The Arguments For Dual Enrollment Programs in High School Senior Year

October 30, 2014

An opinion piece in Vox argues that more schools should turn senior year into a high school-college hybrid dedicated to helping students make the jump to higher education.  As described,

While still technically enrolled in high school, students could start earning their first college credits through local community colleges or public universities. . . . For the high achievers headed to selective colleges, it would offer a chance to earn free credits. For regular students — the vast majority of college-bound seniors — making senior year of high school also stand in for freshman year of college could close gaps between K-12 and higher education, making the education system more cooperative and more efficient.

In Maryland, dual enrollment programs between community colleges and local high schools are already taking this step.  As reported by the Maryland Association of Community Colleges,

Maryland’s 16 community colleges provide an abundance of outstanding dual enrollment programs for high school students, giving them the opportunity to accelerate their pursuit of a college degree or certificate. Each semester, 4,000+ Maryland high school students attend a community college to earn college credit while still in high school.

For more information, including profiles of students in dual enrollment programs, see the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.

Prince George’s County Schools Offer Vaccines to Meet New State Requirements

October 30, 2014

As reported in the Washington Post, Prince George’s county school officials have been offering free vaccinations and scrambling to remind parents of the Oct. 31 deadline to prove that their children have been vaccinated against measles, mumps, whooping cough and other communicable diseases. As described,

Starting this school year, Maryland public schools require proof that students entering kindergarten have received two chicken pox vaccinations, and students starting the seventh grade must have received the Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-attenuated pertussis) and meningococcal vaccinations. . .Nurses are administering vaccines to students at 15 middle schools in Prince George’s County this week as the county makes a final push for students to get their required vaccinations before Friday’s deadline. More than 3,000 students in Prince George’s still needed their vaccinations as of last week and they are in danger of not being able to attend school after the deadline.

For more information, see Thousands of students without vaccinations could be barred from Maryland schools and Nurses in Prince George’s will administer vaccines at 15 schools from the Washington Post, and our previous post on Conduit Street, New Vaccine Requirements in Maryland Schools.

State Board Approves 2-Year Delay in Using the New Student Assessment as Graduation Requirement

October 30, 2014

According to a press release of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), the Maryland State Board of Education approved a plan proposed by State Superintendent Lillian Lowery to ensure  the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams in English 10 and Algebra I will not become a graduation requirement until the 2016-17 school year.

According to MABE, the key elements of the State Board’s plan provide:

  • Students who take the Algebra I and English 10 course aligned to PARCC in 2014-15 and 2015-16 will not be required to pass the exam in order to graduate. These students must still pass the course as part of their graduation requirements.
  • As in the past, all students still must pass the government and biology High School Assessments – or successfully complete the Bridge Plan project-based assessment in those subjects – in order to graduate.

For more information, contact John Woolums, MABE’s Director of Governmental Relations,, 410.841.5414.

A Map of Broadband Infrastructure in Counties

October 29, 2014
Screenshot 2014-10-29 08.44.42

Courtesy of NACo research.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently added broadband data to its County Intelligence Connections (CIC) mapping tool, with information from Federal Communications Commission.  The CIC tool includes indicators of fixed internet connections, fixed internet providers, and mobile internet providers, which may each be selected through a dropdown list under “utility” data.

Screenshot 2014-10-29 08.57.08

Courtesy of NACo research.

For Maryland, the map shows the number of fixed internet connections, fixed internet providers, and mobile internet providers in each county and Baltimore City. The numbers differ from county to county, with the following ranges:

  • fixed internet connections, ranging from up to 1000 to less than 200 connections per 1,000 households in a county
  • fixed internet providers, ranging from up to 24 to less than 6 providers in a county
  • mobile internet providers, ranging from up to 8 to less than 4 providers in a county

Broadband infrastructure partnerships between the public and the private sector will likely be essential to developing the nationwide public safety broadband network known as FirstNet. The Maryland Association of Counties continues to follow and play a role in the progress of planning for FirstNet’s deployment in Maryland.  For more information, see our previous post,  Maryland Seeks to be First in FirstNet Public Safety Broadband and Maryland’s FirstNet website.

Baltimore County Begins $9.8M School Security Expansion

October 27, 2014

As reported by, one of four students injured when a freshman opened fire in a Washington State high school cafeteria has died, bringing the death toll to two.

In Maryland, Baltimore County recently announced an expansion of its school security program.  As reported by the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore County officials have announced plans to spend $9.8 million over the next three years to expand the school security system by outfitting every public school with surveillance cameras and secure doors.

By the end of the program, officials said, every public school would have a network of surveillance cameras that police could monitor remotely. Every school door would be locked and require an identification card to open. Some of the technology is already in place in many schools as part of a security overhaul that began after a shooting by a student on the first day of classes at Perry Hall High School in 2012 that injured another student.

For more information, see our previous posts, Allegany Schools, Sheriff, & Commissioners Collaborate on School SecurityMontgomery Posts School Resource Officers at Every High SchoolAnne Arundel County Proposes Additional School Safety OfficersWorcester Commissioners Approve Fiscal 2014 Budget, Including a School Safety Plan and this information from the Maryland State Department of Education.

Calvert County Commissioners May Appoint New School Board Members

October 23, 2014

As reported by Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners will be facing unexplored territory in a couple of months when at least one, maybe two, school board members will be leaving before the end of their term.  As described in the article,

According to the Annotated Code of Maryland Education Article 3-301, “The County Commissioners shall appoint a new member to fill any vacancy on the county board for the remainder of that term and until a successor is elected and qualifies.” . .

County Attorney John Norris said he does not know of a time recently when county commissioners have had to appoint a replacement board of education member. . . Terry Shannon, county administrator, said while the decision is up to the commissioners who are still in office, it would make sense for the decision to be deferred to the next board since they will be primarily working with the school board.

Calvert County Administrator Terry Shannon will be speaking to newly elected officials on the topic of local government structure at MACo’s Winter Conference, January 7-9 in Cambridge, Maryland.  The Conference will feature several education sessions intended to introduce nuances in local government structure and county government’s relationship to other local agencies.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

Washington County Board of Education Shifts $4.5M to Build Hagerstown Education Hub

October 23, 2014

As reported by Herald Mail media, the Washington County Board of Education voted Tuesday night to shift $4.5 million from its fund balance to three newly created funds designated for downtown facilities, a technology initiative and public/private partnerships. The article describes,

School Board President Justin Hartings said the move to create a downtown facilities fund continues to show the board is serious about creating an academic classroom hub in downtown Hagerstown.  Chief Financial Officer Chris South also cited other examples of projects the $2 million downtown facilities fund could support, such as an early buyout of the lease-purchase agreement for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, or to pay for costs associated with creating boutique learning facilities whose students could also use the academic hub. . .

The school board has asked the city of Hagerstown and the Washington County Board of Commissioners to contribute financially to th[e academic hub] project.


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