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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, January 23, 2006

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

The following actions and discussions took place at the Board of Education of Harford County meeting held on Monday, January 23,2006, at the Harford County Public School Administration Building, 102 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air.

RECOGNITIONS

The Board officially inducted two new members into the Harford County Public School Educator Hall of Fame. Inducted were Dale H. Neeper and Raymond R. Richardson, Jr. Mr. Neeper, currently serving as the County Executives Education Liaison, spent 32 ½ years in the Harford County Public Schools as a Social Studies teacher at three schools and Tech-Prep Coordinator at Harford Technical High School. Mr. Neeper is described as a meticulous planner who presented high-quality, student-friendly lessons. As Tech-Prep Coordinator (and marketing manager) at Harford Tech, he was one of the major influences in the transformation of the school from one known for vocational training to a place where students receive high-tech training for jobs in the modern work world. Mr. Neeper helped the school move from one with less than a 400 student enrollment to its present over 1,000 students. Mr. Richardson spent 34 years as a Social Studies teacher, all at Aberdeen High School. He ushered in the teaching of Psychology in the local schools, personally writing the curriculum for a course that became wildly popular at Aberdeen High. Mr. Richardson served as Department Chair at his school for the final 12 years of his career in the school system, mentoring many young teachers while being part of a veteran group of ten instructors averaging about 25 years experience. Mr. Richardson continues teaching at two colleges and serving as coordinator of student teachers.

The Board recognized the All-State Musicians from the Harford County Public Schools selected in a highly competitive process for 2006. Honored were

All State Junior Band Andrew Blais, Derek Recher, Andrew Eckart, Allison Munley, and Robert Bowen.

All State Junior Orchestra Rachel Lane, Kelly Paduch, and Grace Kim.

All State Senior Band James Williams and Katie Wilson

All State Orchestra (Winds and Percussion) Patrick Carter and Josh Meeder.

All State Senior Womens Chorus Courtney Brewer, Lauren Brown, Anna Collins, Lauren Herzog, Courtney Campbell, Emily Iser, Caitlin Katrinic, and Katie LaBarre.

All State Senior Mixed Chorus Jessica Bullock, Becky Livingston, Marley Welsh, Brittany Debelius, Marcus Haynes, Gregory Arment, Nicholas Doak, Brendan Kennedy, Adam McNutt, Jesse Morton, Andrew Erickson, Joe Close, and Tom Dickerson.

All State Junior Chorus Christine Feinour, Catherine Jacobs, Ryan Richardson, Drew Thatcher, and Justin Ables.

The Board also honored Kimberly C. Kimmie Meissner who won the Silver Medal in the 2006 U.S. National Figure Skating competition held in St. Louis, Mo. in mid-January, earning one of three berths on the U.S. Womens Olympic Team to compete in the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy during February. Ms. Meissner, a junior at Fallston High School, had won national novice and junior figure skating titles prior to winning the bronze medal in the U.S. championships held in January, 2005 where she performed a triple axel jump that earned her national acclaim. This year, the 16-year-old honor student who completes her required classes in the morning before traveling to the University of Delaware for daily six-hour practice sessions, joined first place finisher Sasha Cohen and nine-time U.S. champion Michelle Kwan (who received an exemption due to an injury) as members of the U.S. Olympic team. Ms. Meissner was presented with a Board certificate and paperweight, a commemorative miniature skate by Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas, and the promise of several Harford Board of Education logo lapel pins to be used as exchange items when she gets to the Olympics.

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENTS

Sandy Krause of Forest Hill said she had a new proposal for the countywide redistricting now being considered by the Board. She suggested that all Bel Air High students be moved to Patterson Mill Middle/High School due to open prior to the 2007-08 school year.

Larry English of the Forest Lakes community disputed the advisability of the student moves being proposed by the Superintendents Technical Advisory Committee on Balancing Enrollment, saying that 652 students would be moved for a net seat gain of 25 students at C. Milton Wright High/Southampton Middle schools. He said he was also concerned about the grandfathering of eleventh and twelfth graders. He noted that one of the foundations of the Balancing Enrollment policy is to move as few students as possible, a guideline he said had not been followed in the Committees recommendations.

Rich Pfingston of Forest Hill recommended a multi-tiered approach to balancing enrollment. He questioned whether the effort to get capacity at all secondary schools between 90 to 95 percent is spelled out in the Balancing Enrollment policy. He pointed out that, if the moves recommended are followed, seven of the 19 middle/high schools will not be in the 90 to 95 percent goal.

