January 13, 2012

Edgewater elementary parents say building needs improvements

From schools reporter Joe Burris:

A group of parents, teachers, staff and students from Edgewater Elementary School on Thursday night implored Anne Arundel school officials to prioritize improvements to the school’s aging structure, which they say is wrought with health concerns.

The school board held the second of two public hearings on Thursday night for Superintendent Kevin Maxwell’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget. But public testimony was dominated by the group of about 50 people from the Edgewater community, whose school – which was first occupied in 1953 and has had renovations in 1964 and 1985 – isn’t up for a feasibility study and design for renovations until Fiscal Year 2016.

Most members of the group stood and held signs that read, “Got Bad Air?” and “Got Mold,” as other members took turns telling board members about how children at the school have suffered from respiratory-related ailments.

“Edgewater has continually remained silent on these issues, and we decided that it was time to band together and see if we can make a difference,” said Jenny Corkill, president of the Edgewater Elementary PTA.

Continue reading "Edgewater elementary parents say building needs improvements" »

Posted by Jennifer Badie at 5:43 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Anne Arundel

October 14, 2011

Roles of Muslim Women Explored at AACC

Anne Arundel Community College will explore aspects of Muslim cultures and the roles Muslim women at a half-day, on-campus event Oct. 22.

“Unveiling the Mystique of the Muslim Woman” will be held at the Robert E. Kauffman Theater at the Arnold Campus at 10 a.m.


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Posted by Jennifer Badie at 7:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel

Howard County Group Hosts Hispanic Heritage Month Event

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Columbia-based, nonprofit organization Conexiones of Howard County is holding its third annual countywide Hispanic Heritage Celebration on Friday evening at Long Reach High School.


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Posted by Jennifer Badie at 7:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel

September 25, 2011

Architecture honors for AACC students

From Anne Arundel schools reporter Joe Burris:

Anne Arundel Community College architecture students won both top awards and two Citation Awards in the 2011 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Maryland Student Design Awards Competition for community colleges.

The AIA is a professional membership association for licensed architects.


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Posted by Jennifer Badie at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel

Arundel holds information sessions on magnet programs

From Anne Arundel schools reporter Joe Burris:

Anne Arundel County Public Schools will be holding information sessions on its magnet programs at Annapolis High School on Thursday and Old Mill High School on Oct. 5.

AACPS has 13 magnet programs for county students, including three International Baccalaureate (IB) and two Performing Visual Arts (PVA) magnets.  Applications for magnet programs will be taken beginning on Oct. 1.

Posted by Jennifer Badie at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel

July 12, 2011

Concerns of racial bias resurface in Anne Arundel schools

The Anne Arundel County chapter of the NAACP has filed a civil rights complaint against the county school system for what it considers insufficient progress in eliminating racial bias from its disciplinary practices.

According to the story by my colleague Childs Walker, the complaint, filed with the civil rights office of the U.S. Department of Education on Friday, alleges that the numbers of African-American students referred for discipline and suspended have hardly changed since a similar complaint in 2004. That complaint led to an improvement plan agreed to in 2005 by the NAACP and the school system.

"Six years later, however, there has been no marked improvement in the disparate treatment of African-American students in disciplinary actions, which continues a pattern of denial and limitation of their educational opportunities and thus their future sustainability," the new complaint reads.

Read the full story here

Posted by Erica Green at 10:30 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Anne Arundel

May 17, 2011

Anne Arundel Has Withdrawn Maintenance of Effort Request

Anne Arundel County has withdrawn its request to be exempt from a state educational requirement mandating that funding be maintained per pupil each year, state board of education officials said Monday.

The requirement, known as maintenance of effort, says that school systems must spend as much to educate each student during the upcoming school year as it did the previous year. In March, Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold submitted a waiver request from the requirement, marking the first time the county had done so.

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Posted by Joe Burris at 4:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Anne Arundel

May 11, 2011

Pasadena Catholic School to Receive STEM Grant

St. Jane Frances School in Pasadena, one of seven schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore to recently be designated a STEM school, has received a $53,000 state grant to develop a state-of-the-art classroom that will include laptops, wireless printers and tablet PCs, archdiocese officials said.

The school will house a so-called “ideal classroom” for STEM (programs that center on science, technology, engineering and math) as part of a Maryland STEM Portfolio Project initiative.

The classroom is expected to be shared by students of all grades, said principal Michelle Jones in a prepared statement. The technology is expected to be used across curricula at the school, officials said.

In January, St. Frances was designated as a STEM school by the archdiocese for its STEM programs in third through eighth grade. The school's sixth grade is building roller coasters that demonstrate speed and velocity using recyclable material.

