Changes afoot for some county students


August 26, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

For three years, Erin Honey dutifully followed the rules at Broadneck Senior High and called her teachers "Mr." and "Mrs."

"Now, all the teachers are saying things [to me] like 'You can call me Jill,' or 'You can call me Frank.' It's great," said the 1989 Broadneck High graduate, who reported yesterday to her alma mater for her first teaching job. "I can't wait for the first day of school. I get to make my own rules."

Ms. Honey was among the 262 newly hired teachers who joined 3,771 veterans yesterday to begin getting ready for county students. Classes start Sept. 1.

Teachers and students will find some changes this year, including the opening of the only new school this year -- the long-awaited North County High, which will have a late, staggered opening in the old Lindale Middle School building beginning Sept 13.

"Students and staff at North County will move from the old Andover site into their new digs," said Nancy Jane Adams, a spokeswoman for the county public school system. "The next step is the renovation of Andover into a middle school facility. Then Brooklyn Park and Lindale middle schools will move, and the Brooklyn Park facility will be renovated."

Another significant change at the high school level is the new four-class-a-day system at Chesapeake High School, the first time it has been tried in Anne Arundel County.

Other new items on the high school agenda: weighted grading for some classes; some new graduation requirements, including a program for students to provide community service; and a Neighborhood Schools Project, where students with a disability will be able to attend the school near their home, instead of a special school.

Larry Knight, retiring in a week as principal of Broadneck Senior High, says his school will have three students this year as a result of the Neighborhood Schools Project.

"This is a good program that will provide equity for those kids, so they can learn in a real environment, instead of being isolated," said Mr. Knight.

Another new program at Broadneck this year is nicknamed "MESA" -- an acronym for Math, Engineering and Science Achievement.

"We'll be working with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in a program to encourage minority students, especially female minority students, to go into highly technical fields," Mr. Knight said.

But yesterday, teachers at Broadneck were concerned with more low-tech activities, such as putting together bulletin boards and posters and meeting to discuss changes in what they'll teach.

Almost no one could be overheard discussing controversies that have plagued the school system through the spring and summer: the arrests of three teachers at Northeast High School charged with child sex abuse, Superintendent C. Berry Carter being placed on leave, and the lack of teacher pay raises.

"We want people to know about the good things that are happening in county schools," said Virginia Crespo, a social studies teacher at Broadneck.

"The events at Northeast have had a chilling effect on teachers, but it's a people profession," she said. "I'm not going to change the way I treat students."

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