(April 18, 2014) In addition to approving a new version of the school calendar (see standalone story), the Worcester County Board of Education discussed the following during its April 15 meeting:
PARCC Field Testing:
With the full implementation of the Common Core State Standards in classrooms across the country this year, schools are preparing for the rollout of the tests that will measure student progress starting in the 2014-2015 school year.
More than 300 Worcester students in elementary to high school took PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) field tests this spring, said Superintendent Dr. Jerry Wilson.
Across the state, approximately 6,500 students are taking the pilot version of the test, providing feedback and helping work out problems before the tests launch next fall, said John White, chief of staff for the Office of the State Superintendent of Schools
.“We’re learning how things work and reports were quite favorable in terms of how students respond to the test as well as the administration of the test… electronically,” Wilson said.
Half of the students taking the practice tests in this county took them on computers — the eventual goal for all PARCC schools — and half took them using traditional paper-and-pencil, he said.
Outside of Maryland, 12 states and the District of Columbia are issuing the field tests this spring.
Learn more about PARCC testing at www.parcconline.org/field-test.
Safety Improvement Program:
In the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Worcester County Public Schools ramped up school security.
After a host improvements — including adding patrolling deputies to each campus, new cameras surveying the schools and electronic entry systems — last year, the board approved the second phase of the school safety project.
The additional measures include installing a new fire alarm system at Stephen Decatur High School; installing new digital security cameras on school buses; upgrading school bus radio communication systems; installing a new security system at the schools’ central office in Newark; and replacing security cameras at many of the county’s schools. In all, they bring a price tag of $266,332, to come in equal parts from state and local funding, which must be approved by the Worcester County Commissioners.
On the 2013 annual Parent Survey, almost two-thirds of parents ranked Worcester County schools’ safety and order as “excellent,” with nearly every parent giving the subject at least a positive rating.
Pocomoke Partition Wall:
The board approved Modern Door & Equipment Sales, Inc.’s bid of $51,489 to replace the 38-year-old partition wall at Pocomoke Elementary School.
Maryland’s Aging Schools Program will fund nearly the full cost of the new wall, $48,003. The remaining $3,486 will come from local funding.