School Notes: Newport Middle in Kensington Named a Green Ribbon School

School Notes: Newport Middle in Kensington Named a Green Ribbon School

Plus: Rockville school to roll out aviation program; Smith calls on lawmakers to address school safety

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Newport Mills Middle School


Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington was one of 46 schools across the nation to win federal recognition this year for eco-friendly practices.

The U.S. Department of Education sponsors the Green Ribbon Schools Award program. The award recognizes schools for trying to save energy, fostering health and wellness, teaching students about the environment and creating sustainable learning spaces, according to a Montgomery County Public Schools news release.

MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith congratulated the school after this week’s announcement.

“It is the dedication and tireless efforts of their staff, students and families that has led to this national recognition and, as a district, we remain committed to fostering healthy and productive learning environments and reducing our impact on the environment,” Smith said.

The school’s principal, Panagiota Tsonis, said Newport Mill works to lower environmental costs and promote staff and student wellness.

Newport Mill has a school energy and recycling team, an outdoor classroom, a schoolwide science and engineering expo and offers environmental lessons and a stream study with the Audubon Naturalist Society, the release stated.

Since the award’s creation in 2011, eight other MCPS schools have received it: William Tyler Page, Travilah, Cedar Grove and Summit Hall elementary schools; John Poole, Sligo and Francis Scott Key middle schools; and Northwest High School.

Magruder High to offer aviation program

Some students at Col. Zadok Magruder High School in Rockville will soon be enrolling in a course that encourages them to keep their heads in the clouds.

Next year, the school will begin offering an aviation program in collaboration with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, as reported by Montgomery Community Media. The science, technology, engineering and math program aims to prepare the workers of tomorrow in the aviation field. Students who are interested in becoming pilots will complete ground school toward obtaining a pilot certificate. Other students can get on track to become a drone pilot or to enter the aerospace engineering field.

MCPS superintendent calls for legislative action on school safety

Smith urged federal and state lawmakers to take action on school safety, following Friday’s fatal shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

In a Twitter post, Smith said “our hearts ache” for those affected by the shooting that killed at least 10 and injured another 10.

“School systems around the country are committed to safety, but we can’t do it alone,” Smith wrote. “Federal and state officials must act now to help us keep our schools safe and prevent another tragedy.”

He later posted a longer statement on the MCPS website.

Also on Friday, the assistant principal of Winston Churchill High in Potomac notified parents that students plan to set up a display bringing attention to gun violence.

The students on Monday will arrange more than 200 T-shirts—each with the name of a student killed in a shooting—on the school fence facing Gainsborough Road. The shirts will stay there until Wednesday, the assistant principal wrote.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students put the shirts outside their school in late April.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at

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