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News Maryland Carroll County Westminster

Guthrie outlines five-year action plan for Carroll schools

As Superintendent Steve Guthrie laid out his five-year vision for the school system Wednesday, he stressed that it is not a reinvention of Carroll County Public Schools.

Instead, he said it is a plan that intensifies the school system's strengths with a focus on excellence.

"We're already doing good things," Guthrie said. "I want to incorporate what we're doing that is good, but focus it into certain areas so that we can promote it, we can embed it in our system."

Guthrie, completing his third year as superintendent, outlined a plan that aims to prepare students for a global economy, meet individual student needs, develop and maintain an effective workforce, and provide a safe and modern environment.

Guthrie met with the Carroll County Board of Education during a work session to introduce the school system's first ever five-year action plan, which comes on the heels of the board adopting its core statement, values, and beliefs last year.

He said those core beliefs were the basis for his plan.

Highlights of Guthrie's plan include implementation of a curriculum aligned with the Common Core State Standards, establishment of partnerships with local colleges, funding for a new career and technology building, development a high school program for students with autism, and a K-12 gifted and talented program.

Guthrie is also advocating that the school system attract and retain highly qualified employees by offering competitive pay and benefits, promote a culture of diversity, and develop an electronic teacher observation and evaluation system.

With regard to providing a safe and modern environment, Guthrie is proposing the school system secure additional funding for an aggressive capital improvement program, support an up-to-date technology infrastructure, and enhance school surveillance systems.

Board member Jennifer Seidel said the plan was refreshing and energizing.

"I'm really excited to see us all moving in the same direction and it's very clear what that direction is," she said.

In response to a question from school board president Barbara Shreeve, Guthrie said some aspects of the plan could be hindered by current or future fiscal constraints.

But Guthrie said finances are not a reason to not push for certain projects.

"There are some things that are so important we can't just say we can't get them because we don't have the money," he said. "Our obligation is to advocate."

Guthrie's action plan can be viewed online at www.carrollk12.org.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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