Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



									                     Montgomery Blair High School Parent                Teacher        Student      Association

                     Volume 11      Issue 1             October/November 2005

                     Dear Parents and Guardians:
                     Welcome to Montgomery Blair High School. The 2005-2006 school year has gotten off to
                     a terrific start. Your students are our first priority. Our goal is to provide all students with
                     the tools and support required to be successful. Please encourage your son or daughter to
                     come to school prepared (ID, Student Assignment Book, class assignments), get plenty of
                     rest, and eat breakfast. Working together, we can ensure the success of our students as
                     they develop into young men and women who will soon graduate and begin a new
                     adventure in college or the workforce.

IN THIS ISSUE        As part of the 9th Grade Academy, we have begun a Saturday Enrichment Program for
                     our 9th graders. The plan is to assist students with additional academic support and to
                     offer an alternative to in-school suspension (ISS) for students who have difficulty staying
 PTSA Presidents
                     focused in class. Our objective is to keep students engaged and in class during the regular
                     school day. We have already received positive feedback from the parents of students that
     page 2
                     have participated in the Saturday Enrichment Program.
    After Prom       All students have been issued a Student Assignment Book. The Student Assignment
     page 4          Book remains an excellent resource for communication between home and school. I
                     encourage you to set aside a regular time each week to review the contents of your
New Grading Policy   child’s Assignment Book with him or her.
     page 4
                     In addition to using the Student Assignment Book, you may also contact a member of our
                     staff by telephone or via e-mail. The Montgomery Blair Parent Handbook is another
   Citrus Sale
                     great reference for you. The Parent Handbook was mailed to each home at the beginning
   Order Form
                     of the school year. Included in the Handbook you will find the 2005-2006 school year
     page 5
                     calendar, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, information on BEN, attendance, athletics,
                     etc. If you did not receive one, please contact our Main Office.
Membership Form      Together, we can provide a positive and successful high school experience for your child.
    page 7
                     Sincerely yours,
 Volunteer Needs     Phillip F. Gainous, Principal
     page 9

 PTSA Calendar       ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○
    page 11
                     Infor mación en Español
                     Se puede encontrar en la página web de la PTSA el formulario en
                     español para la compra de frutas cítricas. (La venta de frutas recauda fondos para el
                     beneficio de Blair High y sus estudiantes.) También tenemos el formulario para afiliarse a
                     la Asociación de Padres de Familia, Maestras y Estudiantes (PTSA por sus siglas en
                     inglés.) Para más información sobre la PTSA y sus actividades, llame a Rosa Sánchez
                     301-270-8667 o

                     Montgomery Blair High School on the Web at www.MBHS.EDU
2                  Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer

Welcome to 2005-2006 at Blair!
For several years now, your PTSA has emphasized three          We’ve made some progress in increasing teacher use of
themes – student achievement, communication, and               BEN, so you can check in on your student’s classes
outreach. We’ve made some important progress on each           electronically. (Don’t have a BEN account? Sign up on
theme.                                                         the Blair website,
Lots of research (as well as common sense) links student       Luckily, we have a great communications team. Barbara
achievement with high expectations from adults who care        Tobias heads up the Blazer staff, backed up by Carol
about the students. The most important adults in most          Lindeman, Virginia Kelly, Rosemary Hodges, and Michael
students’ lives are their parents and other family members.    O’Hora. Together, they write, edit, assemble, and distrib-
Young people learn from what they see as much as from          ute this wonderful newsletter to every Blair family. Barry
what we tell them. If they see you volunteering at Blair,      Johnson keeps our web page up-to-date and looking good
they can’t help but realize that you value education. We       ( And what would we do without
are a very lucky community to have found Beth Martin to        Dave Ottalini, listserv manager extraordinaire! (If you
step into Bonnie Malkin’s shoes as Volunteer Coordinator.      haven’t yet done so, go to the web page and join the
Beth is recruiting Blair parents and guardians, as well as     listserv to get up-to-the-minute information and keep up to
other adults, to volunteer in classrooms, clubs, sports, the   speed on issues of concern.) At the top of our communi-
office, and special events. If you have time and interest in   cations wish list is a parent or team of parents who would
volunteering at Blair (tutoring students, assisting a          volunteer to spearhead an analysis of communication
classroom teacher, supporting our overloaded administra-       gaps and a public relations campaign to let the wider world
tive and counseling staff, or doing any of the other things    know about Blair’s triumphs, events, and ongoing needs.
that help make Blair a great school), please contact Beth
(301- 587-8404, or                     We’ve worked very hard to improve PTSA outreach,
                                                               especially outreach to underrepresented groups. Last
Bonnie Malkin, meanwhile, has moved up. As PTSA Vice           year, the PTSA’s Counseling Advisory Committee
President for Academic Issues, she will make sure we           partnered with the Blair Counseling Department to
know about the County’s new Grading and Reporting              sponsor a special Transition from High School program, in
system, so we will understand how teachers are measuring       Spanish. The PTSA is planning to purchase simultaneous
student achievement. Our November 15 meeting will focus        translation equipment this year, to make it easier for non-
on grading and reporting.                                      English-speaking parents to participate in various meet-
                                                               ings at the school. The PTSA also helped bring
As we all know, however, there is more to student achieve-     Conquista Tus Suenos to the Blair Cluster—a six-session
ment than grades. There are as well those infernal tests,      parent empowerment program to help Spanish-speaking
and more tests, and more tests. Some of us think               parents/guardians learn how to navigate the school
America’s mania for testing has gone way, way over the         system to support their children’s education, and to
edge, but since our schools (as well as our students) are      achieve their own dreams as well. One outcome of our
judged by test scores, it is incumbent upon all of us to get   popular and well-attended Conquista program was a
those test scores up. The PTSA plays a supporting role in      promise from Board of Education president Pat O’Neill that
this enterprise, with the students and faculty in the lead.    the Blair Cluster would have another Conquista program
For example, Vice President for Administration Ron             this year. Another outcome is that Conquista participant
McClain and other PTSA members have weighed in on              Rosa Sanchez volunteered to lead the PTSA’s Latino
Blair’s School Improvement Plan. Also, with support from       Family Outreach efforts. Now, we need a similar program
PTSA Secretary Sara Rosen and representatives of MCPS          in Amharic, for all our Ethiopian families.
and community groups, Blair staffer Jose Segura led the
Blair AfterSchool Sports Academy, organizing students                                                   continued on page 3
into soccer leagues, and providing them with academic
support as well. Sports Academy students’ grades rose,
                                                                        Montgomery Blair PTSA Blazer
and discipline referrals declined. The PTSA is working
                                                                                   Printed by Omniprint
with County Council President Tom Perez to ensure
continuing funding for that program.                                    Editor: Barbara Tobias,
Communication continues to be a struggle, especially in
                                                                     Assisted by: Virginia Myers Kelly, Carol Lindeman,
such a large school where so many different languages are
                                                                           Rosemary Hodges, and Michael O’Hora
spoken. We continue to strengthen our partnership with
the administrative and teaching staff at Blair to make sure               Next copy deadline is November 15, 2005
you get the information you need, and to get your
questions answered—often the same day—on the listserv.
                                                                           Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer                        3

