School board briefs

November 22, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Construction, design documents approved

Design development documents for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and construction documents for Westfields Elementary School were approved Tuesday.

Board members voted unanimously on the documents. Board Member Roxanne Ober was not present at the business meeting.

Both will be submitted to the Public School Construction Program staff for state review and approval, officials said.

Westfields has been tentatively set to open in 2008 on Sharpsburg Pike. Officials have said the school will have about 400 students from the Westfields, Claggetts Mill and Carriage Hill subdivisions, and will relieve overcrowding in at least three other schools. The total cost of the project has been estimated at about $25 million.

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, a four-year high school, is scheduled to open in fall 2008. Students will take courses and have intensive training in visual arts, music, theater and dance.

The total cost of the project has been estimated at about $7.9 million.


Schools meet yearly progress standards

School officials said Tuesday that all Washington County Public Schools have met adequate yearly progress standards for the second year in a row.

They gave the first of a two-part presentation on the topic. The second part will be presented at an upcoming board meeting.

To meet the adequate yearly progress benchmark, schools must achieve established goals each year that put them on track to meet the 100 percent proficiency standards in reading and math by 2014 that were established in federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

Tom Janus, a former candidate for the Board of Education, said before the presentation was given that the presentation avoided answering tough questions and left out important information.

He questioned why money was being spent on foreign language programs in elementary schools and arts programs instead of on ensuring that all of the county's students are 100 percent proficient in reading and math.

Janus said that type of spending is "out of whack."

Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan asked that he remain at the meeting to hear the answers to some of his questions. He did not.

JoEtta Palkovitz-Brown, assistant superintendent for elementary instruction, said officials are aware that some groups, such as special-education students and those not proficient in English, struggle in reading and math.

"Those students who continue to struggle, we work with and seek additional assistance," she said.

Palkovitz-Brown said more time is spent working individually with those students who are having trouble with reading and math.

Survey measures maintenance service

The Washington County Public Schools maintenance department surveyed its customers, mostly school principals, recently to see how satisfied they were with their service.

During the 2005-06 school year, officials said there were more than 5,000 work orders, or about 28 per day. More than 4,700 were completed.

The surveys were sent to 41 principals in September, and 37 were returned, officials said Tuesday.

Nearly 100 percent of those surveyed agreed or somewhat agreed that maintenance activities to open schools were successfully performed, according to a presentation to the board. More than 30 percent strongly disagreed or somewhat disagreed that work orders were completed in a timely manner.

More than 90 percent of those surveyed strongly or somewhat agreed that maintenance had excellent workmanship.

And 100 percent of those surveyed said maintenance personnel were courteous and conscientious, according to a presentation.

Officials said they will be evaluating staffing levels to ensure appropriate support for schools and starting a new work order system that will allow for immediate feedback.

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