School Notes: Board of Ed To Decide on Turf Fields at Einstein High, Julius West Middle

Plus: Baltimore Sun reports on absentee rates; look out for former Rockville student on Nickelodeon


The field at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville


The Montgomery County school board on Tuesday is set to discuss installing artificial turf fields at two more schools—Albert Einstein High and Julius West Middle.

The roughly $3.7 million contract under consideration would be with a South Carolina-based company called Sprinturf LLC. The turf installation would cost about $2.66 million at Julius West in Rockville and $1.05 million at Einstein in Kensington.

Parents, officials and community members have sharply divided opinions on synthetic fields. When the school board in April approved an artificial play surface for Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, several people testified in strong opposition to the move, contending the field’s mineral infill has not been proven safe. Other parents view the synthetic surfaces as a welcome substitute to natural grass fields that are difficult to maintain.

Montgomery County Public Schools is looking at installing the three fields at Einstein, Julius West and Whitman through an agreement with Montgomery Soccer Inc. In 2016, MSI agreed to pay up to $5.2 million for the three synthetic surfaces. In exchange, MSI would have the right to use the fields.

The school board in April approved a $1.344 million contract with Sunny Acres Landscaping, a company based in Davidsonville.

The project to install Whitman’s field should wrap up by the start of the fall athletic season, an MCPS spokeswoman said.

Baltimore Sun reporting sheds light on absentee rates in MCPS

The Baltimore Sun this week published an article on rates of chronic absenteeism at public schools across Maryland.

The city of Baltimore had the highest rates of any Maryland school district, with about 37 percent of students deemed chronically absent in the 2016-2017 academic year. The state defines chronic absenteeism as missing at least 10 percent of school days in a given year.

The Sun's database of information from the Maryland State Department of Education also included rates for Montgomery County schools:

  • Bethesda-Chevy Chase High: 20.1 percent chronically absent;
  • Walt Whitman High: 16.5 percent chronically absent;
  • Walter Johnson High: 18.6 percent chronically absent;
  • Winston Churchill High: 17.2 percent chronically absent;
  • Montgomery Blair High: 25.1 percent chronically absent;
  • Richard Montgomery High: 27.2 percent chronically absent;
  • Rockville High: 22.6 percent chronically absent;
  • Thomas S. Wootton High: 15.3 percent chronically absent; and
  • Albert Einstein High: 29.8 percent chronically absent.

Nickelodeon show features former Rockville High student

A former Rockville High student has landed a role in a Nickelodeon TV series and has moved to Miami to act in the part.

Amina Alzouma appeared in the first season of the show, “I Am Frankie,” and was recently signed on for the second season, according to the Rampage, the student newspaper for Rockville High. The show filmed in Florida is about a teenage girl who is secretly an android.

Alzouma acted in several Rockville High productions when she attended the school, the Rampage article reported.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at

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