Educational programs offered for all ages When most...


September 23, 2001

Educational programs offered for all ages

When most people think about the Carroll County Public School System, they tend to think in terms of our elementary, middle and high schools. All of these schools do an outstanding job, but we also have other schools and programs offering valuable services and support to students and adults throughout the community. Here are just a few examples.

Carroll Springs School is dedicated to those children with special needs. Carroll Springs provides services for students with multiple disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21 who live in Carroll County. Students attending Carroll Springs require the intensive services available at the school. Some of the specialized services provided include nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and education.

In addition to providing direct services to students, Carroll Springs School houses the Carroll County Infants and Toddlers Program. The Infants and Toddlers Program provides services to children in the county from birth through the age of three.

Carroll Springs is centrally located in Westminster so that the school can effectively and efficiently serve students from all areas of the county. The school system provides transportation and services to the students at no cost to parents.

The Gateway School, which is also in the Westminster area, provides alternative educational opportunities for middle and high school students. The school is committed to helping students who are having behavioral and emotional adjustments in a traditional school setting. The school provides an opportunity for these students to receive the support they need while at the same time continuing their education.

The goal of the Gateway School is to help students develop socially, personally, and intellectually. While this development is taking place, students are still able to receive assistance in reaching behavioral and academic success. Ultimately, this enables students to make the transition back to their local schools. High school students who attend the Gateway School are eligible to earn credits that apply to graduation.

The school system also has two career and technology centers. They offer opportunities to students from all high schools in Carroll County. Students enrolled in the career and technology centers also attend classes at their local high schools. The centers are located in Westminster adjacent to Westminster High School and at the South Carroll High School campus.

The goal of these two centers is to provide learning experiences that help prepare students for employment, continuing education, or both. Graduates who complete career and technology programs may go to work [or] enter apprenticeships, technical school, community college, or a four-year college. Students are educated in an environment that is similar to the environment in which they will eventually work. All instruction is based on industry standards.

Outdoor School provides sixth-grade students with a unique opportunity to attend a weeklong residential environmental education program at the Hashawha Environmental Center north of Westminster. Instruction and supervision are provided in a "living laboratory" by the Outdoor School team, high school student counselors and visiting classroom teachers.

The residential aspect of the program and the non-traditional school setting provide students with positive growth experiences. Emphasis is placed on developing independence and cooperative and individual responsibility.

While at Outdoor School, students may study watersheds, Carroll County's impact on the Chesapeake Bay, fresh water ecology, weather, wildlife habitats, population dynamics, Carroll County history, group problem-solving strategies and basic survival techniques.

Carroll Adult Learning Connection provides several alternative ways to achieve a high school diploma. The various programs offer options to both high school students and to adult citizens who are [interested] in earning their diploma. This is an important service to our community because 21 percent of the adult Carroll County population does not have a high school diploma.

Adults can choose from three different programs. The General Educational Development Test (GED) is a comprehensive eight-hour exam that includes tests in five academic areas. The tests are designed to measure the academic skills and concepts associated with a high school program of study. Classes and test-taking strategies are available to help prepare for the GED.

The External Diploma Program (EDP) is a high school credentialing program for adults, 18 or older, who have acquired their academic skills through life and work experience and can demonstrate those skills through an assessment process. EDP is not classroom-based and offers flexible scheduling allowing adults to choose their own instructional resources.

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