New year to bring changes to schools More than 73,000 pupils start tomorrow

August 25, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

A new building, new uniforms, fresh paint.

These are among the changes that will greet some of the 73,516 students expected in Anne Arundel County schools starting tomorrow.

Students at Linthicum Elementary School, who are participating in a new voluntary uniform policy, will sport polo shirts and pants or jumpers in the school colors of yellow and blue.

As many as 15 elementary schools have asked students to wear uniforms, and more schools are studying the idea, said Nancy W. Almgren, vice chairwoman of the Countywide Citizens Advisory Council.

That's up from three schools with voluntary uniforms last school year.

Van Bokkelen Elementary School students should notice dolphins, their school mascot, along with sea horses and tropical fish swimming next to them in the cafeteria line.

The colorful decorations, brightly painted hallways and classrooms, and a teaching staff that is mostly new to the school are just some of the changes at Van Bokkelen this fall.

The Severn school has started a reform plan after poor scores on standardized tests caused the state to threaten a takeover.

"I'm expecting a great year," said first-year teacher Anthony Alston, one of a handful of Van Bokkelen teachers who came in Friday, a day off, to prepare for students.

Alston was readying his room for the 10 special education students he expects tomorrow.

Students at Park Elementary will walk into a new building when they start school Wednesday.

The $10 million structure is the only new school that will open in the county this fall, but buildings are under construction for South Shore Elementary, Meade Heights Elementary, Jacobsville Elementary, Ridgeway Elementary and Meade Middle School.

Sixth- and ninth-graders will have their school buildings to themselves tomorrow, allowing them one day to get lost in peace before their veteran classmates return Tuesday.

"What we're trying to do is just ease the transition from middle school to high school," said Meade Senior High School Principal George Kispert. "This is sort of a one-shot approach."

Broadneck Senior High School students will face a transition of sorts from high school back to junior high Wednesday when they return to their alma mater, Severn River Junior High, for a year while Broadneck is renovated and expanded.

Because of the Broadneck move, Severn River Junior High will share neighboring Magothy Middle School's building for the year, with the help of some creative scheduling.

Severn River's eighth- and ninth-graders will go to class from 7 a.m. to noon, Magothy Middle's sixth- and seventh-graders from noon to 5 p.m.

The county's school system, the fifth-largest in Maryland and the 47th-largest in the country, is expecting about 1,700 more students this year than last year, said Jane Doyle, a spokeswoman.

The official enrollment count will be taken at the end of September.

Some parents new to the area will walk into their neighborhood schools on the first day to register additional children.

The pre-Labor Day start also means that some students won't start school until next Tuesday, many because their parents were unwilling to curtail family vacations.

In the first year without a 20-day grace period for parents to have their children immunized, officials expect fewer students than last year to show up without shots.

Last year, 4,000 to 5,000 students had not been properly immunized by the start of school.

"I think the issue is that many parents when they registered knew they had a 20-day grace period," said Betsy Fleming-Rice, health coordinator for county schools. "It gave a lot more leeway, and many of us take that when we are so busy."

Pub Date: 8/25/96

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