School Notes: Eastern Middle School Students Receive National Honors in C-SPAN Contest

Plus: State Department of Education to host town hall about early childhood development; School board recognizes National Autism Awareness Month

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Eastern Middle School students receive national honors in C-SPAN contest

Sixteen production teams comprised of 43 eighth-grade students in Eastern Middle School’s humanities and communications magnet program have been chosen as winners of a national documentary contest sponsored by the cable TV public affairs service C-SPAN.

The awards for the Silver Spring students include one first-place entry, two second-place entries, two third-place entries and 11 honorable mentions.

C-SPAN representatives will distribute cash prizes to the winning teams at the school on March 29.

More than 6,300 students from across the country participated in the competition on topics ranging from First Amendment rights, equality and discrimination and immigration.

State Department of Education to host town hall about early childhood development

Representatives from the Maryland State Department of Education, in conjunction with the state departments of health and human services will hold a series of regional town hall meetings this spring about the state’s early childhood care and education system.

“This is an opportunity for the three state agencies that oversee early childhood programs and services in Maryland to collaborate together in a nine-stop listening tour,” Division of Early Childhood Assistant State Superintendent Steven Hicks said in a statement. “Our focus is finding out what parents, early childhood educators, policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders see as our greatest challenges and opportunities to building a well-coordinated and integrated early care and education system in Maryland.”

Montgomery County’s meetings will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 17 at Montgomery College’s Silver Spring campus.

The state Department of Education was recently awarded a $10.6 million federal grant to help conduct a statewide early childhood needs assessment.

Montgomery County earlier this month announced a “four-year action plan” aimed at increasing the availability of affordable or free childcare and pre-kindergarten for low-income families.

Montgomery school board recognizes National Autism Awareness Month

At its meeting this week, the Montgomery County Board of Education recognized April as National Autism Awareness Month, in honor of the approximately 2,400 county students with autism spectrum disorders.

In its resolution, the board reiterated its commitment to supporting students with autism and its obligation to “provide high-quality education and services from birth through age 21.”

A 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the prevalence of autism has doubled since 2004, affecting as many as one in 59 children.

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