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Biden mourns Michigan school shooting victims

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Biden mourns Michigan school shooting victims

President Joe Biden extended his support and sympathies Tuesday for the families of the southeast Michigan school shooting victims, saying his heart goes out to those “enduring the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one.”

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Evan McPherson FG as time expires lifts Bengals past Titans 19-16

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Evan McPherson FG as time expires lifts Bengals past Titans 19-16

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Cincinnati Bengals just keep ending postseason droughts, and their latest victory has them in their first AFC championship game in 33 years.

Rookie Evan McPherson kicked a 52-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the fourth-seeded Bengals past the top-seeded Tennessee Titans 19-16 on Saturday to end the NFL’s longest active road playoff skid.

A week after snapping a 31-year playoff victory drought, the Bengals (12-7) finally won their first road game in the postseason after losing their first seven. They reached the 1981 and 1988 Super Bowls by winning on their home field.

The Bengals intercepted Ryan Tannehill three times, setting up two of McPherson’s four field goals. Luke Wilson picked off Tannehill with 20 seconds left at the Cincinnati 47. Joe Burrow hit Pro Bowl rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase with a 19-yard pass, then the Bengals ran twice to set up McPherson for the win.

Burrow shook off being sacked nine times as Tennessee tied an NFL mark held by four other teams for the most in the postseason. The Bengals’ second-year quarterback threw for 348 yards, and Chase finished with 109 yards receiving.

The Titans (12-6) wrapped up their 25th season in Tennessee with their third straight loss on their own field coming in as the AFC’s No. 1 seed. They haven’t won at home since January 2003 in the postseason.

Tennessee had Derrick Henry, the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, on the field after he missed nine games with a broken foot. He ran for a touchdown and finished with 66 yards.

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Div. 4 track: Newburyport breaks 10-year drought

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Div. 4 track: Newburyport breaks 10-year drought

The state relays is a true team meet, but within those team scores lie some truly stellar individual performances.

Enter Jacob Cookinham, Massachusetts’ next great shot putter.

The junior got off a personal best heave of 65 feet, 10 inches to lead Bishop Stang to the shot put relay victory at Saturday’s Div. 4 State Relays at the Reggie Lewis Center. Cookinham teamed up with Harrison Hayes and Rook Bergeron to capture gold in the shotput relay with a mark of 138-8 1/2.

“I threw my personal best (64 1/4) on Thursday,” said Cookinham, who said he ‘obsesses’ over the minute details of his own technique. “I came in today and wanted to execute my technique. Mentally I was ready and everything clicked.”

Newburyport got back to its winning ways in the boys’ competition after last winning in 2012. Head coach Brian Moore’s crew more than doubled up runner-up Austin Prep by putting up 61 points. The Cougars were second with 30 points and Dracut finished third with 28 points.

Newburyport was strong across the board. The team jumped out quick in the shuttle hurdles where the lineup of Evan Armano, Ean Hynes, Wyatt Hastings and Andrew Connelly clocked 27.32 for gold. The 8:48.62 win in the 4×800 put the Clippers ahead for good.

“We had kids doing really good and our depth was across the board,” said Moore. “This is the biggest meet of the year because it’s a true team meet.”

North Reading’s girls had a lone win in the shuttle hurdles, but were strong throughout the meet to capture the win with 47 points to top Wilmington’s 38 points. Captain Annie MacLellan ran the hurdles for the first time and joined Ella Monteleone, Kayla Hannan and Ellie Heintz for the 32.91 win. North Reading scored points in eight events on the way to victory.

“I was able to jump in and figure it out before this meet,” said MacLellan. “It was a lot of fun. We’re hoping to win the Commonwealth Athletic League meet and win states.”

Head coach Sotirios Pintopoulos was confident the team would be near the top of the team standings. “I thought we had a good shot,” he said. “This meet shows what kind of depth you have.”

Holliston’s 4×800 team moved one step closer to reaching the national championship qualifying time of 9:40 by breaking the school record with a time of 9:49.94. The talented lineup of Maggie Kuchman, Annabelle Lynch, Casey Wig and Carmen Luisi easily bettered the 10:03.69 that had stood as the school mark since 2019. The Panthers defeated Notre Dame of Hingham’s runner-up time of 10:28.78 with Luisi turning in the fastest time with her 2:21 as the anchor.

Holliston head coach Jenn Moreau said the girls were prepared to run fast at the midseason meet.

“Our girls were working on qualifying for nationals,” said Moreau, who had the most individual teams entered in her 11 years at Holliston. “This is a huge PR for these guys. They were looking at the school record and knew if they averaged 2:30 they could break the record.”

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Number of homeless Boston Public Schools students climbs

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Number of homeless Boston Public Schools students climbs

The number of homeless Boston Public Schools students has climbed more than 25% in four years, according to district officials, and nearly all of them are students of color.

The total number increased from 3,200 in school year 2016-2017 to 4,000 in 2020-2021, the most recent year for which BPS would provide statistics. Those 4,000 amounted to 11.2% of the 48,957 students enrolled in the district in 2021.

Over the same four-year period, the number of unaccompanied students — youngsters experiencing homelessness without a parent or guardian — increased more than seven-fold, from 12 to 88.

“Our students sometimes arrive with the most difficult of situations,” said Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, who recently told the School Committee that as a child who grew up in public housing and who was “highly mobile” during sixth grade because her family lost their housing, she understands the kinds of support that children need.

“We are doing everything we can to provide stability to our unhoused student population,” she said in a statement. “Most recently, we partnered with the City of Boston to provide housing vouchers for almost 600 families. We are working tirelessly with our educators, the Office of Opportunity Youth and our amazing community partners to identify, enroll and provide resources to these students that go beyond housing. We provide food access, clothing and counseling support while also ensuring their academic success.”

The vast majority of homeless students — 95% compared to 85% of all BPS students — are students of color, said Brian Marques, senior director of the Office of Opportunity Youth. And 42% of them — compared to 32% of all students — are in English Language Development programs.

Homeless students struggle academically, scoring significantly lower on MCAS exams than their peers: 21.5% fewer scored in the proficient-to-advanced range in English, 24.2% fewer scored in that range in science and 33% fewer in math, he said.

Leveraging $1.9 million from the city, district staff are trying to help these students in multiple ways, realizing that the stigma of homelessness “can be a very difficult (one) to shake,” so that they are not defined by it, Marques recently told the School Committee. The district works with 175 school liaisons, including social workers and guidance counselors, who are its key contacts to coordinate programming.

They try to ensure some stability in students’ lives by immediately enrolling ones who’ve been displaced and providing them with transportation so that they can continue to attend their school of origin, he said.

And they ensure homeless students have access to food, clothing and health care, and provide them, like other BPS students, with Chromebooks and hotspots so that they can do their school work.

District staff approach all of this work from “an understanding of how the housing crisis and rising housing costs affect families beyond those experiencing extreme poverty,” Marques said.

BPS has emergency aid to try to help prevent them from slipping into homelessness, including financial assistance for those ineligible for city or state programs. It also tries to help resolve problems between families and landlords, helps families search for and apply for housing and provides referrals for them.

School Committee member Rafaela Polanco Garcia said she was once a homeless refugee living in a shelter with her son, who asked why his friends couldn’t visit.

“The ability for a teacher to go to a shelter is very powerful,” she said. “It is critical this information be available to principals.”

Academic mentorship also is available to homeless students, Marques said. And one sign that that may be helping is the number of homeless students enrolled in BPS’s elite exam schools increased by 34% from last school year to this school year.

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