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State education chief visits county schools

April 26, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

Maryland Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick got a look at how state funding was helping local schools Wednesday and learned about a local program she'd like to see adopted statewide.

Grasmick learned about the Washington County Board of Education's administrative intern program while touring Clear Spring Elementary on Wednesday morning.

She toured two schools that are being renovated using state funds, Clear Spring Elementary and South Hagerstown High School. And also visited Clear Spring High School, which was named a state Blue Ribbon School of Excellence last fall.

Grasmick seemed surprised at the extent of renovation work going on at Clear Spring Elementary and South High.

"This is not a superficial renovation. It's major renovation," Grasmick said.

Principals at both schools said it would be preferable if the renovation work could be completed before students return to school in the fall.

Grasmick said she was pleased to hear contractors on both jobs were working with school officials to minimize intrusions upon students and faculty.

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While touring Clear Spring Elementary, Grasmick was introduced to the school's administrative intern, Cathy Scuffins.

The School Board approved the intern program about three years ago when school officials realized they had a number of principals approaching retirement and not enough assistant principals to fill the expected vacancies, Washington County Deputy Schools Superintendent Theresa Flak said.

Grasmick said she'd like to see the administrative internship program adopted throughout the state.

"I love this idea of the internship because it's so reality based," Grasmick said. "In this internship, every single day they're applying what they're learning."

Grasmick said she was pleased to see each school had its Maryland School Performance Assessment Program test results posted for visitors to see.

"This is a school system that has placed the highest priority on student achievement," Grasmick said.

"You have a lot to take pride in," Grasmick told Flak and Schools Superintendent Herman Bartlett while touring Clear Spring Elementary.

The $5.5 million renovation at Clear Spring Elementary began last July and is expected to be done in March 2001, said Principal Jill Burkhart.

The entire school is being gutted and renovated with new wiring and air conditioning to be installed. A new cafeteria and kitchen should be ready in about three weeks, Burkhart said.

South High students are expected to move into their newly renovated classrooms in about two weeks as the $10 million first phase of renovation nears completion.

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