Schools seek ways to help hurricane victims
The school system is seeking ways to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan told the Washington County Board of Education.
"We're obviously concerned about the children and the disruption to their education," Morgan said Tuesday night.
Morgan told the board the schools want to do their part to help and would be willing to partner with other agencies.
Zachary Jamison, student representative to the board, said in comments toward the end of the meeting that one Louisiana school district that is expecting to enroll evacuees is seeking school uniforms and supplies. Board member Bernadette Wagner suggested people who want to take in a family left homeless by the storm visit the Web site, www.shareyourhome.org.
Officials seek to enroll more for free, reduced-price meals
Over students' summer vacation, Washington County Public Schools replaced 300 computers in seven elementary schools, updated 11 servers, served 33,000 meals and sent applications for free and reduced-price meals to every family in the county.
Officials in the school system would like to have more eligible families apply for free and reduced-price meals, and they are looking to increase the percentage of families in the program from 34.6 to 35.6, Chief Operating Officer G. William Blum said.
Blum provided the Board of Education with a rundown of the numbers during its regular meeting Tuesday night.
Sports programs, field trips get $10,300
Donations of more than $10,000 will go toward field trips and sports programs at two Washington County Public schools.
The Board of Education voted Tuesday night to approve the donations of $6,300 to Boonsboro High School to benefit the soccer and cheerleading programs, and $4,000 to Old Forge Elementary School to supplement field trips.
School Board talks about Constitution Day
The Washington County Board of Education voted Tuesday night on second reading to approve a new policy establishing the commemoration of Constitution Day.
Board member Bernadette Wagner said while she believes students should learn about the U.S. Constitution, she felt it was ironic the federal government has mandated that schools set aside a specific day for lessons about the subject.
"I do resent the fact the federal government is again imposing itself on the local level," Wagner said.
According to Clyde Harrell, supervisor of secondary social studies, Congress voted last year to mandate that schools mark Constitution Day.
Harrell and Jill Burkhart, supervisor of elementary English/language arts and social studies, said teachers have incorporated Constitution Day into their lesson plans. This year's commemoration is Sept. 17, a Saturday. Burkhart said teachers and schools will mark the day during lessons and announcements in the week before and after.
Wagner, who sits on the board's policy committee, said she believed schools already do a good job teaching students about the Constitution, and she said the day's lesson might be "out of context" with whatever students already are working on.
Reserves could offset high energy costs
An early shipment of textbooks could give Washington County Public Schools a little money in reserve for paying high energy costs.
According to Chris South, director of budget and finance, the school system initially planned to pay half the cost of a new elementary school science curriculum when the books were ordered, and the other half when they arrived. South said the materials were not expected until August, after the end of the last fiscal year. However, they arrived early, and the school system paid up, pushing a little resource money into this fiscal year.
South said the extra money might go toward escalating fuel costs.