October 2004 Newsbriefs

Oct. 7, 2004, midnight | By Ravi Umarji, Seema Kacker, Renee Park | 16 years, 8 months ago


Homecoming game will occur tomorrow
The homecoming football game will take place tomorrow, Oct. 8, two weeks earlier than last year's game, which was on Oct. 24. Blair's varsity football team will take on Wheaton at 6:30 p.m., and the game will be followed by the Homecoming Dance on Oct. 9 from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

SGA Sponsor Rondai Ravilious said that she is unconcerned about the unusual scheduling of the events. "I have an incredibly efficient SGA," she said. "Would I have liked some more time? Sure. But with the students I have this year, I think we'll be fine."

Downcounty Superintendent replaced
Stephen Bedford succeeded Walter Gibson as Downcounty Superintendent on Aug. 5, placing him in charge of the Blair, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Northwood and Wheaton cluster. Bedford, former Superintendent of the Col. Zadok Magruder, Damascus, Gaithersburg and Watkins Mill cluster, was previously principal of Gaithersburg.

Principal Phillip Gainous said that Bedford will be an asset to Blair. "Mr. Bedford is not too far out of principalism, so he still knows and understands the job," he said. "We think very highly of him."

Gainous said that the primary difference between Bedford and Gibson is that Bedford is more familiar with the area and is more detail-oriented in terms of student statistics. "Bedford understands the County better," Gainous said. "He's more data-driven than Gibson. Gibson is more research-driven."

Blair MSA scores improve
Blair's Maryland School Assessment scores jumped from the 2003 to 2004 school year, with 41.6 percent of students reading at an advanced level, up from only 35.1 percent the previous year. The percentage of Blazers who read at a basic level dropped from 41.6 percent to 35.5 percent. Blair students did not score as well as other students in Montgomery County—44.5 percent of Montgomery County students read at an advanced level, and only 27.4 percent read at a basic level.

Principal Phillip Gainous said that he would like to attribute the improved results to better instruction in the classroom. "I'm hoping that we're passing due to our own curriculum," Gainous said. "I hope that we're doing a better job of teaching."

Gainous pointed out that definite conclusions cannot be drawn yet. "You can't say anything until more results come in," he said.

New teachers in English and math departments
About half of the 36 new teachers hired at Blair this year are filling positions in the English and math departments, according to administration.

Both departments have struggled to overcome the loss of many veteran teachers, many of whom retired or transferred, said Blair officials. Each department had to hire approximately one-fourth of their staff this year, reflecting the higher rate of MCPS teacher applicants.

The English department alone lost eight veteran staff members out of a staff of 32 and had two new positions created for the ninth- grade Academies and Connections programs, said Vickie Adamson, the English Resource Teacher. The math department lost five of its 28 teachers and also expanded, opening three new positions.

According to Assistant Principal Linda Wanner, most other departments gained only one or two new teachers this summer.

Newsbriefs compiled by Ravi Umarji
with additional reporting by Seema Kacker and Renee Park


• Blair had 55 National Merit Semi-Finalists. Seniors Douglas Adams , Suzanne Adjogah, Daniel Aisen, Erica Anderson, Alan Bateman, Lydia Beasley, Koyel Bhattacharyya, Lauren Briese, John Chai, Vivek Chellappa, Martino Choi, Gregory Cox, Max Czapanskiy, Patrick Detzner, Srikanth Divi, Gregory Eden, Abigail Fraeman, Ilya Ganelin, Bradford Gee, Sherri Geng, Daniel Hakim, Dan Han, Matt Jordan, Gregory Jukes, Seema Kacker, Anahita Karimi, Saul Kinter , Justin Kovac , Siwei Kwok, Amanda Lee, Tencia Lee, Julia Leeman, Kendra Leigh, Randolph Li, Xiaoke Li, Nathaniel Lichten, Willington Lin, Eric Ma, Alexander Mont, Renee Park, Sheila Rajagopal, Amelia Sagoff, Joanna Skeath, Lauren Smith, Denis Sosnovtsev, Albert Tsao, Prasanna Vasudevan, Jacqueline Villadsen, Robert Vlacich, Kathy Wang, Max Wasserman, Min Wu, Yichen Xing, Kristina Yang and Lida You qualified based on their PSAT/NMSQT scores.

• Senior David Crawford won third place in the Ayn Rand Institute 2004 Essay Competition. Crawford is one of five third-place winners to receive $1,000 for his essay based on Rand's book, The Fountainhead .

• Senior Sherri Geng won second place in the 2004 National Student Press Association Story of the Year Award for features.

Guidance Corner

Seniors interested in participating in the 2005 Student Page Program for the Maryland General Assembly, a program in which students distribute materials, run errands, answer the phone and deliver messages to members of the Maryland General Assembly should contact MCPS Student Affairs Coordinator Karen Crawford at (301) 279-4957.

Resource Counselor Karen Hunt reminds students of the following
upcoming deadlines:

•Oct. 9—SAT I and II administered
•Oct. 13—PSAT administered
•Oct. 15—No school: Maryland State Teachers Convention
•Oct. 23—ACT administered
•Oct. 29—End of first marking period
Registration deadline for Dec. 4 SAT I and II
•Nov. 1—No school: Professional Day
•Nov. 2—No school: Elections
•Nov. 5—Registration deadline for Dec. 11 ACT
•Nov. 6—SAT I and II administered

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Ravi Umarji. Ravi is finally a senior in the Magnet. All you need to know about Ravi is that he's a huge Redskins fan (which, until last year, wasn't exactly pleasant). Of course, he's predicting a Super Bowl season next year. His favorite athlete is Lance Armstrong, … More »

Seema Kacker. Seema is a senior in the magnet this year, and is thrilled to be a part of the Online senior staff. She also plays tennis. More »

Renee Park. Renee is a senior in the Magnet Program (finally!) and is psyched about a brand new year of Chips, Chips and more Chips! She's currently wondering why she took MathPhys with Silver Chips and how soon she'll die, but meanwhile, Renee's enjoying writing, reading, studying … More »

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