New names, courses show magnet schools' direction BALTIMORE COUNTY

February 05, 1993|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

Yesterday's story on Baltimore County schools that are changing their names inadvertently omitted that Southeastern School of Technology on Sollers Point Road will be come Southeastern Technical Magnet School.

) The Sun Regrets the Error

Listen up, Baltimore County students and parents. Some of your schools are changing their names.

* Central School of Technology is becoming the Carver Center for Arts and Technology.

* Milford Mill High School will be Milford Mill Academy.

* Eastern Vocational Technical High School will be Eastern Technical High School, but not until 1994.

* Western School of Technology has already become Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, but that's not the last word.


What's prompting all these name changes is the marriage of traditional high school and technical center courses with special-interest programs to produce "magnet" schools that will draw students from wider areas than traditional neighborhood schools.

Central kicked things off by winning school board approval to become a countywide center for the performing arts. As Carver, the Towson school is really coming full circle. It opened in 1949 as Carver High School, a segregated high school for black students.

"That [original] building is still here and will be a part of Carver," says Mary Cary, the school's new principal.

Since desegregation in the 1950s, the school has been Towsontown Junior High School and Central School of Technology, as well as the home of some of the school system's administrative offices. "I wanted to recapture some of that rich [Carver] history," says Ms. Cary, who chose the name.

Milford Mill, too, wanted to hang onto its tradition but update its name to reflect what's happening there, says principal Morris Hoffman. Although he lobbied for Milford Institute of Technology -- MIT -- Mr. Hoffman says a committee finally agreed on "academy," which means a school above elementary level at which special subjects or skills are taught.

Milford Mill Academy will have a combined academic-technical program in 11 different fields, as well as the International Baccalaureate program for academically advanced and highly motivated students from the western part of the county.

"Because of the divergence of subjects and skill levels that we're offering here, the faculty decided to go with [calling it an] academy," says Mr. Hoffman.

At Eastern, which technically has been a magnet school since it opened more than 20 years ago, principal Robert Kemmery won approval from the school board last week to drop the word "vocational," beginning officially in September 1994. This year's juniors have ordered class rings inscribed with "Eastern Vocational Technical High School," so the name won't change next school year.

"Vocational education has a connotation of terminal education . . . of getting our students their first job and the rest will take care of itself. That is no longer the case," says Mr. Kemmery.

Although he says he has heard from some unhappy alumni, Mr. Kemmery said there's little, if any, opposition to the name change within the school.

The school sent survey forms asking 1,200 families for their opinion. The 11 who responded favored the name change, 10-to-1.

And for students and alumni who want to cling to the initials EVT, Mr. Kemmery says it's OK with him. It will simply stand for Eastern Very Technical High School.

At Western, Principal Kenneth Burch will wait till September, when the technical center becomes a comprehensive magnet school. Then, the students will get to pick a name, a mascot and school colors.

"I have my favorite," says Mr. Burch. But he's vowing not to sway any votes.

Woodlawn High School also will open a magnet program in September but does not plan a name change, says Tom DeGraziano, chairman of the school's science department.

The program itself, however, will have a title as ambitious as its course offerings: the Baltimore County Center for Pre-Engineering and Student-Conducted Research in Science -- or BCCPESCRS, for short.

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