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Expansion not likely for elementary school

(4/8) Based on projections presently predicted by the Frederick County School Board, the Emmitsburg Elementary School will likely not face expansion anytime in the near future.

Theresa R. Alban, superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS), briefed the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners at their April 2 meeting on issues of interest to the community regarding future development and plans of the school system.

Alban was appointed as the new FCPS superintendent effective July 1 of last year, and replaced then-retiring Superintendent Linda Burgee.

Alban stated that seven to ten year projects established by the county school system determined that the Emmitsburg Elementary School would like not be expanded in that period of time. "Right now," she said, "an addition doesn’t look necessary."

However, Alban said, the elementary school is "ready for renovation," including the playground which is scheduled for 2015, even though playgrounds at county school "had to slide down the priority list" due to budgetary constraints.

The county high schools on the other have a seen a general drop in enrollments. The superintendent stated that "the high schools will go down a little bit" over the next number of years.

Curriculum changes planned will include required financial literacy, a "more intensive course" than that presently offered, and environmental literacy, as well as intensified Algebra I and II and argumentative and narrative writing.

In response to changes proposed by the federal No Child Left Behind program (a product of the federal Department of Education), Alban said the county school system has filed for a waiver from some of the requirements.

The superintendent noted that the program assesses the progress of schools as a whole based on testing, whereas the county would prefer to have their progress assessed according to curriculum-based categories.

Under the current requirements, a school could be failing to meet standards for certain disciplines, while exceeding in others, but receive an overall rating of not meeting standards when the entire spectrum of test results are averaged together.

By requesting a waiver, she said, "We as a group (of county educational systems) are looking at (requesting) taking away the stigma of saying the whole school did not make progress (when they may have within a specific curriculum)."

The board took no formal action regarding the briefing.

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