OLD BUSINESS

ACTION ITEMS

Acting on the motion of Board Member Patrick L. Hess and the second of Board Member Thomas L. Fidler, Jr., the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the Consent Agenda including the Monthly Report on Personnel; Award for School Buses; Contract for Electric Supply Services; Audit Committee Membership; Proposed Resolutions on Career and Technical Education Week and National School Counselor Week; and Minutes of the Board Work Session on November 16th, Board Business Meeting on November 21st, and Board Work Session on November 28th.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the seconds of Board Vice President Mark M.Wolkow and Board Member Salina M. Williams, the Board unanimously acted to approve the Proposed Board Code of Conduct. Board Counsel Patrick Spicer told the Board he had originally presented the proposal in December and that it had been posted on the school system web site seeking public comment. He said no comment had been received. Board President R. Robin Rich explained the policy is a guideline for how Board members conduct themselves. She read the complete text of the policy into the record. The Board considered the applications of three groups to be granted approval to operate Charter Schools as members of the Harford County Public Schools. Dr. Haas told the Board the Dr. Ben Carson Public Charter School had experienced a change in its leadership and, as a result of input from the new leaders, had decided to change her recommendation from a denial for the group to a delay until May 1, 2006 to allow for the new leaders to show they had met conditions which could lead to approval of the school. Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mr. Fidler, the Board acted unanimously to extend the window of consideration for approval, by mutual consent, until the first Board meeting following May 1, 2006.

The Eagles Wing Academy had been given previous conditional approval by the Board of Education. Dr. Haas said there had been little contact with the leaders of the group and little or no progress had been made by its sponsors, especially in the area of securing a facility in which to operate. Following the Superintendents recommendation that the Board rescind its conditional approval, the Board unanimously approved the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Mrs. Williams to do so.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the seconds of Mr. Hess and Board Member Lee Merrell, the Board voted unanimously to support the Superintendents recommendation that the Restoration Alternative Academy Public Charter School be given until May 1, 2006 to fulfill the requirements that could lead to approval of the charter school. The Board had previously granted conditional approval to the organization. Representatives of the group said it had scaled back its parameters to include 30 to 40 students to be housed in about five rooms in the lower level of the Center for Educational Opportunity in Aberdeen.

NEW BUSINESS

PRESENTATIONS

Dr. Haas provided the Board with an update on the State of the School System. The Superintendent presents the State of the Schools in the early fall and updates progress being made at mid-year.

Dr. Haas deferred to Assistant Superintendent for Operations Joseph Licata to present the first portion of the Superintendents Report. Mr. Licata discussed the current status of the recommendations of the Superintendents Technical Advisory Committee on Balancing Enrollment. He said the group had made its first presentation to the Board on November 28th and, following Board Policy, had conducted public meetings on the issue the three held on December 21st, January 4th, and January 11th at locations in various parts of the county. He said the Committee will make a presentation to the Board at a work session on February 21st (HCPS Administration Building, 7:00 p.m.) which will contain its final recommendations, reflecting possible changes resulting from the public meetings and public input. He said the Board will schedule one or more public hearings in early March with the Board due to vote on a final redistricting plan in March or April. Mr. Licata said the group has received hundreds of contacts from the public, many of them making alternative proposals which are being considered. Jay May, Chief of Administration for the school system, presented the Board with information about the opening of the new Harford County Public School Administration Building. He said the building had been built from the ground up in approximately one year and outlined the means of financing (lease/purchase). He said the move from eight different locations to the new building over the winter holidays had gone very smoothly and the 210 occupants of the building are settling in. He mentioned the Silver Certificate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status of the building indicating significant savings in the areas of water efficiency, energy use, etc.. He thanked the Board for its support and noted that those using the building are very appreciative and are already realizing efficiencies from being together at one site.

BOARD COMMENTS

Mr. Wolkow presented a report on the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) Legislative Committee meeting he had attended that morning. He said the group is seeking full funding of the Thornton Commission recommendations, he noted that $281 million has been placed in the states school capital funding account, and that a lot of work has to be done on the pension reform proposal for school employees. He noted that the state will have a hearing on the Charter School Commission (of which he is a member) recommendations. Mr. Wolkow also provided information about the work of the Maintenance of Effort Commission. Ms. Rich said she has been receiving a number of e-mails about the Comprehensive Secondary School Reform Program (CSSRP), in particular citing the belief that teachers are not ready to make the switch to the eight-period block schedule. She said professional development has been occurring and additional training is taking place during the two-day teacher-inservice block on January 23 and 24. She mentioned that her husband had taught in a traditional schedule for 23 years and had recently made the switch to block scheduling without training and is doing well. She said that real leaders make decisions not clearly knowing what the future is.

With no more business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:15 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.Sweatt@hcps.org