                                                               Comm unication is key
                                                               Communica         ke
                                                               Principal chats with Phil Gainous
Continued from page 2
Special thanks are due to many, many people. We’ll name
just a few here. To Treasurer Sonni Mallinoff, who is          Mr. Gainous, MBHS principal, is again hosting “Principal’s
dragging us kicking and screaming to meet the Maryland         Chats” this year in an effort to communicate better with
PTA’s high standards. To Cluster Representative Ray            Blair parents. The first chat took place in late September;
Scannell, and MCCPTA Delegates Linda Simon and Herb            the next is scheduled for Thursday Nov. 10, from 7 to 8
Edelstein, for ably representing Blair’s interests. And most   a.m.
of all, to Principal Phil Gainous and Assistant Principal
(and PTSA liaison) Linda Wanner, who attend all our            Come prepared to join Mr. Gainous and some of the PTSA
meetings, listen to our complaints, address our issues, and    leadership for a cup of coffee and informal conversation.
keep things on a generally even keel. Other PTSA leaders       There is no agenda, so come with whatever questions or
are featured elsewhere in this issue of the Blazer, and will   issues are on your mind. (The only thing that will be off-
show up in future issues as well. Luckily, we have such a      limits will be issues concerning your individual child only;
large team of leaders that it is impossible to mention all     this is NOT the time to address those concerns.)
their names in this one letter!                                For those of you new to Blair, we initiated these chats last
Finally, please, join the PTSA (see related article on page    year, when it became clear that, for many parents, the
12 in this issue). Even if you can’t make it to the meetings   opportunity to hear from and talk with Mr. Gainous was
(generally the third Tuesday of the month, in the Media        what they liked best about PTSA meetings. Mr. Gainous
Center), your membership in PTSA indicates your support        will continue to report to us at those meetings, but this is
for all the parent volunteers, teachers, and students who      another, less structured opportunity to exchange ideas
are working hard every day to make Blair such a terrific       with him. Please stop in, whether you have something
place for learning and community. And don’t forget to          specific on your mind or whether you just want to get to
order lots of healthy fruit through our Citrus Sale (see       know our principal a bit better.
order form on page 5). Every orange you eat helps the
PTSA support our school.
Fran Rothstein and Deborah Stoll                               Donate your books to
Blair PTSA Co-Presidents                                            omery
                                                               Montgomery Blair
                                                               Blair’s 9th grade Connections classes need books that
                                                               students can read for pleasure. Having these books
                                                               readily available will help encourage students to read.
                                                               If you have books that you no longer need, please donate
    CO-PRESIDENT                                               them to Blair. You may ask your child to bring your books
    Fran Rothstein 301-588-5976                                to Blair’s media center, or you may email or call me and I                                 will pick up books on Friday, October 21. Please leave the
    Deborah Stoll   301--891-2676                              books on your front porch, with my name on them.                                      We need both fiction and non-fiction books in good
    VP Academic Achievement                                    condition that are appropriate for 9th grade
    Bonnie Malkin 301-231-9859                                 students. (Please do not donate college level books).                                          Thanks for your support.
    SECRETARY                                                  Bonnie Malkin, 301-231-9859, or
    Sara Rosen      301-622-2888
    Sonya Mallinoff 301-589-4948                                           Keep up with the latest                                      Montgomery Blair High School News.
    Linda Simon
                                                                     Silver Chips Online
    Herb Edelstein                               
4                   Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer

