Parents to have a chance to sound off at forum about proposed school nutrition plan


Education beat

December 04, 2005|By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV

Residents will get to sound off Thursday when the Board of Education listens to response about a proposed nutrition plan that would essentially ban the sale of candy and reduce the sale of soda during the school day and at school-related events such as football games.

The proposed plan has been called one of the toughest such initiatives in the country, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health and nutrition advocacy group based in Washington.

The public forum is to be held during the board's evening session, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Speakers are limited to three minutes, and they are asked to bring 15 written copies of their testimony to the hearing. Speakers are encouraged to sign up in advance by calling 410-313-7194.

The proposed change is expected to be costly. Howard County could lose $1.8 million in a la carte revenue and plans to increase lunch prices to recoup it. As a result, high school students could pay as much as $3.10 for lunch.

Baltimore passed an almost identical plan last month.

Howard's plan is scheduled to go before the school board for a vote Jan. 12.

Atholton honored

Atholton High School is among the best in the state when it comes to communication between parents and students about drug and alcohol use.

The school was honored Monday and presented with a $500 grant as part of the statewide "I Want to Know/Live Clean" campaign.

The grants were given to the schools that had the highest number of juniors, seniors and parents who signed pledges last spring to communicate about drug and alcohol use.

"It sends the message that we do have open communication and we do encourage them not to use drugs and alcohol," said Atholton Principal Marcy Leonard, who attended the kickoff campaign with student government President Brett Morales and adviser Susan Karlheim.

This year's campaign was launched Monday at Loch Raven High School.

The event included Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich and State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick.

Leonard said the money will be used to bring in a speaker in the weeks leading up to the prom to encourage students to "make smart choices" about prom activities.

Morales said the program works because it forces people to recognize that there is a problem.

"It's really encouraging sobriety and staying safe as a young adult," Morales said.

Next month, the program will expand beyond juniors and seniors, when pledges will be distributed to students at all 200 Maryland public high schools.

The five schools honored were: Atholton High School, C. Milton Wright High School in Harford County, DuVal High School in Prince George's County, Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County and Maurice J. McDonough High School in Charles County.

Youth gang seminar

The Howard County school system Student Services Advisory Committee and the Howard County Department of Juvenile Services will sponsor a seminar on youth gangs at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Homewood Center in Ellicott City.

Fifth- through 12th-graders and their parents are encouraged to attend and learn about the prevalence of gangs in Maryland and Howard County. Parents will be told how to spot gang activity and how to intervene if their child is a victim of gang activity.

Frank Clark of the Department of Juvenile Services will address the group.

"Fortunately, we have not seen much gang activity, but we know it is happening near our boarders," said school spokeswoman Patti Caplan.

Memorial fund

The wheels are beginning to turn for the Robert P. Connor Performing Arts and Athletics Memorial Fund at Glenelg High School. The funds are connected to the memory of Assistant Principal Robert Connor, who died shortly after school started this year.

The school has raised $2,500, according to Assistant Principal John DiPaula, who recalled that Connor was supportive and a good teacher with a great sense of humor.

Donations can be sent to Glenelg High School and marked for the Connor Memorial Fund. They can be dropped of at the school or mailed (14025 Burnt Woods Road, Glenelg 21737).

"He was a very generous soul who was absolutely devoted to the students of Glenelg High School," said Gail Reinking, president of the Glenelg PTSA.

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