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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, December 20, 2004

Questions regarding these Board Highlights may be directed to Don Morrison, Director of Public Information, 410-588-5203.

At the business meeting on December 20, 2004 at the Center for Educational Opportunity the following actions and discussions took place.

Recognition

Patrick E. McCarty and John M. Potter were inducted into the HCPS Educator Hall of Fame. Mr. McCarty was a 28 year educator in Harford County Public Schools, most of that time being spent as a principal at four elementary schools. Mr. Potter was a 31 year HCPS educator who was principal at three local elementary schools, opening Riverside and Magnolia Elementary Schools.

The Board of Education at the conclusion of each athletic season honors state, regional, district and county champions. In the fall 2004 season, one Harford team won a state title - the C. Milton Wright Girls Cross Country team, which won the Class 3A title. Certificates were presented to Coaches Donnie Mickey and Larry Ashman. Members of the team included: Kelli Buck, Leah Estremera, Megan Ravenscraft, Danielle Burcham, Allison Barnes, Sara Bailey, and Lindsey Lippencott, and as alternates - Maggie Morey, Lindsay Carpenter and Jillian Roberts.

Teams which won regional championships during the fall 2004 season were: the C. Milton Wright Girls Cross Country team (3A North), the C. Milton Wright Boys Cross Country team (3A North), the C. Milton Wright Field Hockey team (3A North), the C. Milton Wright Girls Soccer team (3A North), the Fallston Boys Soccer team (3A North), Bel Air High School Football team (3A North), and the Joppatowne High School Football team (1A North). Fallston High School's Boys Volleyball team won both the regular season and tournament Harford County Public School County championships (there is no competition in Boys Volleyball beyond the County title in Maryland). In addition, Harford County Public School team winners of the first ever Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference (UCBAC) Sportsmanship Award were: Golf - Aberdeen High School (Chesapeake Division); Field Hockey - Havre de Grace High School (Susquehanna Division); Football - Bel Air High School (Chesapeake Division); Boys Soccer - C. Milton Wright High School (Chesapeake Division); Girls Soccer - Edgewood High School (Chesapeake Division); and Girls Volleyball - Bel Air High School (Susquehanna Division).

Each year, teachers may opt to participate in the National Board Teacher Certification Program which entails creating portfolios and videos of their teaching in a personal professional development process that takes an estimated 400 hours to complete. Once the documentation is completed, teachers must take a six hour comprehensive test measuring their ability to put their documentation into practice. If they achieve the required point total they are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. This year three Harford County Public School teachers achieved National Board Certification. They are Christina P. Douglas, mentor teacher at Hall's Cross Roads and Magnolia Elementary Schools; Yvonne K. Gabriel, an earth science teacher at Aberdeen High School; and Randall C. Cerveny, the technology coordinator at Bel Air High School. The Board presented each with a certificate.

Old Business

Action Items

By unanimous vote the Board approved items on the Consent Agenda including the Monthly Report on Personnel; Proposed Resolutions on January - National Mentoring Month, Maryland Reading Month, African American History Month - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Minutes of the October 25, 2004 Board Business Meeting.

By a unanimous vote, the Board approved a motion made by Thomas L. Fidler, Jr. and seconded by Patrick L. Hess and Salina M. Pleasant-Grice to change the student eligibility policy effective August 1, 2005 that would allow students to have only one "E" and still be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities. As part of the motion, on August 1, 2006 students would not be allowed to fail any subjects in order to be able to participate in extracurricular activities. Board Member Mark M. Wolkow asked that a report be given in the spring of 2006 on the impact of the eligibility change.

New Business

Presentations

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Gerald Scarborough, presented the Board with an informational report on the changes affecting the issuance of Certificates of Merit at time of graduation. Dr. Scarborough told the Board since 1989 the Harford County Public Schools have been providing a Certificate of Merit to students who met rigorous course and grade point average requirements. Dr. Scarborough informed the Board that the Maryland State Department of Education had informed local school systems that a change in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) has eliminated the certificate of merit effective immediately. Dr. Scarborough presented the superintendent's recommendation that it acknowledge no certificates of merit will be issued to current or future graduating classes due to actions of the Maryland State Board of Education. He said 35% of the 2004 graduating class received certificates of merit. Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas told the Board the State Department of Education would allow "a local endorsement" which would amount to a local Certificate of Merit. Mrs. Haas said such a local endorsement would not carry the weight of the statewide Certificate of Merit and did not recommend that course. She also said the Maryland Business Roundtable and the Maryland State Department of Education are working on a State Scholars Program. Board President Robert B. Thomas, JR. expressed his view that a State Department of Education and the State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick, by presenting this action without a chance for discussion by memorandum on December 2, 2004 presented problems for the local school systems. He called the process "a stupid way to do business and totally unacceptable."

Director of the Budget, James M. Jewell and members of his staff presented the Board with the FY 2006 Superintendent's Recommended Budget. The total proposed current expense fund for FY2006 is $360,213,228 which represents an increase of $41,968,059 over the current total expense fund. The proposed budget will be considered by the Board during the month of January and is due to be passed by the Board of Education on January 24, 2005 prior to submission to county funding authorities.

Superintendent's Report

In her superintendent's report, Mrs. Haas talked about the budget work sessions to be held in January including the January 4 session during which she will take the first 15 minutes to provide her input on the budget. She referenced to the Board that morning's "brief but shocking reminder" of winter weather to come. Mrs. Haas also told the Board that 28 schools in Harford County - 16 elementary (two Title I schools receiving money), John Archer School, 4 middle schools and six high schools received commendation from the Maryland State Department of Education based on test results from the 2004 Maryland School Assessment tests. Fourteen of the 28 received recognition for overall improvement, five for subgroup improvement and nine for a combination of the two. She said "we are very proud of those schools." Mrs. Haas said the recognition earlier in the meeting of the three teachers who had earned National Board Certification was significant because of the "time and effort" involved. She said the school system had requested seven million dollars for the second phase of the North Harford High School modernization addition from the state. The Interagency Committee for School Construction had recommended only $2,000,000 of that $7,000,000 be funded. An appeal to the IAC has resulted in an additional $1.4 million identified for the project, leaving a $3.6 million gap which will be appealed to the Board of Public Works in January. She said that roofing and heating/ventilation/air conditioning projects along with a supplemental appropriation for three relocatable classrooms would also be appealed. She provided her wishes for staff and students to have a restful holiday.

Board Comments

In the Board comments segment of the meeting, Mr. Wolkow mentioned he had attended the winter concert at Edgewood High School and complimented the performers. Mr. Fidler thanked all of those who had provided information on the eligibility issue. Mrs. Pleasant-Grice commended the three teachers who had received National Board Certification and added her wishes to all students and staff for a successful 2005. Mr. Thomas thanked the HCPS budget office for its presentation and mentioned that the budget document had been improved tremendously over the nine years of his board membership. He asked that all remember the reason for the holiday season. He reiterated his belief that the State Department of Education's handling of the Certificate of Merit issue was "unacceptable" and "no way to do business." He urged all to pause and think about the men and women in the U.S. Armed Services who are in "harms way," adding that some "boys and girls are going to die." He said we should not take our freedom for granted.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.


This document contains a summary of issues that came before the Board of Education of Harford County and actions taken by the Board at the public business meeting at the meeting date referenced on the document. These are not official Board-approved minutes. Board minutes are not posted on the HCPS web site because of the time lapse that occurs between the meeting, their preparation, and ultimate approval by the Board.
For copies of approved Board minutes, please e-mail Lynn.Hutchinson@hcps.org