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County schools' report includes important data

March 12, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - About 68,000 households and businesses in Washington County and a small portion of Frederick County will receive a copy of the Washington County Public Schools annual report in their mailboxes.

The report contains data from the 2005-06 school year.

Schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen said the report is sent out in batches, starting Feb. 28, and it is possible some have not received it yet.

"The annual report provides many different stakeholder groups with a lot of statistical information about the school system," she said. "It's one opportunity a year to touch everyone with a direct-mail piece about the local public school system."

Mowen said the report highlights the return on the investment taxpayers make in the school system, and it has been mailed in this way for the past four years.

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In 2006, Washington County Public Schools ranked No. 1 in the state on the Maryland High School algebra assessment, according to the report. The school system also led the state in school attendance.

Participation in advanced-placement courses has nearly doubled since 2001, according to the report.

Along with testing information, the report offers details on the school system's student population.

More than 13 percent of the more than 21,000 students are distinguished as students with disabilities, and 35 percent of Washington County Public Schools students qualify for free and reduced-price meals.

Students at the Washington County Technical High School took the photographs and created the basic design for the report, Mowen said.

The photographs featured in the report were taken by Aysha Smith, Sara Shoemaker, Jamal Campbell, Ali Ivosevich, Brandon Routzahn, Sean Williams and Andrea Bernisderfer, students in the Digital Communications program taught by John Jones. The blueprint and map designs, as well as the general layout for the report, were created by Amber Buechling, Alice Groesbeck, Clint Hammond, Nick Meagher, Crystalyn Molnar, Lindsey Shutte and Rachel Smith, students in the Visual Communications program taught by Sue Fries, according to a press release.

For the past several years, the annual report has included the work of students in these career and technology education programs. Photographs have been taken at schools throughout the county. This year's featured schools include Bester Elementary, Boonsboro Elementary, Williamsport Elementary, Boonsboro Middle, North Hagerstown High and South Hagerstown High.

"The students really benefit from this integration of a real-life project into their learning experience," Mowen said.

Along with the mailed reports, copies are provided to the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission to use in recruitment efforts, Mowen said. Copies also are available for other groups and organizations upon request.

To request a copy of the annual report, call the public information office at 301-766-2809. The report also is available online at www.wcboe.k12.md.us.

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