Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

January 18, 2004

Much is positive at Howard High

How wonderful it was to read about Howard High School's latest accomplishment in Tricia Bishop's article entitled "Battling to outsmart the field" (Jan. 11). Congratulations to the Howard High students, faculty and parents who played a role as the It's Academic Team earned a guaranteed spot in the National Scholastic Championship in June. This is one of many successes that has occurred at Howard High since designated in September 2003 as a school in need of improvement (SIU) by the Howard County Public School System.

As Howard High's list of successes in meeting students' needs, as well as promoting their academic achievement, continues to grow, let us focus on a few of Howard High's most recent accomplishments.

Under the guidance of a dedicated administration, faculty, and staff, the following has occurred: a data-driven plan for school improvement has been developed and continues to be monitored monthly; a grant requesting $30,000 to establish academic extended school day and weekend programs has been written and approved; a variety of professional development workshops addressing instructional strategies have been provided; a funding source was provided for all grade 11 students to participate in the PSAT assessment at no financial expense to these students, and additional teachers have been added to enhance program delivery.

The administration, faculty, and staff are to be congratulated for their countless hours of work resulting in an array of successes within a short span of time. As a parent, I urge the active community of Howard High School parents to continue to support the meeting of academic needs of all Howard High students by listening to and positively supporting the school administration, faculty and staff, prioritizing the changes needed and not muddying the waters with issues that can be addressed at a later time - and most importantly, focusing on all that is right with Howard High.

Valerie Sharpe

Ellicott City

School system sets a poor example

In The Sun, ("Howard finds 16 ineligible athletes," Jan. 13) the Superintendent of Howard County Schools is quoted saying "Academic integrity is absolutely fundamental to the life of a public school system. Anything that violates that academic integrity has to be dealt with in a straightforward and crisp fashion."

This is the same school system that has been reporting an extra 15 minutes per day of instruction time to the state with the clear intent of deceiving the state. The Superintendent also said that "the principal is responsible for everything that goes on within a building."

Is the Superintendent responsible for everything that goes on within the school system? If so, how will he be dealt with in the case of the extra 15 minutes per day?

R.T. Cassel

Columbia

Oakland Mills coach becomes scapegoat

As the parent of three Oakland Mills alumni, I have been following the investigation into the athletic program at Oakland Mills as an interested outsider. I know very little about the investigation, but I do know Coach Hovet. There is no way this man did anything that would injure his players and dishonor Oakland Mills football. I have personally heard him lecture the kids on what it means to be an Oakland Mills football player - work harder, work better, act appropriately.

I understand that winter academic records will be examined at all high schools in the county. If the goal is to determine the extent of the problem and to compare Oakland Mills's compliance with the compliance of other county schools, we should examine the fall, not winter, records of all county schools.

The investigation ignores the problems of ineffective eligibility standards which exclude students most at risk from participation. It also ignores the fact that there is inadequate support to enforce these policies. It is not surprising that eligibility problems occur where hard-working teachers and administrators work to ensure academic eligibility in their spare time.

Rather than focus on these problems, the School Board's action ignores them and makes a scapegoat of an individual of integrity.

Nan S. Ellis

Columbia

Let us all support Board of Education

With the superintendent's contract expiring in June, it is an opportune time to analyze where we've been.

The last three-and-a-half years have been tumultuous - the resignation of two Board of Education members, the superintendent's meeting minutes violating Maryland law, 60 percent of our teachers believing our superintendent is not able to provide the necessary leadership, attorney general opinions regarding illegal contracts, grade tampering allegations, and the recent lying to the state regarding how many hours our students attend classes.

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