Public schools, new and old, start classes across Maryland

Openings mostly smooth

construction delays some

August 30, 2005|By Anica Butler | Anica Butler,SUN STAFF

As schools across the state opened their doors for the start of a new school year yesterday, some youngsters got more than just new teachers and books - they also got brand new classrooms.

About 550 of Baltimore County's 108,000 students arrived at Woodholme Elementary in Pikesville yesterday. The new tan-brick school with celery-colored awnings sits on 10 acres on Mount Wilson Lane near Reisterstown Road.

Experienced view

While many of the younger pupils were just pleased - or scared - to be at school and didn't seem too impressed by the new building, some older students evaluated the school's windows, colors and technology.

"It's cool," said Kayla Brown-Powell, a fifth-grader who attended New Town Elementary last year. "This school's better. It's much bigger."

Howard County's Marriotts Ridge High School opened with 600 freshmen and sophomores as the district's more than 48,000 students returned.

In Fulton, another new school building opened its doors. Cedar Lane School, which serves severely disabled children, moved from its aging facility in Columbia to a campus shared by three other schools.

Nearly 500 pupils streamed into the hallways of Carroll County's newest school, Parr's Ridge Elementary, a facility in Mount Airy for pre-kindergarten to second grade.

Teachers showed their pupils how to find the library, principal's office, computer lab and the classrooms where they will take music and health lessons.

"We're all learning together," said April Burnett, a first-grade teacher.

Safety and quality

In Baltimore, where about 87,000 students were expected to be in attendance, Jasmine Baylor, 9, said she was excited to get started in the fourth grade at Harford Heights Elementary. Her mother, Davida Hopkins, 29, said she was more comfortable than ever with the safety of the schools and the quality of the teachers.

About 74,000 youngsters returned to school in Anne Arundel County, a spokesman said, but students at seven schools affected by construction won't start school until tomorrow.

In Harford County, with 40,500 students, North Harford High won't open until Sept. 6 because of construction delays.

Though most school openings in the region went smoothly, the day wasn't without problems.

"Some buses had too many kids, some not enough. We'll have to balance those out," said Charles I. Ecker, superintendent in Carroll County, where more than 29,000 students returned.

Car strikes child

In Baltimore County, an 11-year-old boy leaving Dumbarton Middle School was struck by a vehicle about 2:45 p.m., according to police.

A woman, who was driving slowly in the school zone on Dumbarton Road, tried to stop but struck the boy with her car's bumper, police spokeswoman Sgt. Vickie Warehime said. The boy, who was not identified by police or school officials, rolled onto the hood and was thrown into the road, Warehime said.

He was conscious and alert when the ambulance arrived, she said, and he was taken to the pediatric unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The woman won't be charged because the boy apparently ran into the street, Warehime said.

Sun staff writers Hanah Cho, Gina Davis, John Fritze, Liz F. Kay and Josh Mitchell contributed to this article.

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