Education Digest

EDUCATION DIGEST

Education Beat

News from Howard County schools and colleges

August 21, 2005

Parent forms can limit access to information

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Public Law 93-380) authorizes local school systems to disclose some information from the educational records of a student that is designated as directory information.

The designation includes basic biographical information only; it does not include student grades, test results or any part of academic or discipline records.

The law gives parents and guardians the right to restrict the release of any category of directory information about their child. To ensure that parents are aware of this right and to provide a simple way to exercise it, the Howard County public school system has developed an "Annual Directory Information Parent Option Form."

The new form will be sent home with students during the first week of the school year. It lists the categories of information that the school system can release and provides an opportunity to restrict release of information in any or all of the categories.

The forms will be scanned and student information restricted by parents will be flagged.

Directory information includes the student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of students who are members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and most recent institution attended.

Maryland law permits public school systems to release a student's home address and phone number only to an organization of parents, teachers, students, or former students (such as PTAs or PTSAs); the military; a representative of a community college in the state; or a representative of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Based on the law and board policy, it has been a long-standing practice of the school system to provide student lists to the military upon request. Most recently, a provision of the federal No Child Left Behind Act made it a requirement that school districts provide student information to military recruiters.

However, parents have the right to restrict the release of home addresses and phone numbers to recruiters.

Home-schooling group to present program

Howard County Home Educators, a home-schooling support group, will present a program titled, "Welcome to Homeschooling and How Do I Homeschool?" at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Miller branch library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City.

Experienced home-schooling parents will answer questions about how they home-schooled their children through the elementary, middle and high school years.

Information: Susan Kramer, 410-338-2632.

2 new schools to hold open houses Aug. 28

Cedar Lane School and Marriotts Ridge High School will hold open houses Aug. 28.

The new Cedar Lane School, on the Lime Kiln Middle School campus in Fulton, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and celebrate the opening of the new facility for severely disabled pupils.

Howard County's newest high school, Marriotts Ridge, at 12100 Woodford Drive in Marriottsville, will hold its ceremony and open house from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The school will open this year for students in ninth and 10th grades, adding grades 11 and 12 in the next two years.

SAT prep courses set at Mount Hebron High

The Mount Hebron Viking Backers is sponsoring a series of 20-hour SAT prep courses during the school year.

The courses, which are being taught by Marian McCain, a mathematics teacher at Centennial High School for 20 years, will consist of study in math and critical reading.

The next session will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Aug. 31 through Oct. 10.

Registration: Lori Birmingham, 410-418-4688, or Marian McCain, 410-461- 9057.

HCC plans orientation for new students

Howard Community College will offer new-student orientation sessions from 6 p.m. to 9:10 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. Friday in the college's Smith Theatre, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, in Columbia.

First-time students at the college are expected to attend. Parents are welcome.

The sessions include refreshments, information packets, interactive workshops, campus tours and prizes.

Information: 410-772- 4896; registration: 410-772- 4430.

School board plans to meet Thursday

The Howard County Board of Education will hold regularly scheduled meetings at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. beginning Thursday in the boardroom at the Department of Education, 10910 Route 108, Ellicott City.

The sessions will begin with a public forum during which members of the public can address the board on any topic for which there is no formal hearing process. Advanced sign up is preferred.

The board will hold a public hearing and a pre-development public work session on the fiscal year 2007 capital budget and the fiscal year 2008-2012 capital improvement program.

Those who want to testify should limit their presentation to three minutes and provide 15 written copies of the testimony at the time of the hearing.

Information or to sign up to speak: 410-313-7194.

To request a sign language interpreter: Rebecca Davis, 410-313-7046. Two weeks' notice is preferred.

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