Officials rack up miles on Day 1 visits to schools

education notebook

September 02, 2007|By John-John Williams IV

Students and parents weren't the only ones walking around the hallways with wide eyes Monday.

The first day of classes attracted a slew of visits to schools by top-ranking system administrators, most of whom brought elected officials with them.

"These are stakeholders in our school system; they provide our funding," said spokeswoman Patti Caplan. "We want them to see firsthand how we are using the funds they allocate for education. Plus, it's fun for them to see what is going on in the schools."

Based on the number of schools visited, Del. Guy Guzzone may have had the most fun of any of the elected officials. He was a man on a mission. He showed up at 14 schools, far surpassing the number visited Monday by any other politician in Howard County.

Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin and Mamie J. Perkins, the school system's chief of staff, accompanied County Executive Ken Ulman and County Councilwoman Courtney Watson, a former school board member, to Mount Hebron High, Centennial High and Burleigh Manor Middle. Cousin and Ulman also went to Centennial Lane Elementary.

Later, Cousin visited Phelps Luck Elementary, Gorman Crossing Elementary and Murray Hill Middle.

"Thank you for your tour of schools on opening day," Watson wrote in a letter to the school system. "It's a wonderful experience to see everything come together for a new beginning on the first day of school. The hard work of teachers, administrative staff, and support personnel was very evident. Many thanks to them for their hard work on behalf of the residents of Howard County."

Roger Plunkett, the school system's business, community, government relations officer, coordinated the visits. He said that the tours are in step with Cousin's vision.

"It shows strong collaboration," Plunkett said. "It is something that the superintendent believes in, and will continue to do throughout the year."

Steve Gibson, principal at Burleigh Manor Middle, said that members of his school were happy to have Cousin and Ulman visit. The two spent a half-hour touring the school, Gibson said.

"Everybody was very excited to have them in the building," Gibson said. The visit meant most to the students, he said. "It's about the kids feeling good."

Raymond Brown, the school system's chief operating officer, accompanied County Council Chairman Calvin Ball to Stevens Forest Elementary, Deep Run Elementary, Long Reach High and Bellows Spring Elementary.

"I was very pleased by my visits to our schools on the first day," Ball wrote in a note afterward. "Not only was it very well-planned but, there was such positive energy in each school. However, the special thing was the focus of the energy. In each school there was an importance placed on excellence as well as providing a supportive and nurturing environment. Kudos to the HCPSS team for working to ensure a quality learning and growth experience for all and not merely overall!"

Linda Wise, assistant superintendent for school administration, accompanied County Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty, a former school board member, to Atholton High, River Hill High, Clarksville Elementary, Clemens Crossing Elementary, Swansfield Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, Cedar Lane School, Wilde Lake Middle and Reservoir High.

Plunkett went with school board member Patricia Gordon to Howard High, Cradlerock School, Clemens Crossing Elementary, Elkridge Elementary, Elkridge Landing Middle and Rockburn Elementary.

Diane Martin, the school system's director of student, family and community services, took Del. Elizabeth Bobo to Bryant Woods Elementary, Running Brook Elementary, Wilde Lake Middle, Wilde Lake High and Harper's Choice Middle.

Marie DeAngelis, director of elementary curricular programs, accompanied Del. Gail H. Bates to Waverly Elementary, St. John's Lane Elementary and Manor Woods Elementary.

Clarissa Evans, director of secondary curricular programs, accompanied school board member Sandra H. French to Folly Quarter Middle, Triadelphia Ridge Elementary, Dayton Oaks Elementary, Dunloggin Middle and Northfield Elementary.

Marion D. Miller, director of 20 elementary schools, accompanied school board member Ellen Flynn Giles to Atholton Elementary, Talbott Springs Elementary, Jeffers Hill Elementary, Thunder Hill Elementary, Hammond Elementary and Hammond Middle.

Dave A. Bruzga, director of 16 secondary schools, accompanied school board Vice Chairman Frank Aquino to Glenelg High, Bushy Park Elementary, Lisbon Elementary and Glenwood Middle.

Daniel J. Michaels, director of 16 secondary schools, accompanied County Councilwoman Jen Terrasa to Guilford Elementary, Hammond High, Forest Ridge Elementary, Gorman Crossing Elementary and Murray Hill Middle.

Terry Alban, director of student assessment and program evaluation, accompanied school board member Janet Siddiqui to Worthington Elementary, Ellicott Mills Middle, Ilchester Elementary, Bonnie Branch Middle and Veterans Elementary.

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