News Brief: January 2024 Current Events

Students May Receive Zeros

by Katie Ng ‘25

The MCPS grading and reporting policy received an update this past fall. Some of the updates include: “R” must be used in Synergy to show assignments may be reassessed; teachers must assign five practice/prep assignments per quarter; and, teachers must contact parents if a student shows “a marked decline in achievement.” Teachers will also use “Z” to show that a student still has an opportunity to turn in a missing assignment along with the 50-percent rule.

Principal Intern Jennifer Herman clarified that teachers may give students a zero on an assignment if they refuse to or fail to complete it, even after the teacher has worked with them. “After the support has been given, and the teacher has made two-way communication with the parent or guardian, a zero can be assigned,” said Herman. A student can also receive a zero if they plagiarize.

MCPS Introduces ‘School Profiles’ Data Site

by Seph Fischer ‘25

The MCPS website has recently unveiled a new “School Profiles” dashboard. Anyone with an internet connection can now view in-depth enrollment, facility, and staffing data for individual schools or the district as a whole, broken down by race, sex, and other demographic lines.

Generally, Sherwood classes have four more students than the average MCPS school. Meanwhile, Sherwood teachers are on average more experienced than county teachers as a whole; 80 percent of Sherwood teachers have greater than fifteen years of experience, while only 54 percent of MCPS teachers as a whole do. Slightly more students score a three or higher on AP tests at Sherwood than the county as a whole, too, but only by about two percentage points. Projections from the Schools Profile dashboard estimate that enrollment at Sherwood will go from 1,757 up to nearly two thousand by the year 2030, which still will be below the building capacity of 2,152.

Students Campaign for Crosswalk on Route 108

by Ben Schoenberg ‘24

A group of students have collected more than 500 signatures of Sherwood students in support of putting in a pedestrian crosswalk on Route 108 between Sherwood and the Ashton Village Center. The student organizers of the @shscrosswalkproject on Instagram believe that a crosswalk would make it much safer for students to cross the busy two-way street.

The leaders of the campaign include sophomores Spiros Barboutsis, Sebastian Kudrycki, and Danny Landi, and senior Andres Campos. For the previous few months, they have collected signatures and hung fliers around the school. They also have communicated with Montgomery County Council Member Will Jawando and SMOB Sami Saeed. Jawando was scheduled to come to Sherwood in early January, but the meeting was canceled due to the school day being shortened because of bad weather.

Student Debt Plan Modified

by Briana Sisler ‘24

Approximately 45 million people in the United States have student debt totalling to around $1.75 trillion. Last year President Biden attempted to forgive some of the federal student loans with a program that could reward up to $20,000 for people with outstanding debt. However, the Supreme Court ruled that Biden didn’t the power to cancel or reduce student debt and needed direct authorization from Congress. This year Biden introduced a new plan.

The Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) is not a one-time debt forgiveness program but instead is a repayment plan. The payment plan is income-driven and payments are calculated based on the borrower’s income and their household size. The plan lowers the threshold required to qualify for a monthly payment of $0 and unpaid interest will not accrue if full monthly payments are made. Around seven million people have already signed up for the SAVE plan and four million people qualify for a monthly payment of $0. In July people who have borrowed at most $12,000 and have been paying for at least ten years can have their remaining balance cancelled. Every additional $1,000 borrowed will equate to an extra year until the remaining balance can be cancelled.