School Notes: Five Montgomery Schools Listed among Nation’s Best for STEM Education

School Notes: Five Montgomery Schools Listed among Nation’s Best for STEM Education

Plus: MCPS enrollment still growing mid-year; School board to vote on capital budget, CIP

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Five Montgomery schools listed among nation’s best for STEM

Five Montgomery County schools were listed among the top 500 for STEM education in the country. The list was released this month by Newsweek, a weekly news magazine with a focus on science, technology and engineering.

Poolesville High School was the highest ranking Montgomery County school, at 121. Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville was ranked No. 160.

Holton-Arms School, a private school in Bethesda, was No. 243, Winston Churchill High School in Potomac was No. 282 and Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda was No. 419.

“We found schools in every region of the country that offer skilled teachers who keep up with developments in these fields and who create dynamic learning environments to engage their students,” Newsweek wrote in its post announcing the list.

MCPS enrollment still growing

Montgomery County Public Schools, which gained more than 2,500 students by the start of the academic year, is still growing, according to the superintendent.

During a school board meeting on Tuesday, Superintendent Jack Smith said the most recent enrollment count for MCPS showed the state’s largest school district had surpassed 166,000 students. That reflects a roughly 500-student increase since the start of the school year.

The state Department of Education conducts an official count of school districts’ enrollment on the last day of September each year. The official count is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

MCPS enrollment forecasts had anticipated an enrollment of about 163,400 students this year.

School board to take final vote on capital budget

After several weeks of work sessions and public hearings, the Montgomery County Board of Education will finalize the school district’s capital budget and capital improvements program on Tuesday.

At the beginning of November, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith released his recommended capital budget and capital improvements plan, which together total $1.82 billion and sets the long-range plan for school construction.

Nine schools are tabbed for “major projects” and more than 15 others would get additions under the proposed budgets. MCPS staff members said the projects would add space for more than 14,000 students in a school district strained by ballooning enrollment.

The school board will meet on Tuesday to take a final vote on the construction plans, which will then be sent to the County Council and County Executive Marc Elrich for consideration.

The school board meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the MCPS headquarters in Rockville.

Blair students win hacking competition

Students at Montgomery Blair High School won “the world’s biggest student hacking competition” in Brooklyn, N.Y., this month.

The event included hundreds of students from across the country who participated in competitions mimicking cyber security threats.

Montgomery Blair’s team placed first in the high school category of the competition. Winners received scholarships to NYU Tandon School of Engineering in New York.

MCPS convening ‘family engagement’ group

The Montgomery County school district is seeking applications from community members interested in being part of a new group to provide feedback on its programs and initiatives.

The MCPS Family Engagement Advisory Team will meet at least seven times each year and members will be required to serve a two-year term.

The group will discuss and review a range of happenings in MCPS, including equity initiatives, curriculum and policy decisions.

Applicants must have a student in the school system to be considered.

Applications are due Dec. 13 and are available at each school.

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