Take a quantum leap. To 1996.
It's been six years since a school improvement planning task force unveiled recommendations aimed at reforming Carroll schools.
Here's what you might see: In the classroom: The ratio of students to teachers has been reduced.
Students are astute in math. They are technology-literate -- adept in the use of calculators and computers. They possess an understanding of the history, geography, language and customs of not only the United States but of the rest of the world. Elementary students "parlent francais" and other languages, which are now introduced to them on a consistent basis.
Outside the classroom: Students have developed a healthy self-esteem and a sense of responsibility and respect for themselves and others. They take pride in their work and possess a good work ethic. Students know life skills like parenting and balancing a checkbook.
At home: Parents pick up their children's first report card.
Parent-teacher conferences are held at more convenient times. Parents serve on school-improvement teams. Parenting classes are offered to families with school-age and preschool children.
Other programs: Learning is a year-round process. Programs have been expanded to include more part-time, evening and Saturday courses. Students seeking enrichment attend a restructured, free summer program.
Comprehensive staff development is offered to teachers, who also are reimbursed for an unlimited number of graduate courses.
Step back to 1990. Note that the scenarios represent only some of the 71 recommendations the task force, comprised of 70 parents, teachers, students, administrators and community leaders, presented to the Board of Education last week.
"We're embarking on a new era of education in Carroll County," Board President T. Edward Lippy told an audience of mostly educators, task force members and Board of Education candidates who attended a special meeting at Westminster High School.
The meeting allowed board members to begin digesting slices of the reform pie, which encompasses aspects of national and state initiatives, as well. The task force was formed several months ago and compiled its recommendations after separating to study six specific areas, ranging from student achievement to Carroll's vocational-technical program.
"I was really pleased with some of the recommendations that came from our task force," said board member Cheryl A. McFalls. "It's hard for me to actually pinpoint specific recommendations the board will or will not adopt because there are so many."
Board members questioned task force representatives on some of the recommendations, which did not include any plans for funding. Generally, the recommendations were philosophical or broad in scope.
The recommendations will be discussed at the board's regular November and December meetings. Additional meetings may be held, as well. Included in the board's debate will be the various state initiatives, which range from extending the school calendar by 20 days to easing the requirements to become a teacher.
Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said he would like the board to reach a consensus on the initiatives and charged the staff with implementing a five-year plan, beginning July 1, 1991.
"I think it's an exciting time for our community," Shilling said.