Schools officials discuss hurdles, progress

October 30, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

Few parents were in the audience, but Washington County Public Schools officials discussed the system's "capital crisis" and its accomplishments at a regularly scheduled Evening with the Washington County Board of Education at E. Russell Hicks Middle School Tuesday.

"Washington County Public Schools had a banner year and a lot of folks sitting here are responsible for that," Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said.

Five out of the nearly 40 people seated in the E. Russell Hicks Middle School cafeteria Tuesday night were parents while the rest were school system administrators and staff.


Morgan listed school system accomplishments such as students' rising SAT scores, low dropout rates and higher than average state standardized test scores.

William Blum, the school system's chief operating officer, discussed the age of some of the system's school buildings and school officials' plans, either through bond issuance or county government assistance, to help refurbish those schools.

After some soliciting for questions or comments, parent Candy Turano asked how students can earn service learning hours and if a student attending South Hagerstown High School could go to the North Hagerstown High School Medical Academy.

Boyd Michael III, the school system's executive director of secondary education, said students begin with earning 15 hours of student service learning in middle school and must complete the remaining 60 hours during high school. A student going to South High could attend the academy through special permission, he said.

Schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen noted that the school system upgraded its Web site, which she said was a large undertaking.

School Board Member Jacqueline Fischer told audience members that some developers at a public hearing on the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance Monday complimented the School Board on its work, but the positive comments were not reported in The Herald-Mail.

School Board President Bernadette M. Wagner said after the meeting that she considered the low parent turnout at the Evening with the School Board to mean that people must be pleased with the school system's accomplishments.

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