Nineteen Baltimore County employees will begin working on county time in two elementary schools in the next few weeks as part of an initiative to encourage voluntarism in the schools.
Workers from the county administrative offices will volunteer at Pleasant Plains Elementary School in Towson and Church Lane Elementary Technology School in Randallstown as the first phase of a project allowing county workers to volunteer for two hours a month in county public schools.
County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger announced the initiative at his inauguration in December, saying he wants to encourage individuals and businesses to get involved in schools.
Ruppersberger said that if the pilot program is successful, he would expand the program to al- low all 7,500 county employees to volunteer at schools across the county in the next few years.
Business and school officials say that while school partnerships have been popular for at least 10 years, Ruppersberger's proposal goes further than most because the county would be paying workers for their time in the schools.
About half of the 38 employees in Ruppersberger's office, the county administrator's office, the Office of Human Relations and Office of Fair Practices have agreed to volunteer, according to Elise Armacost, a Ruppersberger spokeswoman.
The two schools were selected with input from school officials based on a number of factors, including the schools' need for volunteers and their locations, Armacost said.
Pleasant Plains Elementary is a 10-minute drive from the Courthouse in Towson, which minimizes travel time for volunteers, according to school officials.
Volunteers who live in the Randallstown area will be able to help at Church Lane on their way to work or on their way home, Armacost said.
Principals from both schools conducted an orientation session Thursday for the volunteers at the Baltimore County Courthouse. Both said they are excited to have the additional help.
"It's always an opportunity when you have extra hands to help out in the classroom," said Myra Smith, principal at Church Lane, a technology magnet school with 598 pupils.
The principals said they intend to use the volunteers in a variety of capacities, ranging from tutoring and stacking books to helping in the school cafeterias.
"What we'd like to do is match the interests they have with the needs we have," said Jennifer Pahl, principal of the 550-pupil Pleasant Plains Elementary.
Ruppersberger, who plans to volunteer once a month at both schools, said he does not know exactly what type of work he will be assigned. But he said he sees the project as a morale booster for those who participate.
"People feel better if they get out and help other people," he said.
Pub Date: 3/16/99