Letters to the editor (part 1) - 5/11/03

May 12, 2003

Mobility a major concern for Board of Education

By Roxanne R. Ober and Carol Moller

We often like to think of education as a simple paradigm - teachers teach and students learn. In reality, the paradigm can become very complex, especially when impediments crop up and make it difficult for students to benefit from instruction.

In recent years, student mobility has been identified as one of the more significant impediments to the teaching and learning process. What do we mean by student mobility? The term refers to students moving from school to school during any given school year due to their families changing their place of residence.

Such mobility frequently puts great stress on children. One or more times during a school year, a child must adjust to a new home, new neighborhood, new school, new teachers, and new classmates. The child often needs extra time to adjust to a new reading or math program and consequently falls behind in academic progress. The situation for the child is confusing and analogous to playing the piano in an orchestra where not everyone is on the same sheet of music with the same set of notes. The problem of mobility is most acute in large urban areas, but smaller school systems are not immune.


What are the student mobility rates in our county? According the Elementary Mobility Report 2001-2002, Washington County had a total of 622 elementary students move in and out of schools. We had 47 students who moved two times within the county, seven students moved three times within the county, and 133 students moved outside of the system or moved back into the system. The county average for elementary mobility in 2002 was 23.7 percent. Twelve of our elementary schools exceeded the average, and two of our elementary schools were at 43.6 percent and 48.3 percent. That is nearly 50 percent of the population moving in and out of two of our elementary schools.

How is the school system addressing the problem and helping to prevent students from losing academic ground due to mobility? A major initiative is instituting a standardized curriculum and standardized textbooks so students moving from one school to another will have the same programs and can readily pick up where they left off at their previous school.

We as public officials are concerned about the student mobility issue and are committed to ensuring that all students have an equal chance to be successful regardless of their circumstances. We will continuously seek and support creative solutions so that all children may have opportunities to learn and succeed.

Roxanne R. Ober is a member of the Washington County School Board and Carol Moller is a Hagerstown City Councilwoman.

Breakfast gives toasty support to Children's Village

To the editor:

On behalf of the board of directors and staff of Children's Village, I thank the many supporters who made the April 23 "VIP Breakfast" a success. Generous tips from guests of the volunteer VIP waiters helped raise over $7,200 to support the life-safety education program Children's Village provides to every second-grade student in Washington County.

Waiter, John Moser, with P & W Excavating raised $1,150 from tips, while waiter Patrick O'Connor from Sam's Club was a close second, with tips totaling $1,095. Other VIP waiters included Tom Ripley and Dick Knode, subbing for Mike Callas, from Callas Contractors; Bob Maginnis with The Herald-Mail Company; Mike Morrell from Allegheny Energy; Jim Baker from Hoffman Clothiers; John Green with F&M Bank; City Police Chief Arthur Smith; Barry Brown, subbing for Coach Jim Brown; and John Roney from Hagerstown Trust.

Table and centerpiece sponsors were AFSCME Local 3373; Bankers Life and Casualty Company; Callas Contractors; Citicorp; Clean Earth of Maryland Inc.; F&M Bank; Hagerstown Trust; Mack Trucks Inc.; Sam's Club; Wachovia Securities; and the owner of Toto from the Wizard of Oz.

Event volunteers included Stacy Drake & Selina, MC's and Auctioneers; Bank Tellers, Connie Garret and Debbie Lida; Hostess, Patti Friend; Pianist, Andy Hamilton, Runners, Teresa Thompson and Gus Boswell; along with Bus People, Kurt and Mary Beth Johnson, Frank Stanley and Jim McMurtrie.

We thank food sponsors Dave's Wholesale Produce, Krumpe's Do-Nut Shop, and Martin's Food Markets for making breakfast complete; and we appreciate the support of Venice employees, Roberta Harner, Barry Peters, Janice Baker and Ben Hawkins.

A special "thank-you" goes to Betty M. Smith who chaired the 2003 VIP Waiter Breakfast to benefit the Children's Village program!

Rochelle Morrell
Director for Development
Children's Village

Thank a teacher

To the editor:

Each year, the first full week in May is set aside as National Teacher Appreciation Week. I hope you will join me in celebrating the talented men and women who help equip Maryland's students with both practical skills and broader intellectual abilities - our more than 65,000 Maryland public school teachers.

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