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Educational goals outlined for public

September 29, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools David W. Markoe kicked off a series of town meetings about education here Tuesday night, talking primarily about five goals that were recently adopted for local schools.

About a dozen parents, school officials and members of the community came to the meeting at Shepherdstown Junior High School.

Some in attendance said the community is happy with the Jefferson County Board of Education's decision last week to abandon the idea of building a ninth-grade center adjacent to Jefferson High School along Flowing Springs Road. The proposal was one of several considered in discussions about expanding the high school.

There was concern among parents and school officials that the expansion would make the high school too big, and it would be difficult to balance it with a second high school in the county, which school officials are seriously considering.

Instead of a ninth-grade center, school officials are now proposing to build a new middle school and temporarily use it to house ninth-graders.

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"I am thrilled. I am totally thrilled," said parent Norleen Hoadley.

School officials adopted five goals for the district in June, and they put a procedure in place to measure how well schools are meeting the goals, said Markoe.

Markoe said administrators in the central office have been designated to work with schools to help them meet the goals.

Five goals

The first goal, which deals with student achievement, calls for doubling the number of students taking the Scholastic Assessment Test. School officials also want Jefferson County students to score 1,000 or better on the college entrance exam.

Goal one also encourages more students to take advanced placement classes and requires all students to read at grade level by the end of the fourth grade, said Markoe.

Goal two deals with classroom climate and offering safe schools to children, particularly in light of violence that continues to mar classrooms. "That's something, I think, that's on a lot of peoples' minds," said Markoe.

That goal also examines why some students have negative attitudes about school. School officials want to set more time aside for one-on-one sessions between teachers and students to help instructors find ways to make school more attractive to students, Markoe said.

Last year, 137 students dropped out of school in the county, Markoe said.

Goal three calls for bridging more partnerships between schools and their communities, including setting up advisory groups to study the needs of schools.

Goal four is to ensure the curriculum stays up-to-date. It also looks at issues relating to race, gender and economic status, said Markoe. If there is a group of African-American kids, poor kids, or a particular gender group that is not performing well, school officials want to know why, he said.

Goal five calls for school facilities and programs to be equal among all the schools. "School A shouldn't have three computer labs and school B have only one computer lab," Markoe said.

Markoe's next town meeting will be Monday at Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) Junior High School. The third and final meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Charles Town (W.Va.) Junior High School. Both meetings will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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