     gr           reporting
NEW g r ading and r epor ting                                   Community News
procedures for high schools
                                                                Free wireless Internet access available in
After considering extensive input from school administra-       new Downtown Silver Spring
tors, staff, families, and organizations, MCPS has reconsid-
ered and revised its initial plans for implementing grading     Fast becoming the hottest spot in town, Downtown Silver
and reporting (G & R) in Montgomery County high                 Spring now is also a hotspot for free public wireless
schools. Blair families received this information in multiple   Internet access via the new Silver Spring Wireless Fidelity
ways: the county mailed the new procedures to every             (SS Wi-Fi) network
students’ home in August; homeroom teachers distributed         Thanks to a collaboration between Montgomery County
a handout to all students during the first week of school;      and Atlantech Online, Inc. (AOI), outdoor street-level
teachers explained their grading processes the first week       Internet access is now available in Downtown Silver
of school and at Blair’s Back-To-School Night (Sept. 8);        Spring. The SS Wi-Fi service area is roughly bounded by
and information was e-mailed to all members of Blair’s          Colesville Road, Fenton Street, Wayne Avenue and
PTSA listserv with a link to the Montgomery County web          Ramsey Avenue. For an SS Wi-Fi service area map and
page on grading and reporting (         more information visit
grading). If you have questions about grading and
reporting, here’s how to get answers:                           Wireless access is also available in five of the County’s
                                                                public libraries—Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Silver
1. Questions/concerns about your student’s grade on             Spring and Wheaton. Users can bring their wireless-
assignments or in a particular subject:                         enabled laptop computers or other wireless devices to any
Contact the teacher. If your questions/concerns are not         of these five libraries and get on the Internet for free.
satisfactorily addressed, follow the chain of command at
Blair, e.g., contact the department head/resource teacher.
(A directory of all department chairs is located on the         Keep infor med—sign up
                                                                  eep infor
Internet at and a list of                   listserv
                                                                for the PTSA listser v
all department chairs are on page four of the Blair Parent
Handbook mailed to all families this past summer.               As much as we try, the Blair Blazer cannot possibly
                                                                accommodate all of the pertinent and useful information
2. Questions/concerns about how a Blair department is
                                                                that Blair families need. Enter the PTSA listserv. It is the
implementing G & R:
                                                                best way to keep on top of Blair school and community
Contact the department chair.
                                                                news. Send an e-mail to blairptsanet-subscribe@yahoo
3. Questions/concerns about Blair High School’s imple- to subscribe. If you want to be a part of the
mentation of the county G & R procedures:                       Yahoo group but do not want daily e-mails clogging your
Contact Jennifer Craft, Blair’s Staff Development Teacher       inbox, go to, create a user ID
at or 301-649-2800.            and password, and once you are in the blairptsanet group
                                                                you can manage how you receive listserv postings by
4. Questions/concerns about the county G & R proce-             clicking on “edit membership.”
Contact MCPS at                 Principal featured in
                                                                national magazine
If you still have questions/concerns that are not being
satisfactorily answered through Blair’s chain of command        Blair Principal Phil Gainous is featured prominently in the
or by the county, you may contact your Blair PTSA               October issue of The School Administrator magazine
contact, Bonnie Malkin, at or 301-231-        addressing the dilemma posed by vending machines at
9859. She will try to put you in touch with someone who         high schools. In an article titled “Mending Vending,” the
can help.                                                       principal discusses the challenge of generating funds
                                                                through the vending machines for essential student needs
All Blair families are encouraged to attend the PTSA
                                                                while addressing the nutritional merits of the snacks and
meeting on Tuesday, November 15, 7:30 p.m. in the Blair
                                                                beverages that are available. The magazine hired Chris
media center. At this time, Jennifer Craft will speak about G
                                                                Consolino, a photographer for Silver Chips Online, to
& R at Blair and answer audience questions. You do not
                                                                shoot a photo of Mr. Gainous for the article.
have to be a member of the PTSA to attend this or any
other PTSA meeting—all families are welcome.                    The article can be read on the magazine’s website
                                                                ( Jay P. Goldman, father of a Blair senior, is
                                                                the editor of The School Administrator, a monthly
                                                                magazine for school superintendents nationwide.
                                                                        Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer                     5

MONTGOMER                                       CITRUS
                                   NOW THROUGH MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2005

                                        (PLEASE PRINT)
This is the annual citrus sale
fund-raiser for the PTSA and we
are counting on you to help             Last Name    ______________________       First Name __________________
make this year’s sale a success!
We are once again ordering
                                        Address ________________________________________            Zip __________
citrus fruit from Florida’s Indian
River. It will arrive in time for the
holidays. Your past support has         Phone Numbers    (H) (____)_____________ (W) (_____)_______________
been excellent. Please share
this information widely with            E-Mail Address   ________________________________________________
friends, family and co-workers.

ORDER DEADLINE:                          Item                Size         Number of Boxes           Price       Total
Monday, November 14, 2005
                                        Navel Oranges    2/5 Bushel        _____________            $ 18     _______
Fresh Florida Indian-River
                                        Navel Oranges    4/5 Bushel        _____________            $ 30    ________
Citrus: Navel Oranges, Red
Grapefruit, Tangelos, and Hamlin
(juice) Oranges. You can order          Red Grapefruit   2/5 Bushel       _____________             $ 18    _______
either 2/5 bushel (about 20
pounds of fruit) or 4/5 bushel          Red Grapefruit   4/5 Bushel       ____________              $ 30    _______
(about 40 pounds of fruit).
                                        Tangelos         2/5 Bushel       ____________              $ 18 _________
TABLE: You can help our com-            Tangelos         4/5 Bushel       ____________              $ 30 _________
munity by buying fruit for
Shepherd’s Table in Silver
                                        Hamlin Oranges 2/5 Bushel         ____________              $ 18    _______
Spring. Indicate the number of
boxes you would like to donate
to Shepherd’s Table on the              Hamlin Oranges 4/5 Bushel         _____________             $ 30    _______
order form and the PTSA will
deliver them for you.                   Fruit for donation to Shepherd’s Table   __________         $ 18    ________

