Caroline schools get off to a smooth start
— The school year Caroline County Public Schools got off to a smooth start for students when classrooms opened Tuesday, Sept. 4, CCPS Superintendent Dr. Patricia Saelens said.
She credited the smooth transition to the maintenance and custodial staffs who prepared the schools months before students entered classrooms.
“We have not had any is-
sues for our facilities this week,” Saelens said. “The maintenance staff is the unsung heroes because they spend all summer getting schools ready for the students. We clean, change filters and check units to make sure everything is geared up for the school year.
“Right before school opens, we turn all of our units into occupied mode full time. It is because of the great work by the maintenance staff and custodial staff that we have no issues, even with 90-degree weather and high humidity.”
Caroline County Public Schools long has been recognized throughout the state for its strong maintenance record.
In 2016, Federalsburg Elementary School received Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot’s Silver Hammer award, in recognition of the outstanding work done by the school’s custodial crew and maintenance team to maintain the 83-year-old building.
Franchot and Gov. Larry Hogan have commended CCPS during the Board of Public Works meetings for the system’s efforts to maintain its facilities.
The Mar yland Association of Boards of Education recently recognized Colonel Richardson Middle School and Preston Elementary School for having perfect scores for maintenance.
“We are grateful and thankful they take the opportunity to recognize a small district like Caroline County,” Saelens said. “We take care of what we have, and that is why it lasts for a long time.”
Saelens said transportation for students went smooth throughout the county during the first week.
“We had a great kickoff,” she said. “We are a big family. When you put our student body and staff together, we have nearly 7,000 folks that all went back to buildings at the same time. To have it go off without a hitch is amazing.
“I was in schools on the first day, and teachers and staff picked up right where they left off. They got right into lessons and activities and all the kids were ready to learn. It was wonderful.”
With any new year, students will find new teachers joining the faculty. But to the school system, some of the new faces are well known in the community. Eleven of the 40 new teachers hired graduated from Caroline County Public Schools. Thirteen of the 40 came from neighboring Maryland counties, and five came from Delaware.
“We always talk about ‘The Caroline Way,’ that we are a family and work hard together,” Saelens said. “We also work hard to recruit our own. We have a great Teacher Academy program.
“There is such a sense of pride for the whole district. For every one of those 11 teachers, our guidance counselors touched them. Our cafeteria workers and custodial staff touched them. They obliviously made connections here in Caroline County.
“That connection brought them back home to teach in Caroline. As a school district, we have produced exactly what we have wanted to do. We have prepared students for the workforce who comes back to give back to their community. That is exactly what we want to do in Caroline. That is amazing for us.”
As for the new year’s outlook, Saelens said she is excited for start the second year for the Essentials for Learning initiative with teachers facilitating learning and students being accountable for their own learning while teachers track the progress in real time.
Peyton LeRoy is a third grader at Ridgely Elementary School.
First day of school for Ashley Marie Lane, third-grade teacher at Denton Elementary.
Jakob Bilbrough, first grade, Denton Elementary School
Alexa Lawton, twelfth grade, and Emilee Lawton, tenth grade, North Caroline High School
Kyler Boyd, tenth grade, and sister Kamryn Boyd, ninth grade, North Caroline High School
Ryan, first grade, and Devin, second grade, Greensboro Elementary, grandsons of Nancy Morris.
Jaxon Beish, fourth grade, and Conner Beish, first grade, Denton Elementary.