Schools are ready to open for the 2017-2018 academic year
Maryland public school systems begin re- opening this week, as another new record number of students is expected to fill classrooms for the 2017- 18 academic year.
Most Maryland schools are opening after Labor Day for the first time in more than two decades, following Governor Larry Hogan’s executive order requiring a post- Labor Day start to the new school year for most schools and systems.
“This first day of school is an exciting time for students, parents, and teachers,” said Governor Hogan. “Our administration remains committed to ensuring that every Maryland student has access to a world- class education, and we wish everyone a safe and productive school year.”
Maryland school enrollment hit a record 886,221 students in 2016- 17, with another 250,000 children involved in some form of pre- kindergarten, Head Start or licensed childcare program. Those numbers are expected to continue to rise.
Schools this fall begin the fourth full year of implementation of the stronger academic standards designed to better prepare students for life after graduation. Assessment data released earlier this week found progress being made, particularly in English language arts.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide students with a foundation for success in college or career,” said Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “Maryland high school graduates must be ready for today’s jobs and those that will be created down the road.”
Noteworthy This School Year
Enrollment & Demographic Trends: • Enrollment in Maryland public schools surpassed 886,000 in 2016, and there is little indication enrollment growth has crested. Maryland school enrollment has been steadily increasing since 2009, when the student population stood at 843,861. • Maryland’s student population also has experienced major demographic changes over the past 20 years. White students represent nearly 38.2 percent of the student population, followed by African-American students, who make up 34.1 percent of the student population. Both the White and African-American student populations have been in decline as a percentage of the student body in recent years. • Hispanic students represent 16.5 percent of the student body, while Asian students account for approximately 6.4 percent. Percentages of Hispanic and Asian students have been steadily rising. Also increasing is the percentage of students identifying themselves as two or more races, which is at 4.4 percent. • The State’s schools continue to serve a high percentage of students coming from circum- stances of poverty. Last year, for example, 48.9 percent of Maryland elementary students were eligible for free-or reduced-price meals. Ten years earlier that tally stood at 39 percent – a dramatic increase over the decade. • More information on Maryland school demographics can be found on the Maryland Report Card website.
Strengthening Achievement, Accountability
• Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards have been in place in all public schools for four years or more, and already there are signs that the new core standards are having a positive effect. The State continues to be among the nation’s leaders in Advanced Placement success, and its high schools last year were ranked top in the nation by US News & World Report. http://bit.ly/2pp3IqP • Results from the third year of the new State assessments were released earlier this week. The PARCC state assessments, aligned to the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards, replaced the math and English MSAs in 2014-15. As expected, results from the initial administrations found PARCC to be significantly more rigorous, but scores are on the rise. Complete state assessment data can be found here: http://bit. ly/2cEJqzW • The latest revision of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act was signed into law in 2015. The new law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides a longterm, stable federal policy that gives states additional flexibility and encourages innovation in states, local school systems, and schools, while at the same time holding all entities accountable for results. The Maryland State Department of Education spent more than a year working with the broad-based ESSA Stakeholder Committee, posting two on-line surveys and holding listening sessions throughout the State. The final plan is scheduled to be sent to the U.S. Department of Education for its approval next month, following its approval by the Maryland State Board of Education this week. More on ESSA can be found here: http://bit.ly/2blFN1q • Positive Trends in Graduation Continue. Maryland’s graduation rate remains at an all-time high, increasing again in 2017. • Maryland’s cohort graduation rate reached 87.61 percent in 2016--nearly 6 percentage points higher than the 81.97 rate registered in 2010. • At the same time, dropout rates have fallen to new lows, dropping to 7.97 percent in 2016. It was nearly 12 percent in 2010. • While gaps in graduation rates remain between student groups, the improvement in
Keeping Students Healthy. Maryland’s Department of Health is requiring new immunizations this year, and all Maryland schools are required to stock the anti-overdose drug, Naloxone.
• All students entering kindergarten, first, second and third grade must have had two varicella vaccinations before the first day of school. All students entering seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth grades must have had one Tdap vaccination and one meningococcal (MCV4) vaccination before the first day of school. For more information, see the Department of Health’s immunization page: https:// phpa.health.maryland.gov/ OIDEOR/ IMMUN/ Pages/ back-to-school- immunization-requirements .aspx • All Maryland schools this fall are required to stock Naloxone — commonly known by its prescription name, Narcan — the overdose reversal medication. Staff are being trained in how to administer the drug, all thanks to the Start Talking Maryland Act. A new law, known as the Start Talking Maryland Act, also requires schools to begin instructing students in the dangers of drugs starting in grade three. MSDE’s round-up of school openings and closings can be found here: http:// marylandpublicschools.org/ about /Pages/ School- Systems/ Open- Closing-Dates. aspx graduation has been across the board. African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and White student subgroups have all experienced improvement in graduation. African-American student graduation, for example, has jumped from 76.09 percent in 2010 to 84.06 percent in 2016.