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New column will focus on education

March 27, 2006|by BERNADETTE WAGNER / Board of Education member

Editor's note: Beginning next month, Washington County Board of Education members and school staff will use this space to write about school system issues. The column will be published on the second Monday of each month. This column, written by board member Bernadette Wagner, introduces the column and the ideas behind it.




The Washington County Board of Education has a strong desire to improve its ability to communicate with members of our community. Accordingly, as the board's liaison to The Herald-Mail, I recently met with Liz Thompson and Terry Headlee to discuss the possibility of a regular Board of Education column in which the board could answer questions posed by citizens and/or provide important educational information.

I am pleased to announce that The Herald-Mail has agreed to provide the Board of Education with space for a regular column on the Education page on the second Monday of each month. This space will be used in a variety of ways. Board members may write articles on current topics of interest such as growth and enrollment issues, new or revised policies, budget considerations, student achievement or redistricting. Additionally, the column could be used to explain the important work being done by the board's standing committees, which include Finance, Policy, Curriculum, Human Resources and Facilities. The board also is in the process of establishing a link on our Web site that would allow citizens to post questions that could be answered in this space.

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I have contacted business leaders in our community to ascertain from their perspective what they would like to see covered in the column. They are interested in seeing articles that update the progress of the Minority Achievement Task Force, as well as articles that examine the expansion of the high school academies and the introduction of the International Baccalaureate program. Additionally, the business community expressed an interest in learning more about technical literacy efforts and the effects of minority influx on the public schools.

Although board members will write some columns, they also may ask others to be guest columnists. For example, the board may ask the citizens who chair the Budget Advisory, or Redistricting Committee, or the presidents of the County PTA or CAC, to write on an educational issue.

I hope that this space will become a must read, not only for those who have children in the WCPS, but for every citizen. As one economist expressed it, the strength and support of a community is determined by the strength and support for its public schools. By improving our ability to communicate, the board hopes to garner even more support for our schools. The Board of Education is pleased to have this opportunity to partner with The Herald-Mail to better inform the public about the successes of Washington County Public Schools, as well as the challenges we face together.

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