Five county schools seek grant money to plan...


July 16, 2000

Five county schools seek grant money to plan improvements

County school officials are seeking a $248,000 federal grant to create smaller "communities" for students and teachers within five of Anne Arundel's largest high schools.

Recent educational research shows that more personalized education increases the likelihood of improved academic performance, lower dropout rates and better student-teacher relationships, according to the grant application.

The money - available through the U.S. Department of Education - would be distributed among five high schools: Annapolis, Arundel, Glen Burnie, Old Mill and North County. Each would receive about $50,000 to study research and devise plans to create smaller learning communities.

Teachers, principals, parents and local businesspeople would participate in study groups as part of the planning process.

If the grant is approved, Old Mill High School Principal Arlen Liverman said he would use the money to plan a ninth-grade academy for students and teachers. Housed in a separate section of the school, the entire ninth grade would have the same teachers. The instructors would share planning time so they could develop more interdisciplinary courses.

"It's a way of getting to know the kids on a more personal level so they don't feel they're just someone lost in the building," said Liverman, whose school, with an enrollment of more than 2,100, is the county's largest. "The more someone feels connected, it increases their chances of being successful."

If the grant application is successful, the five schools would become eligible to apply for $2.5 million in federal funds to put their plans into place over the next three years.

School board re-elects president, vice president

The county school board has unanimously re-elected Paul G. Rudolph of Severna Park and Vaughn L. Brown of Hanover to one-year terms as president and vice president, respectively.

"I would hope to do the best I can to fulfill the confidence the board has shown," Rudolph said after the vote at last week's board meeting.

The board's newest student member, Alicia Pettit, also took her seat on the eight-member panel.

The Severna Park High School senior was elected to the position in March by the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils. The Anne Arundel school board is the only one in Maryland that grants full voting rights to a student member.

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