Observations on the month of January: Snow. Boots. Single gloves with no mate (or maybe we bought them that way). Discussions concerning the merits of wearing a hat. Confused school schedules ("Did they cancel school or do they go in late? Please let it be late.") Oh no, we're out of Classic Coke.
Another boot. "What do you mean they're sending them home early? It took me two hours to get back in the driveway after taking them." Chiseling the ice off the windows of my car with a spatula because I can't find the ice scraper I received as a Christmas gift.
A boot that I don't recall purchasing, borrowing or procuring in any other manner.
Please note: Spring is only 64 days away.
* Isn't it amazing that children can learn all the words to an inane song such as "Ice Baby," recite entire sections of TV Guide and yet have no idea what they should be doing for their homework.
Sandra Seward, a counselor at Marley Middle School, is acutely aware of the problem. She recently addressed the members of the Point Pleasant/Shoreland Improvement Association about the difficulty in communicating among parents, school and the pupil.
"I have parents call me all the time, every day, saying, 'I feel Debbie isn't doing her homework. Canyou please check to see if she's doing it?' So I write up a slip andput it in the teacher's mailbox, and the teachers put them back in mine and then I talk to the parents.
The whole process can take as many as five days when you have caseloads of 300 students," she explained.
A telecommunications program known as Marley Parent Involvement Project should help pupils and their parents.
The program is avoice mailbox system that allows parents to telephone the school andreceive prerecorded information 24 hours a day about homework assignments, field trips and school activities.
"A parent can come home from work and call the homework hot line and find out exactly what kind of homework their child has for that evening. If a child has been absent, they can call in for their assignments," Seward said.
The program includes two components: an electronic voice message system and an automatic dialer that sends messages to the home.
In addition to homework information, the system can be used to remind parents of an upcoming PTA meeting or inform them that their child was absentfrom class. If a pupil was late for class Monday, the computer will call his home at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday to remind him or her to be on time.
The system's cost, almost $15,000, is being raised through community businesses, civic associations and donations from parents.
"We have already raised almost $1,000," Seward said, "and we're planning to submit a grant request to the Department of Education for partial funding. We are also working with C&P Telephone, and they may be giving us some money."
A similar system is already in place at Canton Middle School in Baltimore. A phone call to the hot line reminded the listener that a social studies test scheduled for last Friday had been postponed due to low attendance caused by the inclement weather.The message from the teacher encouraged the pupil to take advantage of the extra time and study.
"We would like Marley to be the firstschool in the county to get this program," Seward said. "We know theneed is there, we just have to find the financing."
Private donations from area businesses are being accepted through the guidance office at Marley Middle. For more information, call 761-0088.
* The faculty and parents at Marley Middle are planning another dance for the pupils. The music will begin at 3:30 p.m. next Wednesday and continue until 5:30 p.m.
Jack Barton will be the deejay for the afternoon. Barton is a professional and the owner of Jr. Jack's, a teen nightclub in Marley.
Tickets for the dance are for Marley Middle pupils only and can be purchased for $2 during lunch Tuesday and next Wednesday. No tickets will be available at the door.
Adult chaperones are always welcome to attend.
* If you're a little too old to dance at Marley Middle, you may want to wait until Jan. 26 and try the annual Winter Dance at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 1451 Furnace Ave. The dinner dance begins at 9 p.m. and continues until 1 a.m.
The $10 ticket price includes a roast beef dinner, beer and setups. Dancing will be to favorites by Frog and Ches.
Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 766-0330 or 766-1102.
* The results are in from Saturday's 19th annual Glen Burnie Elks "Hoop Shoot" at Richard Henry Lee Elementary.
Athletes representing area schools participated in the first round of competition. Winners advanced to the district level competition scheduled for Feb. 2 at Towson State University.
"The Elks Hoop Shoot began as a local program in Oregon in 1946. This is the 19th year of national competition," said Joseph Koester, coordinator of this year's contest for the Glen Burnie Chapter. "Over 3 million boys and girls are expected to participate this year."