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Loss of Boonsboro High School program is discussed at session

March 26, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - A discussion between the Washington County Board of Education and members of the Boonsboro High School feeder system Tuesday turned into a forum on a family and consumer science program being cut at the high school.

During an Evening with the Board session at the high school, parents and teachers raised concerns about a decision made by Boonsboro Principal Richard Akers to cut a consumer science program, which included a child care and foods program, and replace that teacher with an additional Spanish teacher.

"Talk about No Child Left Behind, we need good child care in this country," said Pam Gearhart, a consumer science teacher at Frederick (Md.) High School, who was on hand to support the teacher of the program.

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After learning 19-year child-care and foods teacher Joan Rohrer planned to retire at the end of the school year, Akers said he evaluated the program and decided the school needed an extra Spanish teacher more than the program.

Akers said his decision was related to the high school's goal to have 80 percent of its students on track to be eligible to attend colleges within the University System of Maryland, which requires students to have passed Algebra II and have at least two years of a foreign language.

After the meeting, Akers said about 50 percent to 60 percent of students at the school already meet those requirements.

He said the school has three Spanish teachers and one French teacher, but needs an additional Spanish teacher to offer five levels of the language. The fifth level of a foreign language qualifies as an advanced placement course, he said.

During the meeting, Boonsboro senior Lindsey Avara, 18, said, "AP classes are great to prepare us for college, but right now we're in high school and we need to have a balance between work and play."

Akers said other electives offered at the school include horticulture, agriculture, band, chorus, art, drafting and woodworking.

"I didn't make the decision blindly," Akers said after the meeting. "In the last three years a total of 24 students finished that program." He said four students will complete it next year and those students will have the option of going to Hagerstown Community College, Washington County Technical High School or another high school to finish their coursework.

Rohrer said there are 18 students in the foods and child-care courses that would complete their four levels of coursework next year.

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