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Nearly $100,000 to be spent on teacher training at seven Washington County schools

September 03, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Nearly $100,000 will be spent to implement a new instructional model in seven Washington County elementary schools.

The schools are Eastern, Funkstown, Lincolnshire, Maugansville, Paramount, Potomac Heights and Salem Avenue.

Salem Avenue has been part of the Coalition of Essential Schools for about three years, but this is the first year the other schools will be participating, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Michael Markoe said.

The Washington County Board of Education in August voted 6-1 to approve a contract with the Coalition of Essential Schools -- a network that includes hundreds of schools that work to create academic success in small, personalized learning communities.

Board Member Ruth Anne Callaham voted against the contract, saying she did not have enough information to justify taking funds from another program. Existing elementary professional development funds will be used to support the partnership, Markoe said.

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There are about 500 schools that are part of the Coalition of Essential Schools nationwide, and 24 in Maryland, according to a spokesman.

Markoe said that test scores at Salem Avenue have increased since it became a coalition school. The percentage of students in grades three through five scoring at a basic level on the Maryland School Assessment has decreased since 2006.

Salem Avenue Elementary Principal Tom Garner said other results are obvious.

"It's a good culture ... a place that's happy," he said. "Kids want to be here."

Garner said there are 10 principles in coalition schools, and schools tend to focus on a few that blend well with the school population. The principles include learning to use one's mind well, goals apply to all students, personalization, a tone of decency and trust, and commitment to the entire school.

Garner said the coalition model is not a "cookie cutter" approach to teaching.

"Each kid is an individual," he said.

How they voted



The Washington County Board of Education in August voted 6-1 to spend $98,000 on a contract for consultation of services with Coalition of Essential Schools.

President Roxanne R. Ober -- Yes

Vice President Donna Brightman -- Yes

Paul W. Bailey -- Yes

Ruth Anne Callaham -- No

Wayne D. Ridenour -- Yes

William H. Staley -- Yes

Bernadette M. Wagner -- Yes

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