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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, April 11, 2005

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

At the business meeting on April 11, 2005 at the Center for Educational Opportunity the following actions and discussions took place.

General Public Comments

Martha Dauphinais, Math Department Chair at Bel Air High School, discussed the proposed high school reform block schedule. She said she considered 60 minutes to be an ideal length for a class period and that for math it is preferable that students have a class every day. She also said that a rotating schedule is more suited to students and teachers learning/teaching style.

Cindy Mumby, PTA member and officer in the Bel Air area, said she had investigated the eight period block schedule's implementation in other counties including Howard County. She said Howard County had adopted and then abandoned the eight period model citing students who are required to have 21 credits for graduation "filling the gap" of the 32 credits in an eight period block schedule with classes that were of limited value to them. She said the Howard County officials told her 90 minutes was too long and that teachers "watered down" their classes with games and puzzles. She recommended moving forward with a seven period model.

Michelle Peck, a junior at Bel Air High School, commented on the eight period day urging an alternative. She said the schedule would "hurt both ends of the spectrum" - more able students and struggling students. She also said that a rotating schedule would be preferable for those students who must miss class for legitimate reasons, adding that she agrees there is a need for a unified schedule but urged a "more reasonable" alternative.

Adam Berry, a senior at Bel Air High School, pointed to the likelihood of increased student load for teachers with no increase in pay if the eight period block schedule were adopted. He said he felt the seven classes in five period rotating schedules used at C. Milton Wright and Bel Air High Schools would be preferable.

Brendan Payne, a Bel Air High School freshman, said a 90 minute class period would be "ineffective" and called that schedule "an exercise in futility" for 14-18 year olds who would not be able to focus for that period of time. He said "grade inflation" would occur as students fill their schedule with meaningless courses pointing to two counties he had said tried the eight period block schedule and reverted to a more traditional one.

Barbara Yost, President of the Harford County Education Services Council, appealed for the use of identified funds in the 2006 budget to reinstitute proposed cuts in the Title I program that would endanger the ReAch and LAUNCH programs. She said the 4.1 million dollars in additional revenue identified through lower insurance premiums could be used to restore the 38.4 paraeducator positions proposed to be cut.

Board President Robert B. Thomas, Jr. announced he had discussed the proposed high school reform proposal with Vice-Chair R. Robin Rich and they agreed to a work session to discuss the entire issue. Mr. Thomas said a date for that work session would be set at a later time (subsequently the date has been established and will be held on May 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Center for Educational Opportunity building in Aberdeen).

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Board Member Mark M. Wolkow and the second of Ms. Rich the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the Consent Agenda including the Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards and Minutes from the February 14, 2005 Board Business Meeting.

New Business

Action Items

Howard G. Goldberg, representing the Manganaro Company, protested the award of Bid Package 4A (masonry) for the Patterson Mill Middle/High School project to the second low bidder at a cost of approximately $700,000 more than the Manganaro bid. Mr. Goldberg said there was a conflict in the forms concerning minority representation which was unclear and caused the bid submitted by Manganaro not to include the minority participation statement at the time bids were open.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Board Members Salina M. Williams and Patrick L. Hess the Board voted unanimously to reject all bids in package 4A and seek a new set of bids in that area. Acting on the motion of Ms. Rich and the second of Mrs. Williams the Board awarded all bid packages (except Package 4A) for the Patterson Mill Middle/High School project as recommended by the Superintendent. The total value of the bid awards (not including Package 4A) is $35,517,546. Supervisor of Planning and Construction Kathy Sanner said the rebidding of Package 4A would not delay the project. Mr. Thomas affirmed with the Board attorney that Harford County Public Schools and the Board of Education had not violated any law in the awarding of the contracts adding that in the "interest of fairness" the rejecting of bid package 4A and its rebidding was the proper action.

