Catalog offers detailed data on Harford's 49 public schools

January 28, 1998|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

As part of a continuing effort to be more "customer friendly," Harford County school officials unveiled yesterday a catalog of information about each of the county school system's 49 schools -- everything from student test scores to playground acreage.

Many school systems compile similar information in a variety of reports, but Superintendent Jeffery N. Grotsky said Harford's blue binder is the most comprehensive resource of its kind in the state.

"People who are thinking of moving to Harford County can pick up our book and check out the schools in their area," Grotsky said at a briefing at Southampton Middle School in Bel Air. "I imagine that every Realtor in the county will want a copy."

The Harford report, which cost $11,000 and took a year and a half to compile -- marks the first time a Maryland school system has attempted to bring together a comprehensive guide for the public, said Ronald A. Peiffer, a spokesman for the state Department of Education.

State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick "is really a strong supporter of trying to get good, clear information out to the public," Peiffer said. "She's really pleased with the effort and thinks that it's a really good model that could be used by systems around the state."

The initiative was the brainchild of Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, who was looking for a way to present "report cards" on each of the schools.

The idea dovetailed with Grotsky's "customer first" philosophy, which has yielded several new programs for the school system, including a Continuous Quality Improvement program modeled after a corporate training seminar.

"The most important people are our customers," Grotsky said. "We have to provide them with as many resources as possible."

With advice from the community, a school department team designed a book that contains pictures of each school, renderings of each school's mascot and detailed data.

Much of the information is drawn from the Maryland School Performance Report, the annual state report card that contains information on on attendance, dropout rates and results from the state's extensive testing program.

The report also offers figures on teacher attendance, the educational background of school staff members and student mobility.

Copies of the profiles will be made available to schools, county officials and public libraries. Parents are encouraged to make copies of the profiles and make suggestions about what they would like to see included in the profile.

School officials said they also are planning to add the information to the school system's Web site and put the profiles on computer discs to be made available to individuals.

Pub Date: 1/28/98

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