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& INTO THE BLENDER Violinist creates a marriage of classical, contemporary sounds B-5 The Gazette ROCKVILLE | ASPEN HILL | WHEATON DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, January 29, 2014 25 cents Women accused in exorcism deaths will be evaluated n 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 children’s eyes turn black, and observed demons pos- PHOTOS BY TOM FEDOR/THE GAZETTE See DEATHS, Page A-10 The Covenant Life community holds a prayer vigil for Teressa Rosalind French in Gaithersburg on Sunday evening. French, 16, a Covenant Life School student, was killed at the scene of a crash outside the church on Friday. ‘We know she’s in heaven’ Funeral for D.C. teen scheduled for Thursday Most student groups improve; decline in ESOL n SYLVIA CARIGNAN AND JENN DAVIS STAFF WRITERS Montgomery County police believe speed played a part in a Gaithersburg crash that killed one teenager and injured four more Friday afternoon. Washington, D.C., resident Teressa Rosalind French, 16, suffered life-threatening injuries and died at a local hospital that day. Her father, William French, said the Covenant Life School sophomore was a “thoughtful and caring young girl.” “[She] believed in God, and believed in Christ, and we know she’s in heaven right now,” he said. County Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman Beth Anne Nesselt said crews were called to the 7400 block of Muncaster Mill Road in See CRASH, Page A-10 BY Planners looking at how buses will interact with existing transit BY ELIZABETH WAIBEL STAFF WRITER Rockville planners say the city is getting more involved in Montgomery County’s plan to run bus rapid transit, or BRT, along Md. 355 and Veirs Mill Road. “The county’s been reaching out and making sure we’re involved,” said Andrew Gunning, assistant director of the city’s planning department. LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER 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 gradua- Luminarias line the walkway near the scene of the accident, where Covenant Life Church held a prayer vigil. Officials get more details on BRT plans n Gunning spoke during an update on BRT plans at a Mayor and Council meeting Monday night. He said city staff members are more involved in the county’s planning process than they were in the early stages of BRT discussions. Charles Lattuca, the county’s rapid transit system development manager, said county and city planners are meeting to discuss how BRT fits in with Rockville’s Pike Plan, a master plan and associated zoning standards for the area around Md. 355 on the southern end of the city. Lattuca also said representatives The best players aren’t always the best coaches; a look at qualities of a great coach. B-1 High schools with greatest graduation rate increases See RATE, Page A-10 High schools with greatest graduation rate decreases (in percentage points) (in percentage points) n 1. Rockville: 4.8 n 1. Wheaton: -7.5 n 2. Springbrook: 4.0 n 2. John F. Kennedy: -4.0 n 3. Clarksburg: 3.7 n 3. Walter Johnson: -2.2 n 3. Northwest: 3.7 n 4. Walt Whitman: -1.5 n 5. Northwood: 3.6 n 5. Albert Einstein: -1.3 See PLANS, Page A-10 PASSION, PATIENCE AND COMMUNICATION tion 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 percentage points for a 67.5 percent rate. Students who receive free and reduced-price meals — an indication of poverty — climbed 1.5 percentage points to a 78.1 graduation rate. The graduation rate of ESOL students declined about 1 percentage point after an increase of 3.9 percentage points from 2011 to 2012. The county school system also saw a slight decrease from 2012 to GRADUATION RATE CHANGES from Gaithersburg and Rockville would be invited to serve on the county executive’s rapid transit steering committee. Last fall, the Mayor and Council asked the county for more analysis of how BRT would affect Rockville. They also said they wanted more collaboration between the city and county planners. Lattuca said the state is conducting a $6 million county-funded study of BRT on the Veirs Mill corridor. It has not been decided where the buses will run on Veirs Mill Road, but Lattuca said planners are SPORTS Avery County graduation rate went up in 2013 n BY Sanford SOURCE: MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS 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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