SCHOOL SCENE: Students Saddened by Departure of Dr. Starr

PHOTO: Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr.

SCHOOL SCENE MOCO STUDENT NEWS STAFF

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Since the departure of Montgomery County school superintendent Joshua Starr was announced Feb. 3, The MoCo Student has been covering the issue from the student viewpoint. The MoCo Student, founded in 2012, is a student-run, county-wide online newspaper dedicated to providing youth-relevant stories and channeling the student voice. The MoCo Student has over 60 writers, artists, filmmakers, and editors from middle and high schools across the county. The Takoma Park/Silver Spring Voice will be regularly republishing MoCo Student articles under our School Scene heading. For more coverage of Dr. Starr’s departure and other issues, see The Moco Student website.

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FEB 6: As news of Dr. Starr’s departure spread across social media, many students voiced their disappointment and frustration.

“I’m saddened that Dr. Starr will be leaving Montgomery County Public Schools, and angered by the circumstances surrounding his departure. He has been a thoughtful, effective superintendent – consistently choosing what he believes to be right over the politically expedient. Do I agree with his stance on every issue? No. But he has been a faithful steward of Montgomery County Public Schools, and should be applauded for his leadership rather than scorned behind closed doors,” said Ben Feshbach, a senior at Wootton High School.

Ravi Kemburu, a junior at Richard Montgomery High School, agreed with Feshbach. “Dr. Starr was doing great and I also think the Board of Education should be replaced. It doesn’t accurately reflect the interests of the students.”

“I believe that while it is sad to see Dr. Starr go, I think it is a good time of transition for MCPS so that we can refocus our priorities as a school system to ensure that we can continue to provide a world class education to our students,” said Brent Jamsa, a freshman at Quince Orchard High School.

Starr

Dr. Joshua Starr. Photo from county school website.

Days before Dr. Starr announced his departure, some students started Twitter trends such as #ShootfortheStarrs and #StudentsforStarr to express their hopes for a renewal of the Superintendent’s contract. Various student leaders have noted Dr. Starr’s enthusiasm in receiving the student voice.

Rachit Agarwal, a candidate for the Student Member of the Board of Education also expressed over Facebook that he is disappointed to see Superintendent Dr. Starr’s hastened departure.

“[I] loved how he visited every single MCPS school and talked to as many students as he could in order to improve the education of all students. He constantly went against the societal norm by being realistic but was criticized for doing so,” the candidate remarked.

“Failure to reach out to MCPS students and ask us about our thoughts on this issue sends a poor message to students. It’s cynical, and insulting.” Feshbach noted in a social media post.

A statement from the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association implored the Board of Education to value student perspectives in its search for the next superintendent. “Students are the greatest stakeholders in any education system and a stress upon student feedback is crucial for a thriving school community,” the statement from the countywide student government noted.

LarryBowers

Larry Bowers, who will serve as acting superintendent. Photo from county school website.

Dr. Starr will serve as the Superintendent of Schools until Feb. 16th, when he will be succeeded by Larry Bowers, the current MCPS Chief Operating Officer.

Article by the MoCo Student News Staff with interview contributions by the MoCo Student Community editor Emily Zhang.

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The MoCo Student
The MoCo Student, founded in 2012, is Montgomery County's first student-run, county-wide online newspaper dedicated to providing youth-relevant stories and channeling the student voice. This year, the MoCo Student has over 60 writers, artists, filmmakers, and editors from middle and high schools across the county.