Schools Set to Open for the 2012-2013 Academic Year
Schools Set to Open for the
2012-2013 Academic Year
Maryland Schools Begin Opening Next Week
BALTIMORE (August 16, 2012) – Maryland public schools begin opening next week, as more than one million students prepare to start the 2012-2013 school year.
All Maryland school systems will be in session before September for the second straight year. By the time all schools have opened their doors on August 27, more than 850,000 K-12 students will fill classrooms and another 250,000 children will be involved in some form of pre-K, Head Start, or licensed childcare program.
Maryland’s highly regarded public school system, ranked first in the nation for the fourth straight year by the leading education newspaper, is continuing to move forward under the direction of new State Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery. The State’s system is entering the third year of its $250 million Race to the Top program, which is remaking Maryland classrooms by strengthening educational standards, building a new technology infrastructure, improving teacher and principal preparation and evaluation, and providing support to low-performing schools.
“Our State is committed to supporting innovative education programs for all schools, making absolutely certain there are improved classrooms in every neighborhood,” Dr. Lowery said. “We are working to strengthen instruction and boost rigor for our students. Maryland schools are looking forward to another safe, productive, and exciting year.”
Among the headlines for the new school year:
Maryland’s student population also has experienced major changes over the past decade. Maryland has been a majority-minority State for several years. White students represent 42 percent of the student population, followed by African American students, who make up nearly 35 percent of the student population. Both the White and African American student populations have been in decline in recent years. Hispanic students represent 12 percent of the student body, while Asian students account for nearly 6 percent. Both percentages are on the rise. Also increasing is the percentage of students identifying themselves as two or more races. This accounts for nearly 4 percent of Maryland students.
Also increasing in the State’s schools is the percentage of students coming from circumstances of poverty. Last year, 43 percent of Maryland students were eligible for free- or reduced-price meals, the federal proxy for poverty. Ten years earlier that tally stood at 29.7 percent – nearly a 50 percent increase over the decade.
The State has been developing a data warehouse which will provide improved student and school performance information to teachers and parents. A curriculum management system also is part of the new technology, providing support to educators as they move to the new Common Core State Curriculum, and will be online this fall.
Maryland’s Breakthrough Center is already working with some of Maryland’s lowest performing schools, providing targeted technical assistance to school and system leaders as they work to improve student achievement and school climate. During July, 77 executive officers and principals from seven Maryland school systems participated in a two-day Academy for School Turnaround. The Academy provided district and school leaders with practical turnaround strategies, supported by research. Two follow-up sessions will be held during the upcoming school year.
For more on Race to the Top, go to http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/rttt.
The Maryland statewide evaluation system provides for local flexibility within the State framework, and is designed as a professional development program rather than a punitive system. While the State developed a default model, local systems had the opportunity to put together their own system as long as it conformed to broad guidelines, such as including student growth as 50 percent of the evaluation and the use of multiple measures. Twenty-one systems are in the process of developing and piloting their own evaluation systems.
This year’s pilots will take place without consequences for teachers or principals. Maryland’s Council for Educator Effectiveness will continue to monitor the pilots, and is scheduled to reconvene on December 3 to review the progress being made in the pilots. For more on educator evaluation, go to: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org...e_top/MCEE.htm
Once again, participants in this summer’s academies became immersed in the Standards (http://marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/ccss), and will use their experience to provide feedback to MSDE. Master teachers culled from across the State led the Academies. Four-member teams from every Maryland school attended the Academies and will now serve as resources as they begin working on implementation. Academies also will be held next summer.
While the new curriculum will start to be rolled out this year, its effects come later. New assessments, based on the Common Core, will be administered in 2014-15.
While the federal law helped boost performance, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the law had unintended consequences. The law unfairly branded too many schools as failing, despite a record of continued improvement, because of the formulas used. It required that by 2013-14, all students would be proficient in reading and mathematics. Secretary Duncan last year announced his intention to provide flexibility from the law to states that maintained strong accountability systems. Maryland applied and in May was granted a waiver from some aspects of NCLB.
