Education Digest


August 04, 2004

Homeschool group information session to be held Monday

The Columbia Homeschool Community will hold a kickoff and information session from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at the central library, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway.

The meeting is open to everyone. Admission is free.

Information: 410-740-6688, or

School-meal assistance guidelines revised

The Howard County public school system has announced its revised income-eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price school meals.

The guidelines are set by the federal government and adopted for children across the state. They are effective through June 30 next year.

Household size and income determine eligibility. For example, a child in a family of two would be entitled to meal benefits if the household's annual income is less than $23,107; in a family of three, $28,990; in a family of four, $34,873. Children in a family of eight would be entitled to benefits if the family income is less than $58,405. For each additional family member, the family can earn an additional $5,883 before becoming ineligible.

Households that receive food stamps or Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) will receive a letter at the start of the school year notifying them that their children have been approved for free school meals. These households should not complete a form for free meals this year.

Households not receiving food stamps or TCA will receive a letter and a meal benefit form to apply for free and reduced-price meals on or before the first day of school. Copies are also available in the principal's office.

Foster children may be eligible for the free or reduced-price meals. Guardians should fill out a meal benefit form for each foster child.

Information: 410-313-7134, or Maryland Relay, 800-735-2258.

Anyone who is dissatisfied with a determination of eligibility can request a hearing to appeal the decision by calling 410-313-6738.

A parent or guardian who wants to file a complaint of discrimination should write to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Washington 20250-9410, or call 202-720-5964 (voice and TDD).

School board advisory panel seeking at-large members

The Citizens Advisory Committee to the Board of Education, a group of citizens and PTA representatives that advises the county's school board, is seeking at-large members for the 2004-2005 school year.

The committee sponsors educational programming for members and offers them an opportunity to study and comment on curriculum, education policy, redistricting and the education budget. The committee usually meets at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month in the boardroom at the Department of Education in Ellicott City.

At-large members serve a two-year term.

Information: 410-313-6682.

Workshops set for parents, child care professionals

The Howard County Child Care Resource Center is sponsoring workshops for parents and child care and early childhood professionals.

"Readiness: Seeing is Believing," a workshop on observing and documenting readiness for learning, will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. today. The cost is $10.

"Ask and Listen: Hearing Parents in Every Language," a workshop on making parents feel welcome and respected, and communicating about expectations for children, will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The cost is $20.

"When Play Isn't Just Play," on the necessity and therapeutic value of play for children, will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11. The cost is $20.

Information: Debbie Yare, 410-313-1943.

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