SEND ORDER TO:                          I’d like to make a contribution to the PTSA             $   _________
PTSA Citrus Sale
c/o Montgomery Blair HS
                                                 GRAND TOTAL (DUE WITH ORDER)            $     ____________
51 University Boulevard East
Silver Spring, MD 20901
                                        Make checks payable to Montgomery Blair High School PTSA

Fruit will be available for pick-up     Complete the following to pay with your credit card.
on Saturday, December 10,
2005, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., at the
Blair stadium concession stand            VISA        Mastercard    Amount $_________     Expiration date _______
on University Boulevard. You will
be contacted to remind you of
the pick-up date so be sure to          _____________________________                      ____________________
include a phone number and e-           Card #                                    V-code 3 digits from back of card
mail address.
                                        Name on card
Contact for more information:
Chris Simpson    301-589-8504           __________________________________________________________________              Address (including zip)
Carol Lindeman 301-589-8578                         ___________________________________________________________________
6                   Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer

Help us help a Blair kid                                       After Prom—
  ercome                drugs
over come alcohol and dr ugs                                   It’s nev       earl
                                                               It’s never too ear l y!
Blair, like many schools across Maryland, has a Maryland       Blair parents will again be hosting After Prom in June.
Student Assistance Program (MSAP) intervention team.           Think of After Prom as a large party/event that is free to
Our team CONFIDENTIALLY helps parents get help for             all Blair students in the 11th and 12th grade. It is designed
children who are involved with drugs and alcohol.              to show these students how happy we are that they are in
                                                               their final days of high school and to give them a safe
Parents, staff, and students refer names of at-risk students   (drug and alcohol free) place to celebrate together. The
to our team. Then, our team collects data from teachers        After Prom Committee will be sending out requests for
and other staff who might know the student. Then,              donations and help starting soon—June may seem far
usually, our team contacts the parent and asks permission      away, but early action is required to make this a success-
to schedule a professional assessor, possibly here at Blair.   ful event.
The assessor talks with the student privately in the
structured assessment. Then the assessor reports to the        If you are interested in joining the planning committee or
parent. Safe and Drug Free Schools pays for the assess-        want to know what you can do to help us now, please
ment, so neither Blair nor the parent pays a penny.            contact Will Ramsey, After Prom Coordinator at
                                                      (301) 270-3305 or
Over the years, our work has revealed to Blair parents         Carol Lindeman, (301) 589-8578.
many serious conditions including depression, eating
disorders, as well as alcohol and drug abuse. Empowered
with this information and with referrals to treatment
programs, parents have helped their children manage their      Counseling News:
situations. To ensure confidentiality, we do not share         College application
student names with MCPS or anyone else. We destroy
our records every year.
Where do you fit in?                                           TCCi Family Connections Program:
                                                               If students have not signed up for TCCi, they should
Please refer to us names of students who could use help.       go to the Career Center to sign up. The TCCi program
Look for warning signs such as absenteeism, detachment         has a variety of resources to aid students in the
         Annual Mulch Sale
from parents, changes in friends, and decreased school
performance. Err on the side of safety—send us the name.
                                                               college/career search process and will help students
                                                               track their college application process.
Please encourage your son/daughter to refer names to us        Seniors and Parents:
of students who could use help. Reassure them that             Students who are applying to a college with a Nov. 1
MSAP referral does NOT lead to school punishment.              Early Action or Early Decision deadline should have
You can give the names to me without including your own        submitted transcript requests to the Registrar’s office
name. Email me at or              by September 28. Counselors visited all of the
leave a message for me at (301) 649-2851. There are also       English classes at the end of September/beginning of
forms and submission boxes in the Blair Health Room            October to explain the transcript request process to all
(Room 140), the Blair Media Center, and the Blair Guidance     students. Comprehensive information about transcript
Office. Thank you!                                             requests was also sent through TCCi. Please see your
                                                               counselor if you need assistance or have any ques-
Dave West, Social Studies teacher                              tions about the transcript request process.
                                                               Remember, we are here to help you through the
                                                               college process but we need you to do your part. Pay
    SORRY                                                      attention to the registrar’s deadlines for submitting
                                                               your transcript requests, and complete your Trail-
    The staff reminds parents that when they bring             blazer packet information in a timely fashion. We
    forgotten items to the front office, students are          guarantee that your transcripts will be sent by your
    responsible for stopping by to pick them up without        college deadline if you adhere to our deadlines.
    any contact from the office. The office cannot deliver
    such items or contact students in class. Money             If you have any questions about any of this informa-
    cannot be held for students under any circum-              tion, please see your counselor.
    stances. Thank you for your cooperation.                   Marcia Johnson, Resource Counselor
                                                                                         Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer                              7

                                                     PTSA MEMBERSHIP FORM

       NAME _________________________________________________________________________________

       PHONE (H) _____________________ (W)_________________________(cell)______________________

       ADDRESS ____________________________________________________________________________

       E-MAIL _________________________________________Child(ren)?s Grade(s)___________________