Under the plan, Maryland will reset the annual progress goals for the next six years on a trajectory to 2017, at which time each individual school is expected to reduce its percentage of non-proficient students by half. It also eliminates the school improvement continuum that has been part of NCLB, which labeled schools and targeted some for restructuring.
For more on the State’s flexibility plan, go to: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org...rams/esea_flex
The linchpin of the school discipline reform effort will be the transition in local school systems from a punitive discipline model to a rehabilitative discipline model. The focus will help more students who misbehave to stay in school, but if out-of-school suspensions or expulsions are necessary, to provide at least minimum education services to those students to keep them sufficiently connected to the school so they may return to class on track with their peers.
Proposed regulations that will guide this reform effort are scheduled to be published for comment on Oct. 5 in the Maryland Register. The public will have one month to comment, and the State Board is likely to act on the final regulations in December.
By August 31, each local school system is required to train each coach in concussion risk and management, including the criteria for removal and return to play and recognition of concussion symptoms. In addition, each school system must implement policies that assure athletes and their parents or guardians receive information regarding the nature and risk of brain injuries. The emergency regulations require a medical assessment if a student athlete is suspected of sustaining a concussion or other brain injury. The athlete will not be allowed to return to the field of play until cleared by a licensed health care provider authorized to provide sports physical exams.
The regulations are based on guidelines from the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association that are already in place. The new rules govern athletics for 180 days, during which time the State Board plans to work with healthcare and athletics experts to draft permanent regulations regarding brain injuries. Those regulations will go through the typical approval process, allowing for public comment before being made final.
Biomedical Sciences careers are growing in Maryland – Maryland is home to more than 370 bioscience companies, and it is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Maryland’s private-sector bioscience companies employ approximately 30,000 people with an additional 30,000 workers employed at federal and academic institutions located throughout the State. Preparing students to enter these careers is critical to keeping the biomedical sciences industry in the state.
The Project Lead The Way Biomedical Sciences program engages students in the field of biomedicine using real world scenarios and hands-on projects combined with rigorous academics. For example, in Principles of Biomedical Sciences, students investigate various health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, sickle-cell disease, hypercholesterolemia, and infectious diseases. They determine the factors that led to the death of a fictional person, and investigate lifestyle choices and medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life. The activities and projects introduce students to human physiology, medicine, and research processes. For more on Project Lead the Way in our state, go to http://www.pltwmd.org/.
This year’s new schools are: Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School in Frederick County – the county’s second charter; and Community Montessori Public Charter School in Montgomery County – the county’s first charter school. For more about Maryland’s charter schools, see http://www.marylandpublicschools.org...arter_schools/.
The number of new teachers is up from last year, but far below the number hired several years ago. For example, nearly 8,000 new teachers were hired in the 2005-2006 school year. Although the teacher staffing problems that affected many Maryland systems in recent history have diminished in the past three years, local systems report some shortages in the areas of chronic need including special education, computer science, world languages, technical education, and middle and high school science and mathematics.
Maryland schools have dramatically increased the percentage of classes taught by highly qualified teachers. Last year 93.6 percent of classes were taught by teachers with Advanced or Standard Professional Certification in the subject area they were teaching. In 2003 that percentage was 81.4 percent. In addition, Maryland has 2,214 Nationally Board Certified Teachers, ranking 11th in the nation. The State welcomed 241 new Nationally Board Certified Teachers last year, the nation’s eighth largest tally.
Now comes MSDE on Twitter, @MdPublicSchools. Brief, timely bits of information are shared with followers who count on Twitters easy-to-use format. Please consider following MSDE @MdPublicSchools today, and becoming a fan MSDE on Facebook!
The remaining systems:
Last edited by Howard Hartman; 08-16-2012 at 02:11 PM.
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