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By Mary Maushard and Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF | May 29, 1996
The State Board of Education approved yesterday Anne Arundel County's plans to improve Van Bokkelen Elementary School, one of two suburban schools threatened with state takeover because of low scores on standardized tests.The plan is an expanded version of one submitted in March by Anne Arundel school officials, and is the second of several steps for the Severn school. The officials must file a plan for a full overhaul by Feb. 3.State School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick described the plan, which calls for spending about $500,000 on books, a new reading program, more teachers and more teacher training, as a "model of how a reconstitution eligible plan ought to work."
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NEWS
By Susan Gvozdas and Susan Gvozdas,Special to The Sun | April 6, 2008
Fifth-grader Mark King, decked out in a white suit, called out to the group of 20 boys lined up, two-by-two in the hallway of Van Bokkelen Elementary School. "Are we ready?" he shouted, his hands cupped to his mouth. The boys leaned back in their equally suave suits and pumped their arms up. "We ready!" they called back. Unconvinced, Mark shouted the question louder. The boys hollered back three times until Mark was satisfied that he had adequately prepared the Gentleman's Club to perform for that morning's announcements.
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NEWS
January 28, 1996
Internal county lists of failing schools compiled in 1994 and 1995 have only one school in common: Van Bokkelen Elementary.The Department of Instruction compiles the lists based on student test scores, attendance and disciplinary problems, said Nancy Mann, director.The lists alert all administrators to schools that have unusual needs.Each school is supposed to receive help tailored to alleviate the problems that got it there.In 1994, other schools on the list were Marley, Parole, Brock Bridge and Woodside elementaries, and Annapolis and Lindale-Brooklyn Park middle schools.
NEWS
By Ruma Kumar and Ruma Kumar,SUN REPORTER | July 13, 2007
This time three years ago, Van Bokkelen Elementary school was trying to shed its title of Anne Arundel's lowest-performing school. State education officials had labeled it as in need of "restructuring." Its Achilles' heel was fifth-grade math, where the school consistently fell below state benchmarks. This year, fifth-grade math is one of the areas the school is most proud of, with the number of students passing the state test jumping 18 percentage points from last year. The school of 430 students also made solid gains in third-, fourth- and fifth-grade reading.
NEWS
By Elise Armacost | February 4, 1996
WHAT EXACTLY does it mean when the state threatens to "take over" a local school, as the Maryland Department of Education did last month when it suggested intervening in Severn's troubled Van Bokkelen Elementary?It sounds ominous. It sounds as if the local school system may be failing across the board. The term "takeover" -- state officials now prefer the term "reconstitution" -- conjures images of bureaucrats marching into school headquarters and firing everybody."It sounds as if we're picking on schools," says Ron Peiffer, an assistant state school superintendent who broke the news to Anne Arundel officials.
NEWS
May 23, 2000
Van Bokkelen Elementary School will present a miniversion of the Broadway musical "The Wiz" at 7 p.m. Thursday. The performance will feature fourth- and fifth-graders. The play will be staged in the school auditorium at 1140 Reece Road, Severn. Admission is free. Information: 410-222-6535. Students Corrinne Altman of Crofton, a senior majoring in dietetics in the College for Human Development of Syracuse University, received two honors at the college's awards convocation - the Selleck Award, recognizing exceptional personal qualities, significant service to the university and high academic standing; and the college's scholar award recognizing scholarly achievement, community service and professional integration of scholarly endeavors.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Mary Maushard contributed to this article | March 20, 1996
The state Board of Education unanimously approved yesterday Anne Arundel County's plan to improve Van Bokkelen Elementary School, hailing it as a model beginning for rescuing failing schools elsewhere.State School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick called the proposal "an absolutely outstanding plan" that looks "at changes that are systemic as well as very specific."The plan is only the first of several steps for the Severn school.County school officials must submit a transition proposal by May 15 that will cover most of the coming school year, followed by a plan due Feb. 3, 1997, for a full overhaul.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Ellen Gamerman and Andrea F. Siegel and Ellen Gamerman,SUN STAFF | January 25, 1996
It is an embarrassment for Anne Arundel County.For the first time, a failing suburban school is being threatened with state takeover. That school -- Van Bokkelen Elementary -- has had serious and obvious problems for more than a decade.The state's warning is evidence that deep in the suburbs, there are pockets of poverty just as challenging for suburban schools as inner-city schools. Van Bokkelen's population is highly transient, and 300 households in the school's enrollment area have incomes of less than $10,000.
NEWS
April 29, 1998
IMPROVEMENTS at Severn's Van Bokkelen Elementary demonstrate the value of the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program. This school was the first in Maryland's suburbs to be included on the state's "reconstitution" list two years ago.In terms of performance, Van Bokkelen had always pulled up the rear in Anne Arundel County. Students started out lagging in basic skills and would fall farther behind. Despite persistent low test scores, high absenteeism and other red flags, the county system did little to turn the school around.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF | May 5, 1996
If the power of positive thinking alone could fix Van Bokkelen Elementary School, it would be done already.School attendance is on the way to being satisfactory this year for the first time in at least three years. PTA attendance is up more than tenfold at a school where Sabrina Booker, the PTA president, once begged to get three people at a meeting. And the school disciplinarian can spend half a day not dealing with discipline problems.The next step is improvement on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program tests, which begin tomorrow.
