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Salem Avenue school gets Title I award

April 18, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

No doubt about it, math is Ashley Anderson Wood's favorite subject.

It's even more fun this year, said the Salem Avenue Elementary School third-grader, who is in a new accelerated class for talented math students.

Wood, 9, said she likes the extra things she gets to do in the special class, which is designed to maximize students' performance on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program's math test.

"We get to go to the computer lab more and play some harder games," she said.

The class is part of the school improvement efforts made possible by federal Title I money, said Principal Vincent Spong.

The school will be recognized today at a state Title I conference in Ocean City, Md.

The school was one of four Maryland schools named a National Title I Distinguished School this year, said Ron Peiffer, a spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education.

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The award carries $2,000 in cash and a trip to Atlanta for the formal awards presentation on May 6 at the National Reading Conference, Peiffer said.

A Title I school needs a strong program just to apply for the award, said Peiffer, who said only 17 of Maryland's several hundred Title I schools applied this year.

Title I funding is based on the number of students who qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program, Spong said.

Salem Avenue Elementary School - where 62 percent of the 486 pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students meet the federal Title I criteria - is one of a dozen full Title I schools in Washington County.

"We're able to use our money to serve the entire (student) population, not just the targeted population," said Spong. He said his school received $158,188 in the supplemental federal money this year.

The school-wide Title I program is part of a comprehensive school improvement plan developed with the School Improvement Team, he said.

The bulk of this year's Title I money went toward increasing staff, with a chunk going toward professional development and training, he said.

"In education, money does buy you people," Spong said. "And the more people you have working with kids, the better off you're going to be."

In addition to funding positions for a second-grade teacher and part-time social worker, it paid for a first-grade reading resource teacher, one full-time instructional assistant, two part-time instructional assistants and another third-grade teacher, he said.

That teacher freed veteran teacher Carol Corwell-Martin to act as curriculum coordinator and work with small groups of students.

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