School year off to a good start

Record Observer - - School -

I am pleased to report that last week’s school open­ing was ex­cep­tional! Weeks of prepa­ra­tion re­sulted in school build­ings that were clean, safe, and wel­com­ing. Bus driv­ers, cafe­te­ria, cus­to­dial, health room, and front of­fice staff wel­comed stu­dents with smiles. Teach­ers, in­struc­tional sup­port staff, and ad­min­is­tra­tors fo­cused on build­ing re­la­tion­ships, pro­vid­ing a nur­tur­ing learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment, and en­sur­ing that ev­ery sin­gle stu­dent had what he/she needed for a strong start to the school year. As my Ex­ec­u­tive Team and I greeted stu­dents, fam­i­lies, and em­ploy­ees, we counted our bless­ings for the priv­i­lege to be a part of a school com­mu­nity laser-fo­cused on sup­port­ing stu­dents.

Last week, I heard from many par­ents who had sev­eral pos­i­tive com­ments about the smooth start to the school year. I also com­mu­ni­cated with some par­ents who had con­cerns about is­sues with the dis­sem­i­na­tion of lap­tops. I would like to as­sure par­ents that stu­dents in grades 3–12 will be pro­vided lap­tops in the same man­ner that has oc­curred over the last few years in Queen Anne’s County Public Schools. Some fam­i­lies ex­pressed con­cerns over the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing charged fees for dam­age to lap­tops that was not caused by their child. The fact is that the lap­tops and cases are a few years old and will not be in “like new” con­di­tion. Par­ents are not ex­pected to pay for nor­mal wear and tear to lap­tops or cases. When lap­tops, power cords, or cases have been lost, par­ents have been asked to pay the re­place­ment cost. This fee will be re­flected on your Pow­erS­chool ac­count.

As I re­search con­cerns cen­tered on lap­tops, I have learned that even though it is per­mis­si­ble, QACPS has not been suc­cess­ful in re­cov­er­ing fees for dam­ages. How­ever, it has not been the prac­tice of QACPS to with­hold lap­tops due to un­paid charges for dam­ages. Mov­ing for­ward, if your child has re­ceived a lap­top, which is dam­aged (with the ex­cep­tion of nor­mal wear and tear), please re­turn it to your child’s school for re­pair. To the de­gree that loaner lap­tops are avail­able, your child will re­ceive a loaner un­til the orig­i­nal lap­top has been re­paired. We have one more school year un­til the end of our term for the lap­tops and are re­search­ing op­tions that will al­low QACPS to con­tinue our 1:1 ini­tia­tive while en­sur­ing that con­sid­er­a­tion is given for main­te­nance and up­grades just as con­sid­er­a­tion is given for ed­u­ca­tional ben­e­fits when mak­ing de­ci­sions about the value of our in­vest­ment in tech­nol­ogy de­vices.

If you have not had an op­por­tu­nity to review stu­dent per­for­mance on PARCC as­sess­ments for 2016-17, please visit the QACPS web­site. We cel­e­brate our sta­tus as No. 1 in the State for mid­dle school English Lan­guage Arts (ELA) and for rank­ing among the state’s top per­form­ing school dis­tricts for ELA grades 3-8 and ELA grade 10. I would also like to call to your at­ten­tion the fol­low­ing no­table ac­com­plish­ments:

• In 2nd grade, 88.2 per­cent of stu­dents scored Pro­fi­cient or Ad­vanced in math­e­mat­ics.

• Dis­trict-wide math­e­mat­ics per­for­mance showed in­creases in the per­cent­age of stu­dents in grades 3, 4, 5, and 7 that scored at the two high­est per­for­mance lev­els (PL 4 and 5) with three schools nar­row­ing the gap for African Amer­i­can stu­dents, five schools nar­row­ing the gap for stu­dents who re­ceive free or re­duced priced meals, and eight schools nar­row­ing the gap for stu­dents re­ceiv­ing special ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices.

• Sev­enty-four per­cent (74 per­cent) of the grad­u­at­ing class of 2017 com­pleted at least one AP, Honors, or Dual En­roll­ment class, which in­cludes a 10 per­cent in­crease in stu­dents re­ceiv­ing free or re­duced priced meals.

My grat­i­tude is of­fered to all who con­tributed to en­sur­ing a smooth start to the school year. Let’s all com­mit to “keep­ing the main thing the main thing” mean­ing that our work and en­ergy is fo­cused on pro­vid­ing the best ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery sin­gle stu­dent, re­gard­less. DR. AN­DREA KANE Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools

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