School system, community offer resources

August 17, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

How do I know if I qualify for free or reduced-price meals? Where can my son go to talk to a counselor? What after-school activities are available in Washington County?

Throughout the school year, parents will have these questions and more. Washington County Public Schools and the community offer resources for parents and students to help with needs throughout the school year.

Below is a list of just a few. You also may contact your child's school or the school system central office for help with other needs.

Free and reduced-price meals

Eligible students may eat school meals for free or at a reduced cost of 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch.


Under the new guidelines, a child from a family of two is eligible for free meals if the household's income is less than $13,273 annually, and for reduced-price meals if it is less than $25,327, state officials said.

A child from a family of three is eligible for free meals if the household's income is $22,321 or less, and for reduced-price meals if it is less than $38,203.

Officials have said a child from a family of four qualifies for free school meals if the household's income is less than $26,845. If the family's income is less than $38,203, the child qualifies for reduced-price meals.

For each additional family member, add $4,524 to the maximum income allowed to qualify for free meals, and $6,438 to the amount for reduced-price meals, state officials said.

Anyone with questions about the free and reduced-price meals program may call Supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services Gary Dodds at 301-766-2893, or send an e-mail to

Magnet schools

Boonsboro Elementary School for World Languages and Global Communications, Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts and Technology, Fountaindale School for Art and Academic Excellence and Williamsport Elementary School for Math, Science and Technology have magnet programs.

This school year will be the first with magnet programs at three middle schools ? Boonsboro Magnet Middle School for World Languages and Global Communication, E. Russell Hicks Magnet Middle School for Integrated Arts and Technology and Springfield Magnet Middle School for Math, Science and Technology.

For details on the county's magnet programs, call Betsy Donohoe, supervisor of advanced programs, at 301-766-2992.

Performance Matters

Soon after the start of this school year Washington County parents will have Internet access to their children's grades and test scores, Robert C. Brown, coordinator for the office of testing and accountability, has said.

Parents will receive information about registering for the online accounts during the first week of school. Teachers, administrators and central office staff have been able to access student information.

The accounts through Performance Matters were available for students at E. Russell Hicks Middle School this school year through a pilot program. About 70 parents used the program to view their children's records, Brown said.

Performance Matters offers a variety of tools for public school districts to make effective, timely decisions, according to the company's Web site.

The Citizen's Advisory Council

The Citizen's Advisory Council (CAC) is a parent involvement group mandated and approved by the Washington County Board of Education, according to the Washington County Public Schools Web site. It's purpose is to involve the public in the promotion of the highest feasible standards of educational excellence in each school.

This county council is comprised of representative parents, businesspeople and community leaders who are interested in reviewing and making recommendations on issues in the public schools. Each school has a School Citizens Advisory Committee.

They provide support and serve in an advisory capacity. They do not provide programs in the school and they do not participate in fundraising.

For details about CAC, call Acting Director of Students Services John Davidson at 301-766-2962, or send an e-mail to


If your child requires counseling, or has questions for a counselor, contact your child's school. Other community counseling options also are available:

· Behavioral Health Services ? 301-766-7600

· Brook Lane Health Services ? 301-733-0330

· CASA Inc. ? 301-739-4990 (day), 301-739-8975 (nights and weekends)

· Catholic Charities ? 301-766-5868

Special Education

If you believe your child might be eligible for special education services, you may contact the special education case manager at your child's home school. If your child is in a home teaching program or in a private school, you may contact the school your child would attend if enrolled. For a child too young to be enrolled in school, call the coordinator of Itinerant and Special Education Programs at 301-766-2964.

For questions about 504 eligibility, contact the guidance counselor at your child's school.

For questions about educational programming for a student with a disability, contact the special education case manager at the school your child would be attending if enrolled in school.

After-school activities

·Boys and Girls Club ? 301-733-5422

·Boy Scouts of America ? 301-739-1211

·Girl Scouts Council Inc. ? 301-791-5686

· Girls Inc. ? 301-733-5430

·Memorial Recreation Center ? 301-790-0203

School information

For questions about other resources or concerns, call Washington County Public Schools at 301-766-2800. Information also is available on the school system's Web site at

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