Increased Enrollment, New Renovations Highlight First Day of School

August 30, 2010

  Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) kicks off the 2010-2011 school year today with 144,000 students—an increase of 2,200 students over last year—and the opening of six major school construction and renovation projects.
   Students at Cresthaven Elementary in Silver Spring and Carderock Springs Elementary in Bethesda return to new, environmentally-friendly buildings that feature gymnasiums and expanded classroom space. Both schools have been LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified through the United States Green Building Council for their use of sustainable building features.
   Other major projects debuting on the first day of school are the modernization of Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, and classroom additions at East Silver Spring, Sherwood, and Takoma Park elementary schools.
   “I am excited to kick off another great school year in Montgomery County,” said Patricia O’Neill, the president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “Our staff has been working hard all summer to prepare for the new school year, so our students can continue to make outstanding progress in all areas.”
   Preparing all students for college and career readiness remains at the center of MCPS’ mission. This year, a groundbreaking, integrated curriculum that blends the arts, science, social studies and physical education with the core subjects of reading and mathematics will be taught to students in kindergarten and first grade in over 100 MCPS elementary schools. This builds on last year’s successful rollout of the curriculum in kindergarten. 
   “We have a busy and exciting year ahead at MCPS, and this is opening day,” said Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast. “We have the best staff in the nation, a highly supportive and engaged community and exceptional students who I know will continue to build upon the tremendous progress we’ve made over the past 11 years."

MCPS already has a strong array of achievements, including:
   - In 2009, MCPS students took, and passed, Advanced Placement exams in record numbers.
   - MCPS has the highest graduation rate (83.1 percent) among the nation’s largest school districts, according to Education Week.
   - The class of 2010 earned more than $234 million in college scholarships, the most ever, and an increase of nearly $50 million from 2009.
   - The district is one of five finalists for the $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, which recognizes large school districts that have raised student performance and narrowed the achievement gap. The winner will be announced in October.

Other Highlights of the 2010-2011 School Year:
   - Roughly 11,500 teachers—434 of them new to MCPS—will greet students.  About 25 percent of the new teachers are MCPS graduates.
   - MCPS has 26 principals and 70 assistant principals who are newly-appointed to their positions.
   - More than 1,100 buses will pick up and deliver 96,000 students and travel about 100,000 miles every day—equivalent to four trips around the equator.
   - School meals will be healthier than ever in MCPS.  All flavored milks will be non-fat, and snacks served to elementary students will not exceed 240 milligrams of sodium. Cafeteria serving lines will feature signs that provide caloric information for entrée items.

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