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Survey - Quest changes wanted

Students, parents and educators involved with the 1-year-old program expressed a desire to make it more challenging

Students, parents and educators involved with the 1-year-old program expressed a desire to make it more challenging

July 17, 2002|by DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

A survey of the students, parents and teachers and principals involved with the Washington County Public Schools Quest program showed there is a desire to make the 1-year-old program more challenging, improve communication with parents and increase staff training for elementary school teachers.

The survey also showed that parents think the Quest program is tailored to meet the needs of students, and that teachers say they need more training and planning time.

Overall, Schools Coordinator of Advanced Programs Donna Chesno said the Quest program "went really well."

"You probably couldn't expect it to come around in one year any more than it did," Board of Education member Paul W. Bailey said after the board was presented with the survey results on Tuesday.

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School Board member Doris J. Nipps said she was extremely concerned about the number of elementary school teachers surveyed who said they had not attended staff training.

Of 261 teachers who responded to that part of the survey, 82 - about 31 percent - reported that they never attended professional development sessions, according to a report on the survey results.

"I find that very disturbing and very disappointing," Nipps said.

Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said to get more teachers into training sessions, perhaps they could be pulled from classrooms to attend or training could be made mandatory.

The Quest program was new to county schools this year, and it replaced a similar program for advanced students called Project Challenge.

In county elementary schools, 1,629 students participated in the Quest program, which entailed working on independent projects in addition to regular schoolwork.

There was also a Quest science class at Smithsburg Middle School during the last school year.

Students were selected for the Quest program based on their scores on standardized tests and teacher recommendations, Chesno said.

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