A ‘walking school bus’ keeps kids safe, boosts neighborhood

Moments after dismissal, hundreds of students pour outside from the back doors of Frederick Elementary School in Baltimore. Some hop into waiting cars while others begin the short walk to row homes on nearby blocks. But a small group of children hangs back, forming a single-file line against a chain-link fence, and waits to be led home by adults in what’s called a ‘walking school bus’ — which doesn’t actually involve a bus. (Wash. Post)

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Special O.P.T.S. on a mission to educate teens about opioid addiction

“Please give us your undivided attention. It’s not easy for us to get up here and tell you our truth,” said Tim Weber as he stood before an assembly of high school juniors and seniors and relayed the story of the heroin addiction that he said caused him to spend years of his life in a state of mind he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy. (Carr. Co. Times)

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For rocket launch project, NASA, Snow Hill Middle students join forces

As students crowd around Everett Evansky's laptop, the Snow Hill Middle School seventh grade science teacher asks the group to read information off a computer chip. Students peer into the chip's display board, reading off lux numbers, a measuring unit for luminosity, in real time. The teacher is able to affect the light by shining more light into the chip with his iPhone or less light by covering part of the chip with a dark material. The computer chip, known as an xChip and created by the South African company XinaBox, is a component of a ThinSat partnership project between Snow Hill Middle and Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority. (Daily Times)

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October 18 // ISO African-Americans to study law: University of Baltimore recruits top talent from historically black colleges

La’Tika Howard decided at age 6 — shortly after her father was murdered — that she would grow up to become a lawyer. But as her college graduation neared, she still hadn’t figured out how to get into law school or pay for it. A flyer posted in the student center of her historically black university revealed a solution: a program at the University of Baltimore’s law school that recruits African-American undergraduates. It’s an attempt to add to the disproportionately small number of black lawyers in the U.S. The number — as low as 2.3 percent of law partners in Baltimore and 7.5 percent of associates — affects the way black Americans interact with the justice system, corporations shape their products and young people envision their future. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore Teachers Union votes to ratify new contract after months of negotiations

The Baltimore Teachers Union has voted overwhelmingly to ratify a three-year contract with the school board after more than a year and a half of tense negotiations. The contract approved Monday night ensures teachers’ health care benefits through the end of 2019 and provides them with a one-time stipend of 1 percent of their 2016-2017 salaries. The union will continue bargaining for cost-of-living adjustments in coming years. “These negotiations have been long and tiring,” BTU President Marietta English said in a statement. “In the end, in an environment where the future of health care is largely uncertain, our educators agreed to pay more to guarantee the quality health care they deserve for the next two years.” (Balt. Sun)

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Kirwan Commission considers large-scale tutoring plan to close proficiency gaps

Maryland has one of the highest household incomes in the U.S., but only 40% of its students met proficiency standards in reading and math on the PARCC assessments in 2017, a Johns Hopkins University researcher told the Kirwin Commission last week. A $1.46 billion plan using one-on-one and small group and tutoring would help close the gap between top performing students and those who struggle to keep up, Robert Slavin, Johns Hopkins University Director of Research and Reform in Education said. “Nobody wants more taxes,” Slavin said. “But it’s not to the moon. It’s not something Maryland can’t do. The proposal outlines a statewide approach intended to enable virtually all students in Maryland to reach the proficient level on PARCC.” (Md. Reporter)

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Parent urges relief for crowding at Johnnycake Elementary School

The mother of two students at Johnnycake Elementary School asked the county for relief from overcrowding as southwest Baltimore County parents and educators gathered at the school last night to offer input ahead of next year’s school budget process. “We’re busting at the seams,” said Rachel Smith. The school of 699 students is 140 students over capacity. Smith pointed to Johnnycake’s six “cottages,” a euphemism for classroom trailers, saying other schools have one or two. She also said the school serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., staggering classes to fit all the students a too-small cafeteria. (Balt. Sun)

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Bowie State student's stabbing death at University of Maryland to be prosecuted as a hate crime

A former University of Maryland student charged with fatally stabbing a Bowie State student in the spring was indicted on a hate-crime charge Tuesday by a Prince George’s County grand jury. “We are completely comfortable with the indictment in this case,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks said in a news conference announcing the charge. Army 2nd Lt. Richard W. Collins III, 23, who was black, had been visiting friends at College Park in May when a white UM student, Sean Urbanski, 22, approached them outside. (Balt. Sun)

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