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A letter from the superintendent

Schools strive for outstanding education

Schools strive for outstanding education

August 17, 2007

Dear Readers:

For the 2007-08 school year, the Board of Education and staff of Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) are committed to the important work of providing outstanding and diverse educational opportunities for the 21,000-plus students of the county.

Improved student achievement, as reflected in the most recent results of state assessments, remains the top priority in WCPS.

Improving our facilities, including modernizations to schools and new school construction, and providing for a growing student population, are additional priorities for this year.

Construction has begun on three new elementary schools for Washington County. These include replacement schools, with expanded capacity, for both Pangborn Elementary School and Maugansville Elementary School and the new Rockland Woods Elementary School.

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After studying the demographic and projected enrollment information, the Facilities and Enrollment Advisory Committee of the Washington County Board of Education has made recommendations regarding the realignment of school district boundaries to create a new attendance zone for Rockland Woods and to relieve overcrowding at other elementary schools.

While the planning department has been focused on new school construction and major renovation projects, the maintenance department has worked throughout the summer to improve our existing facilities in many ways. These include a chiller replacement and classroom modifications at Smithsburg High, an asbestos removal and reinsulation at Williamsport High and a number of other projects throughout the system.

Learning options

With growing enrollments and increased student needs, the board and staff have increased options for diverse student learning. Magnet programs have been expanded to middle schools and strategically positioned to serve incoming sixth-graders from across the county to build on highly successful elementary magnet themes.

These include Boonsboro Middle School's Magnet Program for World Languages and Global Communication, E.R. Hicks Middle School's Magnet Program for Media Technology, Humanities, and Communications, and Springfield Middle School's Magnet Program for Math, Science, and Technology.

This fall, the International Baccalaureate Programme at North Hagerstown High is entering its second full year with a growing number of students enrolled in courses with international standards for student learning.

Through a new partnership with Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), high school students interested in the trades may attend training and classes in a variety of program offerings at the ABC's Broadway School Academy. This partnership supplements the already established career education programs and academies at our various high schools and those available at Washington County Technical High School.

As an important stakeholder, we want you to know that the result of the Maryland School Assessments from 2007 indicate a fifth consecutive year of improvement for Washington County Public Schools.

The MSA testing program began in 2003 under mandates set forth in the No Child Left Behind legislation by the federal government. The 2007 systemwide results have again increased at almost every grade and category.

For detailed information about the school system's performance or the performance of any school in Washington County, please visit the Maryland Report Card Web site at www.mdreportcard.org. We look forward to continued improved achievement for our students this year!

Thank you for your support of public education in Washington County!

If you need additional information or assistance, please contact your child's school or call our Public Information Office at 301-766-2809.

Sincerely,
Dr. Elizabeth Morgan

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