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Hammer-atkins says schools must teach basics

July 24, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

A Keedysville woman who runs a parent support group says she wants to be on the Washington County Board of Education to bring local schools "up to speed."

Christina L. Hammer-Atkins said the current administration tends to look at the district as a whole and not the individual needs of schools.

Some schools in town may have different needs from schools in outlying areas of the county, said Hammer-Atkins, 36, of 2645 Hawks Hill Lane.

A school in town, for example, may need smaller classes than other schools, said Hammer-Atkins. Smaller classes are critical for children in kindergarten through third grade, when they are learning basics, said Hammer-Atkins.

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"If those kids don't learn the fundamentals, they don't have a foundation to grow on," said Hammer-Atkins, also a homemaker and mother of two young children.

"We're there for the kids. We're not there for the statistics. We're not there to make the Board of Education look good," said Hammer-Atkins.

Hammer-Atkins started Mothers of Pre-schoolers, or MOPS. The group provides activities for children up to 6 years old to give parents a break from child rearing, said Hammer-Atkins. MOPS, operated at Mount Nebo United Methodist Church in Boonsboro, also can help parents learn parenting skills such as toilet training, said Hammer-Atkins.

Hammer-Atkins believes teachers do not get enough credit for their work and believes curriculum audits, such as the one done recently on the school system, should be conducted regularly.

The audit, released last October, showed a number of weaknesses in the school system such as infrequent use of computers, fragmented staff development and shortcomings in curriculum development.

Hammer-Atkins also believes that teachers should not teach values, such as honesty. Those lessons need to be taught at home, Hammer-Atkins said.

Hammer-Atkins is one of 16 people running for five seats on the Board of Education.

Two of the seats are newly created, and will increase the size of the board from five to seven members.

The 16 candidates will face-off in a primary election on Sept. 15 with the top 10 vote-getters vying for the five seats in the Nov. 3 general election.

The top three vote-getters in the general election will serve four-year terms and the next two highest vote-getters will serve two year terms.

After this election, a school board member will make $4,800 a year and the president will make $4,900.

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