NEWS
May 27, 2007
Van Bokkelen PTA a national winner The Van Bokkelen Elementary School Parent Teacher Association will receive the Phoebe Apperson Hearst-National PTA Excellence in Education Partnership Award. It is the PTA's highest national award recognizing family, school and community partnerships that support student success. In winning the award, the Van Bokkelen PTA was able to effectively demonstrate the difference that family-school-community partnerships can make. The PTA created partnerships with the state's education department, community-based organizations including the local Boys and Girls Club and the YWCA, local and national businesses, and a community college.
NEWS
By Ruma Kumar and Ruma Kumar,Sun reporter | January 28, 2007
They tried to tell everyone that Van Bokkelen Elementary was the place to be. Teachers would have more planning time. Smaller classes. Supportive principals and assistant principals with fresh ideas. But months after Anne Arundel County school officials conducted a large layoff at the academically struggling school in Severn in 1996, only seven of the more than 35 teachers who had worked there had reapplied for their positions. When the district held a conference to fill openings at the school, which struggled with persistently low scores on reading and math tests, only one person came.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF | July 1, 2005
After more than a decade of state monitoring, Van Bokkelen Elementary School finally has overcome the labels emphasizing its struggles. The school system successfully appealed the state's ruling that special-education pupils did not make adequate progress on recent state tests. As a result, Van Bokkelen was taken off the list of schools in need of improvement. "I think we really have turned the corner at Van Bokkelen," said Superintendent Eric J. Smith. Staff members learned the news Wednesday at a summer school training session with other schools that have a high proportion of children from low-income families.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF | June 21, 2005
For nearly a decade, Rose Tasker has strived to improve the performance of Van Bokkelen Elementary School on state exams despite the problems its students face, including poverty and frequent family moves. The Severn school has made significant gains under Tasker's leadership, but the retiring principal recently got some bad news: Van Bokkelen failed to meet two of the standards in reading and math set by the state under the federal No Child Left Behind law. It might seem a tough way to say goodbye for Tasker, who was singled out earlier this month by Anne Arundel County Schools Superintendent Eric J. Smith for creating a strong foundation at Van Bokkelen.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF | June 8, 2005
Pupils at three Anne Arundel County schools that had failed to meet goals on state tests in the past have improved their performance this year, though the gains were not universal. Two of the elementary schools, Freetown in Glen Burnie and Tyler Heights in Annapolis, posted double-digit gains on reading and math tests at nearly all grade levels. However, the percentage of third- and fifth-grade pupils at Van Bokkelen Elementary School in Severn reaching advanced or proficient levels on the reading test - a criteria for avoiding state sanctions - dipped slightly.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF | February 27, 2005
As they looked ahead to critical state tests this week, pupils at Van Bokkelen Elementary School in Severn considered where they came from and where they're going at the school's recent African American Heritage Night. A majority of the children are African-American. They need "to realize they come from kings and queens," organizer and instructional computer technician Betty Ann Esposito told the parents and children who gathered in the auditorium last week. The celebration is the largest of several heritage and cultural events at the school each year.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF | July 1, 2005
After more than a decade of state monitoring, Van Bokkelen Elementary School finally has overcome the labels emphasizing its struggles. The school system successfully appealed the state's ruling that special-education pupils did not make adequate progress on recent state tests. As a result, Van Bokkelen was taken off the list of schools in need of improvement. "I think we really have turned the corner at Van Bokkelen," said Superintendent Eric J. Smith. Staff members learned the news Wednesday at a summer school training session with other schools that have a high proportion of children from low-income families.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and TaNoah V. Sterling and Andrea F. Siegel and TaNoah V. Sterling,SUN STAFF | February 9, 1996
Educators last night tried to calm parents worried about the future of Van Bokkelen Elementary School in the first meeting they held with the community since the state threatened a take over of the school nearly two weeks ago.Some 120 parents and teachers told county schools Superintendent Carol S. Parham that they want to help mold the state-mandated overhaul of the school and take an active part in their children's education. But many said they did not know what to do.Dr. Parham, state officials and incoming Principal Rose Tasker told them: Get involved.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF | August 16, 2004
A reality television show that usually chronicles the exploits of harried airplane passengers and the employees who serve them will dedicate some time tonight to a happier tale about some Severn kids. The "Fly Babies" episode of A&E's Airline will feature members of a fourth-grade class at Van Bokkelen Elementary who this spring studied math, science and ways to achieve one's goals with Southwest Airlines pilot Anthony C. May. The episode - which focuses on the airline's hubs in Los Angeles and Chicago and at Baltimore-Washington International Airport - also followed the pupils on a flight to Birmingham, Ala., in June to visit key sites in civil rights history.
NEWS
By Laura Loh and Laura Loh,SUN STAFF | May 4, 2004
Fifty-one Anne Arundel County elementary and middle schools have reaped more than $155,000 in cash prizes from the state for doing well on last year's standardized tests - a final bounty from a rewards program that is fizzling out because of a lack of funds. No matter how well pupils did on the Maryland School Assessments last month, most schools won't see a penny for those efforts next year. There will be no new federal funds to support the state's School Performance Recognition Program, which began in 1997.
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