County school board remembers Blair Ewing
State to release state school assessment results next week
The Montgomery County school board passed a resolution Tuesday to recognize the contributions of Blair G. Ewing, a former school board member and councilman who died of cancer at age 75 three weeks ago.
With the unanimous vote during its all-day meeting, the county board will send a copy of the resolution to Ewing's family, said school board President Shirley Brandman (At-large) of Bethesda.
The resolution recognized Ewing as a "tireless crusader" and a "highly respected leader who helped to mentor successive generations of board members and who was always generous with his time and insights."
Ewing served on the county school board from 1976 to 1998, including two stints as president. He was on the Montgomery County Council from 1998 to 2002, once serving as president.
In 2007, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) appointed Ewing to the state school board, where he eventually ascended to the vice president's seat, a position he held at the time of his death.
County school board member Judith R. Docca, a former high school principal, said Tuesday that she knew Ewing during his tenure on the Montgomery board.
"He was a tireless worker right up to the very end," said Docca (Dist. 1) of Montgomery Village. "He was a determined person. He expressed his views in ways that weren't ugly."
School board member Laura V. Berthiaume (Dist. 2) of Rockville said, "He was extraordinarily approachable. He was such a hero to the community."
Maryland School Assessments
The state Department of Education is scheduled to release the results of this year's Maryland School Assessments during an all-day meeting with the state school board Tuesday.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, each state is allowed its own tests to assess student progress. Each spring, Maryland gives MSAs in math and reading to third- through eighth-graders.
The No Child act requires that all students must score proficient or better on state tests by the 2013-2014 school year.
County students have made consistent gains on MSAs. Last year, the percentages of students scoring proficient or higher increased, with the biggest gains coming on the fifth- and seventh-grade reading tests. Some 88 percent of seventh-graders scored proficient or higher in reading, while 91 percent of students scored proficient in reading.
The statewide gains last year were the largest since the tests were first administered in 2003. Shortly after the state celebrated the gains, it was learned that the MSAs had been shortened.
School systems throughout the state said they did not know the tests had been changed, even though Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick wrote a memo to all local superintendents in 2007 to announce the changes.
The state school board meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the seventh-floor board room at the Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building, 200 W. Baltimore St. in Baltimore. For more information, call 410-767-0467.
Harvard releases book
on county school system
The Harvard Education Press has issued a book that chronicles the Montgomery County school system's 10-year effort to reform schools and close the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian-American peers.
The book, "Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools," was written by Stacey M. Childress, Denis P. Doyle and David A. Thomas.
The authors found that the school system was successful because it pushed for more rigor, provided differentiated instruction and eliminated race as a predictor to student success, among other factors.
Harvard University faculty members also have published case studies about the school system over the past four years. Go to www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/leadingforequity to read the studies.
The book is available for purchase through the Harvard Education Press. Forty-five percent of the royalties generated from the sales will be donated to fund scholarships through the school system's Educational Foundation.