Letters to the Editor 1/28

January 26, 2001

Letters to the Editor 1/28

Deputy school chief: What we've achieved

As deputy superintendent of Washington County Public Schools, I have truly enjoyed working with Dr. Herman G. Bartlett to implement the recommendations of the Curriculum Management Audit, and to improve student achievement during the last four years. Since he was hired in 1997, Dr. Bartlett has provided strong and unwavering leadership and vision for our school system, producing unprecedented results in many areas. In partnership with the Board of Education, the community and the staff, we have made significant progress that is manifested in:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> a strategic planning process that has involved all stakeholders in working together to improve our schools;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> improved relationships with the business community;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> the launch of Career Academics in finance, manufacturing, pre-engineering, medical careers, and fire and rescue;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> increased funding for the school system for the last three years based on improved relationships with the Board of County Commissioners;


HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> improvements in all employees' salaries to maintain a competitive edge in our region;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> significant and sustained gains in student achievement on the MSPAP, moving from 14th to sixth in Maryland on CPI;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> SAT and Advanced Placement exam scores above state and national averages;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> a systematic approach to reading and literacy for all students in elementary through high school;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> improvements to class size and pupil/teacher ratios in the elementary grades;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> four Blue Ribbon Schools named during the last four years;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> the naming of our bus fleet as one of the "Great Fleets of America;"

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> unqualified financial audits for three consecutive years;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> a restructuring of program options for our advanced-level learners;

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> significant academic intervention alternatives for at-risk students, including after-school programs, summer school and a full-day kindergarten pilot.

While growth has been seen in all of these areas, much remains to be done. I leave the school system with the comfort of knowing that the staff has been empowered by Bartlett to continue the hard work that will sustain these initiatives. I am extremely proud of our hard-working principals and directors whose leadership has sustained the changes spawned by the Strategic Plan. Our teachers perform the heroic work in the classrooms, aided by the support staff, where daily they provide a quality instructional program. Washington County Public Schools have the potential, in my opinion, to be the best in the state of Maryland. The strong work ethic and dedication to the profession that is embodied by the staff, and the support of parents and the local business community, will continue to serve the community well.

On Jan. 29, I will leave Washington County to begin a new position with the Montgomery County Public Schools as a community superintendent. The 28,000 students in my "community," encompassing the feeder systems for Montgomery Blair High School, Albert Einstein High School and John F. Kennedy High School, are among the neediest in the school system. This area adjoins the Washington, D.C. line and is the most racially and culturally diverse in Montgomery County. I eagerly embrace the challenges that this assignment will afford me and the many opportunities to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of children.

Throughout my tenure in Washington County, I have enjoyed the unflagging support and encouragement of the staff and members of the community. My community involvement in Leadership Hagerstown, Character Counts!, the Rotary Club of Hagerstown and as a board member of Washington County Free Library and the YMCA of Hagerstown have permitted me to become engaged on a broader level and to give back to this community in return for all it has given to me.

As I reflect on the many new initiatives that have begun, with the adoption of Character Counts! by the school system and the community, the construction of a new library branch in Clear Spring and a new YMCA facility to serve the community, I am filled with optimism and hope that opportunities for our youth continue to be priorities for our community leaders. The many volunteers who selflessly serve the community organizations have been an inspiration to me. My life has been touched by so many who have given so much.

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