Harford County Board of Education Monday. Members of the board approved a series of cost-cutting measures to reconcile the current year's budget with what local, state and federal funding sources provided, including transportation changes, such as eliminating direct transportation from home to school for magnet program students, and placing four elementary schools in the school system's Tier 4 schedule, with later starting and dismissal times. (Balt. Sun)

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Jan. 16 // Montessori school, Montgomery County’s only public charter, plans to close

The only public charter school in Montgomery County will shut down at the end of the school year because it has struggled with its finances and can’t afford to stay open. The Board of Directors for Crossway Community Inc., which operates Crossway Community Montessori School, voted to terminate its charter, school officials said Wednesday. The Kensington school, the first and only charter to open in Montgomery, has been in operation for two years. (Wash. Post)

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Baltimore County teacher is finalist for national Teacher of the Year

Sean McComb was sitting Wednesday morning on one of the worn wooden benches at Baltimore's Penn Station reading a book on how to improve teaching when his phone began to buzz wildly with text messages and email notifications. (Balt. Sun)

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Leggett proposes boost in school construction in Montgomery capital budget

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, who is pressing Maryland lawmakers for a major boost in state funding of school construction and repair, proposed a capital budget Wednesday with significantly more local dollars for the effort. “It gives us an opportunity, at least from a local standpoint, to address the challenges,” Leggett told council members at a Wednesday morning briefing. (Wash. Post)

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Prince George’s school board approves before- and after-school fee hikes

The cost of the before- and after-care program in Prince George’s County Public Schools will be going up beginning July 1. School system CEO Kevin Maxwell said the program, which provides care for approximately 2,900 students, was designed to be self-supporting, rather than relying on funds from the school system. (Gazette)

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