       9 Basic membership                        $10.00.....................Full membership + Blair calendar
       9 Educator membership                     $25.00.....................Above + 2 safety reflectors
       9 Principal membership                    $50.00.....................Above + Blair T-shirt
       9 Supt. membership                   $100.00...................Above + 1 (cultural) season pass all Blair student performances
       9 Postmaster General*           $250.00...................Above + 1 additional cultural pass + 2 passes for home athletic events
                                   * Montgomery Blair served as Postmaster General in the Lincoln Cabinet

                      Please make check payable to BLAIR PTSA Or charge your credit card (see form at bottom)

                            Send to: PTSA Membership, 51 University Boulevard East, Silver Spring, MD 20901
                                             or put in the PTSA box in the school office

     Your help is needed in the school and on PTSA committees. Please try to give a few hours this year!
            A volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you. Check areas where you want to help!

9 Blair Band & Orch. Patrons (B-BOP)                9 Blair African-American and Hispanic Issues Committee
9 Chorus Boosters                                   9 Special needs advocacy                     9 PTSA Membership Committee
9 Athletic Boosters                                 9 Counseling Advisory Committee                       9 Staff appreciation / recognition
9 Grant writing                                     9 NAACP Parents’ Council                              9 Blazer – PTSA newsletter
9 General graphics / newsletter help                9 Blair Education Foundation                          9 After Prom
9 Clerical work at home                             9 Public Safety Committee                             9 Mini Grants Committee
9 Clerical work at school                           9 Conquista tus sueños parent                         9 Citrus Sale
9 Classroom aid                                        empowerment program                                9 Silent Auction
9 Lunchroom monitor                                 9 Tutoring                                            9 Attendance checker
9 Academic excellence                               9 Any task / as-needed                                9 Translation
9 Monitoring / mentoring troubled students (SHARP)                                                        9 Other __________________________

9   Visa              9     Mastercard                                    Amount: $__________                Expiration date_____________

Card # _______________________________________________________                         V-code on back of card (last 3 digits)_________

Name on card_______________________________________________Signature______________________________________

Address (including zip)______________________________________________________________________________________
8                  Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer

Pedestrian safety—a critical issue
In the mid-1990s, the local press was ablaze with contro-    out of cars. And please emphasize to your children the
versy over the construction of a new Montgomery Blair        importance of crossing only in crosswalks. Students and
High School at the intersection of Rtes. 193 and 29.         faculty strolling into University Boulevard before and after
Concerned parents voiced their dismay that the county        school risk serious injury or death themselves, and they
would erect a school adjacent to two major state thor-       put even the most conscientious motorist in the position
oughfares, and near the I-495 exit and entrance ramps.       of having to make quick, and potentially fatal, decisions.
                                                             As Christy Huddle stated at the August meeting, 40 m.p.h.
Fast-forward to 2005. Even though Blair’s entrances are
                                                             is a killing speed.
set back from both University Boulevard and Colesville
Road, students approaching and leaving the building do       Sally Stokes
so at great risk. A combination of factors is at play. The
sheer size of the student population; the design of the
curbs and streetscape; the posted speed limits (exces-       From the 9th g rade
sively high for a school zone); the configuration of the     administrators
parking lots and lanes; student drop-off and pick-up
procedures; poorly-timed crossing signals; motorists’
                                                             Info on interims and parent/
driving habits; and, significantly, pedestrian behavior      teacher communication
and judgment all contribute to an unwieldy set of
challenges.                                                  This year, 9th Grade Academy teams will once again
                                                             provide smaller learning communities for our 9th grade
The PTSA is very concerned about finding solutions to        students at Blair. The structures put into place last year
all of these issues, and is committed to making sure that    such as teams, the 9th grade wing and Connections helped
parents become good role models to their children, both      our students to have higher grade point averages and
behind the wheel and on foot. At the August PTSA             higher eligibility than any previous 9th grade class at Blair
meeting, those in attendance heard from Christy Huddle,      since we started collecting this data 12 years ago.
head of the County’s Pedestrian Safety Team. Huddle
asked parents to confront their own driving and pedes-       One of the most important parts of our strategy for
trian styles, and to consider whether they always stop at    student success involves accurate and on-going commu-
stop signs, look carefully when turning right on red,        nication of student performance with students and their
observe speed limits, and cross only in crosswalks with      parents or guardians. An important facet of this communi-
the walk light in their favor. Students who see their        cation is teacher prepared interim progress reports.
parents bypassing these safety principles believe that
                                                             Interims will be sent home to the parents/guardians of
it’s OK for them to do the same, thus magnifying the
                                                             each 9th grader twice each quarter, to be mailed on the
problem, Huddle said.
                                                             following dates (approximate): Sept. 15, Oct. 3, Nov. 17,
Thanks to the good work of Blair parent Debbie Reed-         Dec. 6, Feb. 9, Feb. 22, May 3. (Due to breaks and HSA
Gillette, countdown lights will soon be installed at the     testing interims will be mailed only once in 4th quarter.)
intersections near Blair. The Student Government             Also, the Connections teachers on each team receive a
Association, under the advisement of Blair history           copy of the interims for all of their students. These
department faculty member Rondai Ravilious, has              interims are used as the basis of an academic conference
adopted pedestrian safety as a focus issue for this          between the teacher and each student. Interims are also
school year. Lauren Nestuk, lead teacher in the Media        used by the team teachers in team meetings.
Literacy Academy, last year created The Blair Walk
                                                             The interim system is only one of the available avenues
Project, a program for freshman students to teach
                                                             for communication among students, parents, and teachers.
second-graders in the Blair cluster about pedestrian
                                                             We encourage parents to contact their student’s team or
safety. Instructing the younger children, Nestuk reasons,
                                                             individual teachers at any time. Team leaders and other
will help instill intelligent pedestrian behavior in high
                                                             teachers can be reached by email or telephone. This
schoolers. Mr. Gainous and the PTSA have endorsed
                                                             information can be found in BEN or in each student’s
these efforts, and we hope to see some great results
unfold over the course of the coming months.
                                                             We hope to keep in close communication with you to
In the meantime, all Blair families are urged to exercise
                                                             assure the success of our students.
care at the wheel and on foot. When driving out of the
parking lot onto Colesville Rd., please remember to          Mr. James Short, Assistant Principal
maintain a single lane. Watch for sleepy students getting    Dr. Andrew W. Coleman, III, Assistant Principal
                                                                            Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer                          9

