By 1996, Carroll County students will be excellent in math and able to read and write with ease, rarely flunk a grade and be better-behaved to boot.
In a five-year plan presented to the county school board last week, Superintendent R. Edward Shilling challenged the county's students, teachers and administrators to exceed state and nationalstandards in all areas of instruction.
"This is not to say that great things aren't already happening inthis system," he told the board as he introduced the School Improvement Plan, a document in the works for nearly three years. "But great systems don't remain great systems if they sit on their hands and wait for things to happen."
The 20-page plan, which Shilling vowed would "not just be another doorstop," aims to "provide the community with the outcomes it wants: Students who know what we want them to know, do what we want them to do, and have learned to be like those whom we most respect."
The plan comes just months after the state established new education guidelines, as well as a host of standardized testing procedures that some Carroll students will begin this week.
Some of the goals in the plan include:
* Students will develop thinking skills, including reasoning, analyzing, conceptualizing and problem-solving.
* Students will meet or exceed the satisfactory achievement levels in math, English, science and social studies as set bythe Maryland State Performance Program Criterion Referenced Tests.
* Scholastic Aptitude Test scores will meet or exceed the state averages and exceed the national averages.
* All students will complete courses in algebra and geometry before graduating from high school.
The most recent state report card, issued in the fall, gives Carroll school students relatively good marks. According to the state, Carroll students need to improve their attendance rate and math skills.
The plan also addresses social and career issues, ranging from lower teen pregnancy rates, fewer suspensions for drug or alcohol use and greater acceptance of Carroll graduates among the county's work force.
"This plan outlines what we want our youngsters to be and what we want them to know," said Brian Lockard, assistant superintendent for instruction and chairman of the School Improvement Task Force. "I hope this plan gives us the direction we need."
While the boardhas not formally accepted the plan, Shilling and other school officials already are gearing up to follow its recommendations.
"With this, we've got an opportunity to do something serious about school improvement," Shilling told the board after Lockard's detailed hour-longpresentation of the plan during Wednesday morning's school board meeting.
Shilling said that he would like to begin implementing the plan's recommendations by July.
The plan was written after a team of more than 70 school officials, students, county residents and business people met over the course of several years.
The School Improvement Plan is the second major outline taken in recent years. In 1985, "Education in Carroll County to the Year 2001 -- A Fifteen Year Plan" was written. The plan outlined last week draws from the 1985 undertaking.