Old Forge Elementary School

August 20, 2006

21615 Old Forge Road

Principal: John E. Festerman

Phone: 301-766-8273

Fax: 301-745-6130

Web site:

Start time: 7:55 a.m.

Dismissal: 2:25 p.m.

Grades: K-5

Date of construction: 1970

Age of building: 36 years


Latest renovation: 1995

Size of building: 40,777 square feet

State-rated capacity: 377

Projected 2006-07 enrollment: 379

From the principal

Q. What are the biggest challenges this year?

A. One of the biggest challenges Old Forge Elementary staff will face during the 2006-07 school year will be the lack of space. We are implementing a new county autism class that will utilize two of our existing conference rooms.

At Old Forge Elementary, we will have seven new staff members. One challenge is to make them an integral part of our school community and having them continue our success with students and the parents of Old Forge.

Another challenge is to continue to close the achievement gap for all students and have students that have met proficiency goals on the state exam, to achieve the highest category: advanced. Our students and staff have done an excellent job, but there is always more to do.

Q. What are your goals for the school year?

A. Our first goal is to increase student achievement and close the achievement gap between the various subgroups such as: free and reduced lunch, special education, ethnic groups, and boys and girls.

Our second goal is to increase parent and community partnerships with Old Forge Elementary.

Q. What will help ensure a successful school year?

A. Our dedicated staff and the support of the school community will ensure the achievement of our goals. Old Forge has always had great parent and community support. With this continued support, all goals can be achieved.

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

A. It is with great pleasure that I welcome all students and parents to the 2006-07 school year. On behalf of the Old Forge staff, I wish every student a successful year. The staff has been preparing for the upcoming year. The custodial staff has cleaned and polished our school. The instructional staff has attended workshops, written curriculum plans and moved to new areas of the building to make this one of the best years possible for every child.

We welcome our new staff members Lorrie Trader Grade 5, Lisa Keyser Grade 3, Jennifer Gilliam - Grade 2, Colleen Beaver Guidance, Julie Stouffer Student Achievement Specialist, Amy Miller - autism teacher, and a new autism paraprofessional to be announced.

I congratulate our students, staff and parents on their successes on the Maryland School Assessments. Everyone's hard work and dedication has resulted in huge successes for our students.

I encourage all parents and guardians to take an active role in their child's education. Conference regularly with your child's teacher(s), volunteer to assist and join us in the many successes your child will have during the school year. Together, as partners, we can make 2006-07 a banner year for the Old Forge Community. I look forward to being a part of the school community and working with you throughout the year.

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

A. We will be implementing a new autism class for grades kindergarten through grade 2. This is a county initiative and we will be receiving children from throughout the eastern/southern region. It will be a self-contained program that will work with children identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The class is expected to have about five students with a teacher and two paraprofessionals.

Autism, a lifelong disability, is a spectrum disorder that is identified as a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by perceptual, cognitive, and social differences. While all people with autism have language and communication difficulties, there is a considerable range in language ability among individuals with this diagnosis. Communication interventions are a critical component of any program designed to support these students. Many of these students are candidates for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems, either to supplement their existing speech or to act as their primary means of communication. Our staff will use AAC systems to address these children's learning styles.

Parent training will be a specific part of the program. Sensory and social behaviors also will be addressed.

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