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Letters to the Editor 9/24

September 22, 2000

Letters to the Editor 9/24



Russell Williams: My top priorities for local schools



To the editor:

As you know I am a candidate for the Washington County Board of Education. The Picket newspaper has asked me to list my three most important priorities and to explain how I would achieve them. I thought that your readers might be interested in the same information.

My Three Top Priorities for the Washington County School System are:1. Reduce the frequency with which the school system jumps from one new program to another.

2. Make certain that support personnel are both told and shown that they are valued and important members of the educational community.

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3. Make sure that the workload for teachers does not become increasingly unmanageable.

I will address these priorities in the following manner:

1. From past history it is evident that we need to carefully review new programs before we adopt them. When faced with the introduction of a new program I will ask to review the data supporting the effectiveness of the new program. I will ask to talk to a school system that has been using the program for years and to talk to another system that has used and dropped the program or considered the program and rejected it. Having talked to these school systems I will be better able to intelligently vote for or against the new program. I will suggest that my fellow board members not vote on the new program until they also have talked to these two school systems.

2. We constantly hear the following truth: to attract and retain good

teachers they must be paid well and know that their work is valued. Ibelieve that the same applies to all the support people who work for theBoard of Education. I believe that we do our children no service by trying to find the lowest possible pay scale that we can pay and still produce live bodies to fill the support staff positions. We must pay enough to keep our good support staff and to replace retiring good people with other good people.

3.The workload for teachers is overwhelming and must adversely impact their ability to teach. (Ask a long-term teacher if the workload has gotten harder, stayed the same, or gotten easier in the last 10 years.)

When a new task is added to the teacher load I will ask: What equallytime-consuming load will be removed from the teacher workload?

Since the Picket only asked for three things I did not talk about my interest in things such as the manner that computer technology will continue to be introduced, the use and expansion of interactive TV, theeffect of the MSPAP on the school system and the future of the OutdoorSchool and the special education programs.

Russell Williams

Candidate Washington County

Board of Education.

Hagerstown




Four-period day doesn't benefit our students



To the editor:

As a parent of a high school student I would like to inform parents who might not be informed for whatever reason please ask some questions about the four-period day in our high schools.

What advantage does this have over the seven-period day?

Did you know your student may have a class such as math, science and so on this semester and then not again until the last semester of the following year?

I ask you: How much reviewing will have to take place before new concepts can begin?

Is this fair to our teachers who have had no training to implement 90-minute classes?

Some students no longer can get into elective classes because there are too many students already in a given class and there is no room for more. Extra students are then placed wherever (in a class of no interest to them) or they are given free periods.

I send my child to school to be in class, not to roam around for free time unsupervised for a class period or even half a day with no classes.

Too few teachers are on board to run a four-period schedule effectively.

Class size is far too large (we have classes in the 30s and 40s) with one teacher and no help in sight. Rumor has it that these classes should have about 22 students. We need more teachers. Please send them to our schools now.

Some students are being placed in classes out of their grade level because there is no where to place them because of numbers.

Parents we have been decived again by the people at Central Office on Commonwealth Avenue. You need to speak out on this and other issues before it is too late. We need to make sure if the four-period day is to be the class future that it is implemented correctly from the beginning not just hap hazardly done.

Parents write letters to the elected board members they might be able to help if we let them know of the problems that exist in schools after all they only know if we (parents) tell them.

J.M. Unger

Hagerstown




What Washington County's middle schools really need



To the editor:

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