Outline For Education Revisions Anticipated School Board To Hear Task Force Proposals

October 28, 1990|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

The Carroll Board of Education will be presented Tuesday with a blueprint for local school reform that is likely to include recommendations for increased student achievement and performance.

Unveiling 71 recommendations for reform will be a task force comprised of 70 parents, teachers, students, administrators and community leaders.

The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at Westminster High School auditorium.

Although task force members have been hush-hush about the recommendations, Carroll educators said they expect an emphasis on student achievement because of the Maryland School Performance Program, which will set performance standards for the state's school systems.

"I expect a very visible school improvement program to come out of this," said Superintendent R. Edward Shilling. "If we take the (recommendations) seriously, and I think we should, there is a need for raising expectations of students."

The state performance standards set levels school districts should meet in order to be rated "satisfactory" or "excellent." Categories that would be measured include math, reading, writing, citizenship and daily attendance.

Shilling noted that Carroll, which had one of the highest writing scores in the state last year, would not meet the standards set for 1995.

"I think that gives people some feel for how high those standards really are," Shilling said. "We're really going to have to work hard to meet those standards. I think that's what we should be doing."

Student achievement is just one of the areas the task force, which began meeting in January, has studied the past several months. The group was broken down into subcommittees to study areas such as life skills, parent and community involvement, technology and vocational/career readiness.

"For some of these things we've recommended, there are already pilot programs started," said Marianne Earhart, a Westminster parent who served on the task force. "Some of them are very innovative and new ideas. I don't think there's anything really shocking. A lot of the things being suggested are very important -- they are things that are really needed."

The entire task force studied all the recommendations before finalizing a blueprint for the Board of Education, said Brian L. Lockard, Carroll's assistant superintendent of instruction.

Lockard said it is his hope that the board, after conducting public meetings on the proposals, will charge the staff with developing an improvement plan, incorporating the recommendations.

"We hope to attach some sort of priority and time line -- what critical issues or state issues do we need to address first," Lockard said.

Included in the review process for the board will be various Maryland Board of Education proposals, ranging from extending the school calendar by 20 days to easing the requirements to become a teacher, Lockard said. The board also will review the Maryland School Performance Program.

"(The recommendations) definitely follow the trends of the nation," said Earhart, whose son is a freshman at Westminster High School. "There's a lot of things that have been talked about but haven't been put down on paper until now."

Shilling said the board is expected to discuss the proposals at its November meeting and at additional public meetings before the end of the year.

The superintendent said he would like to see a five-year improvement plan implemented beginning July 1, 1991.

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