Schools are ready to open for the 2017-2018 aca­demic year

The Avenue News - - EDITORIAL -

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. • 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: • 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://­ 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:// mary­land­public­ 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.

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