December 2005 Newsbriefs

Dec. 16, 2005, midnight | By Adam Yalowitz | 15 years, 10 months ago

Blair makes AYP

Blair met state standards for reading and satisfied the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirement for the 2005 school year. After failing to meet geometry standards and make AYP for two years in a row, Blair met all requirements for the 2004-2005 school year. If Blair maintains AYP next year, it will exit its "School Improvement Year 1" status.

To satisfy AYP, established by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, each Maryland school is required to satisfy standards measured annually by the Maryland School Assessments in 37 different racial and socioeconomic subgroups. If a school does not achieve all of the requirements in the same reported area for two years in a row, it enters "School Improvement Year 1," after which the school progresses to a higher level of School Improvement for each year it does not meet standards for the failed areas. This may eventually include the replacement of school staff and the takeover of school operations by the state government. A school exits School Improvement if it passes all state standards for two consecutive years.

Supreme Court rules in 'Schaffer v. Weast'

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of MCPS on Nov. 14 in a case involving the administration of special education plans in schools. The case, "Schaffer v. Weast," concerned the dispute over the adequacy and implementation of Individual Education Programs (IEPs). The Individuals with Disabilities Act requires that schools provide IEPs in order to aid and enhance the learning of students with disabilities who are not being adequately instructed.

The decision upheld the legal system's practice of placing the burden of proof on parents of special education students who want to request an IEP.

County to sue FDA over imported drugs

Montgomery County plans to sue the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the county's plan to import prescription drugs from Canada, according to The Washington Post. County Executive Doug Duncan said that he hopes to receive a waiver from the FDA to import drugs from Canada.

The County Council passed a bill on Nov. 1 mandating that the county participate in a contract to allow its government employees to import cheaper Canadian pharmaceuticals prescribed for chronic illnesses.

SGR, Amnesty International hold Sudan teach-in

John Heffernan, a senior investigator for Physicians for Human Rights, gave a lecture on the Sudanese genocide after school Nov. 17 in the media center. The lecture was hosted by Students for Global Responsibility (SGR) and Amnesty International. Heffernan held discussions at 2:10 p.m. and 3 p.m. that covered a wide variety of subjects related to the alleged genocide in Darfur. His presentation included a brief history of the crisis, a video that he and a coworker filmed in Sudan earlier this year and a short question-and-answer session

Heffernan lived in Sudan for two years in the 1990s. After visiting dozens of villages and interviewing refugees, Heffernan and his team concluded that "there was [an] organized attempt to affect a group annihilation." His team's findings have helped contribute to the general response of the U.S. government towards the crisis. The groups hope Heffernan's visit will be the beginning of several activities at Blair to raise awareness about the genocide in Darfur. SGR will be holding its annual charity concert, SGR Spectacular, on Dec. 16 in the SAC, and proceeds will benefit Sudanese refugees. The concert will feature performances by Blair's STEP team, InToneNation and several other clubs and student groups.

Shots fired in Beltway chase

Police pursued four shoplifting suspects Dec. 1 in a rush-hour chase around the Beltway, ending with the crash of the suspects' vehicle on Colesville Road, according to police press releases. Three of the suspects were arrested, and one was taken to MedStar hospital after receiving gunshot wounds from police.

Plainclothes Fairfax County police officers noticed that the four suspects, three women and a man, were behaving suspiciously while at the Tysons Corner Center mall. After they left, police pulled over their car, a gray Honda Civic, but were met with a confrontation in which shots were fired. Two officers were injured during the traffic stop, but neither was shot.

Two Blair students allegedly involved in knifing

Senior Renley Andrews, 18, was injured in an alleged knifing at a party on Nov. 4, according to an official police report. Senior Jay Asbell, 18, was arrested and charged with first-degree assault and possession of a deadly weapon in connection with the incident.

According to the police report, Andrews was admitted to Suburban Hospital for treatment of several lacerations to the face, torso and hand he sustained during the incident and received more than 40 stitches and staples. He was released several hours later.

Because police are still investigating the incident, both Andrews and Asbell declined to comment.

Newsbriefs compiled by Adam Yalowitz with additional reporting by Isaac Arnsdorf, Lois Bangiolo, Alexis Egan, Jordan Goldstein, Zahra Gordon, Varun Gulati, Alex Hyder, Allie O'Hora, Adith Sekaran, Lynda Seumo, Abe Schwadron, Ekta Taneja and Josh Zipin.

Guidance Corner
Resource counselor Marcia Johnson congratulates all of Blair's outstanding AP Scholars and reminds students not to forget any of the major upcoming events.
Important Dates:
•Dec. 16 – SGR Spectacular, 6:30 p.m., SAC
•Dec. 26-30 – No school for students and teachers, winter break
•Jan. 6 – Winter choral concert, 7:30 p.m., auditorium
•Dec. 13, 16-19 – Semester exams
•Jan. 20 – Second marking period ends
•Jan. 23 – No school for students, report card preparation

•Blair's cheerleaders placed second in the 18th annual MCPS Division Two Cheerleading Competition last Saturday at Blair. The cheerleaders also received the spirit award.
•The Blair community Ultimate Frisbee team, "Homecooked," is ranked fifth in the nation. The team is currently undefeated.
•Blair 2005 graduate Martino Choi was a State AP Scholar, one of two in Maryland. Choi took 16 AP exams during his junior and senior years.
•A record 160 MCPS students were among the nation's top performers on the Advanced Placement (AP) exams last spring. Students qualify to become National AP Scholars by receiving a score of 4 or higher on at least eight AP exams. The following Blair seniors and 2005 graduates were named National AP Scholars: Douglas Adams, Daniel Aisen, Alexander Alm, Wilma Bainbridge, Jeffrey Cao, Daniel Chamberlain, Vivek Chellappa, Jonathan Chiang, Patrick Detzner, Rohit Dewan, William Dreher, Jeffrey Dunn, Eric Esch, Abigail Fraeman, Jeremy Goodman, Ariel Halper-Stromber, Dan Han, Gregory Howard, Grace Huang, Andy Jiang, Matthew Jordan, Ravi Joseph, Ashley Jurinka, Kevin Kahn, John Kim, Saul Kinter, Siwei Kwok, James Lee, Kendra Leigh, Alice Li, Xiaoke Li, Eric Ma, Alexander Mont, Teresa Ramirez, John Silberholz, Adrienne Smith, Denis Sosnovtsev, Timothy Sy, Nicholas Tucker, Prasanna Vasudevan, Jacquelin Villadsen, Kathy Wang, Max Wasserman, David White, Samuel Wright, Min Wu, Kristina Yang, Jessica Yen, Lida You, Katherine Zhang and Chelsea Zhang.

Adam Yalowitz. Adam Yalowitz is just silly. You may find him asking you how much sleep you got last night and then smirking when you say "five hours," because he's always slept less, no matter what. When he does sleep, he dreams of Barack Obama, Tastee Diner … More »

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