Westminster principal to get state honor

May 01, 2001|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Westminster High School Principal Sherri-Le W. Bream will be honored today by the Maryland State Department of Education and Citigroup for the school's innovative ninth-grade transition program.

Westminster High is among 10 schools statewide being recognized today in Baltimore for implementing successful high school reform measures.

Three Maryland schools also are being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as New American High Schools - innovative institutions whose whole-school reform efforts have achieved higher test scores, higher graduation and attendance rates and lower dropout rates than most of the nation's high schools.

The Westminster program stemmed from work done three years ago by teachers, parents, administrators and students who got together to identify factors that would ease the transition between middle school and high school.

A nine-week orientation course, called Freshman Seminar, was written and is provided for all ninth-graders in the first or second quarters of their freshman year. It focuses on study skills, decision-making skills and time management, career interests, the development of a four-year educational plan and a professional portfolio.

Carroll's other four high schools will offer a similar course next year, and Century High, which opens in August in Eldersburg, will require it by folding the coursework into the health class that is mandatory for graduation.

Bream, who did not return a telephone message yesterday, has previously credited the course with improving achievement, involvement and ambition among her ninth-graders. This year, 33 students ran for student government.

"This is unheard of," she told the school board last month in a presentation on the course. "We think it had to do with the Freshman Seminar class and getting into the importance of being involved."

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