School board chooses new officers

Improved assessment test results presented to panel

Anne Arundel

July 08, 2004|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County school board members elected new officers and learned about student performance on the state assessment tests at a meeting yesterday.

Seven members, with Eugene Peterson abstaining, elected Edward P. Carey as president of the board and Konrad M. Wayson as vice president.

After the election, Carey thanked departing president Paul Rudolph as well as former vice president Anthony J. Spencer, who stepped down from the board last month. Carey and Wayson joined the board two years ago.

Debbie Ritchie, president of the Council of PTAs, said it's a benefit that the two represent different parts of the county. Carey is a Brooklyn Park resident, and Wayson hails from Harwood.

Also, "they seem to be both perceptive and receptive," she said.

Board members also heard a report on the accomplishments of Anne Arundel students on this year's Maryland School Assessment tests. Of the 31 schools that did not meet adequate yearly performance standards last year, 26 met it this year, schools spokesman Jonathan A. Brice told the board.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, schools are to be classified as failing if students within eight categories - such as special education or limited English proficient - do not reach performance targets. Because the populations of these groups are small at some schools, several would have attained their goals if one or two more children scored at advanced or proficient levels on the test, Brice said.

"In many cases, what we are talking about is a school that has been very successful for most of its school population," he said.

"That realization really makes it clear ... every child in the building" is important, Brice said later.

Superintendent Eric J. Smith said more students performed at higher levels on the tests, although more work needs to be done. The county has Maryland's fourth-highest percentage of third-graders reading at the advanced level.

"We're showing a strong foundation being formed, not for some, but for all children," he said.

Education during early years is important so "all young people will be able to take advantage of the offerings we have available," Smith said.

He said report cards detailing the performance of schools and the system would be presented at the board's Sept. 15 meeting.

In other business, the board learned about proposed changes to some parts of the discipline policy, bringing it in line with the student code of conduct.Under the new language, students using a deadly instrument or weapon would be expelled.

Board member Michael McNelly thought the term "use" should be clarified.

"Some students are going to look at that and say, `I can threaten somebody with it but as long as I don't cut anybody, I'm OK,' " he said.

The board will discuss the revisions further at its Aug. 4 meeting. It will also consider changes to the way the board sets policy.

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