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School plan unveiled

The county's master plan includes $5 million for building projects and $70,000 for teaching new and Advanced Placement courses.

The county's master plan includes $5 million for building projects and $70,000 for teaching new and Advanced Placement courses.

November 11, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Board of Education Thursday presented its five-year master plan that includes major financial allocations for school improvements and curriculum enhancements.

The plan calls for $5 million worth of construction project proposals, $1.8 million for restructuring and modernizing its print shop and $200,000 worth of summer school repairs.

Patricia Abernethy, deputy superintendent of schools, headed the master plan presentation at Thursday's meeting. She said the system's goals are to have continuous improvement and peak performance for students and staff.

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"The future is creatable and we have the vision," Abernethy said.

Some of the construction project proposals were needed because of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates all-day kindergarten be placed in all elementary schools. The system plans to determine the best use of its current facilities, factor enrollment trends and establish a permanent redistricting committee to accommodate the new requirements on an annual basis.

Under the master plan, about $70,000 will be spent on developing staff to teach new and enhanced Advanced Placement courses. The system projects a strategy for increasing the percentage of high school students who take and score a 3 or higher on AP exams from 9.6 percent to 15 percent by the end of this school year. By 2007, the system plans to double the percentage rate.

Boyd Michael III, executive director of secondary education, said high schools have improved, but still have a long way to go.

He said teachers will be held more accountable for their instruction and will need to pass competency tests to meet higher instructional standards.

Other curriculum initiatives the system hopes to improve for the next fiscal year include revising graduation requirements and benchmark assessments to coordinate with higher academic expectations set by the federal act, evaluating and updating the English language arts initiative, creating intervention programs for students to help them further succeed and integrating technology into all levels of teaching.

Teachers also are targeted in the plan for further development and recruitment. The system projects $210,532 in training new teachers, to include mentoring programs, for upcoming curriculum changes and standards shifts. The system also earmarks $38,000 to develop a teacher career ladder and $33,000 for a Leadership Development Program, which will comprise a mentoring program for teachers aspiring to become administrators.

In middle schools, the plan additionally calls for an expansion of gifted and talented programs and a revision of counseling programs to be focused more on academics.

A call to realign counseling services to students with an emphasis on academics is projected to cost $54,000.

The plan also calls for improvements in school nutrition and service.

The School Board may approve a final draft of the plan at its Nov. 19 meeting.

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