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Information about schools is available from various sources

July 16, 2007|by Carol Mowen

Editor's note: Once a month, Washington County Board of Education members and school staff will use this space to write about school system issues. This month's column is written by public information officer Carol Mowen.




With the coming of the school year on Aug. 22, board and staff of Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) encourage parents, students and community stakeholders to access information available from multiple resources.

· Through a partnership with WJEJ-1240 AM, the public information office broadcasts a radio show on the third Thursday of each month at 1:06 p.m. "Lunchtime Live" features interviews with staff, students and board members on various topics. The audio from archived shows is available at the "On Air" page of the Washington County Public Schools Web site. In addition, staff began videotaping the shows in March and airing them as "In Studio with Lunchtime Live" on Channel 99. The video program airs on the fourth Thursday of each month and runs for two weeks. The replays air on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

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· Thanks to the City of Hagerstown's franchise agreement with Antietam Cable, "Washington County ETV" broadcasts on Antietam Cable Channel 99 throughout the week. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays primarily are used by the school system, and Hagerstown Community College primarily uses the channel on Mondays and Wednesdays. Washington County Board of Education meetings and other special programs, including "WCPS Newsbreaks," are regularly aired. Check the scroll for closing/delay information or other emergency communication.

· "WCPS One on One" podcasts are available through The Herald-Mail and Antietam Cable Web site, www.antPod.com. Various guests are interviewed and podcasts are archived, so previous postings are available.

· The WCPS InfoNet e-mail subscription service provides regular information to stakeholders. To join, go to www.wcboe.k12.md.us and click on WCPS InfoNet. Stakeholders can choose to receive updates from the Public Information Office after each regular meeting of the board, notices of delays/closings or other emergency communications, and food service menus. Many schools also are using the service to keep in touch with parents.

· The Washington County Public Schools Web site contains various information, including telephone numbers, school addresses, employment opportunities in the system, publications, news releases and general system information. Standard school pages provide general information about schools, and most schools also provide custom sites with more details about school programs and activities. In addition, the Web site includes a link to the BoardDocs portal that houses all of the documents used by the elected Board of Education during public meetings. Stakeholders also can access several e-mail links, including the "Ask The Board" link for e-mails directly to the Board of Education, and the "Feedback" link for information or comments from the main Web site.

· Multiple publications for stakeholders are available, and many are posted on the Web site for downloading. Check out the Board Meeting Updates for summaries about each Board of Education meeting. The WCPS Countywide Handbook and Guide is under revision for the 2007-08 school year and will be distributed to all parents and staff at the beginning of the school year. The annual WCPS-Herald Mail academic calendar also is in production, and again will be printed at no cost to the school system thanks to the sponsorship of many community advertisers and The Herald-Mail. The calendar again will feature students' artwork from the annual show at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

· Applicants interested in job opportunities can call the Job Hotline for current postings - support positions at 301-766-8711, or administrative/teaching positions at 301-766-8710. Postings also are available on the Web site and on Channel 99.

Stakeholders with questions can contact the Public Information Office directly by calling 301-766-2809 or by sending an e-mail to feedback@wcboe.k12.md.us. In addition, parents and students are encouraged to contact schools directly for school-specific details regarding the beginning of the school year.

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