Presentations

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Gerald Scarborough and Supervisor of Career Programs and Art Susan Garrett presented the Board with information on the Maryland Academy for Teacher Education. Currently, the Department of Career and Technology Education in Harford County Public Schools offers a career completer program in Early Childhood Education within the Family and Consumer Sciences department. This four-credit program offers students the opportunity to earn the 90 Clock Hour Preschool Course certificate from the Department of Human Resources - Child Care Administration necessary for becoming a senior staff member in a preschool center and to earn six articulated credits at Harford Community College in Early Childhood Education.

Board Counsel Patrick P. Spicer and Director of Student Services Stephen C. Lentowski presented the Board with proposed policies on Admissions and Homeless Students. The admissions policy includes new requirements in state law pertaining to informal kinship care arrangements (see complete proposed policy on the HCPS website). The proposed Homeless Students policy contains provisions prompted by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act insuring that all homeless children have equal access to free public education (see complete proposed policy on the HCPS website). The Board is scheduled to take action on the two policies at its Monday, May 23, 2005, Board Meeting.

Superintendent's Report

Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas announced the ten finalists in the Harford County Public School 2005-06 Teacher of the Year Program. The finalists are :

  • Jann Barber, Bel Air High School, Math
  • Terri Broemm, Harford Technical High School, Health Occupations Education
  • Lorna Frendak, North Harford Middle School, Classroom Support Program
  • Paul Flottemesch, Abingdon Elementary School, Physical Education
  • Karen Jankowiak, Havre de Grace Elementary School, Third Grade
  • Joel Leff, Aberdeen High School/Science-Math Academy, Math
  • Heather Moorefield, C. Milton Wright High School, English
  • Donna Motsay, Fallston Middle School, Science
  • Faye O'Brien, Hickory Elementary School, Instrumental Music
  • Yolanda Presberry, Havre de Grace Middle School, Art

Mrs. Haas also discussed the latest enrollment report (March, 2005). She said the school system enrollment is down by about 200 students since the beginning of the school year - the high school decrease has been 329 students with elementary enrollment having increased. Mrs. Haas said there will be a diversity network meeting on Thursday, April 14th at the Center for Educational Opportunity led by Maryland State Department of Education official Woodrow Grant and Aberdeen Pastor Nathaniel Johnson. In addition, Mrs. Haas presented the results of the Destination Imagination State Tournament held the previous weekend in which three Harford County Public Schools qualified for the Global DI tournament to be held May 23-26 at the University of Tennessee/Knoxville. The three schools which have qualifying teams are Southampton Middle School, Ring Factory Elementary School, and William S. James Elementary School. Stephen Albert of Bel Air Middle School won a special award called the Renaissance Award.

Board Comments

Student Representative to the Board of Education Kathryn Smith thanked the Bel Air High School students for voicing their opinions on the proposed eight period block day. She said that the Harford County Regional Association of Student Councils had not taken a position on the schedule but would do so at their meeting scheduled on April 13th.

Mr. Thomas said the General Assembly session would end that evening (April 11) and that $250,000,000 was being appropriated for school construction. However, he said the Senate and House versions of the award are in conflict and had not been worked out as of late in the afternoon of April 11. He said that HB1347, Retirees Reemployment bill had passed. He added that HB641 moving the due date of the Master Plan changes had been approved. Mr. Thomas said SB806/HB1074 impacting suspension/expulsion of students had passed. He added the legal services committee of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education of which he is Chair met April 11th and would hold its annual business meeting on June 13th. He said the committee would hold a briefing for local school systems on preparing for legislative audits on June 3rd. Mr. Thomas said the Education Leadership Conference will be held on May 3rd at the Center for Educational Opportunity pointing out that it is the fulfillment of an idea he had proposed for several years. Mr. Thomas pointed out the Supreme Court will hear a Montgomery County system case having to do with special education. Mr. Thomas also commented on an April 1 editorial in the Aegis newspaper concerning the process of the Board's review of the proposed block schedule. He said the editorial incorrectly held that the Board of Education had already made up its mind on the proposal. Mr. Thomas pointed to the Board scheduling of a work session to look at all options as indication that the editorial's assertion was incorrect.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mr. Hess the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 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