2 schools get grants to improve teaching Educators may start advanced computer labs, self-esteem programs

November 20, 1995|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Two north county schools are about to receive an extra $300,000 a year each over the next three years to buy computers or try out new ideas to improve the way they teach their students.

Brooklyn Park-Lindale Middle and Hilltop Elementary schools are the first in Anne Arundel to receive money from the 3-year-old Challenge Grant program run by the Maryland Department of Education. It is designed to give schools and the communities they serve extra cash to implement their ideas and improve student attendance.

"We have a very diverse county and we want to empower the schools because we feel that they best know what they need," said Nancy M. Mann, assistant superintendent of instruction for county public schools.

The schools won't receive the money until February, but Principal Victoria J. Hutchins and an 11-member committee of parents, teachers and business leaders at Brooklyn Park-Lindale Middle School in Brooklyn Park, are outlining what they plan to do with the money.

Mrs. Hutchins said she will use some of it to buy new computers, printers, scanners, software and computer-adapted video cameras to create a MacIntosh and Compaq lab when the school moves from its building in the 200 block of Hammonds Lane to the renovated Andover Middle School after Christmas break.

The school's existing Apple IIe lab's computers will be used for a mini-lab and to put a computer in each classroom, she said.

"We want to have a state of the art educational program," Ms. Hutchins said. "I think it's important that our students are preparing for the world of work."

Some of the grant money will be used to train teachers to help students improve their reasoning skills so they can get better scores on the Maryland School Performance Program tests.

Although many students at Brooklyn Park-Lindale do satisfactorily or better on such exams, Ms. Hutchins said, "I think we have a lot of room to grow. Our test scores need to be raised."

At Hilltop Elementary, Principal Louise E. DeJesu said she and a 14-member committee haven't decided what to do with the money.

Committee members are looking at programs to improve reading and math skills and to create a computer lab. Hilltop has six small MacIntoshes and a few Apple computers. The school also is considering self-esteem and conflict resolution programs, Ms. DeJesu said.

She called the grant "a golden opportunity" and said parents are excited because the computers are "resources that are going to stay in the schools and prepare our students for the 21st century."

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