Posted by Joe Burris at 3:54 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel

May 7, 2011

AACC Professor Earns Kudos on Ratings Site

Plenty of people check out the Web rating site, including professors. Just ask Lawrie Gardner, a CPA and associate professor of accounting at Anne Arundel Community College.

She logged onto the site early on in her career to see what her students were saying about her, and then she looked up the names of other college professors to see what was being said about them.  She said she wanted to find out whether anyone left a comment that she could use to improve her teaching style.

It appears Gardner is doing quite well, as recently listed her on the site’s ranking of the nation's top colleges and professors based on student entries.

Gardner ranked 21st among the nation’s top 25 junior college professors, and those who submitted entries on the site called her an awesome teacher and added that those who commit themselves in her classes succeed. They said she makes accounting concepts easy to understand.

Margaret Bolton, a biology professor from the College of Southern Maryland, ranked 18th among junior college professors on the site, and Towson University languages professor Lea Ramsdell ranked 22nd among the top 25 university professors.

“I actually find the website very interesting because it is indicative of the way that people in general communicate in this day and age,” said Gardner.  “We Facebook, Twitter and text, so a website for students to go to and comment about a good or bad experience they have had with a college professor is just an extension of that.”

Gardner said that she wonders about the accuracy of the website, which says it's owned and operated by MTV’s college network, mtvU, and reaches 3 million students each month.
Yet Gardner added that she’s spoken to students about and they say they use the site in choosing their classes to avoid getting a teacher that some students have had problems with.

“Someone said [to her] that they overheard a conversation with some students and the student was complaining about a professor and the other student replied, ‘Hey, it’s your fault. You should have used,'” said Gardner. “So whether or not the site is accurate, students believe that it is and they use it all the time.”

And that said, Gardner said she felt “honored” to be considered among the top-ranked professors according to the site.

“I love what I do and without students in my classes I would not be able to do my job,” Gardner said. “I try to give my students every opportunity to be successful.  I encourage them to push themselves, but also give them tools to do so.

“My greatest reward for teaching is that if I am able to encourage at least one or two or perhaps three students per class per semester to pursue my chosen field of accounting and to get the rest of the class excited about the topic, I have done what I wanted.”

Posted by Joe Burris at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel

July 26, 2010

More about Anne Arundel MSA results

From Anne Arundel County schools reporter Joe Burris:

Hanover’s Chesapeake Science Point Charter School received the highest scores among all Anne Arundel County middle schools for the second consecutive year, school officials said.

CSP’s results come as county school officials recently announced that only five of its public middle schools reached Adequate Yearly Progress targets as a result of this year’s MSA scores.
CSP also outperformed other Maryland public schools by as much as 23 percent in all grade/subject areas. One of its most significant results were in the special education category; CSP’s special education students outperformed those in other Anne Arundel County schools by as much as 70 percent.

Posted by Jennifer Badie at 12:25 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Anne Arundel

September 22, 2009

2009 High School Assessments

Liz Bowie had a story in today's paper about the 2009 High School Assessment results, which indicate that making the tests a graduation requirement hasn't presented as big of an obstacle to students as originally feared, according to data provided by state education officials.

This news has some folks wondering whether the bar is being set too low, particularly as state officials say only 11 students did not graduate solely because of the assessment requirement.

Liz will have another story in tomorrow's paper, taking a look at the future of the HSAs, and where we go from here. Stay tuned.  Also, you can check out the results on the state's Web site, which also has an updated state watch list for schools failing to make adequate yearly progress.

In the meantime...what do you think?  Do the HSAs set the bar too low?  What do you think about the small number affected by this requirement (the city, for example, reported no students kept from graduating only because of the HSAs - but did represent about 20 percent of the waivers given to seniors statewide)?

May 18, 2009

Bullying policies in Baltimore County and elsewhere

My story today takes a look at a bullying policy coming before the Baltimore County school board Tuesday.

But really, this could have been about any school board in Maryland, considering the state law that requires every district to develop and adopt such a policy.  School officials in the city, Howard, Harford, Anne Arundel and Carroll counties are in the midst of this process, which must be completed by July 1 (and submitted to the state superintendent).

In talking to some of my sources, I was struck by the fact that most everyone already has a policy like this - even if it's not in the exact words or format recommended by the state.  In fact, the state Department of Education worked with local districts in creating its model policy. 

A uniform stance on an issue can certainly be a good thing - particularly when it comes to the persistent, even timeless, problem of bullying.  But I did wonder what people on the ground think about this.  Will it make a difference in how educators handle harassment or intimidation among their students?

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