It may be his first year as a principal at Lansdowne Elementary, but Stephen Price is no stranger to working in Title I schools.
"I've been with a Title I school my entire career," said the 31-year-old Long Island native, who began his career in Baltimore County public schools as a third grade teacher and instructional coach at Elmwood Elementary in Overlea.
Price, a Perry Hall resident, comes to Lansdowne after three years as an assistant principal at Johnnycake Elementary.
Elmwood, Johnnycake and Lansdowne are among 45 county elementary schools classified as Title I schools. Those schools receive additional federal funding because of their high percentage of students from low income families. Baltimore County elementary schools qualify for those funds when 54.8 percent or more of students receive free and reduced meals.
Price said that status for schools like Johnnycake and Lansdowne presents both challenges and opportunities.
"There a similarity [between the two schools] in the amount of need," Price said. "But it presents itself in different ways.
"Lansdowne is just a gem. It's in the middle of a really challenging area," he said. "The students are seriously dedicated to success."
Lansdowne Elementary's third- and fourth-grade classes scored in the +95 percent category — the highest possible — for math and reading in the recently released 2013 Maryland School Assessment scores. More than 95 percent of the students in the school's third- and fourth-grade classes were also proficient or advanced in both math and reading the year before, as well.
The school's fifth-graders also scored at +95 for reading and 89.5 in math in 2013.
Price earned his Bachelor's degree in elementary education in 2004 from what was then known as Loyola College. He received a master's degree in leadership in teaching and a master's in administration and supervision in 2007 from then College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
After six years at Elmood, Price worked at Mars Estates Elementary, an Essex school that is also on the county's list of Title I schools, before coming to Johnnycake Elementary.
Though he has never been a principal before, Price is confident he will succeed in his new position.
"The buck kind of stops here," he said. "When you're assistant principal, you have someone to fall back on if you have a problem.
"It's a different kind of position because you're the one making all the final decisions," Price said. "Other than that, the positions aren't that different."
He replaces Jane Lichter, who was promoted to assistant superintendent for county's elementary schools.
Price said his biggest challenge in the upcoming school year will be helping teachers and students adjust to the Maryland's "Common Core" curriculum, a new curriculum focused on providing each student with individualized instruction that matches their pace and level of understanding.
"Our big push is that we're moving forward," he said. "We've been a very successful school and we have the potential to do even more.
"It's about implementing the new program with fidelity and giving every student the opportunity for growth," Price said.