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letters to the editor - 11/17/02

November 18, 2002

The plan for Washington County schools' future



(Editor's note: This letter is being run again because the headline it appeared under when it ran on Nov. 10 was inaccurate, due to an an error by the editorial page editor. The Herald-Mail regrets the error.)

To the editor:


As many readers may already know, the Board of Education and school system staff are developing a five-year master plan to create a world-class school system for Washington County. Many new initiatives from both the state and federal governments necessitated a Phase II of the strategic planning process begun in 1998

The federal legislation in the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) act, as well as recommendations from Maryland's Thornton Commission Report and the Visionary Panel Report must be addressed. The resulting master plan is currently in draft form and has been distributed widely for consideration and input from stakeholders in Washington County.

The plan's goals and objectives are as follows:

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  • Goal I: Peak performance

    - Objective 1 - To attain high achievement for all students

    - Objective 2 - To develop the highest quality staff

  • Goal II: Continuous process improvement

    - Objective 3 - To design and implement effective, cost efficient management systems and practices in order to improve the support to instruction

  • Goal III: Customer and stakeholder involvement and satisfaction

    - Objective 4 - To achieve a high level of staff, parent, family, community, business, and higher education involvement and satisfaction



A recent letter to the editor about the master plan noted that stakeholder involvement is necessary. We agree. When we began, we talked to more than more than 175 volunteers in the Study Groups for Specialized Programs and Models last spring and with business leaders who participated in the Management Review Team. With their input, we started work on the draft. We have been seeking a great deal of input and expect to have a collection of suggestions and recommendations done by the end of October.

The Washington County Board of Education has shared the draft goals, objectives, strategies, and initiatives with the Hagerstown City Council and the Washington County Commissioners in sessions covered by local media and with the Greater Hagerstown Committee during a forum held in September.

School principals have shared the plan with staff and with school-community groups such as Citizens' Advisory Committees and Parent-Teacher Associations.

Superintendent Betty Morgan has described the plan to several community organizations, including the Hagerstown Rotary Club and the Hagerstown Lions Club, among others.

In addition to sharing the master plan in meetings, copies have been mailed to stakeholders at Hagerstown Community College, the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, the Washington County Community Partnership and the Hagerstown-Washington County Board of Directors to name a few. We have also mailed numerous copies to individuals, as requested.

Dr. Morgan and School Board members shared information about the plan in an rececnt Education Forum sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

For more information or to receive a draft copy of the Master Plan, please feel free to contact me at the public information office, by calling 301-766-2996.

Carol Mowen

Public Information Officer

Washington County Public Schools




Proud of the past four years



The election is over and the results are in. A new Board of County Commissioners is to be sworn in on Dec. 3. I congratulate the winners and wish them well; it will not be an easy four years. I offer my condolences to my fellow defeated candidates. We lost the election but life must go on and I truly believe that God has a plan for each of us. It is truly a test of our faith and my prayers are with both victors as well as the defeated.

I would like to thank all my supporters, especially my campaign staff. Thanks to my excellent campaign manager, Pat Wolford, and to my superb treasurer, Donna Hovermill. Thanks to Lorraine DiSeati, Tom Palamar, Lou Troppman, Earl Meagher, Charlie Shindle, Mac McLean, Sam and Margie Reed, Ann Hinkle, retired school administrators, teachers and all my union friends. My very special thank you to my wife, Shirley, for allowing me the opportunity to serve as a county commissioner and making many sacrifices including my 60-hour work week.

These past four years were enjoyable and productive. I gave my all and I can hold my head high and I am not ashamed of my performance.

It was a pleasure and a honor to have served with four of the finest gentlemen in the history of the County Commissioners. My challenge to our new Board of County Commissioners is to meet and exceed your predecessors achievements.

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