Ne w for m gives par ents
New for giv
      orm         parents                                       Volunteerism—
more options in safeguarding                                           hat
                                                                it’s wha makes       school
                                                                it’s w hat makes our school GO!
their child’s privacy                                           Many thanks to all the parents, students and community
This year, Blair parents may have noticed a new form in         members who volunteered at Blair in August and Septem-
the information packet they received prior to the start of      ber. More than 50 individuals helped with such things as
the school year. This form allows parents to request the        the summer mailing to parents, Back to School Night,
school not to release their child’s contact information to      answering phones, distributing student IDs, and dozens of
military recruiters, while still allowing their child to be     other jobs in the main office and the guidance office. The
included in things like school directories and honor roll       200-plus hours that these volunteers gave over the last
notices in newspapers. The “opt-out” form is proving to         few weeks helped smooth the very complicated process of
be very popular among parents who are concerned about           opening school. School administrators and staff have
their child’s privacy.                                          repeatedly said that they couldn’t have done it without
                                                                this support from the Blair community.
The newly-formed “Committee on Recruitment Issues at
Blair” (CRIB) is working on ways to make more parents           If you’re interested in volunteering at Blair, there are still
aware of the opt-out form, which must be re-submitted           plenty of tasks that need doing. If you can take on any of
annually. At Back-to-School Night on Sept. 8, parent and        the projects listed below, contact the MBHS PTSA
student volunteers distributing the form discovered that        volunteer coordinator Beth Martin at (301) 587-8404 or e-
many parents were still unaware of it and the reason it         mail
exists. Many parents had no idea that a provision of the        Senior Watch Volunteers—Senior Watch, a program run
“No Child Left Behind” Act requires schools to release          by 12th grade administrator Linda Wanner, supports
their child’s information to military recruiters. They were     students who are struggling academically. Ms. Wanner
relieved to learn that they had the right to opt out, and       needs a few people to help photocopy student plan books
many elected to do so on the spot. Altogether, 155 forms        on Mondays from 7 AM to 8 AM.
were completed that night and turned in to the Main
Office. This represents almost two thirds of the total 234      Math tutors—All levels, especially if you speak Spanish.
forms that Blair has received as of September 13.               We can schedule you to tutor an individual, a small group
                                                                or as an aide in a classroom.
The National PTA supports legislation that would change
current law by providing for an “opt-in” policy                 Teacher aids—Work in classrooms or at home preparing
where interested students and families can instead choose       materials. Let us know your area of expertise and we’ll try
to request contact from military recruiters. One such           to find a teacher who can use your talents.
proposed amendment is H.R. 551, the Student Privacy             Grant writing coordinator—Stay on top of grant opportu-
Protection Act of 2005. The “Leave My Child                     nities and find people to write grants, review draft propos-
Alone” nationwide campaign provides a web page where            als, and oversee the review and submission process.
individuals can sign on as co-sponsors of this legislation
at                            Giant/Safeway fundraising—Coordinate these two “easy”
index.cfm?event=signPetition&pid=1.                             fundraising projects.
CRIB is also looking at other issues related to the pres-       NAACP parent’s council rep—The NAACP parent’s
ence of military recruiters at Blair that concern parents and   council is composed of parents from area schools. Reps
students, such as how much access to students military          act as liaisons between the NAACP parent’s council, the
recruiters should have on school premises. This is pretty       school and the PTSA. Attend one meeting of the NAACP
much left to each school to decide, according to Laura          parent’s council each month (Saturdays) as well as the
Steinberg, Director of the Department of Reporting and          monthly MBHS PTSA meetings and executive board
Regulatory Accountability for MCPS. ”There is                   meetings. No experience needed and you don’t have to be
currently no county-wide policy on this,” she said.             a member of the NAACP to be the rep.
CRIB is working with the Montgomery County Coalition
on Recruitment Issues (MCCRI) to propose more uniform           Reflections Student Art Competition Committee—This
guidelines regulating the presence of military recruiters in    will be the first time Blair has participated in the nation-
schools on a county-wide basis. For more information on         wide PTA-sponsored competition. Categories of competi-
this and other CRIB activities, or to contribute your ideas,    tion are visual arts, literature, photography and music. We
please contact CRIB and MCCRI member Madeleine                  have a Reflections coordinator but she needs a committee.
Fletcher, by e-mail at,        Parent volunteers will visit classrooms to get students
or by telephone at 301-920-0721.                                excited about participating, help with collecting entries,
                                                                and organize an exhibit/reception for the entrants.
10                 Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer

