Smithsburg Elementary School

August 20, 2006

67 N. Main St.

Principal: Robin Handler

Phone: 301-766-8329

Fax: 301-824-4462

Web site:

Start time: 7:55 a.m.

Dismissal: 2:25 p.m.

Grades: K-5

Date of construction: 1953

Age of building: 53 years


Latest renovation: 1997

Size of building: 48,587 square feet

State-rated capacity: 419

Projected 2006-07 enrollment: 397

From the principal

Q. What are the biggest challenges this year?

A. Smithsburg Elementary School has been recognized for our student achievement on Washington County and Maryland State Assessments. Our challenge is not only to maintain our high level of performance, but to continue to increase student achievement and learning.

This year our priorities will be to motivate students as we clearly communicate high expectations for academic success. In addition, we will focus on incorporating activities that foster higher-order thinking skills to better prepare students to meet the challenges inherent in a changing workplace.

Our teaching staff is committed to examining "best practices" and strategies in collaborative professional learning communities. We will continue to work toward engaging all students in the learning process.

Q. What are your goals for the school year?

A. Our goal for the upcoming school year is incorporated in our vision statement: "Smithsburg Elementary School is to provide a rich, positive learning environment for all students to develop their potential as lifelong learners."

This year Smithsburg Elementary will provide interventions for students who are performing above and below grade level in reading and math. Teachers will continue to work on designing lessons that are clearly aligned with the Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum. They will meet in grade level teams and vertical teams (i.e. first-grade and second-grade teachers) to ensure students have demonstrated an understanding of the skills being taught in all subject areas.

In collaboration with staff, parents and the community we would like to expand our Reading Buddies/Math Mates tutorial and mentoring programs to meet the academic and emotional needs of identified students.

In addition, we would like to offer after-school activities to include enrichment programs such as Hands on Science, Chess Clubs, Destination Imagination, and Battle of the Books.

Q. What will help ensure a successful school year?

A. A successful school year will come to fruition when all stakeholders including staff, parents, students and community work together toward a shared vision that promotes the academic, social and emotional well-being of all students at Smithsburg Elementary. Ongoing communication between school and home is vital for student success. Parents/guardians are encouraged to visit our school, volunteer, become active in the PTA, attend workshops and support classroom teachers by reading with children and reinforcing the importance of homework completion. Through our participation in the National Network of Partnership Schools program, we hope to explore new ways to open the lines of communication between school and home.

Q. What message would you like to send as the school year begins?

A. I would like to welcome our new students and our returning students to what promises to be an exciting school year at Smithsburg Elementary School. I look forward to working with a dedicated staff who share my passion for educating students in an engaging, nurturing, safe environment.

It is a privilege for me to have an opportunity to continue in my fifth year as principal at Smithsburg Elementary School. I am proud to be part of a collaborative team, including a supportive staff and involved parents who share a common goal: To provide a world-class education for all students.

Q. What special projects will occur during the school year?

A. The 2006-07 school years will bring all-day kindergarten to Smithsburg Elementary and the school will continue to offer a half-day pre-kindergarten class.

Smithsburg Elementary students will continue to support those who are less fortunate by donating books and food drives sponsored by county organizations.

Students will correspond with soldiers abroad and make placemats for senior citizens during the holidays. Our school will recognize students who demonstrate positive behaviors as part of our Character Counts initiative.

With support from the Washington County Board of Education, all students in kindergarten through fifth grade will learn to speak Spanish.

Students in fourth and fifth grade will once again be given the opportunity to participate in band, orchestra and chorus.

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