Hickey to update public on the plan for readying schools for next century

November 23, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

Howard County School Superintendent Michael E. Hickey will give an update on a five-year-old plan aimed at preparing the schools for the next century, in a report at tonight's Board of Education meeting.

The plan, entitled "Toward the Year 2000," contains about 150 recommendations to help keep the school system abreast of educational changes and reforms and to prepare students for the technologically evolving society.

They include recommendations for improvements in such areas as community relations, educational programs, facilities, staff development and technology in schools.

The school system already has completed or put into place strategies and programs to address 79 percent of the recommendations, according to a summary report and update.

"We tried to very carefully go back and account for every one of those [recommendations]," said Dr. Hickey, who initiated the plan his second year on the job as superintendent in 1984.

"I think people will be impressed that so much has been accomplished.

"When something happens over an extended time for five years, you tend to look at them as isolated events."

Dr. Hickey said the school system has made great strides, particularly in building partnerships with businesses, government and parents. Currently, parents sit on advisory councils for curriculum, health and other areas.

"Our efforts to reach out to parents have improved dramatically," he said.

"We still have a ways to go, but I think we've improved tremendously."

He also said the overall instructional program for students has improved. "It was good to begin with, but I think we made it better," he said.

And school-based management -- the theory that a school runs best when it is managed by people who work there -- also has made a strong foothold in Howard County, he said.

"We have moved a great distance toward more school-based training," he added.

"That has been a real plus, and it points to the good performance on the Maryland School Performance Program. School staffs have looked at what their own needs are and are addressing them."

While the school system has been on-track, it will have to make "a mid-course correction, not on the plan itself, but at areas that were partially addressed by the plan," Dr. Hickey said.

Among those issues are the inclusion of special education students in regular classes, the performance gap between black students and other students, and financial inequities between old and new schools, he said.

Such issues "either changed in their focus throughout the years, or perhaps if they were addressed, they were addressed implicitly rather than explicitly," he said.

Among other items on the school board agenda are a report on the Maryland School Performance Program and a public hearing on a proposal that would establish a code of conduct for school employees.

The public hearing has been scheduled for the 4 p.m. session. The regular school board meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

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