Blair outdoor water fountain                                  SAT help fr om
                                                              SAT      from
—finally a reality!                                           College Board online
Montgomery Blair High School’s PTSA has raised the            MCPS has given all students access to “The Official SAT
necessary money to purchase and install an outdoor            Online Course.” It couldn’t be easier:
water fountain for Blair students and other community
members who use Blair’s track, tennis courts, and athletic        Go to
fields. Laurie Checco, Blair’s business manager, said that        In the “Students” box click “Register Now” and
the fountain installation may begin as early as this fall.    enter Blair’s school code, 210965.
Ms. Cynthia Changuris, Blair’s Health and Physical                Sign in with your account or create a
Education resource teacher and the champion of the            new one.
fountain, is delighted. Over the past few years, she has      Eileen Steinkraus
worked with the Blair PTSA to raise the needed funds.
She recently explained, “Coaches will no longer need to       New teen driving laws
lug heavy water coolers, and athletes and PE students will
have a more accessible source of clean drinking water.”
                                                              go into effect
The water fountain is handicapped accessible. It will be
                                                              Maryland is concerned about the safety of new drivers,
installed on the side of Blair near the tennis courts.
                                                              and, in response to parental pressure, a high number of
Blair extends many thanks to the contributors to the water    accidents within the last year involving teenage drivers,
fountain fund, including:                                     and recent research from national automobile safety
Blair’s Health and Physical Education Department; The         groups, has strengthened the laws, especially those that
Takoma Foundation; Mi Rancho Restaurant, the only             apply to drivers who are eighteen years of age and
community company (Silver Spring location) that contrib-      younger. The MVA outlines the requirements for all those
uted in response to a fundraising effort initiated by a       who are learning to drive and are graduating through the
student, 11th grader Rebecca Vogel; Blair PTSA; Blair         Maryland Rookie Driver: Graduated Licensing System on
Athletic Boosters; Blair magnet students and Blair’s          their Web site at
spirit club; and Blair families, many of whom made their      ROOKIEDRIVER/lawcompare.htm. Please take special
contributions in honor of Andrew Helgesson. Blair             note of all the changes that occur after October 1, 2005
families include:                                             because anyone, regardless of when they received their
Nancy and Michael Kator, Emily van Loon and Thom              learner’s permit or provisional driver’s license, will be
Wolf , Jan Shaver and Larry Ropeik, James Berry and           affected by the new laws. For Blair students’ reaction to
Hali Edison, Bonnie Malkin and Robert Vogel, and an           the new driving laws, see the Silver Chips Online article at
anonymous contributor.                              

                                                              PTSA Minigrant application
 Calling all adventurous teens!
                                                              deadline: Oct. 28, 2005
               Join Venture Crew 249
                                                              Through the Minigrant Program, the Blair PTSA supports
       Venturing is for young men and young women
                                                              projects initiated by students, staff, parents, or guardians.
    ages 14 to 20. It offers challenging high-adventure
                                                              Please apply for funding for innovative, enriching
  activities, sports, and hobbies for teenagers that teach
                                                              gradewide or schoolwide projects (up to $500 per grant) or
  them leadership skills, provide opportunities to teach
                                                              small-group projects (up to $200) that might not otherwise
 others, and give them an opportunity to learn and grow
                                                              have been feasible. The simple application form and
       in a supporting, caring, and fun environment.
                                                              procedures are posted on the PTSA website: http://
                                —BSA National Council
                                                     Good luck!
Intrigued? Some of our adventures last year included
service projects, caving, shotgun shooting, a ski trip, and
a week exploring Iceland in the summer. Help us plan
upcoming activities; paint ball, horseback riding and                A+ BonusBucks For Schools
rappelling are some ideas on the table. Venture Crew 249              Support Montgomery Blair High School
meets every other Thursday at 7 p.m. at Marvin Memorial
Church, located at the intersection of University and
Colesville. For more information on joining our crew,
including upcoming meeting dates, contact John
O’Donnell, adult advisor, at         
                                                                                Oct/Nov 2005 Blazer                                 11

Athletic Booster Club news
The Blair Athletic Booster Club is looking forward to
another busy and successful year. Thank you to all of the             October
parents who visited our booth at Back-to-School night,                  12       PSAT Exam Day
and have volunteered to help out in the concession stand                13       Yom Kippur—No school
at Blair home games. Thanks also to our many return                     18       Blair PTSA Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Media Center
volunteers from last year.                                              21       MSTA Convention—No school
                                                                        25       Montgomery County Youth Chorus Performance,
In addition to supporting the athletics program, the                             7:30 p.m., Northwest High School
Booster Club has responded to other donation requests,                   26      Cookie Dough sale begins! See any member of
such as After Prom and the water fountain fund. The                              Chamber or Women’s Choir to order
Booster Club also sponsors the Athletic Awards Ceremo-                           or contact Paul Newport at (301) 649-2839
nies that take place three times a year.                                 29      Homecoming
                                                                         31      End of first marking period
You don’t have to have a student involved in sports to
help out! If you do have a child on a Blair athletic team,                1   Professional day for teachers—No school
consider volunteering in the concession stand for an                      2   SGA Canned Food Drive starts
alternate sport.                                                         10   Report cards distributed
                                                                         12   Junior Maryland All-State Chorus Auditions
Please consider supporting our great athletics program.                  14   Last day to order citrus (see page 5)
Stop by the concession stand during a home game and                      15   Blair PTSA Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Media Center
pick up a Booster Club brochure to learn more, or e-mail                 18   Fall Coffeehouse, 7 p.m., SAC
Diane Martin, Boosters president, at                                     19   Senior Maryland All-State Chorus auditions                                               24-25   Holiday—Thanksgiving

