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& INTO THE BLENDER Violinist creates a marriage of classical, contemporary sounds B-5 The Gazette GERMANTOWN | POOLESVILLE | BOYDS DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, January 29, 2014 Montgomery graduation rate up in ’13 n 25 cents Evaluations ordered for two charged with murder Best of the best Most student groups improve; decline in ESOL BY LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER n A larger percentage of Montgomery County Public Schools seniors tossed their mortarboards in 2013 than in 2012, according to Maryland State Department of Education data released Tuesday. The county school system’s four-year graduation rate rose to 88.3 percent in 2013, an increase of about 1 percentage point from the 2012 senior class. The rate has increased about 1.5 percentage points since 2011. Montgomery’s rate stands about 3.3 percentage points higher than the state’s rate. Rates for student subgroups generally rose from 2012 to 2013 with the exception of the graduation rate for English for Speakers of Other Languages students, which declined slightly. Black students’ graduation rate increased by 1.6 percentage points to 83.9 percent. Hispanic students’ graduation rates rose by 0.8 percentage point to 77.5 percent. Special education students gained 4.7 Both have been transferred to Perkins hospital BY ST. JOHN BARNED-SMITH STAFF WRITER A Montgomery County District Court judge has ordered the two Germantown women accused in the killings of two toddlers to undergo further psychiatric evaluation at a state mental hospital. Judge Eugene Wolfe on Tuesday ordered Monifa Sanford, 21, to be transferred to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup. Zakieya Avery, the mother of the two toddlers, was ordered to the maximum security psychiatric hospital Friday. Avery, 28, and Sanford told police they were trying to cast out demons they believed had possessed the children. The women told investigators that they saw the See EVALUATION, Page A-10 See RATE, Page A-10 GRADUATION RATE CHANGES High schools with greatest graduation rate increases High (in percentage points) n 1. Rockville: 4.8 n 2. Springbrook: 4.0 n 3. Clarksburg: 3.7 n 3. Northwest: 3.7 n 5. Northwood: 3.6 Sanford Defendants face challenges with an insanity plea High schools with greatest graduation rate decreases (in percentage points) 4.8 4.0 3.7 3.7 3.6 n 1. Wheaton: -7.5 n 2. John F. Kennedy: -4.0 n 3. Walter Johnson: -2.2 n 4. Walt Whitman: -1.5 n 5. Albert Einstein: -1.3 SOURCE: MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS Defense requires medical evaluations, high threshold of evidence n BY Parks department suggests field at Boyds site BY SYLVIA CARIGNAN STAFF WRITER Upcounty athletes and advocates of cricket are pushing for a permanent field in Boyds as the county’s only facility is booked solid. Senior Planner Mark Wallis, of the MarylandNational Capital Park and Planning Commission, ST. JOHN BARNED-SMITH STAFF WRITER field sits may be developed into additional Soccerplex fields. So far, the Soccerplex has not needed the space. The cricket field was installed in 2012 and this year, it’s fully booked, according to Dean Turnbull, the park’s manager. “They pretty much play all spring, all summer, all fall,” he said. Turnbull said based on the need for South Germantown’s cricket facilities, there is “absolutely” The two women accused of slaying two toddlers in an attempted exorcism in Germantown face charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, but haven’t been arraigned yet. Lawyers for the women, Zakieya L. Avery and Monifa D. Sanford, said it is too soon to discuss their clients’ cases in detail, including the possibility of them pursuing a “not criminally responsible,” or insanity, defense. During bail hearings for the two women this month, prosecutors said both women have a history of mental illness. According to Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, Avery told police that she once was involuntarily committed for psychiatric care. Sanford told police she has tried to commit suicide twice. “The state’s attorney’s statements present a pretty compelling case for a lack of See CRICKET, Page A-10 See PLEA, Page A-10 BILL RYAN/THE GAZETTE Poolesville High School senior Dylan Taylor owns the school record in diving. He is undefeated this season for the twotime defending Class 3A/2A/1A state champion Falcons. See story, B-1. Upcounty cricket players singing out for a new field n Avery talked to Boyds residents at a January community meeting about the possibility of a cricket field on an unoccupied space in the community. The sport is similar to baseball, but is played on an oval-shaped field with a rectangular pitch in the center. “Cricket needs a lot of space, and there’s not a whole lot of space left in the county,” Wallis said. The South Germantown Recreational Park has a temporary cricket field, separate from the fields at the Maryland Soccerplex. It is temporary because in the park’s master plan, the site where the SPORTS PASSION, PATIENCE AND COMMUNICATION The best players aren’t always the best coaches; a look at qualities of a great coach. B-1 Automotive Business Calendar Celebrations Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please B-14 A-11 A-2 A-13 B-10 B-5 A-14 A-12 B-1 RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906236

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