|Buses in front of Franklin Middle School safely deliver students to their first day of a new school year.|
As the children gathered up their school supplies and headed out the door for the first day of the new school year, Dr. Hairston and other school system and community leaders were making their way to the first stop of their tour through the school system. At six schools throughout the district, students were greeted not only by the faces of teachers and classmates but also those of administrators and political figures interested in being a part of the smooth start of the 2007-2008 school year.
Baltimore County Board of Education President JoAnn Murphy and members of the Board of Education of Baltimore County joined the Superintendent as he visited six schools, at least one in each of the five geographical regions. Dr. Hairston makes a point to do this each year and changes the itinerary annually. This year he visited Franklin Middle School, Cedarmere Elementary School, Hebbville Elementary School, George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, the new Crossroads Center, and Patapsco High School. The tour is designed to showcase the school system, show support for the schools, and make sure everything is running smoothly and effectively.
|Superintendent Hairston and Franklin Middle School Principal Lynn Wolf prepare to welcome students.|
“I think the most exciting thing for the students was that [Dr. Hairston] was here at 7:30 in the morning and was able to greet them as they got off the buses. Afterwards he participated in the morning announcements and visited a few classrooms. It really helped us get off to a great start,” remarked Lynn Wolf, principal of Franklin Middle School.
The school year also marked the beginning of several new programs for BCPS. The Crossroads Center, the STEM program, and Maryland’s Tomorrow/Advance Path Academy are all recent additions to the school system. In addition, the AVID program expanded to reach all high schools.
|Superintendent Hairston talks to news media as Franklin Middle School students watch.|
The Crossroads Center began the year with 408 students enrolled. Located in White Marsh, Crossroads serves students in grades 6-10 and is designed to prevent students from dropping out. With intensive reading and math instruction, Crossroads strives to facilitate their students’ ability to graduate with a credit-based high school diploma.
The work of the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) is reflected at Chesapeake High School, the first STEM Academy in Maryland. The STEM program is designed to provide a strong foundation for students interested in careers in the fields of science, math, and technology.
|Superintendent Hairston greets Board of Education member Earnest Hines and Vice-President Ed Parker.|
Maryland’s Tomorrow/Advance Path Academy, with 81 students enrolled, also opened for the first time at Chesapeake High School. It is an alternative program which gives students the opportunity to recoup lost credits.
The George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, Eastern Technical High School, Dundalk High School, Towson High School, and Western School of Technology are all new to the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program this year. The AVID program is a 5th-12th grade program to prepare high-potential students who are underachieving, underserved, and/or in the “academic middle” for four-year college eligibility and success. It is now in place in all twenty-four high schools and one middle school.
|George Washington Carver Center Principal Karen Steele and Superintendent Hairston tour the school together.|
Getting to opening day requires behind-the-scenes work by countless BCPS departments. Over the summer, the Department of Human Resources worked diligently to make this school year as successful as possible. They were able to recruit more than 800 well-trained teachers to join the BCPS staff and help educate the projected enrollment of 105,000 students.
The summer was also a period of intensive activity for the Department of Physical Facilities. Many renovations took place in high schools throughout the district. The department has completed installations of new boilers in two schools, new windows in seven schools, and parking upgrades in six schools. Renovations continue in another seventeen schools. Major security upgrades are underway in 140 schools, and four schools are receiving new roofs.
|On the first day, students are already back to work in a George Washington Carver Center drawing class.|
Providing students with the opportunity to receive a good education is a collaborative effort. The smooth start of the 2007/2008 school year can be attributed to the enthusiasm, eagerness, and energy among students and staff, alike, along with the enduring support of parents.
Story by Allyson C., a senior at Towson High School and an intern in the BCPS Office of Communications. Photos by Charles Herndon, communications specialist.