Virtual High School In The Works For Washington County

Washington County Public Schools are surveying some eighth- and ninth-grade students about what technology and Internet access they have at home, as the school system works on a virtual high school that those students could test this spring, according to the project’s leader. Student interns and teachers have been working on the project, with the students doing research on the design for the 3-D virtual school, while teachers are learning how to develop lesson plans for such an interactive world, project leader Martin Nikirk said. (Herald-Mail)

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Md. College Allows Gender-Neutral Housing

A new open-housing policy at St. Mary's College of Maryland allows students of the opposite sex to be roommates. The policy was designed to provide better housing arrangements for students who do not identify with their birth sex or are uncomfortable living with students of the same sex, said Residence Life Director and Associate Dean of Students Joanne Goldwater. (WBAL-TV)

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Search For New Baltimore Schools CEO Continues

Baltimore City remains a school system in transition. The district is on its way to hiring a new school CEO. The school board could give the green light to its search firm to start a national search. It's been almost four months since the former CEO stepped down. The school board will get a good idea Tuesday night with a profile of who might be in line as a replacement. (WBAL-TV)

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Grant To Be Used For Installing New Sidewalks Near Paramount Elementary

Washington County is receiving $496,000 in state grant funding that will be used to install new sidewalks in the area near Paramount Elementary School north of Hagerstown, a county official said this week. The grant, through the Maryland State Highway Administration’s Safe Routes to Schools Program, will pay for about 600 feet of sidewalks along the eastern side of Marsh Pike, north from the school to the southern entrance of Donnybrook Drive, according to Robert J. Slocum, director of county engineering and construction management. (Herald-Mail)

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Nov. 12 // Pre-K suspensions common in Maryland schools

Dozens of pre-kindergartners were suspended last school year in Maryland, with the most suspensions in Baltimore, highlighting a little-known practice that some education experts say is too extreme for toddlers who are just being introduced to educational settings. The number of out-of-school suspensions in Baltimore for children ages 3 and 4 nearly doubled since the previous year to 33, according to data provided by the city school system. (Balt. Sun)

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Starr talks innovation, hope in 'State of the Schools' speech

Superintendent Joshua P. Starr emphasized innovation and hope during his second State of the Schools speech Monday at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda. Addressing the crowd of about 750 people, Starr said the school system is facing both ongoing problems — such as achievement gaps among student groups — and new challenges — such as the Common Core State Standards and new state assessments. (Gazette)

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Montgomery schools: Absences on Muslim holiday higher, but officials say not overly so

Muslim leaders in Montgomery County may have hit a stumbling block in their efforts to persuade school district officials to declare one of the two major Islamic holy days of the year an official school holiday. With Montgomery’s board of education expected to consider the school calendar at its Tuesday meeting, district officials have released figures they say do not show abnormally high rates of absenteeism for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. (Wash. Post)

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Making STEM learning fun at Clemens Crossing

The gymnasium at Clemens Crossing Elementary School in Columbia was filled with the sounds of children having fun last week — but it wasn't a physical education class or a field day that had students so excited. Rather, they were learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. For many, the day of STEM did feel like learning at all. "It feels like I'm playing," said fifth-grader Robert Finegar, deeply engrossed in putting together K'Nex pieces to form a robot. "But we're learning math and science and actual, real things." (Balt. Sun)

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