School Notes: Bethesda-Chevy Chase High Students To Perform at Governor’s Inauguration

Plus: Upcoming opportunities to weigh in on school system’s operating budget; Smith issues statement about grading, assessments

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Bethesda-Chevy Chase High students to perform at governor’s inauguration

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Chamber Choir is among several musical ensembles slated to perform at the governor’s inauguration on Wednesday.

The choir consists of high school sophomores, juniors and seniors and will perform between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the State House in Annapolis during pre-inauguration events, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Other performers include the 229th Army Band of the Maryland Army National Guard, the Cardinal Shehan School Choir and the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Chamber Choir.

Upcoming opportunities to weigh in on school system’s operating budget

Montgomery County Public Schools staff invites community members to weigh in on its proposed fiscal 2020 operating budget at several upcoming public forums.

The county Board of Education will host a public forum from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at the Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville.

Montgomery County Council member Craig Rice, who chairs the council’s education and culture committee, will host five education budget forums beginning Feb. 20 at Neelsville Middle School. He will be joined at the forums by school system superintendent Jack Smith.

The other four forums will be held Feb. 27 at Col. E Brooke Lee Middle School; March 6 at Rockville High School; March 11 at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School; and March 27 at Montgomery College’s Takoma Park campus. Each forum is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Maryland funds about 27 percent of the school system budget, while the county government provides about 65 percent. Remaining money comes from the federal government and other revenue sources.

Smith has proposed a $2.65 billion operating budget for fiscal 2020.

Smith issues statement about school grading, assessments

In response to recent news reports outlining concerns about grade inflation after the school system implemented a new grading policy last year, Superintendent Jack Smith this week issued a statement outlining what he feels are possible explanations for a spike in A’s issued.

The percentage of A’s in math and English doubled from the first semester of 2014-2015 to last school year and rose significantly in English and science courses, as well.

In his statement posted on the school district website, Smith said it’s possible new grading practices have led to unintentional grade inflation, but it’s also possible previous models “suppressed student outcomes and that current grades better reflect” student success. Additionally, he said there could be factors unrelated to the grading policy, such as improved teaching practices, that lead to the increased high marks.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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