School Notes: Elementary Schools in Silver Spring Will Try Longer Academic Years

Plus: Logic gives Walt Whitman a shout-out; Potomac student to skate at national championship


Two Silver Spring schools—Arcola and Roscoe R. Nix elementary schools—will test out an extended academic year as officials look to prevent students from backsliding over summer break, The Washington Post reports.

Superintendent Jack Smith in early December first announced his plan to keep kids in class into July at a couple of schools in the county. Both sites would start school after Labor Day, along with other Montgomery County Public Schools students.

When Smith presented his spending plan, he again explained that his proposal was based on the idea that learning levels can be more constant across the school system if classroom time is flexible.

“This will simply say as the regular way we operate, we are going to provide more time for children in schools that are the most impacted by poverty,” he said in an interview this month.

At that point, he said the MCPS administration still was working with the schools in question, and he wasn’t ready to announce the locations.

The Post reported last week that MCPS officials have chosen Arcola Elementary and Roscoe R. Nix Elementary, but are open to expanding the program in the future. About 77 percent of students at each school are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, a common measure of poverty. 

While Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered school systems across the state to end the academic year by June 15, Smith has said MCPS could apply for a waiver to test the extended year model.

Rapper mentions Walt Whitman High during concert

The rapper Logic, whose album “Everybody” topped the Billboard 200 albums chart in May, gave a shout-out to Walt Whitman High School during a D.C. concert earlier this month, the school’s newspaper reported.

Logic mentioned the Bethesda school while performing at the Hot 99.5’s Jingle Ball at Capital One Arena on Dec. 11, according to The Black & White.

The rapper, who grew up in Gaithersburg, performed the song “1-800-273-8255,” which is named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

As he introduced the song, he said, “This one goes out to Whitman,” the paper reported. 

Whitman sophomore Jordana “Jojo” Greenberg died by suicide in November.

Local ice dancer to skate in national competition

A fifth-grader from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac will be competing this weekend as an ice dancer in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Zoe Sensenbrenner began ice skating lessons when she was 5 years old and has won a number of awards in skating competitions. She and her partner, Matthew Sperry, participated in their first ice dancing contest in Lake Placid, New York, in July, according to a blog post on the St. Andrew’s site.

They won gold at the Pacific Coast Sectional Figure Skating Championships in November and are now heading to the national championships in San Jose, California.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at

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