Fall Spor ts Sc hedule ...Go Blaz er s
                hedule...Go Blazer
             Schedule             ers                                    10      Citrus delivery, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Blair Stadium entrance
                                                                         15      Winter Instrumental Music Concert; 7 p.m.;
Oct 15 JV Football at Wheaton; 10 a.m., Field Hockey v. Spring-       Auditorium
       brook; 2 p.m., JV Field Hockey v. Springbrook; 3:30 p.m.          20      Blair PTSA Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Media Center
Oct 17 Girls Soccer at Wheaton; 3:30 p.m., Girls Tennis v. Kennedy;   26–30      Winter break—No school
       3:30 p.m., JV Boys Soccer v. Wheaton; 5 p.m., JV Girls
       Soccer at Wheaton; 5:30 p.m., Boys Soccer v. Wheaton; 7 p.m.   January 2006
Oct 18 Field Hockey at Einstein; 7 p.m.                                   2     Holiday—New Year’s
Oct 19 JV Boys Soccer at Einstein; 5 p.m., Boys Soccer at                16     Holiday—Martin L. King, Jr., Day
       Einstein; 7:00 p.m.                                               20     End of second marking period
Oct 20 JV Girls Soccer v. Einstein; 5 p.m., JV Girls Volleyball v.       23     Professional day for teachers —No school
       Kennedy; 6 p.m., Football at Kennedy; 6:30 p.m., Girls
       Soccer v. Einstein; 7 p.m., Girls Volleyball v. Kennedy;       February
       7 p.m.                                                           20     Holiday—Presidents’ Day
Oct 21 Field Hockey at Paint Branch; 7 p.m.                             21     Blair PTSA Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Media Center
Oct 22 JV Football at Kennedy; 10 a.m.                                March
Oct 24 Boys Soccer v. Walter Johnson; 7 p.m., Girls Soccer at           21       Blair PTSA Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Media Center
       Walter Johnson; 7 p.m.                                           31       Professional day for teachers—No school
Oct 25 JV Girls Volleyball at Richard Montgomery; 6 p.m., Girls
       Volleyball at Richard Montgomery; 7 p.m..                      April
Oct 27 JV Football v. Einstein; 5:30 p.m., JV Girls Volleyball v.     10–17      Spring break—No school
       Seneca Valley; 6 p.m.. Girls Volleyball v. Seneca Valley;         18      Blair PTSA Meeting
       7 p.m..
Oct 29 Homecoming Game; Football v. Einstein; 2 p.m.                  May
Nov 1 Girls Volleyball at Wheaton; 3:30 p.m.                            16       Blair PTSA Meeting
Nov 3 JV Football v. Blake; 5:30 p.m. Nov 4 Football v. Blake;          29       Holiday—Memorial Day
       6:30 p.m.                                                      June
Nov 11 Football at Da.m.ascus; 6:30 p.m.                                  3      Prom
Nov 12 JV Football at Da.m.ascus; 10 a.m.                                 4      After Prom, 1 - 5 a.m., Blair High School
○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○
                                                                          5      Graduation — No school
                                                                         14      Last day of school for students
          Prom               your HELP.
   After Pr om needs y our HELP.
     Watch for future emails, articles and
      fundraising for Blair After Prom.
              Montgomery Blair High School PTSA
                                                                                          Non-Profit Org.
                                                                                           U.S. Postage
                                                                                              PA I D
              51 University Boulevard East
              Silver Spring, MD 20901-2451                                                Silver Spring MD

                                                                                           Permit No. 191

October 18, 7:30 p.m., Media Center
(enter from the University Blvd parking lot.)

                                                   PTSA MEMBERSHIP
            Citrus Sale 2005
                                                   Back-to-School Night is always the best opportunity for
                          PTSA Fundraiser          Blair community members to join the PTSA—but by no
                                                   means the only opportunity. This year’s event was no
           Navel and Hamlin Oranges,               exception. We gained lots of new members, including
                                                   many who joined at the higher levels of Educator and
          Tangelos and Red Grapefruit              Principal! Many additional parents, guardians, and
           from Florida’s Indian River             teachers picked up forms to mail in later. Joining the
                                                   PTSA is incredibly important to support many crucial
                You can also purchase oranges      activities and to maintain a strong feeling of commitment
                                                   among the Blair community. Here are just a few examples
                for donation to Shepherd’s Table
                                                   of what joining the PTSA means:
                     in Silver Spring and the
                 PTSA will deliver them for you.   ♦ Supporting school activities like the instrumental
                                                   music and athletics programs ♦ Outreach to community
                             Order form            programs ♦ Advising school committees ♦ Supporting
                        on page 5 or online        After Prom ♦ Staff appreciation ♦ Keeping the entire
                    school community informed (directory, newsletter, etc.)
                                                   Anyone interested in joining can get the form on page 7
                                                   or from the Blair PTSA Web site. Complete it, and mail it
                          Order deadline:          back to Blair (address on the form) with your payment.
                         November 14, 2005         You can even charge your payment right on the form!
                                                   If you have any questions, just call me (Carolyn
                                                   Lichtenstein, PTSA Membership) at (301) 949-4420.

To top