Baltimore schools move toward opening day
While I was on vacation, my colleague, Olivia Bobrowsky, covered the city school board meeting on Tuesday night.
Here's her report:
Last night, the Baltimore school board discussed preparations for getting schools ready when they open later this month.School officials said they are on track: all facility renovation projects are on schedule, bus routes are established, the school police force is fully staffed and the list goes on. Still, of all the readiness indicators, one new measure stuck out as particularly exciting.
This year, city schools are putting the application for Free and Reduced Meal Service online. In an effort to increase application return rates, the e-form will allow web-based completion and submission. Chief of Staff Tisha Edwards said that step will also offer regular, real-time data tracking and sharing with principals, ensuring ;efforts are targeted towards meeting common goals.
The school board also discussed the progress of several new initiatives, including new school openings, reorganization of special education, and the expansion of pre-kindergarten classes. Nine new schools will open in the fall, including 4 college prep schools, t3 accelerator schools designed to get students who are behind to graduate more quickly and two charter schools. The schools are all prepared with staff, furniture and instructional materials, according to the school officials. Every school is already assigned to a school support network, which have filled 54 of their 56 staff positions. The city;s redistribution of special education classrooms has offered choice and placements to 100 percent of students working to gain life skills;and 90 percent of students with emotional disabilities. And finally, 36 of the 40 teachers needed for the city's 40 new pre-k classrooms have already been hired. Construction should be completed and materials should be delivered by Aug. 20.