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Grasmick: Washington County students to face greater demands

State superintendent praises county schools

State superintendent praises county schools

November 29, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Washington County Public Schools students will be expected to do more with less in coming years, according to Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick.

She described the state budget for education in the county and most other school systems in Maryland as "lean," but said students will be pushed to achieve even more.

"The world our students enter is going to be a much more demanding place," Grasmick said. "(Schools) are the pipeline ... ."

Grasmick spoke Wednesday during a Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce event at Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway. She answered questions on No Child Left Behind legislation, the impact of the state budget on local schools and recent changes to state testing. She told a group of about 50 school system and local government officials that the state of education in Washington County is strong.

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Students are scoring well, and in some cases better than their peers across the state and country, on increasingly rigorous tests. Students are given more opportunities, including magnet programs, the International Baccalaureate Program at North Hagerstown High School and the availability of advanced-placement courses.

"We have to be prepared for students to compete in a global economy," Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said.

She cited rising test scores in science and math as an indication that the school system is on the right track.

"We've come a long way," Morgan said. "And there's more to do."

Grasmick said she supports increased rigor for students, as well as accountability, but she has some concerns about current No Child Left Behind federal legislation.

"I don't believe there will be any reauthorization of this law until we have a presidential election," she said. "I hope the law survives. I hope there are important changes made to it."

She said she would like to see changes in parts of the law that apply to special-education students and students whose primary language is not English.

Grasmick said Washington County is a model for other school systems in terms of achievement. Student intervention specialists, staff members committed to keeping students in school and other personnel are committed to student success, she said.

"Students who enter Washington County Public Schools have wonderful opportunities and experiences," she said.

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